The process of getting off of opioids isn’t always pretty, but there is an option for those looking for help, without getting high.
The CDC says one option is Medication-Assisted Treatment. This is where you use FDA approved medications along with counseling and behavioral therapies for a whole-patient approach to the treatment of substance abuse.
Ideal Option is a clinic in Bismarck that uses this approach to treat patients.
“We prescribe according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine and we use buprenorphine. One of the brand names is Suboxone. And we will prescribe according to their use history to find an appropriate dose that will help them,” said Jane Sveen, a physician assistant at Ideal Option.
There are three different medications the FDA has approved.
Methadone is given in a clinic setting, and does not block other narcotics but does prevent withdrawal symptoms.
Naltrexone is given in an office like Ideal Option, and is non-addictive. It blocks the effects of other narcotics, meaning you can’t get high from substances.
Buprenorphine is also office-based and blocks other narcotics while reducing withdrawal symptoms.
Sveen said that some patients stay on these medications for long periods of time to prevent them from abusing opioids in the future. She says it’s similar to using a behavioral drug like an anti-anxiety medication, that helps regulate patients.
The CDC is currently doing a multi-year study on MAT treatment for all three medications, as well as patients who only receive counseling. Nearly 1,200 are enrolled across the country in the study, with the findings expected by 2021.