Charlottesville has experienced a notable problem with opioid addiction in recent years causing serious concerns among local families and healthcare providers. As a result of this, Charlottesville now has available suboxone (buprenorphine) prescriptions for those individuals struggling with moderate to severe opioid addiction. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has become the standard of care in reputable addiction treatment programs for individuals that are at risk for chronic opioid relapse.
Several articles recently addressed a study which found that providing buprenorphine after an overdose significantly increased the likelihood of individuals accessing opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment.
The current protocol for paramedics and emergency departments in treating opioid overdose is to administer naloxone in order to reverse the effects of overdose. A recently published study showed that also providing buprenorphine immediately afterward reduced withdrawal discomfort and increased outpatient addiction follow-up care.
A separate article referenced data showing a nearly six-fold increase in patients accessing outpatient addiction treatment within 30 days of the overdose event.
These are highly encouraging finds which demonstrate the far-reaching effectiveness of medication-assistance in the treatment of opioid addiction. Saving a life through overdose reversal is obviously a critical benefit, but increasing motivation for follow-up treatment is a huge step in helping addicted individuals plug into a long-term solution.
Structured treatment which utilizes medication-assistance provides so much to those aspiring to face their addiction challenges. Naloxone, buprenorphine, and methadone have saved countless lives, and these medications have provided an unrivaled opportunity for those in opioid addiction to plot a new path in life.
Minnesota officers recently seized a large quantity of fentanyl in the Midwest based on extensive investigation and “very, very good police work”.
The drug bust removed enough fentanyl pills to kill over 1 million people, and the suspected dealer now faces federal charges for possessing a large quantity of synthetic opioids.
Of particular concern was that the fentanyl doses had been pressed into a familiar pill that was indistinguishable from that provided in a typical oxycodone prescription. So oxycodone obtained on the street now presents with a much higher risk of fatal overdose than was previously thought.
The article reported that large quantities of fentanyl continue to come across the U.S. southern border. The U.S. Senate is currently examining how this influx of fentanyl is impacting American communities as drug seizures hit historic levels.
Those currently struggling in active opioid addiction should explore getting professional help as soon as possible. Fentanyl “in disguise” is making its way across the country.
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.