Category Archives: Methadone

Shifting Tide Favors Medication in Opioid Treatment

The nation’s opioid epidemic has reached fever pitch and is now being spotlighted by all levels of local and national media. This is obviously good news.

At the center of this discussion is what can be done to reduce opioid fatalities, and to provide addicted people a real opportunity to regain control over their lives. This discussion inevitably leads to examining the benefit of medication-assisted treatment.

Methadone, buprenorphine, and naloxone are the three leading alternatives for helping patients deal with the perpetual withdrawal sickness that comes from a physiological dependency on opioids.

In recent congressional testimony to members of Congress, Scott Gottlieb (Commissioner of the FDA) specifically heralded the life-saving benefits of methadone and similar medications.

His testimony included comments on the wealth of information behind the effectiveness of medication-assisted treatment. It is vitally important that legislative decision-makers obtain a clear understanding about what works and what does not in regard to coping successfully with this opioid crisis.

Time is of the essence because the present overdose fatality rate in the United States is over 64,000 per year. This number is beyond alarming. Here is an article that points to a possible positive shift in communities’ openness to having local opioid treatment nearby. Hopefully, this becomes a trend.

Methadone Availability

Imagine trying to medically manage advanced diabetes with no insulin or grand mal seizures without anticonvulsant medication.

Modern medicine has raised our standard of living and sustained life in ways that people could not have imagined just 100 years ago.

In the cases cited above of diabetes and epilepsy, medication functions as a miracle intervention that saves the patient from suffering and death, and allows him or her to lead a full and productive life.

Science is clearly instructing us that addiction is a treatable illness which can at times be successfully managed with medication assistance, similar to the stabilizing role that insulin plays in the life of the diabetic patient.

A critical element of opioid addiction is the physical dependency which leads to debilitating opioid withdrawal symptoms. For many individuals, the persistence and severity of opioid withdrawal leads them to chronic failure in any effort to recover. With the assistance of methadone (or buprenorphine), many of these people will finally be able to cope with their illness by having their withdrawal symptoms alleviated.

The value of relief from opioid withdrawal is monumental. It is often the first major step toward being able to face one’s addiction. Medication assistance is good science, and it opens a door that was likely closed for many years. The value of having a new start is priceless. We only have one life. It is worth saving. Whether it’s diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, or addiction – specific medications can help a patient restore their quality of life.

Right Path Treatment Centers

Right Path provide a variety of opioid, alcohol, and other drug addiction treatment services through their various outpatient programs located in Virginia and North Carolina.

The organization utilizes Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorders, and they provide confidential consultation to individuals who are trying to determine the best of course of treatment for dealing with their addiction issues. Right Path are equipped to now provide the new Probuphine implant that utilizes time-released buprenorphine to alleviate opioid withdrawal symptoms as individuals pursue a solid, long-term personal recovery.

Right Path endorse the benefits of 12 Step philosophy while also incorporating a strong medical component in their opioid recovery program due to the statistically high percentage of opioid addicted people who will ultimately relapse without medication-assisted support.

Read more about Right Path’s services and counseling approach at the link above.

Access to Addiction Treatment

methadone31Many state-funded addiction treatment services have undergone gradual cuts during the last 15 years. With the rising opioid addiction crisis in America, better access to opioid treatment is definitely needed.

There are a number of private clinics and outpatient treatment centers opening their doors in most every state. These private clinics are meeting a need for services that are often absent in more remote areas of the country.

Some new opioid treatment providers are smaller, independent methadone clinics while others are part of a larger network such as those owned by Acadia Healthcare, Behavioral Health Group (BHG), or Colonial Management Group.

They all have one thing in common, and it is that they provide their patients with medication-assisted treatment (MAT). MAT is scientifically proven to be more effective than other forms of abstinence-based treatment.

Medication assistance typically utilizes methadone or buprenorphine-based products to alleviate a patient’s chronic opioid withdrawal. Without medication-assistance, patients often face either a detox admission or they struggle on in a daily effort to secure opiates so as to prevent the return of withdrawal sickness.

People ready for opioid treatment may find that their local methadone clinic is full, or that their nearest clinic is just too far away to access on a daily basis. For some patients, suboxone/buprenorphine may be the best solution since a prescription can be obtained for several weeks of medication before a return visit is required.

Access to treatment is currently on the radar of national healthcare officials and government legislators, many of whom have received numerous letters and calls from families requesting more funding for treatment, and better access. Media coverage has also been much improved during the past 3 years in part due to the widespread opioid crisis and its broad impact.

Supporting local opioid addiction treatment services is important for every community. It ultimately saves lives, reduces crime, and promotes recovery so that addicted patients can work and function.

21st Century Cures Act

opioid-treatment-fundingThe U.S. House of Representatives just passed a sweeping reform, called the 21st Century Cures Act, that will infuse $1 billion in new funding earmarked for opioid treatment and prevention services.

It has taken several years of alarming statistics on the national opioid epidemic, but Congress has responded. This USA Today article provides an overview of the numbers. In addition to the $1 billion for opioid services will be another $4.8 billion for cutting-edge research around treating Alzheimers, cancer, traumatic brain injury, and other medical issues.

The bill received enormous bipartisan support and passed 392-to-26. In 2016, death by drug overdose surpassed death by car crashes and gun fatalities. The public outcry for government intervention has been steady. With so many families having been affected by addiction issues, the new funding allowance should open doors for opioid treatment particularly in rural areas where opioid services have been severely lacking.

Methadone remains the #1 medication-assisted treatment option. Buprenorphine medications are; however, making a big impact in the treatment field with a wide variety of buprenorphine-based formulations coming to market. In addition to the familiar suboxone film, are probuphine (a buprenorphine implant), subutex (an uncoated buprenorphine tablet), and bunavail.