Opioid addiction offers medical professionals a challenge. This insidious problem involves a multi-prong approach. Addressing psychological and emotional issues is essential. However, the initial problem includes reducing the addiction without causing major physical effects. For some doctors, the process of healing and recovery of any effective opioid treatment begins with substitution drug therapy.
What Is Substitution Drug Therapy?
Escaping the addiction to street and/or prescription opioid drugs is never easy. The overwhelming sense of ownership exerted by the drugs is extremely difficult to subdue let alone remove. Fortunately, medical professionals are able to draw on certain drugs to act as substitutes. These drugs mimic the physical response, therefore helping to reduce the withdrawal symptoms. Moreover, when used appropriately used, they can help to improve the chance of success in a holistic opioid treatment.
Currently, two specific drugs are popular for the treatment of opioid addictions. These are:
1. Methadone: Methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) has been the normal standard for more than 30 years. This synthetic opioid agonist stabilizes cravings and reduces the need for using. Users may slowly be weaned off methadone. Availability is restricted to those who can attend the limited specialized clinics
2. Buprenorphine: This drug interacts with the body much like methadone does. However, a partial agonist, it creates a “ceiling effect” therefore restricting the number of doses necessary to achieve the same reaction. It is also more easily accessible.
The initial goal of any opioid treatment plan is to help the individual escape the cycle of craving and subsequent drug use. This opens them up to other components of a well-designed treatment plan. It allows them to function within society and address other issues that may be a contributory factor in their drug use or be the result of their addiction. Using substitute drug therapy may be the beginning of the road to addiction recovery.