The idea that using medications such as methadone or buprenorphine replaces one addiction with another is misguided. Indeed, patients with opioid use disorders are already “addicted” to opioids as a chemical class, and using medications that are themselves opioids does not worsen the physiological dependence to opioids. Addiction treatment with Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) uses longer-acting and safer medications to help overcome more dangerous opioid addictions. Many studies have shown that maintenance treatment with long-acting opioids like methadone or buprenorphine helps keep patients healthier, reduces criminal activity, and helps prevent drug-related diseases like HIV/AIDs and Hepatitis.
Following detoxification from opioids, complete, unassisted abstinence is associated with relapse rates as high as 90%.
Access “Myths and Misconceptions: Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction” at: https://pcssnow.org/resource/myths-and-misconceptions-medication-assisted-treatment-for-opioid-addiction/
More information can be found at: https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/mat/mf_1_30/
Volkow, N. D., et al. (2014). “Medication-Assisted Therapies – Tackling the Opioid Overdose Epidemic.” N Engl J Med. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1402780