Overcoming opioid use disorder through Sublocade treatment programs

Opiate use disorder - Centres for Health and Healing

Opioid use disorder affects millions of people globally.

Sadly, statistics have shown that over 2.5 million US citizens suffer from opioid addiction, which resulted in 28,000 overdose deaths in 2014.

What is opioid use disorder?

Opioid use disorder or opioid addiction is a persistent medical condition that creates long-term changes to your brain.

Fortunately, early detection and addiction treatment intervention can help you toward long-term recovery, allowing you to avoid some of the long-term health conditions linked to opioid use disorder.

Breaking the cycle of opioid dependence

It may be a long-term process, but you can break the cycle of opioid addiction.

Through addiction treatment and medications, you can drastically improve your chances of a successful recovery and escape the cycle of opioid addiction.

Opioid use disorder is treated similarly to prescription drug addiction, and since heroin is also an opioid, treatment interventions often mimic each other.

Withdrawal symptoms and detox

As mentioned, opioid dependence leads to specific alterations to your brain, whereas prescription drug addiction changes particular circuits responsible for reward and mood behaviour.

Prolonged drug abuse

Thus, prolonged prescription drug addiction impacts all of the systems in your body.

Furthermore, when abstaining from opioid use, you are likely to experience myriad unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, including:

  • Stomach pain
  • Intense drug cravings
  • Body aches
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritability and profound mood swings
  • Body chills and goosebumps

Opioid withdrawal

For those with an opioid use disorder, you’ll likely agree that the above symptoms do nothing to explain the unpleasantness of opioid withdrawal.

Such symptoms can be harrowing to the mind and body, and, unsurprisingly, most people would do anything to avoid the agony of going ”cold turkey”.

How long does opioid withdrawal last?

Opiate withdrawal - Centres for Health and Healing

Typically, opioid withdrawal may last anything from hours to days, but it can sometimes take weeks.

The duration of opioid withdrawal is dependent on how long you were taking the drug, the type of drug taken, and the quantity of substance.

After the initial withdrawal symptoms subside, you may experience mental and physical discomfort for some time.

Opioid addiction medication

Prolonged substance abuse and the symptoms of opioid withdrawal are among the main reasons many people relapse and re-engage in further opioid abuse.

Experts say that after a person undergoes an initial detox for opioid substance use, they are at risk of relapse.

Life stressors and triggers

Moreover, researchers have reported several factors that put someone at risk of reusing.

Such factors include situations or events that remind the brain of the drug, the pleasures it brings and life stressors that make you want to start using opioids as a coping mechanism.

Successful treatment measures usually involve life-long counselling programs to stay clean from the drug, including long-term therapy and medications.

Medication management

There are a few approved medications for the treatment of opioid addiction.

They include:


Buprenorphine is a drug that hits the same receptors in your brain but not as profoundly.

Experts report that the drug has less risk of a lethal overdose; hence this type of medication is often preferred.


Methadone treatment - Centres for Health and Healing

Methadone affects the same regions of the brain as the substance you have a problem with; however, it doesn’t get you high.

Methadone is a long-acting opioid that you can take every day, and such a drug also alleviates cravings.

Moreover, the correct dosage of methadone prevents withdrawal symptoms, but you have to go to an approved clinic for it to get administered.


Sublocade is a controlled substance containing the partial opioid agonist buprenorphine.

While it is a profoundly effective treatment for opioid dependence, not everyone has heard of Sublocade and its effectiveness.

Essentially, Sublocade is a medication that allows you to continue with everyday life while receiving the appropriate treatment for opioid addiction.

How effective is Sublocade?

One of the significant reasons Sublocade is a highly effective treatment for opioid use disorder is the way it binds specific receptors in your brain (mu – receptors), which prevent the same ”high” from occurring.

In addition, Sublocade significantly reduces the temptation for you to take drugs like heroin or fentanyl, and should relapse occur, the effect of taking a drug is profoundly less pleasurable.

Medication-assisted treatment

Sublocade is medication-assisted treatment, meaning that it does not get used alone to manage your recovery from opioid use disorder.

When used with other addiction treatments, Sublocade treatment programs are most effective.

Other treatment interventions used in conjunction with Sublocade include:

How Sublocade gets administered

Primarily, Sublocade gets administered through a monthly injection by physicians trained in the dispensation and facilitation of buprenorphine medications.

The Sublocade once-monthly – injection, when used as a combination treatment for opioid addiction, helps to minimize withdrawal symptoms and prevent relapse, allowing for a more convenient, flexible addiction recovery program.

The benefits of taking Sublocade for opioid substance abuse are limitless.

Less upheaval

Sublocade gives you access to a more convenient, flexible addiction management schedule, which does not take you away from your routine and works quicker than other addiction programs.

Spending time in the ordinary world and sticking to your daily schedule means spending less time in medical facilities while getting the appropriate treatment for your opioid addiction.

Advantages of medication-assisted programs

Medication-assisted programs operate on the paradigm that you can live a healthy, fulfilling life while getting access to proper addiction treatment.

The benefits of Sublocade mean there are no worries around ”getting back to the real world” after treatment.

Those treated with Sublocade manage to live an opioid-free life while staying at home and engaging in family and community activities.

Furthermore, research shows that medication-assisted programs increase social functioning and retention in treatment—(National Institute on Drug Abuse – NIDA).

According to NIDA, patients treated with medication were more likely to remain in therapy than patients receiving treatment that did not include medication (Effective Treatments for Opioid Addiction, National Institute on Drug Abuse).

Furthermore, studies from the National Institute on Drug Abuse show a naloxone/buprenorphine combination and an extended-release naltrexone formulation are also effective in treating opioid addiction.

Behavioural therapies and counselling for opioid addiction treatment

Behavioural therapy - Centres for Health and Healing

Patient outcomes significantly improve when engaging in long-term maintenance therapy, including cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling programs.

Therapies and medication used in conjunction with one another are known as medication-assisted programs.

Speaking to a licensed mental health professional allows you to manage any social or personal issues that might lead to addiction or worsen existing dependency issues.

Therapy and counselling will help you to:

  • Deal more effectively with issues at work or at home
  • Avoid triggers such as those around you who use drugs and alcohol
  • Increase your confidence and feelings of self-worth

Your treatment plan will likely include:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT allows you to understand what might have led you down the path of addiction, helping you build the belief that you can address and resolve your issues and cope with challenges more effectively.
  • 12 – step group therapy – involves attending meetings and getting a sponsor.
  • Support groups allow you to speak to people who understand your experiences with addiction and the challenges you face. You may get some helpful tips about recovery and identify ways to deal with setbacks.
  • Family therapy involves those who love and care about you and consists in bringing family members into the process to strengthen your treatment.

Getting in touch

At Centres for Health and Healing, we treat many addictions, including opioid use disorder.

We specialize in treating mental health and addiction disorders through Sublocade programs, medical detox, group therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy and cognitive behaviour therapy.

Contact a specialist today to find out more.

Lisa Davies - Program Director of Vaughan Recovery and Kirby Estate

About Lisa Davies

Lisa is the Program Director at Centres for Health and Healing. She lived for most of her life in the Durham region, before moving to Peel five years ago.

Lisa is a Master Hypnotist and is certified in Hypnotherapy (2008), Self-Hypnosis and in 5-phase Advanced Therapeutic Healing. As a Member of National Guild of Hypnotists, she is also specialized in hypnosis training in pediatrics, pain management, neuro-linguistic and stage programming.

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