Oklahoma City enjoys a notable selection of area practitioners who are approved to write prescriptions for suboxone for the treatment of moderate opiate dependence. Opioid addiction causes a number of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms which eventually produce a loss in a person’s ability to meet important daily responsibilities. Suboxone contains buprenorphine which is the opioid agonist that eliminates opioid withdrawal. Suboxone is more available now and is widely regarded in the medical community as a highly effective pharmaceutical intervention for mild to moderate opioid addiction. If you are a local physician who treats Oklahoma City area residents, you may purchase a featured listing at the top of this page insuring that your medical services will be found by prospective patients searching our website for quality opioid treatment.
An article in the Huffington Post recently addressed President Obama’s public comments on expanding access to opioid treatment, particularly medication-assisted treatment (MAT) like methadone or buprenorphine (suboxone).
Many members of the treatment industry and recovery community do not have a realistic grasp on the role that medication-assisted treatment can play in recovery from severe opioid addiction. Historically, the recovery community has not regarded those utilizing methadone or suboxone as truly in recovery. They emphasize total abstinence, even from methadone, despite the fact that methadone and buprenorphine have restored individuals to normal functioning and even saved lives in many cases.
There was a time some years ago, in the 12 step community, when individuals were chastised for taking psychotropic medication for depression or other mental health disorders. This criticism came from a fundamental lack of knowledge about the biological basis for many mental health disorders. Similarly, medication-assisted treatment interventions have been the subject of misunderstanding and unwarranted rejection by those with limited education on varied treatment approaches.
As America’s opioid problem continues to grow, we need real solutions rooted in medical science and research. At this point in time, medication-assisted treatment has been in use long enough to clearly demonstrate its usefulness in facilitating personal recovery from addiction.
In 2015, we saw numerous local and national political figures rally around families that have been impacted by heroin overdoses and the heartbreaking loss of loved ones. Opioid addiction has finally come into focus within the mainstream media, and even current Presidential candidates have begun to address this as an important issue which commands attention and a solution.
It was announced late last month that CVS Drugstores intends to expand their provision of non-prescription naloxone into 12 additional U.S. States. Currently, they provide naloxone over-the-counter in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, but will begin offering the life-saving medication in California, Minnesota, Mississippi, Arkansas, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.
Naloxone has gained attention in recent years due to its ability to reverse opioid overdoses. Over 44,000 people have died annually in the United States from drug overdose with a majority of those stemming from heroin or prescription pain medication. Naloxone has been successfully utilized in emergency rooms and on site in communities around the country reversing opioid overdose and saving thousands of lives.
It is critically important to recognize that people who have suffered with addiction are sometimes close to a lasting recovery. There is a popular expression used lately that is somewhat stark though true and thought-provoking. The expression goes “You can’t recovery if you’re dead.” While this may sound off-putting to some, it reminds us that people stuck in years of painful addiction can, and do, change. We would much rather have naloxone readily available to save a life and to provide a son, daughter, or friend the opportunity to change direction.
An addicted individual could be much closer to choosing a life of recovery than we might imagine. This happens on a daily basis. How, and when, someone recovers from addiction is hard to predict. All we can do is to offer them an open door to a new and better life.
Chuck Rosenberg, the new chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration, has expressed serious concerns about the continuing opioid addiction problem in America and the pervasive spread of heroin addiction in particular.
A Fox News article highlighted Mr. Rosenberg’s discussion of how the USA represents only 5% of the world’s population – but consumes 95% of the world’s hydrocodone. His position is that rampant overprescribing of opioids has been occurring for years. As individuals become addicted to prescription medications and are then cut off from further prescription refills, many turn to the illegal purchase of street opiates.
“Street” opiates are sold at a premium – often more than people can afford. This leads to increased crime in order to support the expensive habit or turning to heroin since it is reported to only cost about 20% of hydrocodone on the black market.
The Fox article states that nearly 44,000 per year are dying from drug overdose and that half of those overdoses are from prescription medications. Casualty rates have almost doubled over the last few years.
Also in the news last week was an announcement from Hillary Clinton that if elected President she plans to dedicate billions to opioid treatment. There are other candidates as well, including governor Chris Christie, that have expressed a similar commitment to addressing the opioid addiction epidemic. The groundswell of concern regarding opioid addiction has gained momentum over the past 2 years and is now an audible siren capturing the attention of many governmental leaders. It has become a real health hazard that cannot be ignored any longer.
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A study by the government agency SAMHSA indicated there were approximately 254,000 patients receiving methadone for opioid addiction in 2006. In 2015, it is most likely that number is much higher given the prevalence of opioid addiction and the continued expansion of outpatient opioid treatment services in the United States. Today, there are considerably more methadone clinics and suboxone-approved physicians than there were a decade ago.
Making a new start with medication-assisted treatment is what hundreds of people across the country are deciding to do for themselves every week. Addiction is a progressive illness – one in which a person’s ability to choose is severely compromised. Medication-assisted treatment using either methadone or buprenorphine (suboxone) provides an important open door to a more responsible, quality life.
A majority of individuals suffering with opioid addiction (particularly when the illness spans years) have experienced dramatic brain changes which deepened their physiological dependency on opiates. This physical dependency is not easily removed. It is severe and persistent thus leading the person to do whatever is necessary to avoid being sick from opioid withdrawal.
Most long-term addicted individuals will tell you they rarely, if ever, get high from the illicit substances they use. They are simply trying to avoid being sick from debilitating opioid withdrawal symptoms. When a patient chooses to receive methadone or buprenorphine under the supervision of a doctor, they are making a decision to face their illness and to do something constructive about it.
As a family or friend, it is very helpful to gain an understanding of addiction and how medication-assisted treatment can be life changing for a person stuck in the cycle of opiate addiction.
Making a new start can be a bit frightening. Will methadone work for me? Will my loved ones condemn me? What about my job, or my legal situation? It becomes easy to put off making a decision when so many questions come into play.
It is important to remember that the road to recovery begins with just one step forward. That step will lead to another and another. This new start is always available. The message is one of hope and opportunity. Opiate addiction is a treatable illness. Medication-assistance can make a real difference.