Four Common Heroin Detox Options

Four Common Heroin Detox Options
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According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 227,000 Americans over the age of 12 are addicted to heroin.

This high rate of heroin addicts has translated into millions of dollars spent on the study of treatments and development of drugs for the treatment of heroin addiction through heroin detox. Methadone, Naltrexone, and buprenorphine (also known as Subutex and Subxone) are the three medications prescribed at most heroin detox facilities. Another option: good, old fashioned “cold turkey” heroin detox.

At Michael’s House, we provide a heroin detox program that is personally tailored to suit the needs of the individual. There is no one-size-fits-all heroin detox option that will work for everyone.

Call Michael’s House to set up an intake appointment to determine how we can best help you.


Approved in 1973, methadone is the go-to medical fix for heroin addiction.

A synthetic opiate, the drug stabilizes the level of opiates in the bloodstream without creating a euphoric feeling. Simply put, methadone replaces the heroin that your body expects but doesn’t allow you to get as high. It may take a couple of weeks to find the right dose of methadone to diminish the side effects of “nodding out” or feeling tired and muddy headed, but at that point, you can begin to slowly step down your dose, sometimes milligram by milligram, until you are free of any drug addiction.


Naltrexone was approved as a heroin detox option in 1985, though it is more commonly prescribed to alcoholics.

It blocks the effect of all opiates in your system so that you can’t “get high” and forces you to go through heroin detox and withdrawal symptoms even if you choose to relapse. There are no narcotic effects, so you can’t “get high” off the drug. It can be prescribed in the form of ReVia, Vivitrol, Trexan, Depade, and Vivitrex.


The newest heroin detox option available is the medication buprenorphine.

The treatment starts with you stopping heroin completely and taking pure buprenorphine or Subutex for a few days. Then, you begin to take Suboxone, a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, a blocker that won’t allow you to abuse the drug or other opiates during use. Some have reported that it helps the psychological cravings as well as the physical withdrawal symptoms. You must be at a relatively low dose of methadone or heroin before you can begin a buprenorphine detox.

Cold Turkey

If buprenorphine is the newest heroin detox option, then a “cold turkey” heroin detox without any replacement medications is the oldest.

With this option, you may take medications to treat the specific heroin withdrawal symptoms you experience (i.e., pain reliever for a headache or muscle aches, a night time pain reliever if you ache and can’t sleep, et cetera), but you won’t prolong the detox with replacement medications.

Heroin Detox at Michael’s House

At Michael’s House, you and your therapeutic team will choose the heroin detox option that’s right for you. Call us today to learn more about the heroin detox options we provide and to schedule a tour of our two facilities in Palm Springs, California.