With opiate drug overdoses on the rise, substance abuse experts are calling for the expanded use of medication-assisted treatment. In combination with counseling and other therapies, medications including buprenorphine and methadone can help patients with difficult addictions by reducing cravings and easing withdrawal symptoms.

While cold-turkey abstinence helps some opiate addicts, the intense cravings and withdrawal issues lead many to relapse. For those addicted to heroin, morphine, or prescription opioids, the withdrawal symptoms can be especially intense.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration says that 2.5 million Americans could benefit from medication-assisted treatment. Less than half of those patients currently receive the medications. Advocates are pushing for more public education about these medications and greater access for the people who need them.

Using Medication in Combination with Other Treatments

The greatest results are achieved when medication is used along with other forms of drug rehabilitation. In-patient treatments, group counseling, private counseling, and support from family and friends all play pivotal roles in the treatment of an individual’s case of addiction.

Medications play the important role of directly addressing physiological cravings and intense emotional distress associated with withdrawal. Instead of risking overdose and illness from dangerous street drugs, the patient has a safe and effective means of dealing with some of the most difficult symptoms of addiction.

When used properly under the guidance of a doctor, patients can effectively use medication for weeks, months, or indefinitely — and taper off when ready. As part of holistic drug rehab, medications can help ensure that other methods of treatment are more successful and the addiction stays conquered.

Rehab programs are available that include medication treatment along with personalized counseling and support. If you or a loved one are suffering from heroin addiction or opiate abuse, find out about holistic drug rehab programs in Miami that offer a supportive environment that treats the full range of addiction symptoms.