Heroin Treatment Options

A variety of effective heroin treatment options are available for recovery from heroin addiction. Treatment tends to be more effective when heroin abuse is identified early. The heroin treatment options that follow vary depending on the individual. Some looking to recover from heroin addiction choose Methadone maintenance programs. Others may enter into different pharmaceutical approaches including LAAM (levo-alpha-acetyl-methadol) and Buprenorphine while there are those who choose behavioral therapies and drug-free rehabilitation.

Heroin addiction treatment is similar to the recovery of most addictive drugs. Recovery from heroin addiction is a long process and requires help from trained professionals. People recover from heroin addiction every single day, but they rarely do it alone. The highest documented success rates for heroin addiction recovery are through long term drug rehabilitation treatment lasting at least 3 to 6 months. This gives structure and support to provide long term recovery from heroin addiction.

Heroin treatment options that are drug-free will begin with detoxification. The primary objective of detoxification is to relieve withdrawal symptoms while patients adjust to a drug-free state. Not in itself a treatment for heroin addiction, detoxification is a useful step only when it leads into long-term drug-free treatment. The best documented drug-free treatments are the therapeutic community residential programs lasting at least 3 to 6 months.

Another of the many heroin treatment options available includes Methadone programs. Methadone treatment has been used to treat opioid addiction for more than 30 years. Properly prescribed methadone is not intoxicating or sedating, and its effects do not interfere with ordinary activities such as driving a car. The medication is taken orally and it suppresses narcotic withdrawal for 24 to 36 hours. Patients are able to perceive pain and have emotional reactions.

Most important, methadone maintenance is said to relieve the craving associated with heroin addiction withdrawal. Drug craving is often a major reason for relapse. Among methadone patients, it has been found that normal street doses of heroin are ineffective at producing euphoria, thus making the use of heroin more easily extinguishable. Methadone's effects last for about 24 hours - four to six times as long as those of heroin - so people in treatment need to take it only once a day. Combined with behavioral therapies or counseling and other supportive services, methadone maintenance enables patients to stop using heroin (and other opiates) and return to more stable and productive lives.

LAAM and other medications are also Heroin treatment options. LAAM, like Methadone, is a synthetic opiate that can be used to treat Heroin addiction. LAAM can block the effects of Heroin for up to 72 hours with minimal side effects when taken orally.

In 1993 the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of LAAM for treating patients addicted to heroin. Its long duration of action permits dosing just three times per week, thereby eliminating the need for daily dosing and take-home doses for weekends. LAAM will be increasingly available in clinics that already dispense Methadone.

Naloxone and Naltrexone are medications that also block the effects of Morphine, Heroin, and other Opiates. As antagonists, they are especially useful as antidotes. Naltrexone has long-lasting effects, ranging from 1 to 3 days, depending on the dose.

Naltrexone blocks the pleasurable effects of Heroin and is useful in treating some highly motivated individuals. Naltrexone has also been found to be successful in preventing relapse by former opiate addicts released from prison on probation.

Another medication to treat heroin addiction is Buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is a particularly attractive treatment because, compared to other medications, such as methadone, it causes weaker opiate effects and is less likely to cause overdose problems.

Behavioral therapies are often part of many heroin treatment options. There are many effective behavioral treatments available for heroin addiction. These can include residential and outpatient approaches. People suffering from heroin abuse can be successfully treated in a heroin addiction rehab. While in rehab, addicts learn therapeutic and educational process which begins recovery from heroin abuse. To rehabilitate simply means to restore or repair. It can be referring to occupational, physical, mental, religious, political, geographic, or various other interpretations.

Heroin addiction rehabs have been around for well over sixty-five years. There are many different types of rehabs, all of which have the same goal of helping the addict learn how to live without using heroin. Attending a heroin addiction rehab is like going to school. It teaches a person about their addiction problem and what needs to be done to stop using.

Inpatient rehabilitation is the initial, full time component. It is where the person checks in and resides at a facility on a full time basis. Partial, known as PHP, is half days spent at a facility. Outpatient is done on a part time basis for a few hours several times a week, usually for several months. A complete assessment and evaluation, done by a professional, will usually determine the right level of heroin rehabilitation program for you.

One key benefit of heroin addiction rehab is that it removes a person from their old habits and environment. This in turn allows them to break the cycle of using. If someone has been through rehab before, more than 30 days should be considered. The cost of rehabilitation for drug addiction can be expensive because it is health care. Full-time, inpatient, or residential treatment can cost from $400 to $1200 per day. Partial or outpatient is less expensive. Insurance may cover some or all of the cost of rehab. Finding the right and best program to meet your needs is very important. Each heroin addiction rehab is different.

An important task is to match the best treatment approach to meet the particular needs of the patient. Moreover, several new behavioral therapies, such as contingency management therapy and cognitive-behavioral interventions, show particular promise as treatments for heroin addiction. Contingency management therapy uses a voucher-based system, where patients earn 'points' based on negative drug tests, which they can exchange for items that encourage healthy living. Cognitive-behavioral interventions are designed to help modify the patient's thinking, expectancies, and behaviors and to increase skills in coping with various life stressors.

The recovering addict needs to be willing to participate in the rehabilitation program and continually apply themselves daily. The appropriate duration for an individual in addiction treatment depends on his or her problems and needs. Research indicates that for most patients, the threshold of significant improvement is reached at about 3 months in treatment. After this threshold is reached, additional care can produce further progress toward recovery. There are no quick fixes for heroin addiction. The knowledge and life skills one learns during intensive heroin addiction treatment must be integrated into everyday life.



  • Heroin is the most abused drug in the entire world.

  • A "rush" can occur while taking heroin which is one of the reason it is such a popular drug to abuse.

  • Heroin has claimed many lives around the world.

  • More than 50% of accidental and unexpected deaths are due to heroin and morphine use.

  • 2% of seniors in high school reported abusing heroin at least once within their life time.

  • The uncomfortable symptoms of heroin withdrawal can lead many to grow highly irritable.

  • The risk of infection from heroin injections are high

  • A severe effect of heroin use may be going into a coma.

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