If you are wondering how to detox from heroin or fentanyl, explore how you can detox with the Coleman Institute. In this blog, we’ll answer how long our heroin detox takes, driving and work-related questions, choosing a support system, and more.

How to Detox From Heroin

When you detox off heroin, it is not pain-free, and it can cost you some money. We encourage you to talk with your insurance company if they cover your treatment. Today several health insurance companies pay for an accelerated Outpatient Opioid Detox (including oxycodone, Percocet, Roxicet, Dilaudid, Opana, hydrocodone, Vicodin, Vicoprofen, Tramadol, heroin, fentanyl, methadone, Suboxone®, kratom, and benzodiazepines.

This type of treatment is called a ‘rapid detox,’ although our Coleman Method doesn’t use general anesthesia and is much safer than traditional Ultra Rapid Opioid Detox approaches.

More like this: How Can I Avoid The Pain of Heroin Withdrawal?

Why Detox off of Heroin

Your children need you; your spouse wants you back.

As Ryder Carroll says, “there never has been, nor will there ever be, another like you. Your singular perspective may patch some small hole in the vast, tattered fabric of humanity. Uniqueness alone, however, does not make you valuable. If you don't do, if you don't dare, then you rob the world—and yourself—of the chance to contribute something meaningful.”

More like this: Finding Help to Detox Off Heroin

Picking a Support Person

Once you can finance detoxing from heroin or fentanyl, you will need a solid support person.

Let me emphasize here: pick a support person who has your back and is reliable. They will need to commit to being with you 24/7 during this process and for 48 hours after you complete it. In addition, they are responsible for holding on to and dispensing your medication.

Please do not offer this position to your buddy, who is still getting high; I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but he’s not qualified for this.

It is perfectly okay to have more than one reliable support person as long as we meet with them, understand their responsibility, and take it seriously.

How Long Does It Take To Detox From Heroin?

Our program is an outpatient detox that takes place over several days. We provide copious amounts of comfort medicine as we put our patients into short bouts of precipitated withdrawal to get the opioids out of the system.

Heroin Detox Drug

We do not use snake oil. Our end game is not to start you on Suboxone, Subutex, or any other buprenorphine product. We know you need comfort meds for this, and we typically begin with five.


Going to Work or Driving

We are keeping you comfortable enough that you cannot drive, nor can you go to work.

Even working from home, don’t even think about it. You will be provided with light sedation throughout this experience, and you don’t want your next evaluation to reflect that you were stoned at the last few Zoom meetings and making no sense.

Many people commute if they live within an hour or two from our physical office. This is okay, but at each office visit, you will be receiving a micro-dose of naltrexone. For the uninitiated, this means there will be a lot of action on the opioid receptors as the naltrexone competes to take the place of the pain medication (or street drug).

In other words, this is when the accelerated portion of the Accelerated Opioid Detox is happening. Most patients will experience 20-ish hours of relative comfort and two to four hours of relative discomfort. The discomfort can occur on your commute home, so you may want to consider staying at a hotel or Airbnb nearby.

Charlie’s Heroin Detox Experience

Case in point: Charlie started a detox with us a couple of days ago. I had reviewed his screening form with him last week, which is a pretty realistic turn-around time.

Charlie is a high-end, niche carpenter who custom builds cabinetry for restoration projects, both residential and commercial. He makes good money but doesn’t have insurance. Charlie has been on opioids for close to ten years. He has tried to stop using on his own multiple times. Charlie was briefly on methadone, then Suboxone for many years.

When detoxing got too expensive and time-consuming, he decided to get off the Suboxone himself by using heroin, which can be laced with fentanyl.

I understood his logic. Getting off Suboxone can be agonizingly slow and challenging, especially if you’ve been on it for a while. So he figured that switching to short-acting opioids would make the detox simpler and more accessible.

He could get through a day or two, but the withdrawal off of fentanyl is excruciating. So every day when he woke up, his first thought was getting the $60-$100 to keep himself from being sick.

If we average that to $80/day, that’s $28,800/year spent on fentanyl alone. The money would have paid for a few detoxes and an expensive place to stay.

More like this: 3 Important Differences Between Suboxone and Naltrexone Therapy for People Addicted to Opioids and Is Recovery Possible For Fentanyl Addiction?

Finding Heroin Detox at the Coleman Institute

While I am so glad Charlie finally made it to our clinic. The tragic thing he told me is that he has been looking at our website and wanting to come for three years. But unfortunately, Charlie put off coming to us because of his fear of the pain of opioid withdrawal.

He just shook his head in despair when he thought about the money that he’s spent, the money that didn’t go to his children, or to take his family on vacation, or into a college fund, or to renovate their own home as his wife kept begging him to do.

They are no longer married, and he desperately wants to salvage his relationship with his children.

More like this: How Can I Avoid The Pain of Heroin Withdrawal?

Starting Heroin Detox Treatment

On his initial day, he sat with his brother-in-law, an excellent support person. I could see the panic in Charlie’s eyes as we discussed how the next few days would look. He received his first dose of comfort medication in the office and was feeling a bit better when they left, but it wasn’t until Day 2 that Charlies expressed his great relief.

“I felt some stretching sensations and like a pulling-feeling in my muscles, but I used the medication, took two showers, and within three hours, I was sleeping. I didn’t eat much, but Ken made sure I drank fluids. I am so relieved. I know I can get through this now.”

Accelerated Opioid Detox

I mentioned earlier that our goal is not to induct people onto Suboxone; we are national experts on getting people onto naltrexone, a pure opioid blocker or antagonist.

There are many upsides to naltrexone therapy, but I think our patients most appreciate that it does not cause physical dependence or build a tolerance in the body. In addition, there is no withdrawal when a person stops taking naltrexone.

However, naltrexone comes with its unique warning: without the blocking effect of the naltrexone in one’s system, it is very easy to overdose, especially if one returns to using IV opioids.

Reduced tolerance to opioids occurs after someone has been through withdrawal and is not taking the drug. This is precisely why the Coleman Institute uses a long-acting form of naltrexone after our Accelerated Opioid Detox and encourages patients to keep using it for at least a year. At the same time, they build the healthy habits needed for long-term recovery.


Enslavement to opioids, whether prescribed or bought illegally, is a wretched master.

I urge you to stop now.

Find the support person, make the time, and consider whether treatment might be the best investment you can make in yourself. Please call us if this has raised more questions; my colleagues and I can answer them.

Joan R. Shepherd, FNP