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Opioid painkiller dependence is a complex medical condition. It may not be easy to overcome opioid painkiller dependence, but people can and do recover. Contact with a treatment provider is key. At you’ll find information about available treatment options that can help you overcome opioid painkiller dependence.

“Opioid painkiller dependence can be effectively treated


Opioid painkiller dependence or addiction to prescription or over-the-counter opioid medications can change the brain’s chemistry in such a way that the brain becomes convinced this drug is essential for survival. When your brain tells you that you can’t live without a drug, this can have major impact on your behaviour.

Treatment of opioid painkiller dependence can include counselling and other psychosocial support, as well as medication. The primary goals of all treatments for opioid painkiller dependence are to help you:

  • Reduce or stop opioid misuse or overuse
  • Prevent future harms associated with opioid use
  • Improve your quality of life and your well-being, so that you can
  • Get back to the people, places, and things that are important to you

Source: WHO, Guidelines 2009

“When you want a different outcome, try a different approach


A lifelong difference.

Opioid painkiller dependence can have a serious impact on every part of life — from daily routine to your closest relationships. Treatment can help you manage your dependence by suppressing your withdrawal symptoms, therefore, assisting you to stop using opioids. Beyond reductions in drug usage, treatment can help you see your problems from a different perspective, improve your self-reliance, empower you to seek and make changes in your life and get back to the people and activities that are important to you (Source: WHO, 2009).

Treatment designed just for you.

Similar to other chronic diseases that require a lifestyle change, such as diabetes or asthma, opioid painkiller dependence has a high risk of relapse. Engaging with treatment can help manage this risk. A treatment plan can be tailored to your individual needs to help you stay on track and achieve your individual treatment goals.

“Recovery from opioid painkiller dependence may take time, and each individual is different


What can make a personal treatment program or plan more successful?

According to the US Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, treatment for substance abuse is typically more effective when:

  • You remain in treatment for an adequate period of time.
  • You engage in counselling and other behavioural therapies.
  • You find a counsellor or therapist with whom you can develop a strong therapeutic relationship as you are trying to manage your dependence.
  • You engage in services that can help you take care of the different aspects of your life that are all affected by substance misuse. For instance, if you have another medical or psychological condition, you can receive treatment for that as well. It could also mean that you receive help with employment or housing, if needed.
  • You and your family understand that opioid dependence is a chronic illness with acceptable relapses. Long term treatment, common for many medical conditions should not be seen as treatment failure (Source, WHO, 2009).
  • Your support network is involved in your recovery, from friends and family to structured support groups.
  • Your treatment providers work closely with each other, communicating clearly and coordinating their efforts to help you overcome your dependence.
  • Your progress is objectively monitored by your treatment providers, through the use of urine drug tests and check-ups to confirm your progress towards recovery.