Recent Blog Articles

Harvard Health Blog

Opioid addiction: Long-term treatment for a chronic condition

May 5, 2017

About the Author

photo of Glen Buchberger, MD

Glen Buchberger, MD, Contributor

Glenn K. Buchberger, MD is a primary care physician for children and adults practicing at the CHA Everett Care Center in Everett, Massachusetts. He earned an A.B. in English Literature at Dartmouth College and completed his … See Full Bio
View all posts by Glen Buchberger, MD


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.


May 26, 2017

I been a addict since 1991 ,I have tryed to get help from various sources of which not one of them were any good , methadone is worse than the heroin so no good ,I begged to go to a rehab and was successful in getting a placement only for social services to refuse funding, I went onto subutex and found it was good and worked for me until I went away for a long weekend and missed picking up my dose for the third day so was put onto daily pick up and made to sit in the pharmacy like a child to which I said stick it up ya arse for a year I was picking up weekly and was doing bloody good ,no relapse,but by putting me back on daily pick up put me in places and situations that are not good for me,waiting in waiting rooms with many other junkies who were not interested in getting clean and soon as they get out they want to go score , chemist everyday mixing with the same people I spent a year getting away from ,can’t hold a job down coz have to go chemist everyday can’t get on and live or go away for a week or so and be normal and clean so I blew them out as I feel these so called agency’s are only interested in makeing there books look good so they get more funding its a joke none of them are interested in really helping you as that will put them out of work ,so now I’m still a addict but I buy subutex off the street and fly to Spain or anywhere hot and stay for a month and I’m clean within the first week of being there no heroin or substitute then within a week of being back home I’m hooked again ,I find its the best way for me as if I don’t get away I will end up dead or in the gutter ,it might not work for everyone but it works for me soon as I wake up and I feel the rattle is coming its time to get on a plane and start to live a little well that’s my story

Rocky Hill
May 21, 2017

Excellent article on the benefits of integrating science and full service treatment programming. Given the relative costs of treating addiction, over a lengthy period of time, it would make sense, for treatment to be provided in the patient home community. For decades, the Johnson Inst. convinced us that the patient needed to be removed from their environment for 28 days (since that is how long it takes to completely eliminate alcohol from the system). A questionable measure of how and how long treatment should be provided, but it has become the norm, with others, suggesting that inpatient treatment, really, needs to be provided for 90 days to be successful.
How about, if we flipped the treatment field upside down and recognized that the environment is not the problem, the individual is. Thus, we treat the individual, in their home community, offering a full spectrum of ambulatory detox (where appropriate), day IOP, PHP and evening IOP. Simultaneously, the family would participate in the patient’s care from day one, throughout the duration of the various levels of care and finishing with a year of aftercare. Costs would plummet, patients would be integrated into support groups, that can give them hope that there really is life after discontinuing alcohol or drugs. If the patient does relapse, the connections with peers, counselors and family are all right there in the community and the patient’s chronic disease can be treated with MAT, Psychiatric intervention, medical intervention and outcomes skyrocket.
A secondary gain, would consist of the virtual elimination of the corruption that has come to rule every aspect of today’s patient care. There just isn’t enough money, and all outpatient providers, would by necessity be contracted with insurers (in network) and the out of network providers would pack up their vans, their sober living homes and, hopefully, many go to prison for the illegal activities that have become so prevalent in the field that I joined thirty six years ago.

Commenting has been closed for this post.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.