Opiate Detoxification Methods

Some of the most harmful and addictive drugs in the world belong to the opiate family, which constitute painkillers derived from opium, the prime chemical of the poppy flower.  These include heroin, morphine, oxycodone, codeine, hydrocodone, and most prescription painkillers such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Demerol, Percocet, Dilaudid, and Darvocet, among others.  Opiates affect the dopamine receptors of the brain, which are responsible for the feelings of reward and pleasure.  That’s usually why people are attracted to using these drugs but it’s also one of the easiest addictions for the body to form.  

In order to release a person from the addictions of opiate-based drugs, it is necessary to first remove all traces of the drug from the body, which is a process called detoxification.

Medical Detoxification

The standard mode of detox is to undergo medically supervised detox in a safe hospital or clinic where professional physicians can monitor your body for trauma during the intense withdrawal phase that follows any form of natural detox.  This detox process allows the body to naturally work through the chemicals and expel them from the body by natural means—sweat, digestion, elimination, etc.

Rapid Detoxification

In cases of severe addiction or particularly overdoses, emergency medical responders will put a patient under anesthesia in order to administer a faster detox process.  This is done by injecting opiate blockers into the body intravenously and can sometimes mean the difference between life and death for a patient who overdoses on opiates.  Other medications are often used to ease the symptoms of withdrawal on the body, even after the patient wakes from the initial sleep.  With all of this medical assistance, physical detox can be achieved in 6-8 hours.

Stepped Rapid Detoxification

If the situation is not a full-blown emergency, physicians will often prefer a stepped process that slows down the detox with small doses of Narcan and other symptom management medications.  This leaves the patient alert and aware of the process in order to communicate any symptoms or issues along the way.  It’s a medically-supported detox for severe addictions but more controlled than a standard medical “good luck on your own” detox process.

Ultra Rapid Detoxification

When an overdose victim is banging on death’s door, emergency medical personnel often initiate an ultra rapid detox that can flush the body of harmful narcotics in 5-30 minutes using injections of the drug Naltrexone while the patient is put under anesthesia.   Naltrexone blocks all of the body’s endorphin receptors and forces the opiates to flush through to the bowels to be expelled from the body.  It’s an extremely painful and dangerous process but is bearable under anesthesia.


Published on Tue, 03/10/2015 - 22:59
By Addiction Recovery