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Opioid Dependence


Opioids are medicines, such as morphine and codeine, used to treat pain. Dependence happens after you have used opioids regularly for a long period of time. Dependence means that your body gets used to how much medicine you take. Dependence is not the same as addiction. Addiction means that a person uses opioids to get high instead of using them to control pain.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


You may be given the following medicines to help reduce withdrawal symptoms during detoxification:

  • NSAIDs decrease pain and fever.
  • Blood pressure medicine decreases symptoms of withdrawal, such as nausea, vomiting, muscle tension, and anxiety.
  • Antianxiety medicine decreases anxiety and helps you feel calm and relaxed.
  • Antinausea medicine helps calm your stomach and prevent vomiting.
  • Antacids decrease stomach acid.


  • Urine tests may be done to check the amount and type of opioids you are using.
  • Blood tests give healthcare providers information about how your body is working. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.


  • Detoxification is the process of decreasing your dose of opioids. You will also be given medicine to decrease your withdrawal symptoms.
  • Maintenance therapy is when your healthcare provider prescribes another type of opioid to replace the opioid that you are dependent on.
  • Psychological counseling and support may be provided to you. Healthcare providers may speak with you about your opioid dependence. They may also help you find resources for any daily living needs you have, such as housing or employment.


There is a risk of overdose during early treatment with methadone. You may become dependent on the medicines used to treat opioid dependence. Without treatment, you may develop other health problems or become addicted to opioids. Your risk of abusing alcohol and other drugs increases. You may also develop risky behaviors that can lead to an overdose, violence, and suicidal thoughts.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Learn more about Opioid Dependence (Inpatient Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.