Opiate Treatment Centers: Finding the right kind of help
Opiate treatment centers come in a variety of forms. There are programs which are live-in or inpatient. There are day programs, where patients spend the day and then go home. These more intensive forms of treatment are for people who need daily and close monitoring. There are detox programs to help the patient comfortably transition off of opiates and opioids. There are also less intensive opiate treatment centers which require only a brief medical visit. These centers may require daily or weekly visits. Then, there are opiate treatment centers which require only a single monthly visit.
Inpatient or Live-in Treatment
Opiate addiction can be very difficult to overcome. We cannot ignore the issue of physical dependence. The sickness from withdrawal helps to drive the psychological dependence. It makes it that much easier for the opiate addict to justify putting off quitting drugs for just one more day. In the most difficult cases, there are programs where the patient can live for extended periods. Medical inpatient facilities provide around-the-clock nursing and regular doctor visits. There are also step down live-in facilities, such as sober living homes. Here, a patient can continue to have regular monitoring. Some programs require all day supervision and some are full live-in where the patient sleeps in the home as well.
There are opiate treatment centers which advertise various forms of fast methods of detox. Buprenorphine, often in the form of the brand name Subutex, may be used. In the rapid detox setting, Subutex would be tapered very quickly, possibly within one to two weeks. The goal is for the patient to get completely clean of all drugs in a very short time. While this is a worthy goal, in practice, the risk of relapse may be higher. The patient must have a strong support system. A program of recovery will help to ensure success in rapid detox.
The Methadone Clinic
Methadone clinics are medical facilities that are regulated closely by the government. Methadone can be a very dangerous drug. That is why methadone clinics require daily visits. The patient takes their daily dose in the clinic under observation. With supervised daily methadone administration, methadone can be a safe replacement for dangerous opiates such as heroin. Hence, the methadone clinic can be helpful for some opiate addicts.
Medication Assisted Treatment with buprenorphine
Buprenorphine is a special medication that is approved for the treatment of opioid dependence. It comes in a variety of brand names. Subutex, Suboxone and ZubSolv are common brands. It is much safer than Methadone, hence the programs allow for longer visit intervals. In the beginning, weekly visits are recommended. After the first month or so, if things are going well, A patient may be able to come in only once or twice a month. This allows for a patient to continue with daily activities of living. This includes work and home life with the family. A Maintenance program with buprenorphine minimized the risk of sickness and cravings. It also allows for little down time and a smooth transition. Life interruption is kept to a minimum.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution
Some people will do best in a long term inpatient facility, while others will do best in a daily methadone program. For others, buprenorphine maintenance works best. For those people who are determined to be free of all drugs, a sober living home arrangement may be ideal to stay close to recovery at all times.
Where do I start?
Treatment often starts after a visit to a hospital or jail. Until there are consequences, people suffering from opioid addiction are often in denial. It is hard to make changes in life. Changing habits is hard. In those serious cases where you may have had a near death overdose, inpatient treatment is best. Also, for patients who are heavily abusing multiple drugs, inpatient or live-in programs are ideal. If you are only using opiates and you catch the problem early, you may be a good candidate for medication assisted treatment. You will often find this referred to as suboxone treatment.
Who do I call for help?
There are a variety of resources, including SAMHSA, Treatment Match and others. You are also welcome to call me at 954-776-6226. My name is Mark Leeds, D.O. I am an Osteopathic Physician and I treat patients with opioid dependence and addiction.