The controversy over medication-assisted treatment (MAT), also known as opioid replacement therapy, is still strong and for good reason. Drugs such as methadone, buprenorphine, and Suboxone have been successful in helping people manage opioid withdrawal symptoms and preventing relapse, but there is a catch. These drugs in and of themselves are addictive, and they also have the potential to be abused. It is imperative that they are taken as prescribed, but using substances in a regulated manner is not common for those who have lived with addiction.
The Treatment Helps With Withdrawal Symptoms
Opioid withdrawal is not a pleasant experience, which is why so many people struggle to successfully withdraw from opioid narcotics or heroin. Each of the replacement therapies aims to reduce or eliminate symptoms of withdrawal. Normally, these symptoms would cause an addict to return to using, which is a big advantage of utilizing opioid replacement therapy. There are also a couple of buffers that somewhat prevent abuse. For instance, Suboxone’s combination of burprenorphine with naloxone will give users severe withdrawal symptoms if they tried to inject the drug. Buprenorphine is less euphoric than methadone or heroin, and has a lower risk of overdose.
The Effectiveness of the Medication
Still, the question remains as to the effectiveness of getting people off heroin and prescription pills, only to transfer their addiction to another type of opioid or synthetic opioid. It has been recommended that users stay on methadone for at least 12 months, and the timeline for Suboxone greatly varies. One year is a long time to step down from heroin and narcotics, and some people stay on methadone for much longer. These drugs are not a fail-safe from overdose, either. Methadone is tied to thousands of overdose deaths every year—but not as much as heroin and prescription painkillers.
Opioid replacement therapy has become the gold standard in opioid addiction treatment, and many healthcare providers continue to support it. A person’s opinion on whether it’s right or wrong could depend on whether the addicted individual in question is a stranger or if it’s their brother, sister, mom, dad, or best friend. Families tend to want whatever works for their loved one, and if this means stopping heroin in exchange for taking medication under the care of a healthcare provider, most will be in favor of doing so.
If you are struggling with addiction, call The Lakehouse Recovery Center. There is life beyond addiction, and can help you begin your journey into recovery. You are not alone. Give us a call, we are available 24/7, toll-free at (877) 762-3707. Recovery is possible, and we can show you how. Call now.