A new guideline released by the Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse has recommended that opioid addiction should be treated with prescribed medication when possible. A national review committee which vetted the guideline included primary care physicians, addiction medicine specialists, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, all of whom received no funding from the pharmaceutical industry. Short term detox treatment, without further intervention and followup, is not recommended by the committee. “The guideline advises against detox programs that discharge patients after several days, with no further addiction treatment or medication to support recovery.”1
As stated by the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse “Detoxification alone does not address the psychological, social, and behavioral problems associated with addiction and therefore does not typically produce lasting behavioral changes necessary for recovery. Detoxification should thus be followed by a formal assessment and referral to drug addiction treatment.”2
Medication-assisted treatment of Opioid Use Disorder is an effective response, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which offers MATx, a free mobile app to support medication-assisted treatment (MAT) of opioid use disorder. “It is the use of medications, in combination with behavioral therapies, to provide a whole-patient approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. Individuals receiving MAT often demonstrate dramatic improvement in addiction-related behaviors and psychosocial functioning.”3
Further information on treatment for Opioid Use Disorder can be found through SAMHSA, Medications for Opioid Use Disorder for Healthcare and Addiction Professionals, Policymakers, Patients, and Families; The National Institute on Drug Abuse: Effective Treatment for Opioid Addiction; PubMedHealth; and Cochrane Reviews.