Every now and then, I get questions about whether we still do the Anesthesia Detox. This treatment method has many names and variations, including an Ultra-Rapid Detox (URD or UROD), a Rapid Drug Detox, an Anesthesia-Assisted Rapid Opioid Detoxification (AAROD), or a Rapid Opiate Detox under Sedation. Of course, the answer is that the Coleman Institute has not performed an opioid detox using anesthesia since 2001 - so it really is yesterday's treatment.

The Truth About Anesthesia Detox

In that era it was the best treatment we could offer, but in 2001 we developed a greatly improved detoxification method—our Accelerated Outpatient Detoxification. This Accelerated Detox process is light years ahead of what we used to do.

Briefly, an Anesthesia Detox is when you put somebody completely to sleep on a ventilator, which is breathing for them, and then you give them a big dose of an opioid antagonist (Naltrexone) to push all of the opioid drugs out of the brain extremely rapidly. The idea was that they would wake up and they would be really thankful because all the drugs were gone and their detox was over.

But the truth is, that when they woke up from the anesthesia, their brain hadn't healed much at all and so they felt horrible. They were highly agitated. Oftentimes, they were confused, delirious and delusional. Sometimes we had to strap them to a bed. We had to keep them in the hospital for at least 24 hours. Moreover, it felt somewhat dangerous. In one study, individuals treated with Ultra-Rapid Detox showed no better resistance against relapse, had a much higher occurrence of negative effects, and had even greater discomfort than other detox options.

The patient's body systems were under great stress. In our program, we didn't have any fatalities, but physicians in other locations performing Anesthesia-Assisted Detox procedures have had a number of patients who didn't survive it, so it can be quite a dangerous thing to do.

A Safer, Faster and Better Way to Detox off of Opioids

Starting in 2001, we developed a much safer and gentler way of getting people off of opioids. By spreading the process out over 3 or 4 days, using specialized comfort medications, and not using anesthesia, we were able to make the withdrawal process (aka detoxification) much more comfortable and safer, but still get close to 100% of patients onto Naltrexone therapy.


Naltrexone is a non-addictive opioid-blocker that reduces cravings and helps prevent relapse. Naltrexone gives patients some support so they can focus on building the healthy needed for long-term recovery. We currently offer long-lasting formulations of Naltrexone either as an injection (Vivitrol) or as an implant that slowly dissolves under the skin.

An Improved Opioid Detox Process

Our patients have loved this improved, next generation detoxification process. Over the years we've had multiple patients who had previously been through an Ultra-Rapid Opioid Detox or Anesthesia-Assisted Rapid Opiate Detox (AAROD) elsewhere come to us for our unique and innovative Accelerated Outpatient Detox.

They have consistently told us that the Coleman Institute’s opioid withdrawal management process is light years ahead of what they did in the past. They were grateful and extremely happy to be drug-free and to have used this improved detoxification process, which is a generation ahead of Anesthesia Detox. So, I am very happy with the method we now use to get patients off opioids and onto naltrexone. It works very well - and the patients love it too!

Peter R. Coleman, MD