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How Caron Manages the Use of Opiates in Addiction Treatment

When patients enter rehab at Caron Treatment, they can be assured that their treatment will be based on the best available science regarding addiction and the recovery process. Our goal of treatment is to provide the best quality of recovery and best state of wellness possible. Our belief is that because alcohol and drug addiction is a disease, the optimal state of wellness is total abstinence from drugs and alcohol.

Recently, there has been a debate in the media over the use of opiates in the treatment process —most specifically Suboxone or Methadone. What is the basis of that debate? Some rehab centers and addiction specialists have chosen to give these drugs to their patients who are addicted to such drugs as oxycodone, morphine and heroin as a “substitution” for the opiate they are abusing. At Caron Treatment, we consider this “harm reduction” as opposed to an optimal state of recovery. According to Caron’s Medical Director Dr. Kenneth Thompson, “We are able to manage nearly all patients without the need for maintenance opiates like Suboxone because of Caron’s setting, the quality of care provided, and the fact that many patients are able to remain in treatment for at least three months.”

When might we use such a medication? During detoxification whose duration is individualized. On entering rehab at Caron, patients are assessed as to whether or not they need to go through detox. This is a very painful period, which can range from a day to a week, and is very difficult to endure without medical management. In order to provide a safe and comfortable detox, our doctors sometimes will utilize drugs such as Buprenorphine (Suboxone and Subutex) to help the patient through this profoundly uncomfortable time. However, after a patient has been safely detoxed, Caron begins the journey towards sobriety with a holistic integrated treatment that addresses our patients’ physical, mental, emotional and spiritual issues in order to reach the core of their addiction.

After treatment, some patients may require medications such as the non-addictive opiate blocker Naltrexone. This medication blocks the “highs” of opioid drugs and the cravings of alcohol and is prescribed to help prevent relapse. Patients also must continue to take prescribed medications to further treat co-occurring issues such as anxiety or depression. All patients are strongly encouraged to regularly attend 12 step meetings and follow up with their continued care plan. We at Caron believe that through abstinence from alcohol and drugs, our patients can achieve Recovery for Life.

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