How to Recover from Opiate Addiction

How to Recover from Opiate Addiction

Opiates are drugs which used to treat pain and come from opium poppy plants. You might be more familiar with narcotics or pain pills like:

  • Codeine
  • OxyContin
  • Vicodin
  • Percocet
  • Heroin
  • Morphine

Opiate addiction is quite common around the world, with many abusers beginning as innocent users of the drugs for pain maintenance after surgery or for chronic pain. For some though, taking opiates can become an addiction and become difficult to stop. In fact, according to the National Institute for Drug Abuse, over 15,000 people die per year from opiate overdose, which is a shame. Fortunately, there is opiate detox and drug treatment available to help.

Medications for Opioids Withdrawal

There are several options available to effectively treat opiate addiction. These options derived from the research on the treatment of heroin addiction mainly because getting off of heroin proved to be a very tough task for many. Medications like naltrexone, methadone, and buprenorphine are quite common when it comes to opiate addiction recovery. Today, let’s take a look at these.


Naltrexone is known as an antagonist medication that when taken, prevents the high that one would normally get from taking a drug like heroin. It is used to treat opiate addiction and overdose.

A recently injectable form of naltrexone (Vivitrol), originally approved for the treatment of long-term alcohol addiction, has received FDA approval for the treatment of opiates. Because of its effects, Vivitrol is ideal for patients who do not regularly have easy access to healthcare.


Methadone is a synthetic opioid antagonist. It eliminates some of the withdrawal symptoms and cravings associated with opiate detox without eliciting euphoria 1. It has been used successfully for over 40 years to treat heroin addiction, but it should be distributed by opioids treatment programs because it too has the potential for abuse and addiction.

Methadone is to be used temporarily, as long-term maintenance therapy is not the goal. It helps opiate dependent individuals get off of more addictive substances like heroin. Over time the dose may be titrated downward slowly, releasing the person from physical dependence while minimizing withdrawal symptoms.

Methadone is among the most effective treatments for opiate abuse. Suboxone is also widely used as maintenance therapy.

Buprenorphine and Naloxone

Buprenorphine is a partial opioids antagonist, which can be prescribed by medical professionals. Just like methadone, it can reduce anxiety and is well tolerated by the patients. Combined with Naloxone (Suboxone), this drug helps those who want to detox from prescription addiction. The buprenorphine helps with withdrawal and cravings, while the Naloxone helps fight against becoming addicted to the medication.

Medications, along with some counseling and/or 12 Step recovery groups, are sufficient to help those who are addicted to opiates get free. If you’re struggling with an addiction to opiates, now is the time to admit this and reach out for help. There are many professionals willing to assist you in getting free. Take your first step today towards freedom by reaching out for help.

  1. Jasinski DR, Preston KL. Comparison of intravenously administered methadone, morphine and heroin. Drug Alcohol Depend. 1986;17(4):301-10.