Opiate replacement therapy may increase addicts’ chances of overcoming drug use

By Staff Writer

Providing heroin and prescription painkiller addicts with opiate replacement therapy may be one of the most effective substance abuse treatment programs, as a recent study found that it can reduce the addicts’ chances of dying by up to 85 percent.

Additionally, the findings indicate that the length of time that individuals spend on opiate replacement therapy is closely associated with their success rate.

A team of British researchers analyzed the medical records of nearly 6,000 individuals who had been diagnosed with an addiction to opiates and were prescribed methadone or buprenorphine between 1990 and 2005.

Despite the fact that opiate replacement therapy slightly increased the risk of death immediately after it was started, researchers found that addicts who stayed with the treatment for a year or longer were 85 percent less likely to die of an overdose.

Researchers said that when this therapy is added to standard substance abuse treatment, it may significantly increase an addict’s chances of beating their addiction and help them go on to a healthy and productive life.