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What is Detoxification?


Detoxification, or simply, “detox,” is the process of taking someone off of an opioid that they are physically dependent on. Through the detoxification process, the person is given medically supervised and gradually reduced doses of medication to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

The goal of detoxing is to:

  • Eradicate the body of its daily dependence on opioids.
  • Reduce and help the pain of withdrawal.

Detox is short-term, usually lasting no more than 21 days; however, another goal of detox is to provide patients help during this difficult time, as well as setting them up for success by connecting them with continued recovery and treatment options. Research shows that without further support or treatment, medication-assisted detoxification is not likely to result in long-term recovery.

Detoxification Programs Types


Outpatient programs have the benefit of offering treatment services in the community. They may offer MAT, as well as counseling and other support services.


Residential programs combine housing and treatment services in a living situation where peers support each other to stay in recovery.


Hospital-based programs may offer both inpatient and outpatient programs that combine health care and addiction treatment services for people with medical problems.