Opioid Use & Detox: Does it Work?

February 23, 2018. Article by: Government of B.C.

Withdrawal management – commonly referred to as detox – can look different depending on the substance. But when it comes to treatment for opioid use disorder, detox alone can be unsafe. It can reduce an individual’s tolerance to opiates and increase the risk of an overdose with relapse.

For opioid use disorder, withdrawal management programs should always be used in conjunction with treatment and recovery programs.  This may include outpatient treatment services, opioid substitution therapy, or residential treatment.

Medically supervised withdrawal management is important in order to provide short-term medical supervision and support to people experiencing withdrawal symptoms related to their discontinued substance use.

Withdrawal management alone, for any substance use disorder, does not address the underlying emotional, social and behavioural trauma that a person may be dealing with. 

Everyone has their own unique healing journey. Long-term recovery from substance use disorders and other addictions is not only possible but an attainable and sustainable reality for many. If you have people in your life who you want to support, start by having caring and compassionate conversations with them, listening to their story and getting informed about effective ways to help them find their pathway to recovery.