Over the last 10 years, opioid use disorder has emerged as a primary medical problem in the United States. Individuals from varied and diverse backgrounds have all been subject to the dangers of opioid misuse and potential opioid dependency. The good news is that addiction is a treatable illness. And with opioid addiction in particular, there are specific medication-assisted interventions available that have proven successful. Extensive research studies have shown the clear benefits of both methadone and buprenorphine in alleviating the debilitating physical symptoms of opioid withdrawal.
Hot Springs is one of the few cities in Arkansas that provides both methadone and suboxone for opiate dependent patients. Opiate addiction has grown in the United States over the last decade making opioid replacement therapy a vital medical service for those struggling with daily opioid withdrawal. More rural areas of the country lack abundant treatment programs. Suboxone, for those who are good candidates for it, allows one to proceed with medication assisted recovery while not having to make a daily trip to a clinic. This is especially helpful for those in more remote areas where commuting is not practical. Below are links to more info on general methadone & buprenorphine benefits vs. risks, opioid dependence, and recovery counseling.
Counseling and support services are an integral part of the treatment process. Recovery from opioid addiction involves education on the addictive process and the development of skills that support lifestyle change.
Medication assistance is key in managing opioid withdrawal sickness, but counseling offers the opportunity to learn valuable skills like identifying common high risk triggers for relapse and methods for reducing that risk.
Addiction is a complex illness. Many patients who achieve early stability with methadone or suboxone will relax their commitment to treatment. They let their guard down and begin to take shortcuts. This is a frequent issue in treatment clinics that often leads to relapse.
Sustained recovery from addiction requires a full commitment to change. Individual counseling and group counseling provide the necessary roadmap for staying on the recovery path. Counseling allows patients to achieve a deeper understanding of the challenges they will face as they learn to live drug free.
Opioid addiction can seriously impact a person’s life in many areas, and climbing out of that hole is not easy. Making the correct recovery-based decisions can at times be confusing, and even feel overwhelming. This is where the value of support & input from a counselor, stable friends, and concerned others can make a real difference.
Most MAT clinics and physician practices across the U.S. provide counseling as a component of their opioid treatment program. Participate in these services. These sessions with a therapist or in a counseling group can greatly enhance your ability to stay on course, and ride out the difficult days that you will certainly encounter. There is no replacement for commitment and positive action. These are the foundation of success when true recovery is the goal.
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.