An important consideration in examining the disease of addiction is the recognition that “recovery” is an incremental process. Many people facing their addiction will experience brief setbacks, and some will struggle for years before they are able to remain on the path of positive change.
As a counselor, I have listened to many recovering individuals talk about their resistance to change. Addiction is a persistent disease of disruptive thinking and behavior highly subject to repetition. Addicts will repeat the same bad “choices” as a result of many factors. Scientific research has shown that habitual patterns of behavior are neurochemically driven deep within the brain. These patterns can be reinforced by one’s social connections, immediate environment, and underlying belief system.
With severe levels of addiction sustained over years, it can become difficult for people to shift their lifestyle, thinking, and decision-making toward a healthy, recovery-oriented mindset. In 12 Step recovery, there is the popular expression called “hitting bottom”. This expression is typically used to describe a specific time in which a person has lost so much, or suffered such a painful crisis, that their readiness for change finally emerges. This window of opportunity is often times short-lived. Hitting bottom will compel some people to finally take the right action – to seek help – to admit they have a problem. If this happens, then a decision to step onto the path of recovery may actually occur.
Active addition is often characterized by a short range view in which consequences are not thoroughly considered. Focusing on consequences interferes with the compulsive desire to use. And even then, a recognition of consequences to oneself and family is often not enough to change the decision to get high. With opiate addiction, the decision to use is overwhelmingly controlled by opiate withdrawal sickness. This never-ending physical sickness takes people away from recovery and keeps them trapped in a desperate existence centered around doing whatever is necessary to avoid being “dope sick”.
Fortunately, this dilemma can be addressed through medication-assisted treatments (methadone, suboxone, naltrexone). These do not replace the need for a recovery program, but they become an important part of one’s overall personal recovery program. Staying on the path of recovery is the next critical phase after stepping onto the path. Medication-assisted treatment greatly aids recovering addicts in staying on the proper path. Science has proven that those with the greatest chance of long-term, successful sobriety are those that remain in treatment and recovery. Said differently, a person’s chance of recovery success is statistically improved the longer they remain in treatment.
When a person no longer has to face the crippling weight of daily withdrawal sickness, they have a chance to re-approach their overall recovery and the opportunities that lie ahead of them.
Posted in Addiction Recovery, Medication Assisted Treatment, Methadone, Methadone Clinics, Methadone Maintenance, Naltrexone, Recovery, Relapse Prevention, Suboxone, Suboxone Clinics
Tagged 12 Step Recovery, addiction recovery
One of the risks associated with the progression of opioid addiction is the increased probability of an addicted person moving to injectable heroin as a last resort in dealing with opioid withdrawal. In the early years of methadone’s adoption in treatment centers, it was used primarily to help heroin addicted individuals detox from heroin and eventually remain heroin free.
While heroin is definitely resurfacing, the opioid epidemic of recent years has primarily been about prescription opioids taken orally. Following this pattern of use, users eventually discover that crushing and snorting pills is a more efficient means of getting an opioid into their system. Injecting is typically the last step in this progression of the disease of addiction.
But with injection comes a variety of new risks and health problems such as skin abscesses, localized infection at the site of injection, as well as hepatitis C (a viral infection of the liver) and HIV infection acquired through needle sharing with infected persons. A recent story in the news highlighted a sudden increase in HIV infections in Scott County (Indiana) in conjunction with the rise of opioid addiction there and injectable drug use.
Indiana’s governor has temporarily approved the use of needle exchange programs to help reduce the risk of virus transmission resulting from the use of dirty needles. The story indicated that the number of documented HIV infections had risen month over month. The county is presently trying to locate over 100 people who may have been exposed to the HIV virus in connection with injecting opiates.
Methadone and other medication-assisted treatments have been conclusively proven to reduce heroin/opiate relapse and injection drug use. For many individuals trapped in a daily cycle of perpetual drug abuse, the risk of acquiring a deadly infection increases with every day that they are not in treatment receiving help.
Treatment leads to recovery, and recovery leads to dramatic lifestyle change. Many patients who choose methadone as a tool in their personal recovery never go back to injecting drugs. This obviously is a life saving choice.
Someone recently stated “If you’re dead, you can’t recovery.” This is a rather blunt way of expressing a profound and meaningful truth. Addiction does rob loved ones, friends, family, and neighbors of life, health, and happiness. Recovery has the ability to restore all of these. Let us keep our minds and hearts open about the value of medication-assisted treatment. It is making a real difference for numerous people around the world.
Posted in Drug Safety, Harm Reduction, Heroin, Medication Assisted Treatment, Methadone, Methadone Clinics, Methadone Maintenance, Relapse Prevention, Suboxone
Tagged Harm Reduction, Hep C, Hepatitis, HIV, Indiana
Acadia Healthcare is a leading behavioral healthcare services provider headquartered out of Franklin, Tennessee. The company was established in 2005 and has experienced rapid growth as a result of strategic acquisitions and a sharp focus on the delivery of psychiatric and chemical dependency treatment services.
Acadia recently bought out CRC Health Group for a reported $1.2 billion in a well-publicized sale which closed in February 2015. The acquisition significantly expanded Acadia’s opioid addiction treatment capabilities adding approximately 82 methadone/suboxone facilities nationwide. The company is nicely positioned to serve tens of thousands of patients on a daily basis who are struggling with opioid addiction and other associated illnesses. Methadone and buprenorphine products are utilized in association with a variety of counseling approaches.
Just added to Methadone.US are five of Acadia’s opioid treatment clinics located in San Diego, Riverside, Baltimore, Portland, and Southern Indiana.
Acadia’s mission statement:
Acadia Healthcare’s mission is to create behavioral health centers where people receive care that enables them to regain hope in a supportive, caring environment.
The company presently has behavioral healthcare facilities in 37 U.S. states, the United Kingdom, and Puerto Rico. These include residential treatment centers, inpatient psychiatric hospitals, outpatient clinics, and therapeutic school-based programs.
Posted in Addiction Treatment, Buprenorphine, Drug Rehab Programs, Methadone, Methadone Clinics, Methadone Maintenance, Methadone Programs, Methadone Success, Methadone Treatment, Opiate Addiction, Opiate Treatment, Suboxone, Suboxone Clinics, Suboxone Doctors
Tagged Acadia, CRC Health
Evzio is an FDA-approved emergency treatment that counteracts the effects of opioid overdose. It is an “auto-injector” designed to contain a retractable needle and a 0.4 mg dose of naloxone. Naloxone is a powerful opioid antagonist that reverses the effects of overdose with heroin or other opiates. Naloxone has been used throughout the country in the past few years and literally saved hundreds of lives.
Kaleo Pharma is the manufacturer of Evzio. The company specializes in innovative solutions for serious and life threatening medical conditions. Kaleo Pharma is based out of Richmond, Virginia, USA.
As has been documented in national media, very potent forms of heroin have become available much of it laced with other opiate derivatives like fentanyl. These combinations have proven lethal in a large number of cases often with younger people being the victims of overdose due to not understanding the extreme potency of the drugs being sold.
Products like Evzio in the hands of family and local emergency response teams can yield life saving interventions within minutes.
When addicted people survive a near fatal overdose, this often acts as a necessary catalyst to enter treatment and to step onto the path of personal recovery. Overdose survivors sometimes reflect on what has happened to them and may realize the pain that their death would have caused their children, friends, and family. The vast majority of overdoses are accidental and are nearly always preventable.
It is important to remember that addiction is an illness and that addicted people can recover, and can go on to live much improved lives when they are ready to change. Evzio will most likely save many people and give them that opportunity to live a life of real recovery.
Posted in Evzio, Heroin, Heroin Overdose, Methadone, Methadone Clinics, Methadone Overdose, Naloxone, Opiate Addiction, Recovery, Suboxone
Tagged Evzio, heroin overdose, naloxone, narcan
Paul 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.
Posted in Addiction Treatment, Buprenorphine, Drug Treatment, Medication Assisted Treatment, Methadone, Methadone Clinics, Methadone Programs, Methadone Treatment, Opiate Treatment, Recovery, Suboxone, Suboxone Doctors
Tagged LePage, Main