Are there Treatments for Opioid Addiction?
Individuals who abuse or are addicted to prescription opioid medications can be treated. Initially, they may need to undergo medically supervised detoxification to help reduce withdrawal symptoms-however, that is just the first step. Options for effectively treating addiction to prescription opioids are drawn from research on treating heroin addiction. Behavioral treatments combined with medications have proven effective. Currently used medications are: • Methadone, a synthetic opioid that eliminates withdrawal symptoms and relieves craving, has been used for more than 30 years to successfully treat people addicted to heroin. • Buprenorphine, another synthetic opioid, is a more recently approved medication for treating addiction to heroin and other opiates. It can be prescribed in a physician’s office and has a better safety profile than methadone. • Naltrexone is a long-acting opioid receptor blocker that can be employed to help prevent relapse. It is not widely used, however, because