Medical treatment strategies for opiate addiction have evolved since the 1950’s, when methadone was first used to aid withdrawal. Methadone maintenance programs, in which patients are given methadone, another opiate, as a substitute for the drug of dependence, have been a mainstay of opiate addiction treatment for decades. Now other drugs, like buprenorphine, are given in a similar way to be a substitute for the drug of addiction. For the majority of patients this is not an acceptable alternative, because the physical dependence continues, and is often a lifelong commitment. For most patients, the goal of treatment is complete abstinence.
Federal drug officials warn doctors, one in 3,000 people who take opiates for pain become addicted. The body gets accustomed to the drug and begins to tolerate it. If the root cause of the pain does not heal, the person will have to take more and more of the drug to feel relief. Read more