The Cost of Heroin Withdrawal

The Cost of Heroin Withdrawal


The struggling drug addict has a  couple of different options for getting through heroin withdrawal.  Some of them provide more comfort than others, and of course the range in cost is quite large.  Let’s take a look.

1) Cold turkey on the couch (Approximate cost = $0)

Of course this is the default option, and there is really no danger in doing it this way, other than the fact that your chances at success are quite low.  This is going to be the least comfortable option for you in terms of withdrawal symptoms.  There is not much you can do to ease the symptoms on your own, other than taking some over the counter medications that will likely not really help much for severe symptoms.  But of course it is free and for some people this will be the only method available.  And, it is not impossible to pull it off.  Many addicts have done it who did not even want to get clean at the time!

2) Drug rehab (Approximate cost = $1,200 – $5,000)

A few days in drug rehab will probably get you through the worst of your withdrawals, but for some people it might take more like 5 or 6 days in detox before they are really feeling any better.  Even the cheapest of rehabs are going to run around a couple hundred dollars per day.  If you have a funding source such as Medicaid or private insurance, then you should definitely take advantage of that and try to get help in a rehab setting.  There are several advantages to doing so.

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First of all you will probably be much more comfortable in rehab than you would be at home on the couch.  They can give you medication that will ease your withdrawal symptoms in treatment.  Second of all, you will likely be exposed to a recovery program while you are in rehab that attempts to show you how to live a clean and sober life.  You might also be introduced to the 12 step fellowships or find other avenues of support for when you leave treatment.

All things considered, traditional drug rehab might be the most cost effective approach for most addicts, especially if this is the only route that actually works for them in the long run.  Any method that fails to keep you clean has a near infinite cost in the end.  Anything that actually works and ends up changing your life can be viewed as a bargain in hindsight.  But of course, many who attend drug rehab will relapse (in fact, the majority will).

3) Ultra rapid detox (Approximate cost = $10,000 – $15,000 )

This option for heroin withdrawal is one where you are essentially put to sleep while your body is flushed of the drug.  Therefore, you feel almost no discomfort at all when you finally wake up.

Sounds good, right?  Well studies have shown that the rate of success with this procedure is no different than with other methods of heroin detox, so it is not the magic bullet that it sounds like.  Plus, the price is a bit prohibitive, and insurance companies are not paying for it yet.

So those are the options.  Quite a range in cost.  If I were you, I would make a firm decision to change my life and then take the middle road.

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