What Is Rapid Drug Detox? (12 Shortfalls to Be Aware Of)

A doctor discussing rapid drug detox to a patient

Rapid detoxification may be a convenient and easy solution to drug withdrawal, as it involves putting the patient under general anesthesia while drugs are flushed from their system. 

Having reviewed the data, I have gathered all relevant evidence regarding rapid drug detox to support you in making a knowledgeable decision on its safety. 

Although this information is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, it can help guide your decisions and provide additional insight.

Quick Summary

  • Rapid drug detox is now advertised as a quick and painless miracle cure for opioid addiction. 
  • Substance abuse complicates the treatment of mental illness and may interact negatively with required medications.
  • Doctors suggested medically supervised detox because it is a process where the individual is slowly tapered off the drug abuse over time, allowing the body to adjust and reduce emotional and physical symptoms.

What is Rapid Detox?

A patient listening to the doctor carefully about what is rapid detoxA rapid detox or Rapid Opioid Detoxification (ROD) is a medically-supervised program designed to help people suffering from opioid use disorder by administering an anesthetic.

Despite claims, detox alone cannot cure the brain disease of addiction [1]. Evidence from numerous studies conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse confirms that this approach is ineffective in sustaining recovery and should be avoided. 

Addiction treatment providers and professionals agree that a rapid detox is an inadequate treatment with serious side effects [2].

Withdrawal from opioid drugs can be grueling for individuals and cause them to hesitate when considering entering into a long-term treatment program – as recommended by NIDA, which suggests 90 days at least – thus introducing over 25 years ago the concept of rapid detox (also known as ultra-rapid opiate detox).

How Does Rapid Detox Work?

Rapid drug detox works by administering a long-acting antagonist drug like naltrexone. At the same time, the patient is sedated with anesthesia for 4 to 6 hours, helping them avoid the intense discomfort of traditional withdrawal symptoms. 

This procedure is done in an intensive care unit or similar medical facility and under medical supervision by licensed medical professionals.

The power of opioid antagonists such as naltrexone and naloxone supports rapid detox methods. 

An opioid antagonist functions to reduce or reverse the symptoms caused by opioids in your body, making it one of the most sought-after treatments for those who struggle with benzodiazepine or prescription painkillers.

Rapid detox offers an efficient solution for those looking for a fast recovery route.

Rapid Drug Detox Shortfalls

A man experiencing respiratory issuesThe American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) advises against rapid opioid detox, citing that the cloudy potential benefits do not justify its risk.

In fact, according to data from CDC, numerous fatalities have been attributed to this opiate withdrawal process—making it highly hazardous and potentially life-threatening.

Therefore, ASAM unequivocally suggests avoiding any form of rapid opioid detoxification.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), there could be other adverse effects associated with rapid detoxes, such as:

  • Respiration issues
  • Renal failure
  • Pulmonary distress and possible failure
  • Thyroid hormone suppression
  • Increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system
  • Heightened levels of cortisol, catecholamines, and corticotropin
  • Irregular cardiac functions
  • Psychosis
  • Delirium
  • Mental Health Disorder
  • The elevated rate of suicide attempts
  • Death [3].

Even after a rapid detox, opioid withdrawal symptoms may still be experienced.

“A study found that those who received formal opioid abuse treatment were more likely to avoid relapse and maintain abstinence than those who didn’t receive addiction treatment. Rapid detox is generally considered ineffective and potentially unsafe.”
Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, Baltimore Clinical Pharmacy Specialist

Rapid Detox Alternatives

A doctor explaining rapid detox alternatives to the patient

Many alternatives to rapid detox are available. These include:

  • Medically Assisted Detox – Evidence-based treatment models are an effective and safe way to mitigate opioid withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is primarily recognized as the gold standard for opioid detoxification. This is a gradual process where the individual slowly tapered off the drug abuse over time, allowing the body to adjust and reduce withdrawal symptoms.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – Helps people identify and address underlying issues fueling their addiction. This therapy focuses on developing healthier coping skills and behavioral health conditions to help better manage triggers that lead to drug use.
  • Therapeutic Support Groups – Therapeutic support provides counseling, peer support, and a safe environment for the individual to change their lifestyle and behavior.
  • Group Therapy – Group therapy offers individuals with everyday struggles the opportunity to support one another as they work through their addiction and recovery process.
  • Accelerated Neuroregulation (ANR) – ANR promises to restore your central nervous system to its pre-addiction state with a single overnight hospital stay, completely bypassing any detox process.
  • Detox Drinks Detox drinks are an alternative option that can aid in the detox process. These beverages help rid your body of toxins and reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Related Articles:


Why Do Some People Choose Rapid Detox Over Traditional Medical Detox?

Some people choose rapid detox over traditional medical detox because it allows patients to achieve sobriety without suffering through the grueling detox process.

What Is Ultra-Rapid Opioid Detoxification?

Ultra-rapid opioid detoxification is a procedure in which drugs such as morphine, codeine, and heroin are removed from the body quickly. This is done under anesthesia with medications that help reduce withdrawal symptoms.

What Are The Risks Of Rapid Detox?

The risks of rapid detox include respiratory issues, renal failure, pulmonary distress and possible failure, and thyroid hormone suppression.

Is Rapid Detox Worth the Cost and the Risk?

No, rapid detox is not worth the cost and the risk. When a detox program has not been successful for patients, professionals may suggest rapid detoxification as an alternative solution.

Is Rapid Detox Effective?

Those considering rapid detoxification should take time to contemplate their ideal recovery plan.

After doing my research, I found that detox beverages can make withdrawal symptoms more tolerable. So if you’re looking for an easy way to cleanse your body of toxins, try Clear Choice Rescue Cleanse.

Its formula is specially tailored to start specific processes in your system, cleansing all toxins from your body. It functions as an antioxidant that may help eliminate free radicals from the bloodstream, filtered out through your liver, and destroyed forever.


  1. https://americanaddictioncenters.org/drug-detox/dangers-of-rapid-detox
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6238a1.htm
  3. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/201451

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