The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services has awarded $1.5 billion in an effort to support States in their fight against opioid addiction.
The grant programs will provide funding to increase access to “24/7 Opioid Treatment Programs”. $104 million will be specifically allocated to bring treatment services to rural areas of the country that have been historically underserved.
While stabilizing and rebuilding lives through medication-assisted treatment is a priority, the prevention of overdose deaths is a distinct goal of the new funding initiative. Major confiscation of fentanyl continues month to month as law enforcement authorities intercept huge quantities of the drug pouring across the southern border.
Another $20.5 million is being earmarked for the development of programs that help connect individuals with addiction issues to local community resources that can enhance their overall recovery effort.
Additional focus will be placed on increasing the availability of naloxone which is the emergency medication that can quickly reverse the effects of opioid overdose. Thousands of lives have been saved in the last 10 years through the timely administration of naloxone to those who have overdosed.
The White House report outlines further efforts to disrupt global drug trafficking through the addition of more law enforcement officers.
Providence, Rhode Island is the first location in the United States to offer a mobile methadone service. This article profiles CODAC Behavioral Health who operate a 27 foot RV that has been modified to function as a mobile methadone unit.
The concept behind this innovative approach is to bring essential medication-assisted treatment services to the rural areas of Rhode Island where many prospective patients are underserved.
Access to methadone and buprenorphine-based treatments remains an ongoing challenge as nearly 83% of those with opioid use disorder (OUD) are not yet utilizing medication to help with their opioid withdrawal symptoms. Opioid withdrawal sickness is the primary driver of illicit opioid use, opioid overdose, and lifestyle disruption.
CODAC received their FDA approval in July 2022 to begin dispensing methadone from their mobile unit.
Methadone clinics are a lifesaver for many thousands of recovering individuals across the country. There are a number of new clinics opening each week, but the provision of a methadone mobile service offers an interesting alternative that will be closely watched and evaluated in the years ahead.
There are plenty of illegally manufactured medications of unknown origin currently flooding the country. In addition to heroin, methamphetamines, and other highly addictive substances, common prescriptions for managing psychiatric disorders are now accessible on the street as well.
Often these seemingly “legit” meds are manufactured outside of the U.S. where they are not subject to FDA oversight. Some of them are laced with fentanyl as is now occurring with street opiates, cocaine, and ecstasy.
Fentanyl availability is becoming widespread and creating an epidemic of accidental overdoses. News of fentanyl drug busts are being reported with increasing frequency since U.S. law enforcement and border patrol have stepped up their efforts to confiscate this deadly drug before it hits the streets.
It is important to remember that medications provided by methadone clinics and buprenorphine-approved doctors are beneficial drugs that are carefully formulated by pharmaceutical companies operating under FDA guidelines and safety checks. Please, only take medications prescribed by your doctor.
Every OTP (opioid treatment program) clinic and prescribing physician aim to custom fit the medication and dosage that will best treat your opioid use disorder. Self-medicating with drugs obtained on the street is highly dangerous. Your recovery success depends on you believing in your treatment team and relying upon their medical expertise, and their administration of safe, approved medications designed to manage your opioid withdrawal symptoms.
A new study by the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin found that a patient’s length of treatment is directly tied to lower risk of overdose.
In particular, treating opioid addiction with medication for at least 60 days generated a 61% reduction in the incidence of overdose.
Numerous other studies over the last two decades have shown that positive outcomes are tied to longer duration in outpatient addiction treatment. Not only does greater length of time in treatment allow for physical stabilization with methadone or buprenorphine, but it provides each patient with time to develop improved coping skills and relapse prevention capability.
Higher levels of functioning are able to be achieved, such as gainful employment and improved parenting, when a patient is able to remain in addiction treatment for longer periods of time.
Marguerite Burns, who led the Wisconsin study, found that recovery success and overdose prevention are enhanced the longer that patients take medication over a 12 month period. Medication-assistance plays a key role in helping opioid addicted patients find long lasting recovery.
Impressively, the study was based on treatment outcomes recorded for 293,160 Medicaid patients diagnosed with opioid use disorder.
The need for social support in recovery is a significant factor. Not only is successful recovery an ongoing challenge, but it is a journey which is greatly helped through positive connection with others.
Others who offer acceptance and encouragement during “rough days” can sometimes make the difference between relapse and successful coping.
It is important to realize that support can come from anyone. It does not necessarily have to be one’s family or from the 12 Step community. The love, support, and involvement of others in your recovery can actually come from a much wider variety of contacts and positive influences.
It’s particularly beneficial when your supports are accepting of medication-assisted treatment. Physicians and counselors are generally much better informed on the benefits of methadone or buprenorphine in managing opioid withdrawal. If your spouse, partner, or friend does not understand the value of medication-assistance, it can make a difference to invite them to one of your counseling sessions or to direct them to this website.
Opioid treatment programs (like the ones featured on Methadone.US) generally offer group therapy, individual counseling, and education sessions where other patients can offer support. Some programs also provide assistance for coping with psychiatric issues like anxiety, depression, PTSD, or bipolar disorder. Managing these co-occurring disorders is really key in strengthening your overall recovery from opioids or other drugs.
Always remember, addiction is an illness that grows in darkness & isolation. So step out into the light. Seek professional help and support. This is where solutions begin. There are others who will walk with you on the path of recovery. If you feel stuck in addiction presently, that is temporary. That can change.