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Ready to start turning things around? Here you’ll find information about treatment options that are available to you to help you take the next step.

Although you may feel lost and alone now, know that there is help. And there are doctors and counselors who understand opioid dependence and can treat this medical condition just like other chronic medical conditions. Many others before you have found treatment for their opioid dependence and you can too.

More treatments. More help.

Today help for opioid dependence is more accessible and with more treatment options than ever before. Now there are options suited to different people’s lifestyles that are more accommodating to individual needs. Treatments have expanded beyond clinics and are now available in more private settings such as doctor’s offices.


Finding help is all about knowing where to look. Find a doctor near you who understands how to treat opioid dependence in a private setting.
Meet Laurie – Hear Laurie’s story and learn how she was able to overcome her struggle with opioid dependence.

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Medication-assisted treatment is the use of medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a whole-patient approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. There are two main types of medication-assisted treatment: one is provided at a clinic, the other may be prescribed in a doctor’s office or outpatient setting. These treatments work best when combined with counseling or other psychosocial support.

In a doctor’s office

Some doctors treat opioid dependence in the privacy of their offices. The number of these doctors has been growing and your own family doctor may be one of these doctors who understands how to treat opioid dependence. See a list of doctors in your area who may give you more information and provide this treatment option for you. These doctors are prepared to evaluate and to treat opioid dependence with little disruption to your daily life – many can see you for an appointment within a few days.

In this type of medication-assisted treatment, doctors may prescribe medications to help suppress withdrawal symptoms and decrease cravings to help you stay focused on your treatment goals. In addition to medication, this treatment option generally requires a few visits to get you started and then once you are stabilized, the visit schedule is based on your needs. Some doctors may also refer you to a professional counseling option with someone who also understands the disease of opioid dependence. Counseling may help you cope with events or social situations associated with past opioid use and teach you skills to recognize and manage those types of triggers that may affect your dependence.

Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT), a form of medication-assisted treatment, has been available since 1972. Methadone is used to block the euphoria or “high” associated with other opioids – diminishing the effects of withdrawal and giving you an opportunity to change your behavior and stop using heroin or prescription painkillers.

This type of treatment may require you to visit a clinic daily to receive your medication. You may be monitored while taking your medication. As with all medication-assisted treatment, when it is determined that you are stabilized and meet the criteria for take home doses, the visits may be less often. More information about methadone treatment programs can be found at www.samhsa.gov/treatment/.

As with other chronic diseases, there’s more to opioid dependence than just its physical side: how you feel about yourself and the choices you make may also play a part in opioid dependence. Counseling can be very effective in addressing the psychological and behavioral aspects of dependence. In fact, combining medication-assisted treatment with psychosocial counseling has been shown to increase the likelihood of treatment success.

Working with a professional counselor or therapist, or listening to other people who share your concerns and experiences, may help you learn to recognize the situations, feelings, or events that could "trigger" a desire to misuse opioids. Recognizing these triggers in yourself and the world around you – and learning new coping skills – can help you to avoid triggers or to manage them as they happen.

Types of professional counseling include:

Group therapy

Many patients find group therapy particularly effective for treating opioid dependence because it provides a support network, along with:

  • Peer support and acceptance
  • Real-world examples of other people experiencing recovery
  • Positive feedback to help improve patients' self-image
  • Family-like environment

Individual therapy

Private sessions with a counselor may be preferred by some patients or may work well for other patients experiencing mental health concerns that might be contributing to their opioid use.

Visit The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency at samhsa.gov/treatment/ or call the SAMHSA 24/7 Treatment Referral Line at 1-800-662-4357 (HELP).

In-patient treatment programs can offer around-the-clock support and highly structured programs. In-patient treatment programs include:


Patients and their treatment team may decide that a hospital is the best solution for a while. There are many types of hospital services for people with opioid dependence, ranging from in-patient stays with intense medical monitoring and treatment to outpatient counseling programs they can attend while living at home.

Residential treatment centers

At residential treatment centers, patients leave their everyday lives for a period of time, living with other patients in a center that is set up to help them manage their opioid dependence. Typically residential centers offer training, education, and intensive counseling to help patients rebuild a drug-free life. The length of stay is determined by the treatment team according to the patient’s needs and progress.

12-step programs are well known for use in addiction recovery and based on a set of guiding principles that outline a course of action. There are many different 12-step programs. Some are likely to be active in your area and can usually be found in your local phone book or online. Generally, the only requirement for membership in the program is a desire to stop using drugs. Most are abstinence-based programs modeled in part or wholly on Alcoholics Anonymous®.

Members meet regularly to support each other with the idea that people who suffer from a similar problem understand and can help one another. By coming together to share experiences at regular group meetings, people who are further along in recovery can help guide others who are just beginning. Unlike group therapy, 12-step meetings may not be guided by a professional counselor. People who are more experienced and stable may become sponsors of newcomers and are available to support them between the meetings for additional guidance. There are no dues or fees for membership and the groups are self supporting through members’ contributions. There are “open” and “closed” meetings. Anyone can attend an open meeting where usually one of the members of the group is a speaker. Closed meetings are meant only for people who believe that they are addicted and everyone has an opportunity to speak (or pass) in a round robin format.

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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency also provides information at samhsa.gov/treatment/.


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