How to Detox Off Heroin: What It Takes & Getting Help

How to Detox Off Heroin: What It Takes & Getting Help

If you are searching for detox from heroin or fentanyl, explore how you can do this with the Coleman Institute for Addiction Medicine. In this blog, we’ll answer how long it takes to detox from heroin, work-related and driving questions, and who you should choose for your support system, and more.

How to Detox From Heroin

It is not pain-free to detox off heroin. And it can cost you money. We urge you to talk with your insurance company to see if they will cover your detox treatment. Today, many health insurance companies pay for an accelerated Outpatient Opioid Detox (including heroin, Suboxone®, fentanyl, Vicoprofen, Percocet, Roxicet, and kratom Opana, oxycodone, methadone, hydrocodone, Dilaudid, Vicodin, Tramadol, and benzodiazepines.

This type of accelerated treatment is called a ‘rapid detox.’ Our Coleman Method is much safer than traditional Ultra Rapid Opioid Detox approaches and doesn’t involve general anesthesia.

More like this: Finding Help To Detox Off Of Heroin

Why Detox off of Heroin

Your spouse wants you back. Your children need you to be present in their lives.

“There never has been, nor will there ever be, another like you. Your singular perspective may patch some small hole in the vast, tattered fabric of humanity. Uniqueness alone, however, does not make you valuable. If you don’t do, if you don’t dare, then you rob the world—and yourself—of the chance to contribute something meaningful.” Ryder Carroll

More like this: Beating Fentanyl Addiction: Some Side Benefits

Picking a Support Person

You will need to choose a reliable support person once you are ready to detox from heroin or fentanyl.

I want to emphasize this here: pick a dependable support person who won’t let you down. This person will need to understand that they will be with you around the clock during your detox and for 48 hours after your detox is complete. They are also responsible for dispensing and monitoring your medication.

We strongly suggest that you not pick your best bud, who still uses drugs. They are not in the right frame of mind to help you succeed.

It is perfectly fine to have more than one dedicated support person. However, we want to meet with them to make sure they understand their role in supporting your success.

How Long Does It Take To Detox From Heroin?

Our outpatient detox program takes place over several days. As we put our patients into short episodes of precipitated withdrawal, we supply comfort medicine to rid your system of opioids.

Heroin Detox Drug

We do not use snake oil. At the Coleman Network for Addiction Medicine, our end game is not to start you on Subutex, Suboxone, or any other buprenorphine product. However, we understand you must have comfort meds for detoxing, so we typically begin with five.

Suggested Read: Why is it So Hard to Detox Off of Suboxone and Other Forms of Buprenorphine?

Going to Work or Driving

Our goal is to keep you comfortable. But unfortunately, the medication that we use doesn’t allow you to drive or go to work.

This includes working from home. Don’t even think about it. The light sedation we provide you during your detox will not allow you to think clearly. You don’t want your coworkers to see you stone during your Zoom meeting and rambling about nonsense.

This is okay if you commute in if you live an hour or two away from our physical office. But you will be receiving a micro-dose of naltrexone during each office visit. As naltrexone competes to take the place of the street drug, or pain medication, there will be a lot of action on the opioid receptors.

Another way to put this is when the accelerated portion of the Accelerated Opioid Detox happens; most patients will undergo 20 or so hours of relative comfort and two to four hours of relative discomfort. You may want to consider staying at an Airbnb or hotel nearby, for this discomfort could happen on your commute home.

Jan’s Heroin Detox Experience

A few weeks ago, Jan started her heroin detox with us. Last month, I reviewed her screening form, which is a pretty realistic turnaround time.

Jan is retired and watches her four grandkids daily. She is constantly carting them around from football practice to ballet, helping them with homework, and keeping them entertained. She has been on opioids for close to twenty years and has attempted to stop independently. Jan was briefly on methadone, followed by Suboxone for several years.

When detoxing got time-consuming or too expensive, she decided to use heroin to get off the Suboxone herself, which can be laced with fentanyl.

I understood what she was thinking. Suboxone detox can be challenging and agonizingly slow, especially if you’ve been using it for an extended period. So she felt that switching to short-acting opioids would make detoxing off heroin easier.

She could manage for a few days, but the withdrawal was too painful. So each day, all she could think about was spending $60-$100 to keep herself from experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

If we average that to $80/day, she spends $28,800/year alone on fentanyl. That amount could have paid for an expensive hotel and a few detoxes.

More like this: 3 Important Differences Between Suboxone and Naltrexone Therapy for People Addicted to Opioids and Is Recovery Possible For Fentanyl Addiction?

Finding Heroin Detox at the Coleman Institute

While I am so glad Jan made the call to get treatment at our clinic. The reality is that she wanted to get help for several years and kept coming back to our website. It was the intended pain of opioid withdrawal that kept her from committing.

She buried her head when she realized the money she had spent over the years. She could have taken her grandkids to the zoo more, bought a bigger car to more comfortably transport them to games, or just have more savings in the bank.

Jan realized the strain she put on herself and was desperate to stop spending money on drugs.

Starting Heroin Detox Treatment

She chose her son as her support person, who I thought was an excellent choice. One day one could see the dear in Jan’s eyes as we talked about what would occur over the next few days. In the office, she received her first dose of comfort medication and felt a bit more comfortable when she went home, but it wasn’t until day two that Jan shared her relief.

“I felt some sensations that felt like my muscles were being pulled. But I used the medication, took a shower, and within a few hours, I was able to sleep. Though I didn’t eat a lot, my son made sure I drank plenty of water. I am so relieved. I feel like I can get through it.”

Accelerated Opioid Detox

At the Coleman Institute of Addiction Medicine, our goal is not to start patients on Suboxone; we are national experts on starting them with naltrexone, an antagonist or pure opioid blocker.

Naltrexone therapy has many upsides, but I believe our patients appreciate that it does not build a tolerance in the body or cause physical dependence the most. Another benefit is no withdrawal when a person stops taking naltrexone.

Naltrexone, however, comes with its unique warning. It is very easy to overdose without the blocking effect of naltrexone in one’s system, especially if they return to using IV opioids.

After someone has been through withdrawal and is not taking the drug, we see a reduced tolerance to opioids. This is precisely why the Coleman Institute for Addiction Medicine uses long-acting naltrexone after our Accelerated Opioid Detox. This enables patients to keep using it for up to a year. As a result, they simultaneously build the healthy habits needed for long-term recovery.


Enslavement to opioids is a wretched master, prescribed or purchased illegally.

I urge you to stop now.

Make the time, find the support person, and think about whether treatment might be the best option you can make in your life. Then, please call us if you have any questions and we can answer them.

Joan Shepherd, FNP

Recovery Starts With Finding The Right Detox Option For You.

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