Further validating the merits of opioid treatment using methadone is a recent article by The Canadian Press outlining the findings of Canada’s Medical Health Officer in British Columbia, Dr. Perry Kendall.
Dr. Kendall’s report documents that individuals in opioid substitution therapy are twice as likely to survive compared to those who obtain opioids illegally on the street. Those in opioid addiction therapy were also found to be much more cost effective to society (about $4200 per year for treatment) compared to those with untreated addictions whose costs are estimated to be $45,000 per year collectively in health complications, law enforcement involvement, and other social problems such as loss of income.
The province of British Columbia is currently treating over 15,000 residents for opioid addiction. Their health minister, Terry Lake, is quoted as saying that he was encouraged by the findings in the report and that he knows opioid substitution therapy is not only saving lives, but equates to significant savings for the Canadian healthcare system and society.
In a related story, youth struggling with opioid addiction are being helped in Canada by the increased availability of suboxone. Sean Morrison of the Strengths youth addiction services discussed the benefit that suboxone offers in eliminating opioid withdrawal symptoms and cravings so that young people can stabilize and focus more quickly on addiction recovery goals.
While opposition is still present in the USA from certain groups regarding the establishment of methadone treatment services near their community, the medical community and various treatment providers are increasingly able to demonstrate good outcomes with methadone and suboxone supported services. The science of addiction treatment using methadone and suboxone is powerful & compelling – thus legitimizing its increased availability to people who need it. Simply put, opioid substitution therapy saves lives and produces irrefutable medical and psychological benefits for those people struggling in addiction.