Opioid Dependence Treatment Guidelines: 2015 Released

opiate addictionThe guidelines released “Federal Guidelines for Opiate Treatment Programs” March 2015 (which can be read here… ) are intended for government opioid maintenance programs using methadone or Buprenorphine containing medications. Some key components worth mentioning are the importance that those put on maintenance have had at least a year of continuous opioid dependence, have tried and failed at least twice to wean off of opioids (no more than two attempts allowed at the same program), and if pregnant, that the pregnancy is verified. For pregnancy, withdrawal should not be initiated before 14 weeks or after 32 weeks gestational age. If pregnancy is a possibility, a pregnancy test should be done before initiating withdrawal from opioids.

It is advised that all patients and their families get training on signs of opiate overdose, and have a prescription for Naloxone that could be administered if an overdose took place.

Substance abuse counseling is recommended and all opioid dependent patients should be encouraged to attend 12-step programs. Screening for HIV and Hepatitis C, along with other STD’s is advised and monthly random urine drug screens are recommended for drugs of abuse.

At our office-based opiate detox clinic, Fair Start, we focus on those who are opiate dependent and age 30 or under. In most cases we are able to safely and successfully wean patients, slowly over 6-24 months, off opiates using a Buprenorphine containing medicine. If you have a loved on who lives in Oregon or Southwest Washington in the under 30 age group and dependent on opiates (heroin or pain pills), contact Fair Start at 503-924-1000 to see if our program might be the right fit for them.


Dr. Paul



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