Does a Heroin Treatment Center Use Other Opioids in Treatment?

As a nation, we all have to show concern about the current opioid addiction epidemic. The fact heroin has made such a strong comeback over the past few years is causing problems in almost every community within the US. When the President of the United States takes to the airwaves to proclaim the nation is mired in an opioid abuse epidemic, everyone has a responsibility to take note. With the increase of heroin abuse, the addiction treatment community is being challenged to figure out how to create a line of defense against further damage. So far, the task has proven to be elusive.

On an individual level, the addiction treatment community is trying to figure out the best methods for treating heroin addiction as effectively as possible. There’s a whole new generation of heroin addiction sufferers who need help sooner rather than later. We already know that heroin addiction requires a higher level of treatment than the kind of treatment options that are typically being used to treat addictions to substances like cocaine and alcohol. In regards to the higher level of treatment required for heroin addiction sufferers, it starts with addiction treatment programs that often require extended care (over 90 days). It will likely also include an extended amount of time in detox.

The Use of Opioids During the Treatment of an Heroin Addiction

In an ironic twist, doctors will prescribe opioids when treating heroin addiction. As counterproductive as that might seem, there’s a very good reason why many addiction treatment professionals deem it necessary to do exactly that. When someone makes the decision to stop using heroin after an extended period of abuse, they will most certainly face some very significant withdrawal symptoms. Some of these symptoms can lead to really severe health issues. What are we talking about? Look at this list of potential withdrawal symptoms:

  • Severe issues with the respiratory and circulatory systems
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Loss of motor function in some part of the body
  • Convulsions, tremors and hallucinations
  • The onset of psychological problems like anxiety, depression and suicidal ideology
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Severe cramping in the arms, legs and stomach region

Why Use Opioids During Detox?

The problem a client faces when they try to detox past a severe heroin addiction is the faster the process goes, there’s more risk involved. To mediate some of that risk, a treatment facility’s medical staff has options. Remember, the goal of a medically-monitored detox program is to keep the client safe and comfortable until their withdrawal symptoms and cravings diminish.

To avoid any possible missteps during the detox process, a doctor might well prescribe a tapering medication like Suboxone. Yes, Suboxone is an opioid derivative. As such, it has properties that are similar to substances like heroin. Using Suboxone to help the client safely go through the detox process provides two benefits. First, Suboxone does not have the same level of opioid impact as heroin. As the medical staff is administering the substance, the client is getting just enough opioids to keep from jumping right into the worst part of the detox process. Over time, the client will start getting smaller doses until they are completely weaned off opioids. The second benefit the client derives from a Suboxone program is the substance does not create cravings for opioids. It does not create the same level of dependence as heroin or most other opioids. Unfortunately, Suboxone is addictive.

Dealing With Suboxone Addiction

When a doctor prescribes a tapering substance like Suboxone, they have a responsibility to monitor the client’s progress. The last this they want to have happened is for the client to replace one addiction with another. That’s why doctors push so hard to keep clients in a detox program until the client has completed the entire detox process. It would be derelict for any doctor to prescribe any opioid and allow the client to leave rehab with access to that opioid substance.

Keeping this in mind, some detox programs run into weeks instead of the normal 5-7 day program. If you are dealing with a significant heroin addiction, you need to proceed with caution. You might want to inquire about the use of other opioids to help you arrest your heroin addiction. If granted access to such a program, be responsible. For more information about such programs, please call one of our representatives at 833-762-3739.