Addiction to heroin and/or opiate painkillers that are oxycodone- or hydrocodone-based turns lives upside down. The physical dependence is crippling, but the psychological dependence on the drug can make it seem like the disorder is insurmountable.
Many drug rehab programs are designed to meet the needs of clients who are in active opiate addiction. Some offer medical detox to address the physical withdrawal symptoms, either on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Others focus on the provision of addiction treatment only, while still others offer both detox and addiction treatment services.
When looking for an opiate drug rehab program, it is essential that families consider the individual needs of the person seeking treatment as well as the addiction treatment center’s ability to support family members at home.
Serenity at Summit is located in Haverhill, Massachusetts, and it is the northernmost location for the Serenity family of rehab programs located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. It offers:
The Pennsylvania location of Caron Treatment Centers offers inpatient as well as outpatient treatment for clients in recovery from opiates and other substances. Services include:
Arete Recovery is located in Pembroke Pines, Florida, and it offers people living with an opiate addiction the opportunity to enroll in an all-inclusive rehabilitation program. Services provided include:
Mount Sinai Wellness Center offers a rural spot for drug addiction treatment in Dahlonega, Georgia. Services include:
California Highlands is located in Banning, California, and serves people all over the West Coast. Services include:
The Clearing is a non-12-step drug rehab program located in Friday Harbor, Washington, that offers dual diagnosis treatment for people living with both an addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder. Services include:
Located in Linthicum, Maryland, Maryland House Detox is the first and only detox program in the state that stands on its own. Here, clients can take the first steps toward recovery in a protected environment that provides all the medical and mental health support needed to build a strong foundation for therapeutic recovery. Services provided include:
Sagebrush has locations in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. It offers residential treatment as well as intensive outpatient addiction treatment programs. Services include:
In most cases, yes. Opioid addiction is characterized by both physical dependence and a psychological dependence on opiate drugs. With opioid use stops, the very first symptoms to kick in are usually physical. The experience is often intense, especially for people who are living with high-dose addictions when they stop using.
It is not easy to manage the withdrawal symptoms that come with opiate detox alone. In the first 24 hours after the last dose of an opiate drug, the first withdrawal symptoms appear. These include:
Symptoms usually intensify after the first day, lasting for a week or longer before plateauing and eventually dissipating.
Because of the psychological nature of addiction and the intensity of physical withdrawal symptoms, the first response is often to get more of the drug of choice to end the pain and discomfort. With a medical detox program, or an opioid addiction treatment program that offers medical detox, it is far more likely that a person will avoid relapse throughout the process and come out of the experience prepared to move forward with therapy in recovery.
Medications to treat opiate detox have increasingly become the standard in detox and addiction treatment. Though they treat only the physical aspect of addiction and are not meant to be used as the only source of treatment for someone seeking a sober life, they can be an incredible tool in helping people to successfully transition from active drug use to active sobriety.
They are also touted as beneficial because they allow the individual to avoid going through a harsh opiate detox process that can be psychologically as well as physically devastating. Instead, medications allow for the person to immediately begin the treatment and care needed to learn how to live a new life without drugs of any kind.
Some of the medications often employed for opiate detox in combination with treatment include:
Methadone was considered the gold standard in opiate detox and addiction treatment for decades and still is the medication of choice for long-term or high-dose opiate addictions. Though prescribed for the treatment of pain for some patients in need of chronic pain management and itself an addictive drug, its liquid form is often used for the treatment of opiate addiction because of the ability to lower the dose milligram by milligram and tailor the detox process to the individual’s needs.
In 2002, buprenorphine became the first drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for nothing other than the treatment of opiate addiction. Legal for prescription on an outpatient basis, it was groundbreaking for patients with low-dose opiate addictions who could not afford inpatient treatment or who wanted to increase their ability to stay sober without going to a methadone clinic each day.
Subutex, the brand name for buprenorphine, is often prescribed for the first few days of detox as opiates leave the system. It is then replaced by Suboxone, the brand name for buprenorphine plus naloxone, a drug that stops the person from getting high should they relapse on an opiate drug.
Naltrexone is available in pill form, but it is most often administered by injection because of its long-lasting effects that relieve the client of the burden of medication management. Naltrexone blocks the drug of choice from taking effect, essentially stopping the person from being able to experience a high.
One study provided a systematic review of all studies up until 2015 that had investigated retention rates for those who used medications like buprenorphine and naltrexone to manage opiate detox and those who did not. It was found that there was a significantly higher ability for patients to stay sober for the long term when they used opiate detox medications.
An opiate drug rehab program should offer everything that someone needs to heal from substance abuse and/or addiction. In recovery from opiate addiction, this means that a medical detox program should be provided as well as an intensive treatment plan that is personalized to address the issues that drove the substance abuse.
It is not a quick or easy process, and many people feel that once they are done with detox, they are ready to go back to their lives. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Not only is therapeutic intervention recommended, but a long-term aftercare plan is essential to helping individuals successfully transition back to the real world.
study comparing the efficacy of different types of medication for the
treatment of opiate detox found that it wasn’t the medication that made
the most impact on the person’s ability to stay sober but whether or not they had an aftercare plan that was supportive.
Creating a new life takes time. Even if someone has months of sober time under their belts, medications to support detox in their pockets, and lots of great lessons on how to live a healthy life in their heads, the ongoing support of a sober community often makes the biggest difference in their ability to stay sober.
Ultimately, there is no one perfect opiate detox or addiction treatment program that is going to be 100 percent effective in all cases. For example, one drug rehab that is far from home may provide one client with the space they need to focus on their recovery and heal, while another client will do much better in drug rehab that is close enough to home to include family members.
Each situation is unique, and it is important to take that into account in the beginning. Families are encouraged to talk to their doctor, speak at length with the mental health professionals treating their loved one, discuss the circumstances with different substance abuse treatment professionals, and tour the different programs they are considering to identify the right one for their needs.
Drug and Alcohol Rehab Center in Havervill, MA. Serenity at Summit New England. Retrieved from https://www.serenityatsummit.com/locations/haverhill-ma/
Inpatient Treatment Programs. Caron Treatment Centers. Retrieved from https://www.caron.org/
Addiction Treatment. Arete Recovery. Retrieved from https://areterecovery.com/
Setting New Standards in Addiction Treatment. Mount Sinai Wellness Center. Retrieved from http://mtsinaiwellness.com/
Addiction Treatment in Beautiful California. California Highlands Desert Canyon. Retrieved from https://californiahighlands.com/
Healing Underlying Core Issues. The Clearing. Retrieved from http://www.theclearingnw.com/
Addiction Treatment: What We Offer. Maryland House Detox. Retrieved from https://mhdetox.com/
Holistic Treatment for Mind, Body, and Spirit. Sagebrush. Retrieved from https://sagebrushva.com/
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(January 2019) Opiate and opioid withdrawal. Medline Plus. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000949.htm
(August 2018) Treating Opioid Use Disorder With Medications. WebMD. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/breaking-an-addiction-to-painkillers-treatment-overvew
(September 2015) Methadone. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved J from https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/treatment/methadone
(May 2016) Buprenorphine. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/treatment/buprenorphine
(September 2016) Naltrexone. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/treatment/naltrexone
(2015) Role of Medication and Background Variables in Dropout from Opiate Withdrawal Treatment – A Retrospective Chart Review. Alcoholism & Drug Dependence. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Anders_Hakansson3/publication/276501586_Role_of_Medication_and_Background_Variables_in_Dropout_from_Opiate_Withdrawal_Treatment_A-_A_Retrospective_Chart_Review/links/5852a05008ae7d33e01aa9d3/Role-of-Medication-and-Background-Variables-in-Dropout-from-Opiate-Withdrawal-Treatment-A-A-Retrospective-Chart-Review.pdf
(November 2016) Effective Treatment for Opioid Addiction. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/effective-treatments-opioid-addiction/effective-treatments-opioid-addiction
Pharmacology of Medications Used to Treat Opioid Addiction. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64158/
(September 2015) Retention in medication-assisted treatment for opiate dependence: A systematic review. Journal of Addictive Diseases. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10550887.2016.1100960