What is detox?

Detoxification, or detox, is the process of removing a substance and its associated toxins from the body, often as the first step in the treatment of substance use disorders. Detox can be a physically and emotionally challenging process and may involve the management of withdrawal symptoms. Detox without appropriate continued treatment is incredibly dangerous. The majority of detox and medication-free treatment programs result in a relapse (aka return to use) and with no tolerance and no medication to assist with ongoing treatment, patients are at a much higher risk of overdose and death.


In OUD treatment, detoxification is often the first step in the recovery process, helping individuals transition from active opioid use to a drug-free state. Medications used in MAT, such as methadone and buprenorphine, can help manage withdrawal symptoms during detox and facilitate a smoother transition to ongoing treatment.

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