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How to Quit Using Opioids

 In addiction, Uncategorized

The opioid epidemic continues to sweep through the United States at a rapid rate. With the dangers of and deaths from opiates dominating the media, many have been personally impacted or know someone who has been impacted as a result of this drug. A comprehensive strategy is needed to combat opioid addiction but what is the best course of action? With so many treatment options, how do you decide the most effective option that fits your lifestyle? To guide you toward quitting using opioids, consider the following addiction treatment options.

Contingency Management

Contingency management emphasizes rewarding patients with the opportunity to win cash prizes and vouchers, who pass drug screens. Vouchers can be used for physical prizes that promote a drug-free lifestyle and cash incentives are lottery tickets for a jackpot. The number of tickets and vouchers starts small and increases as the patient improves.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment is held at a treatment center or hospital and is supervised detoxification with medical professionals. The entire treatment cycle lasts 28-days but can be as short as three-days or over one-month. Those who undergo this type of treatment must meet specific criteria including:

  • Freebasing opioids or injecting.
  • Failing outpatient treatment.
  • Having psychiatric or medical illness.
  • Using other substances.

Some programs revolve around therapy and counseling and last 4-12 weeks or longer. Other programs are multimodal and use various techniques to achieve recovery. Inpatient treatment is not the best option for everyone especially single parents (since childcare is not available) and those without health insurance and low income since the cost can be high.


Medication is becoming a more used treatment method with four primary drugs being used: Buprenorphine, Ibogaine, Methadone, and Probuphine.


This drug is a partial opioid that acts on the same receptors as opioid-based drugs but does not produce the same side effects or high. There is a low chance of accidental overdose and a decrease in withdrawal symptoms.


Methadone is the most commonly used substance abuse medication and that prevents withdrawal. Given that it is an opioid, it produces similar effects without dangerous side-effects.


One of the newest treatments is probuphine. This method involves inserting four rods containing the drug under the skin inside the arm that lasts for six months. This helps patients remain on their medications with regularity and prevents them from misusing or selling their medications.

Narcotics Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is like Alcoholics Anonymous in that it follows a similar 12-step program. Those participate in NA must accept that substance abuse is a disorder, relapsing disease, willpower alone isn’t enough for recovery, individuals cannot control their disease, they must be active in the program, and surrendering to a higher power is essential to treatment.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatments vary in type, cost, and intensity but are usually much less expensive than inpatient programs and more flexible for those who have family and work commitments. These programs provide education for the impact of drugs and usually have group counseling sessions. The more intense options include cognitive behavioral therapy, family counseling, individual therapy, job and training counseling, marriage therapy, and a strong peer support system. These programs usually have multiple staff members who hold advanced degrees for a more impactful experience.

Therapeutic Communities

Therapeutic communities are long-term facilities that help people get clean. These locations use the self-help method that is confrontational but supportive to allow users to become aware of their growth areas so they can live drug-free and re-enter society. Therapeutic communities offer a highly-structured environment because those who are working through the program have been unsuccessful with other substance abuse treatments. The staff is comprised of those who have recovered from substance abuse disorders and a few psychologists. New residents are given basic work duties and can earn more responsibility based on their personal growth and time within the community.

Ultra-Rapid Opioid Detoxification

In most cases, detoxification is not a single treatment. However, ultra-rapid opioids detoxification can be a single successful option. Over two days, the patient is sedated and given an opioid antagonist called Naltrexone. This forces the withdrawal process and associated symptoms to increase in speed and the patient skips the side-effects. There is always a risk with this procedure since general anesthesia is used.

The best way to quit using opioids is a combination of all therapies. Each of these methods does not need to be performed individually, several can be implemented at a time. Also, medication can be taken with various forms of community and inpatient services, therapy, and detox. Digest the facts and determine which method works for you to find the best road to recovery.

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