How Long Do You Stay On Maintenance Medication For Opiate Addiction?

This is a very good question.  The answer will be different for everyone.  All people and their health are different from one another.  To decide on how long to stay on an opiate addiction medication will depend on many variables.  The best thing to do is speak with addiction counselors and Doctors to help you decide.

This is a crucial decision because it could mean the difference between staying “clean” or relapsing and going back on drugs.  If you stop the maintenance medication too early, you might give into a trigger temptation and begin using opiates or opioids (Heroin or Pain Pills) again.

Surely, NO ONE wants that to happen!  So, analyze your situation, investigate and research, then speak to your Doctor about how long you should remain on an opiate addiction medication.  For example, Suboxone and Methadone are two maintenance medications.   opiate addiction

There are other newer ones like Vivitrol that are better.  Vivitrol is a monthly injection given to the person and this maintenance medication lasts 30 days.  It usually prevents people from relapsing by touching and ‘sitting on’ the opioid receptors in the brain.  Lowering gravings.

The best thing that we all can do is go directly to the source if we wish to learn more about opiate addiction and how to recover from it.   Below, we have provided you with a PodCast brought to us by the “Opiate Support Group”.  We want to thank Gail Gabbert for providing us this and supporting our cause just as we support hers.

Below, you can listen to a group of recovering opiate addicts who talk about maintenance medications and all the questions that come with these.   You can follow the conversation by reading the discussion points provided below.

Thank You for supporting our cause.  Please share our Posts so that we can reach and help more people.

A podcast listener asked the group a question. Do any of them want to stay on a maintenance medication indefinitely? He feels a subtle pressure to wean off his medication by his treatment clinic and wonders if this is true for others.

Is it OK to stay on Medication Assisted Treatment forever? Listen in to this opiate support group talk about their progress, intentions and hopes for the future.



Listen To Conversation About Opiate Addiction Medication


Discussion Guide:

  • If you are on a maintenance medication for opiate recovery, have you thought about whether you want to wean off your medication?


  • Have you experienced pressure from your clinic, or others, to either stay in Medication Assisted Treatment, or pressure to wean off?


  • What is your personal preference for how long you should stay on MAT?


  • How do you handle the stigma against MAT?


  • Do you believe there is any long term harm from staying on MAT indefinitely?


  • Are you familiar with the Tapering Inventory tool? If not, see Tapering From Methadone (below)


{  Click The Link Below To Listen To PodCast }

Is It OK to Stay on Maintenance Medication for Life?


Supplemental OpiateSupportGroup.Com Podcast Listening on When or Whether You Should Stop MAT:

Ask The Expert: Dr. Mary Wenzel http://www.opiatesupportgroup.com/ask-the-expert-dr-mary-wenzel-addiction-specialist/

Should You Stop? Criteria for Ceasing Medication Assisted Treatment http://www.opiatesupportgroup.com/should-you-stop-criteria-for-ceasing-medication-assisted-treatment/

What You Should Know About Methadone http://www.opiatesupportgroup.com/what-you-should-know-about-methadone/

Tapering From Methadone http://www.opiatesupportgroup.com/tapering-from-methadone-2/

Below is helpful link access to more books and research about Opiate Addiction on Amazon.


opiate addiction

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  1. Hey I enjoyed the article. I know more than a couple people who struggle with this type of addiction. It really is an epidemic. Drugs don’t discriminate, it affects every area of life, every type of person you can think of, and any economic class. It makes no difference. One thing that’s unfortunate is that if someone can’t afford rehab they often times end up either dead or in jail. Do you know of any resources for someone in that circumstance?

    1. HI Dom, thank you for visiting our site http://www.HEROININME.com and commenting. We do appreciate feedback from anyone.  We need to talk about opiate and opioid drug addiction and how it is devastating America and killing 7 people every single hour from overdose.

      Those numbers are staggering.  It is tragic how many people are dying from something that could be more preventable had we just educated young people a lot more.

      You bring up a very important question and issue.  One that you have inspired us to dedicate several articles to, so thank you for that.

      What if someone cant afford rehab or does NOT have insurance?

      Well, there are drug rehab facilities in every single mid to large city that accept patients without insurance or at no cost.  You just have to research and find them.  Many are charities that function based on contributions and fund raising.  There should be a LOT more of these types of free service since many drug addicts lost their jobs and have not way of paying or getting insurance.

      I would say research and find the places that accept no insurance patients, or cheaper plans that a patient can be put on a payment plan or something else.

      To go without drug rehab because of its cost is like a Hospital turning away a cancer victim because they cant afford it.  It should NOT happen.  This country has enough government funds that drug addiction rehab should be paid for by our tax dollars, etc.  Thanks for your comments. Matt B.

  2. Hey I enjoyed the article. I know more than a couple people who struggle with this type of addiction. It really is an epidemic. Drugs don’t discriminate, it affects every area of life, every type of person you can think of, and any economic class. It makes no difference. One thing that’s unfortunate is that if someone can’t afford rehab they often times end up either dead or in jail. Do you know of any resources for someone in that circumstance?

  3. I think it’s great and very admirable to talk about opiate addiction. So many people out there are currently or are suffering from addiction. It’s websites like this that offer help and advice when we feel like no one is there. And thank you for providing more resources such as a podcast and other books related to this subject.

    1. Hi Katie, thank you for taking the time to visit our site http://www.HEROININME.com and comment. This helps to keep the conversation going and increases prevention.

      More people need to talk about this and get involved.  This is a community-wide crisis that does not favor any particular group anymore.  Its not the inner city, bums, thugs that are addicts…..its anyone and everyone from Professionals to nurses, etc.

      Thanks again, Matt B.

  4. Great post, Matt.

    Opiate addiction is more common than the general public thinks. Unfortunately, many patients do not get the help they need, and some do not even realize that they’re using a drug inappropriately.

    I have worked with sickle cell patients, and it was really sad to see the number of substance abuse cases amongst them. On the one hand, these patients have recurrent painful episodes and need opioids (even at very small doses) to manage these crises. On the other, should medical professionals limit the use of these drugs to prevent addiction in these patients? Will maintenance for opioid addition help such patients who have frequent painful crises? I would say, yes. But it is always good practice for a patient to work closely with their doctor, who will develop a pain management plan in advance in conjunction with addiction professionals.

    I hope your site gets the exposure that it deserves to help people suffering from opiate addiction. I have seen some great resources on your website that can really help people with substance abuse.

    Thank you!

    1. Thank you greatly for your support and compliments.  We are trying to reach as many people as we can to help them.  By providing accurate information and guidance we hope to do our part in fighting this drug crisis nation-wide.

      No one is immune to opiate or opioid drug addiction.  It is touching the lives of anyone and everyone.  It shows no mercy or favor.  From lawyers to nurses and professionals to landscape laborers, addiction is running rampant.

      We need more discussion and programs in order to fight this problem.

      We need our federal government to step up and use tax dollar monies to fund free addiction rehab programs and recovery efforts.  We are a rich nation that is killing itself because we have done nothing for the past decades except try to fight the Cartels. 

      The Cartels are NOT the problem..PEOPLE!  “No Customer, No Cartel”.

      We need to educate our young people about the dangers of abuse and addiction to drugs and opiates.  Drill it into their little minds.  Have them learn about genetics and how if a family members of theirs is an alcoholic or addict, they too will become one if they ever experiment or try drugs.  It runs in families.

      Thanks again and below are some other informational articles that might interest you. — Matt B.




  5. I am a recovering addict and I found your site helpful. I didn’t know about MAT when I was active. Had I known, things would have been much easier. The on and off again times took their toll. I hope your message gets out to as many people as possible so they get help. MAT all your life sounds nice but not for me now. What do you think? Thank you for the great article!

    1. Hi Karl, thank you for taking the time to read our Post and support our cause by commenting.  We need more people discussing this major crisis of drug addiction.  Too many people are dying.  7 people die from opiate drug overdose EVERY SINGLE HOUR in the U.S. That’s about 52,000 a year the stats show us.

      Glad to hear that you are recovering from opiate addiction just like I am.  I was stuck on hardcore Fentanyl for about 7 years straight.  I was on super high dose, therefore it was a living hell to detox and withdrawal off of it…of which I went into withdrawal many times when I ran out.  Same story as yours I am sure.

      No one can relate to us…that’s for sure.  Unless you have been through opiate or opioid addiction, detox, withdrawal and recovery you have NO IDEA what its like.  That makes me feel alienated sometimes, however I don’t want anyone knowing how bad the withdrawals were, just hope they never find themselves addicted to it.,

      On and off – relapsing will wear you down fast.  Its a viscous cycle to be stuck in and unfortunately seems to alst a long time.  You go into withdrawal and cannot wait to get your next drugs.  In the meantime, you suffer and the world stops around you while you lay in fetal position wishing to die.  You then get your stuff and everything is OK again.  Same thing happens again in weeks or months and it repeats itself.  Nothing can stop it except for death or hitting rock bottom like I did.

      I wish you the best.  I had to turn my decade of horror around by giving it a purpose.  I HAD to have something good come out of my situation or else it would have been a complete waste of my time and energy.   It would have been destruction and devestation and a waste of my entire 30’s.

      So, I figured that by providing helpful information and creating more awareness using this site blog that I could somehow help people.  I hope that we are helping people and by the sounds of it coming from your comment…it seems like we may be making a difference.  Thanks for your contribution to Awareness and prevention by telling your story.  – Matt B.

  6. This is such a good article and cause. Opiate Addiction is everywhere. I personally don’t suffer from it but I know many families that have been affected.

    Your article really helps understand the importance of management medication. This is important research for people who need it. The podcast is very insightful.

    1. Hi Lane, Thank you for taking the time to read our Post and share our site http://www.HEROININME.com so that we can reach more hurting people.  We are trying to provide helpful information to families who have loved ones addicted to opiates or opioids and to help addicts themselves using our own experience.

      You are not alone,..it seems like most everyone knows of at least 1 person who has suffered from drug addiction.  It has become a very big problem.  Most Heroin addicts first started off by taking prescription opioid drugs from their doctor.  Then the Doctor cuts them off and they turn to the street for cheaper heroin.  Its all the same drug.  All the same devastating effect if a person becomes fully addicted and begins abusing opioids.

      It has ruined many lives.  And, the death of it is horrible.  Stats show us that 7 people die from drug overdose every single HOUR in the UNited States.  Far higher numbers abroad.

      That’s just too many people dying from a preventable ‘disease’ of addiction.

      If we can just reach young people and drill into them the dangers of drug addiction, we would have much less addicted adults.

      Thanks for your support and sharing our Posts and Site so that we can reach more hurting people.

      – Matt B.

  7. Hello, that is something I have often wondered myself, how long for “helpful” meds. I work in a hospital and we see so many overdose patients. quite heartbreaking. Some of them overdose on the medicine they were taking to get off the other drugs. It seems like a scary cycle that would need to be closely monitored. Thank you for providing such great resources for people who need the help.

    1. Hi Steve & Kris –  Thanks for reading our Posts and taking the time to comment.  We do appreciate this since it supports our site http://www.HEROININME.com,  and helps to get other Users involved too.

      Our site is a free informative ‘blog’ with the goal of reaching as many people as we can and helping them.  Awareness & Prevention go hand-in-hand.  If we can reach young people and warn them, we can have a lot less addicted adults today.

      WOW, so you see the opiate and opioid drug problem first hand.  You know what its like.  Too many people are dying from drug overdose.  That last stat I read was that 7 people die from drug overdose every single HOUR in the United States.  Or about 52K a year.  It is usually Heroin or Fentanyl as you know.

      I took Suboxone when I detoxed and it really helped.  All people are different and have different situations, therefore it is very difficult to blankly state how long someone should remain on their addiction maintenance medication.

      As you said, that maintenance meds do get abused as well.  Methadone and Suboxone have opioids in them which is what takes the cravings and withdrawals away and helps you to avoid relapse.

      In my case, I was prescribed a high dose of Suboxone and remained on it for about 3 years.  My case was different because I was (and still am) experiencing physical chronic pain in my shoulder after having 5 reconstruction surgeries, one of which was botched.  My shoulder has tumors on the nerves and some were removed and others still need to be.

      Anyway, my Doctor thought the suboxone would also help with physical pain even though its not technically for that purpose.  And, it did.  It gave me relief and I never relapsed or tried to take opioids again despite the pain.

      It was and is hard.  I look at other addicts in rehab and just want to tell them they are idiots and should be thankful that they are not in any physical pain.  They might have mental pain. But, my point is that its ten times worse when you have severe pain that makes you never get our of bed or turn your head or lift your arm and NOW you cannot take any pain medications to reduce the pain because your body is addicted to them!!  They should count their blessing, get straight and go out and make something of their life since they are more capable without any physical pain.

      Anyway, I believe in maintenance meds, but ONLY under close, close supervision and regular sessions with the Doctor.  Just like you said, I 100% agree with that.

       Below are some other helpful Posts you might like.  Kind Regards, Matt B.



  8. Very inspiring post and I really hope this gets to the right people. Its one thing to want to stop and yet another thing to relapse and start from square one.

    As with every drug, its best to stick to your doctors advice with this one.

    How often does addiction occur?


    1. Hi Excelle, thanks for taking the time to read our Post and support our site by commenting.  WE DO APPRECIATE IT.  Please help us further by sharing our Posts so that we can reach more people.

      We need to increase awareness so that we can increase prevention of drug addiction.  Teaching our young kids NOW will help decrease addicts in the future.

      Addiction happens quite often.  3 out of every 4 Heroin addicts confirmed that they first started drugs by taking legally prescribed opioid pain medications from their Doctor like Percocet, Vicodin or OxyContin.  They then became fully addicted, and those drugs became expensive, or their doctor found out they were addicted and cut them off.

      They then turned to the streets for cheap heroin.  Its a sad but very frequent story across the United States.

      7 people die from drug overdose every single HOUR in the United States.  Can you believe that?!  you can sit hear reading Posts on line for one hour and by the time that hours up,…7 people across the U.S. are dead from a heroin overdose.  Those are the real hardcore statistics given by our government.

      And, its actually MORE than 7 people every hour because some do not get reported as a drug overdose, but instead an accident or something else.

      More must be done to fight addiction.  People need to stand up and talk about this issue to figure out ways to defeat addiction.  Teaching people is #1.  Especially kids.

       Below are some other helpful Posts you might like.  Kind Regards, Matt B.

      Heroin Statistics



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