What is an Opioid Addiction?
Opioids are a large class of drugs that include illicit street drugs like heroin, as well as prescription painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and codeine. In 2014, an estimated 21.5 million Americans aged 12 or older met the criteria for a substance use disorder, with 1.9 million people struggling with addiction to prescription painkillers, and nearly 600,000 addicted to heroin.
Opioid Treatment Centers
Opioid treatment centers have been established across the country to help people dealing with opioid use disorders. Opioid treatment programs details may vary, but a range of quality recovery options are available from standard to luxury opioid rehab programs, with these drug addiction treatment centers being offered in either inpatient or outpatient settings.
Many of the more standard programs use opioid treatment methods that have been shown to work for a large number of people, while many luxury programs create treatment plans that have been individually tailored to a person’s unique needs using cutting-edge addiction treatments and advanced supportive therapies.
When is Opioid Rehab Needed?
Many individuals with relatively severe opioid addictions seek recovery help via inpatient treatment. At many inpatient facilities, the individual will first complete a medically supervised detox period. After detox, ongoing treatment will take place in a safe, restricted environment that serves to block access to opioids or other drugs during treatment as well as reduce the number of stressors that those in recovery will face. Inpatient facilities provide individuals a chance to sober up away from a stressful or unstable home environment that can easily trigger relapse.
Opioid Use Disorder Symptoms
Opioid addiction is associated with many telltale symptoms or behavioral features. Opioid use disorder can be identified as mild, moderate, or severe, depending on how many of the diagnostic criteria are met, with two to three criteria pointing to a relatively mild case, four to five indicating a moderate level of addiction, and six or more indicating a relatively severe addiction.
Opioid abuse symptoms include:
- Development of opioid tolerance, where more opioids are needed to achieve the desired effect.
- Using more than intended, or using for longer than planned.
- Experiencing signs of opioid withdrawal when opioid use is suddenly stopped or the amount usually taken has been reduced.
- Experiencing strong cravings to use opioids.
- Continuing to use opioids after experiencing negative consequences, such as legal trouble or overdose.
- Use of opioids repeatedly interfering with the person’s ability to fulfill responsibilities at work, school, or in the home.
- The person posing a danger to himself or others by repeatedly using opioids in environments or situations in which doing so is hazardous, such as while driving.
- The person’s relationships suffering from issues related to opioids, yet he continues to use opioids.
- The person having a strong desire to use less, or struggling to control his use of opioids.
- Spending a majority of the time getting, using, or recovering from the effects of opioids.
- Cutting back or stopping important activities at work, socially, or recreationally due to opioid use.
- The person’s attitude or behavior changing, such as keeping different groups of friends or becoming increasingly secretive.
Are you worried that you or a loved one may have an opioid use disorder? Take a quick opioid addiction self assessment.
Inpatient vs. Outpatient Opioid Rehab Programs
Opioid treatment programs provide care in either an inpatient or outpatient setting. At an inpatient facility, the person stays at the treatment facility and receives around-the-clock care from trained professional staff. Partial hospitalization programs (also known as PHPs or “day programs”), intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) or facilities, and other outpatient substance abuse programs provide treatment for a portion of time during the day or evening. The time commitment will be variable from program to program, but patients return home at the end of each day.
Inpatient programs are more expensive than outpatient programs due to their limited availability (there are a finite number of beds in any treatment facility), the high degree of involvement that the facility’s staff has with the person, the various amenities available to residents, and the fact that treatment and/or supervision is provided on a 24-hour basis.
Are Opioid Treatment Centers Private and Confidential?
Opioid rehab facilities do everything they can to protect the privacy of their patients and maintain confidentiality in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a federal law ensuring that protected health information is kept private and confidential unless authorized by the individual. The only people a rehab facility will correspond with are patients, those involved in treatment of the patient, and anyone who has been authorized by a patient to receive information.
What Happens During Opioid Rehab?
Both inpatient and outpatient opioid addiction treatment programs consist of:
- Admission: The individual requiring treatment is first evaluated by an addiction treatment professional. Treatment recommendations are offered and a treatment plan is drawn up at the point of admission into the program. This can be a lengthy process because the staff must first gather background information on the person and his substance use history, which will inform the basic treatment plan and the appropriate level of care. Additionally, treatment center staff will need to set up insurance reimbursements or otherwise secure payment arrangements. This is also the point at which the facility staff will explain the program structure and rules, provide information on privacy practices, and give the person an opportunity to decide if they want any family members or loved ones to be informed of their treatment progress.
- Detoxification: Acute opioid withdrawal can be a markedly unpleasant and daunting hurdle to overcome. Medically supervised detox can make the detox process more safe and comfortable. Opioid dependence can be managed via a number of medication-assisted treatment approaches, including the administration of addiction treatment medications like buprenorphine, naloxone and buprenorphine (Suboxone), and methadone. These medications can help to ease the painful withdrawal symptoms, manage cravings, and ultimately decrease the likelihood of relapse. Detoxification can be a very difficult process, but staff will ensure that every possible measure is taken to make the person comfortable.
- Addiction therapy: The person participates in both individual and group counseling sessions. Any medications prescribed to assist with the treatment process will continue to be taken during this time. Many of the therapeutic interventions will draw heavily from evidence-based techniques, and can be based on a non-spiritual, 12-step/spiritual, holistic or religious/faith-based philosophy.
- Specialized care: The person receives treatment that is tailored to his or her unique situation and needs.
- Aftercare: The person exits the rehab program and may receive additional group counseling, individual therapy, and/or enroll in a 12-step program, such as Narcotics Anonymous. A network of support is established to provide aftercare to encourage continued recovery and help prevent relapse.
How Long Does Opioid Rehab Last?
Most inpatient opioid rehab programs last for 28 to 30 days, with 60-day, or 90-day programs available on a case-by-case basis. The rehab process begins with a full patient evaluation. After evaluating a patient’s opioid addiction and dependence, Rehab facility staff will often recommend a treatment duration that fits a person’s needs and budget. Although 28-to-30-day inpatient programs are common, longer periods of treatment can be more effective, so it may be beneficial to enroll in an outpatient facility after leaving inpatient treatment. Many treatment programs last 30 to 90 days, with some offering extended care to those who need them.
What to Look for in an Opioid Treatment Program?
Not all rehab programs offer the same level of treatment. When searching for an appropriate treatment program, it’s important to know what to look for fin an effective rehab. Below are some qualities present in quality treatment programs:
- The use of evidence-based treatment approaches.
- Appropriate certifications and licensing.
- Relevant credentials and education for staff members.
- Individualized treatment plans.
- The integration of addiction treatment and mental health services.
- Studies that measure the effectiveness of the program.
- Low patient-to-staff ratio.
- Aftercare planning and ongoing support.
Choosing an opioid treatment program with the above qualities can ensure that you are in good hands during treatment.
Opioid Addiction Help for Your Loved Ones
If you suspect that your friend or family member is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, you may want to help them get sober but are unsure of how. Approaching a loved one about an addiction can be scary or nerve-racking, since you don’t know how they’re going to react. Some addicted individuals are in denial and wind up getting defensive when confronted about their substance abuse, which is why you need to approach your loved one in an understanding, empathetic, and compassionate manner.
Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) is a method that not only teaches family and friends of an addicted individual how to help their loved one get into treatment, but also improves the lives of those impacted by the substance-abusing person. Instead of teaching the loved ones to confront the individual, the approach teaches them to communicate with them in an empowering and nonjudgmental way. Many people struggling with addiction feel shame or guilt surrounding their drug or alcohol abuse—they are likely to react negatively if they feel that they are being blamed for their problem.
Some of the skills taught in CRAFT include:10,11
- Understanding the loved one’s triggers to use alcohol or drugs.
- Building motivation.
- Positive reinforcement strategies.
- Treatment entry training.
- Life enrichment.
- Safety training.
- Positive communication skills.
These skills are crucial for family members to learn, whether before, during, or after their loved one attends rehab. They can help enhance the family unit, improve communicate, rectify broken relationships, and heal some harm done by substance abuse.11
CRAFT teaches motivational strategies for loved ones to use to help encourage the addicted individual to seek professional treatment. The environment during the intervention is collaborative, caring, and receptive. But if the addicted person in your life isn’t ready to seek treatment, don’t press the issue, as this could push them further away. Be respectful of their needs and don’t try to force them into something they aren’t ready for. Reassure your loved one that you are there for them no matter what and that they can come to you when they decide they’d like help for their addiction.
Opioid Rehab: Away From Home or Not?
Attending an opioid rehab facility nearby can be convenient and provide a sense of safety. Conversely, a facility that is located far away can provide physical and emotional distance from what may be a troubled household or certain stressful daily triggers, or it can offer an increased sense of anonymity.
After Opioid Rehab
It is common to feel a sense of shock after exiting an opioid rehab program, but it is important not to lose confidence in your ability to change. Following up with continued counseling on an outpatient or private basis, and entering a 12-step program can help ease the transition back to everyday life and provide additional support, but you may also want to consider entering a sober-living home, especially if your living situation is unstable or even dangerous. Sober-living homes are residences that prohibit alcohol or drugs and limit the number of guests allowed, while providing a safe place to reside in early recovery.
Opioid Rehab Cost and Payment Options
Opioid rehab facilities set their own pricing policies. Health insurance may cover some or all of the cost of rehab. Be sure to closely analyze your policy and speak with your insurance provider before entering a treatment facility. Financing options, a sliding scale fee, or payment plans may also be available, depending on a facility’s policy.
Every treatment program costs differently, but generally speaking, 7-day detox costs anywhere from $4,000 to $7,000. Inpatient treatment can range from $14,000 to $58,000, depending on the length of treatment, the type of program, the amenities, and the services offered. Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) may range from $3,500 to $5,000 per week.9
Finding an Opioid Treatment Program
Finding the right inpatient opioid rehab center involves a number of factors, including where the facility is located, whether insurance will cover it, the cost of treatment, the qualifications of the staff, if the program is accredited, and the treatment philosophy of the facility. Be sure to ask questions about any/all of these aspects of an opioid treatment program.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can provide information on accreditation of facilities to help you determine the right treatment facility for you. Inquire about their success rate and what types of treatments are provided. This can help you choose the best facility to get you started on the road to recovery.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
- American Society of Addiction Medicine. (2016). Opioid Addiction 2016 Facts & Figures.
- Harvard Health Publications. (2009). Treating Opiate Addiction, Part I: Detoxification and Maintenance.
- Mayo Clinic. (2014). Drug Addiction.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012). Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (3rd edition).
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2013). Seeking Drug Abuse Treatment: Know What to Ask.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2016). Your Rights Under HIPAA.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2016). Opiate and Opioid Withdrawal.
- American Addiction Centers. (2017).
- American Psychological Association. (2018). Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT).
- Center for Motivation and Change. (2014). What is CRAFT?