A variety of effective treatments are available for heroin and other opiate addictions. Treatment varies depending on the individual; but methadone, a synthetic opiate that blocks the effects of heroin and eliminates withdrawal symptoms, has a proven record of success for people addicted to heroin and other opiates. Properly prescribed, methadone is not intoxicating or sedating. The medication is taken orally and it suppresses narcotic withdrawal for 24 to 36 hours. Most important, methadone relieves the cravings associated with opiate and heroin addiction. The effects of methadone last 4 to 6 times longer than heroin and other opiates so that people in treatment need to take it only once a day. Methadone is medically safe, even when taken continuously for 20 or more years. Combined with counseling and other supportive services, methadone enables patients to stop using heroin and other opiates and return to a more stable and productive life. Buprenorphine, another pharmaceutical approach and behavioral therapies are also used for treating these addictions.
Opioid treatment has been used effectively and safely to treat heroin and other opiate addictions for over 30 years.