Background Diversion and injection of buprenorphine (SubutexA?) and buprenorphine-naloxone (SuboxoneA?) have been well documented. Recent international research and local anecdotal evidence suggest that these medications are also used by other routes of administration, including smoking and snorting. Methods A cross-sectional sample of 440 opioid substitution treatment (OST) clients was recruited through pharmacies and clinics in three Australian jurisdictions, and interviewed face-to-face using a structured questionnaire. Eligible participants were those aged 18 or over, who had resided in their home state for at least six months, and had been in their current treatment episode for at least 4 weeks. We compared differences in characteristics between clients who had ever inhaled (smoked or snorted) buprenorphine (including buprenorphine-naloxone) and other OST clients. Logistic regression was used to identify correlates of buprenorphine inhalation. Sixty-eight clients who had never used buprenorphine were excluded from analysis.