Rapid Opiate Detoxification


Is rapid opiate detoxification the "miracle" detoxification approach some claim it to be or is it a highly questionable treatment approach that needs to be employed with care and professionalism?

Rapid Opiate Detoxification and Addiction Treatment

Rapid opiate detoxification (ROD), also known as "ultra rapid opiate detox" and rapid detox, has a fairly short ten-year history.

As the name implies, this treatment approach basically focuses on detoxification by way of reducing the withdrawal symptoms related with addiction to opiates such as methadone, morphine, and heroin.

As the treatment approach advanced, moreover, the methodology progressed so that it can also be employed to reduce the withdrawal symptoms related to the addiction to prescription drugs such as codeine, vicodin, percocet, darvocet, and oxycontin.


Depending on the drug that the person is addicted to, rapid opiate detoxification usually takes place in a detox facility or in a hospital where the individual is anesthetized for between 4 to 48 hours.

This is typically the amount of time to needed to eliminate the drug from the person's body. While under anesthesia, the addict is also administered doctor-prescribed drugs that quicken the physical reactions to the withdrawal process.

The advantage of this treatment line of attack is that the alcoholic not only does not remember any facet of the withdrawal process but also that he or she, after detox, is no longer dependent on the prescription drug or on the opiate.

Essentially, then, rapid opiate detoxification is a detox approach that uses anesthesia and the administering of doctor-prescribed meds in a closely examined hospital setting.

The "Silver Bullet" Is Questioned

Rapid opiate detoxification possibly received its worst criticism in the late 1990s when seven patients under the care of Dr. Lance Gooberman died within a few days of receiving this "special" detoxification treatment regimen.

Gooberman argued that the patients who died had unobserved heart problems or took cocaine, thereby leading to their heart attack.

A number of doctors who also employ the rapid opiate detoxification method, nonetheless, claimed that the procedure might have seriously strained the addicts' frail bodies, therefore leading to their death.

Is Rapid Opiate Detoxification Truly a "Special" Detox Method?

Making the withdrawal process less time consuming, less severe, and less painful seems to indicate an addiction treatment "miracle" but is it really? Addicts, as observed in the research literature, tend to take the easy way out, the "course of least resistance."

To the degree that lasting and effective addiction rehab involves TOTAL abstinence as well as a fundamental change in lifestyle, such a "quick fix" perspective will not be productive in the long run.

Indeed, according to one study, addicts who received rapid opiate detoxification suffered from withdrawal symptoms 24 hours after treatment. Not only this, but 80 percent of the alcoholics experienced a relapse within six months after the detoxification.

Another attribute of addicts is this: they may overcome their addiction to one drug such as percocet but then become addicted to another drug such as codeine.

The point: addicts don't usually experience addiction problems with one drug--addicts typically encounter potential problems with ANY and ALL mind-changing chemicals or drugs.

Does Addiction Rehab Require Insight into Underlying Causes?

More than a few substance abuse experts state that after the detox and withdrawal process, addicts need to examine the underlying reasons for their addiction.

Such an examination, however, commonly entails a lot of effort, reflection, time, an inventory of one's ethical and moral behavior, and brutal honesty.

Regrettably, such "hard work" and "character issues" necessary for "insight" into the reasons for one's addiction are virtually the exact opposite to the "quick fix" vantage point exhibited by most addicts.

Can Alcoholics or Cocaine Addicts Receive Rapid Opiate Detoxification?

Question: Does the rapid detox protocol "work" effectively with cocaine addiction or with alcoholism? Sadly, the simple answer to this question is: "no, not at this time."

At least from a conceptual, if not from a theoretical point of view, however, the million dollar question is this: "why can't rapid detox be used with cocaine addicts or with alcoholics who suffer from extreme withdrawal symptoms"? It appears that more research is needed to better answer this question.

Conclusion: Rapid Opiate Detoxification

The bottom line: even if rapid opiate detoxification is successful, it must be viewed as just one component in addiction recovery. More specifically, rapid opiate detoxification is a treatment methodology that focuses almost exclusively on "withdrawal symptoms" and nothing else.

If rapid opiate detoxification is used as one part of the overall addiction treatment and rehab process, maybe it can play a significant and intrinsic part.


If rapid opiate detoxification, conversely, is viewed as the "magic bullet" of addiction treatment and detoxification, then its attraction as an "immediate cure" will not only be deceptive but perhaps more significantly, will potentially result in death.

Please note: According to the recent substance abuse literature, rapid opiate detoxification has not been utilized with alcoholics or with those addicted to cocaine.

At least from a conceptual outlook, nevertheless, it would seem that alcoholics and cocaine addicts who suffer from intense withdrawal symptoms might eventually be able to receive rapid detox. Please bookmark this page to stay informed about the latest news and research about this controversial topic!



Geo Visitors Map