Part of the regimen of drug rehabilitation for some patients is an opioid; clinics for drug rehab across the use buprenorphine and naltrexone for patients who have used opioid drugs such as pain medication and heroin, as well as for those who have used benzodiazepine tranquilizers. The reason that patients usually require detoxification is because those substances are very highly physically addictive. Buprenorphine and naltrexone provide chemical separation from heroin and the prescription opioids.
Because of the high incidence of overlapping use between alcohol and other drugs, patients who go to drug rehabilitation are treated in the same groups as the alcohol addiction patients are. However, there are a few exceptions. The most common exception is when one specialized continuing care group is available for patients who are taking Suboxone. Oftentimes, these patients have issues in common that make such a homogeneous group very useful during treatment.
Even though psychological treatment is at the core of the best centers for drug rehab, medication plays a very important, supportive role. Buprenorphine has significantly improved the ability for staff members at these centers to help patients recover from addiction to pain medications and heroin. In addition, it can either greatly reduce or even entirely eliminate withdrawal symptoms and cravings, leaving patients feeling comfortable enough to return to a normal life without being distracted by those drug cravings.
So what is buprenorphine and how does it work? Basically, it is an opioid medication that is used for the treatment of addiction. Although it has been used in Europe since the 1980s, it was only approved for use in the United States in 2003. It attaches to the same places in the brain that pain medications and heroin do, but it only partially activates those sites, so it does not make people high. Some people do report feeling a buzz. The bottom line is that buprenorphine prevents people from getting high on other opioids because it blocks the effects of the other substances.
Even though it can be addictive, and if people suddenly stop taking it, there will probably be withdrawal symptoms, there are measures in place to limit those symptoms. It may take two days for withdrawal symptoms to begin because it is long acting. People who have been on the medication who decide to get off of it should reduce their dosage gradually over a period of time to limit those withdrawal symptoms. A facility for drug rehabilitation will be supervising patients who are coming off of buprenorphine.