Opioid use disorder or addiction

Opioids like heroin, fentanyl, morphine, Dilaudid (“dillys” or hydromorphone), Oxycontin (oxycodone, “Oxy’s”) and other related drugs can be very difficult to stop taking after using them for a while. Patients experience severe cravings and painful withdrawal sickness that include muscle and joint pains, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, restlessness, irritable mood, and other symptoms.¬†Patients who are able to stop using opioids for a while often continue to have uncontrollable cravings and even physical symptoms that go on for a long time.

The best available treatments

The treatments that medical studies show have the best success are called “opioid agonist maintenance treatments” in a program like Metro City offers. In this kind of treatment, a doctor prescribes and carefully adjusts a specific medicine to help the patient overcome the withdrawals and cravings. The medication treatment is combined with certain kinds of counseling that may benefit the patient.

The medicines used in this kind of treatment are normally taken once daily. They include:

  • buprenorphine-naloxone (Suboxone)
  • methadone
  • slow release oral morphine (SROM) (Kadian)

Benefits of treatment

Studies show that careful treatment with these medications can help patients:

  • live longer
  • reduce or stop using drugs
  • become productive with jobs and engage in relationships with loved ones
  • stop needing to participate in things they don’t want to do for money (like theft or sex work)

Additional treatments that can help

Patients receiving medication treatment and counseling from a specialized doctor might also benefit from being involved in non-medical therapies as an individual or in groups. These may include mutual help groups, one-on-one counseling, or a recovery or rehabilitation program that the patient stays in for several weeks.

Metro City provides some of these services, and referrals to others that the patient decides with their doctor may be of benefit.