Category Archives: Drug Treatment

Right Path Clinics Offer Suboxone and Addiction Counseling

right-path-clinics-2Right Path is an opioid treatment provider operating in the greater Hampton Roads area of eastern Virginia. The organization specializes in the use of burprenorphine (the critical ingredient in Suboxone that alleviates opioid withdrawal symptoms).

Right Path currently have outpatient services in Virginia Beach, Newport News, and Suffolk, but plan to soon offer a location convenient for residents and visitors along the Outer Banks.

Recognizing the importance of individualized treatment plans, Right Path tailor their services to the needs of the individual patient. While suboxone is beneficial in eliminating the pain of opioid withdrawal, addiction counseling is essential in helping patients to understand the addiction and recovery process. Right Path provide addiction counseling as a component of their overall treatment program.

Evening and weekend hours are offered, and most insurance is accepted. The Right Path website has a helpful page that outlines various questions and issues that you might cover with your Suboxone Doctor in your first appointment. Their website provides another highly informative page on Suboxone which answers many common questions about this increasingly popular medication. More information on Right Path’s locations and contact information can be obtained here:

Maine’s Governor LePage May Undermine Opioid Addiction Treatment

Maine2Paul LePage, the governor of Maine, has announced that he is considering ceasing state-funded support for methadone. As an alternative, Maine is proposing that patients prescribed methadone be switched to a more affordable suboxone option as part of a $727,000 state budget cut. The story is here.

This is an indefensible decision with dire medical implications for opioid addicted patients currently receiving methadone. It equates to government officials making medical decisions that will negatively impact the health and well-being of thousands of people.

Representative Drew Gattine (a member of the Health & Human Services Committee) is quoted as saying the proposal shows a lack of understanding of the societal costs of addiction throughout the state of Maine.

Methadone and suboxone are both effective medications, but offer very unique characteristics and applications depending on the severity & chronicity of a patient’s opioid addiction. Buprenorphine (the actual opioid agonist contained in suboxone) has a much lower ceiling effect than does methadone meaning its effectiveness would be insufficient for a potentially large percentage of stable methadone patients on 60mg or more of methadone daily. Many patients on a moderate to high maintenance dose of methadone would not have their opioid withdrawal symptoms managed by even the maximum dosage allowed for suboxone – which is generally around 32 mg per day.

For a politician to, in essence, prescribe inappropriate medical treatment for a diagnosable medical condition is a huge state liability. The repercussions are alarming. Hopefully, the local medical establishment and other state officials will step in before irreversible damage is done. Methadone works. This cannot be denied.

Methadone has a long, proven track record of medical efficacy and cost effectiveness. Maine, in particular, has suffered in recent years with a severe opioid addiction epidemic. Reducing access to appropriate medical treatment like methadone will likely result in overdose deaths across Maine and an explosion of condemnation for the governor and his office.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction is not a fad. It is scientifically proven effective and endorsed by multiple state & federal regulatory agencies as well as ASAM.

Methadone Treatment Services

methadone-treatment-resourcesWhen one thinks of methadone treatment, they usually consider the power of methadone to eliminate opiate withdrawal and the value this has to someone fighting off withdrawal sickness.

Methadone treatment actually consists of more than just the “medication assistance” component. Real treatment always addresses the underlying lifestyle, thinking, and behavioral elements that are a significant part of the addictive process. These areas are specifically addressed through counseling. All opioid treatment programs providing methadone in the United States are required to also offer counseling to their patients in order to help them achieve true and lasting success.

Some patients will need more counseling & emotional support than others. But all patients new to the recovery process will need to receive basic education on addiction as an illness, how to build a personal recovery program, and to have an opportunity to develop new coping and relapse prevention skills.

Methadone clinics in the U.S. vary in the ways that they deliver counseling services. Some programs are heavy on individual counseling while some focus more on a group therapy model. Often, programs will provide a blend of the two with optional family or collateral participation available as needed.

There is another important consideration with methadone treatment pertaining to the need to also treat “co-occurring disorders”. Co-occurring disorders consist of other psychiatric symptoms that merit special interventions and additional care. For example, many individuals dealing with an opioid addiction may also have struggled with chronic depression or anxiety. Unless these disorders are treated effectively, they can become stumbling blocks on the road to recovery, and can undermine a person’s sobriety success.

A number of methadone programs have in-house psychiatric services to address co-occurring disorders and to provide additional medications and/or therapy if required. Opioid treatment programs that do not have psyc services will typically refer a patient out to the local mental health center or a private provider who specializes in psychiatric care.

Methadone treatment has at times been presented as a harm reduction approach to dealing with severe addiction. In other words, reducing a person’s risk of overdose or exposure to other illnesses is a worthwhile goal. However, “harm reduction” alone does not represent all that recovery truly offers. There are many people who have found life long recovery through their introduction to methadone treatment. After becoming drug free, they went on to have families, start businesses, develop new careers, and enjoy a full life in the best sense.

The possibilities are limitless in recovery. Addiction is treatable. Methadone can be an important piece of the recovery journey. For many thousands of patients, it was the new start that they had hoped for.

Opioid Addiction Spiking in Guilford County North Carolina

policeGuilford County is the third most populated county in the state of North Carolina. Located within Guilford County are the cities of Greensboro and High Point – both of which are experiencing a surprising increase in opioid addiction and related overdoses.

The High Point Enterprise news reported that the High Point Vice and Narcotics unit has begun to make a favorable impact on the problem with multiple arrests of those trafficking heroin locally. The article documents that 70 reported High Point opioid overdoses have occurred thus far in 2014 with 9 of those ending in death. Six people were arrested the week of July 14 and are being held on multi-million dollar bonds for their roles in selling or trafficking heroin. To emphasize the local impact, the HP Enterprise reported that 7 overdoses occurred within a 24 hour period on May 16, 2014.

Just 15 miles away in the neighboring city of Greensboro, Rhino Times covered the local explosion in heroin addiction much of which has been driven by individuals turning to heroin when they could no longer obtain prescription opioids like oxycodone. Rhino Times interviewed the Director of Guilford County Emergency Services, Jim Albright, who stated that a particularly strong strain of heroin hit the streets of Greensboro in late April, 2014.

Over the weekend of April 25, the Guilford County EMS responded to an avalanche of calls in response to people overdosing on the new potent version of heroin. Mr. Albright is reported to have identified that 21 overdoses and 5 deaths occurred just in that one weekend. Due to the potency of the drugs, some victims were found with a needle still in their arm.

Highlighted in the article was the life saving properties of Narcan, a drug that quickly reverses the dangerous overdose effects of opiates. Narcan can be administered by injection or squirted into the nasal cavity. As it is absorbed into the body, it restores breathing to those that have overdosed. Narcan is now kept in first responder vehicles, firetrucks, and ambulances. Visit Alcohol & Drug Services for more on Narcan and opioid overdose prevention kits.

For information on methadone as a treatment for opioid addiction, click here.

Lifestyle Change and Responsible Behavior

drug-treatment-opiate-addictionPeople facing addictive disease cover a wide variety of maturity levels, individual capabilities, and in their level of desire for sober lives. What I mean is that some are further along in their mindset and are really ready to live drug free. They embrace the challenge, and they recognize that some work lies ahead in order to get their life properly sorted out.

Others are sometimes only motivated by the present crisis. They do the right thing only long enough to avert the crisis, and then they’re back to old behavior and old attitudes like they didn’t miss a beat. They straighten up just long enough to avoid probation revocation. They may stop using and “make nice” with a loved one as long as it takes to get some money or a favor, and then it’s back to addict behavior.

With opiate addiction, people from all walks of life can develop a problem – from the chronic troublemaker to the person who never gave anyone a hard time. Opiate addiction covers the whole spectrum of humanity and knows no boundaries. I have treated doctors, dentists, and lawyers … grandparents … church members … teachers … and teens. This diverse group of people had one thing in common. That’s right. Addiction.

While long term recovery is available to every person, only some get clean & sober. Why is this? The answer has much to do with whether a person has an innate desire to change, whether they are teachable and open, and sometimes whether their conscience is awake. Addiction, and the unique behavioral traits that often surround it, make people resistant to change. They resist doing the things that lead to stability, sobriety, and success. Like a seriously overweight person who keeps overeating or a stage 4 diabetic who won’t leave the doughnuts and cookies alone.

Addicts can cycle in and out of rehabs, in and out of jobs, and in and out of relationships. They become the drama that disrupts family life. The phone call at 3:00 a.m. that wakes the children. The examples are endless and they all lead to the same destination … which is pain, loss, failure. Or, as they say in NA: jails, institutions, or death.

Each addiction is a journey as is each individual recovery. There are bumps in the road and a multitude of wrong turns. But there is learning. Hopefully, humility develops and the willingness to follow a new path that involves the guidance & support of others who know more. Addiction is a cunning illness. Trying to fight addiction alone is not a smart decision. It has been shown repeatedly that those who make it typically seek help. Treatment is help. Treatment provides the needed support, feedback, and essential tools for repairing one’s life. Opiate addiction is a powerful trap. Make no mistake though. People do recover … and go on to exciting and enriched lives. Do not stay stuck. Reach out for help in your local community.