Welcome to the Methadone.US official blog. Read up on medication-assisted treatment and recent news on opioid addiction treatment approaches in the U.S.
While it is fairly common knowledge these days, it bears repeating that fentanyl is leading to dramatic increases in drug overdose deaths. The Families Against Fentanyl group, using three years of CDC mortality data, recently concluded that fentanyl overdose had caused more deaths than the corona virus, automobile accidents, or suicide in the 18-45 age group.
Fentanyl is finding its way into other dangerous street drug combinations, and is consequently posing serious risks to both experienced and unexperienced users.
A December 2021 Wall Street Journal article mentioned that there were 100,000 fatal overdoses in the United States between April 2019 and April 2020. Fentanyl is making its way across the U.S. southern border smuggled in by Mexican drug cartels in a stream of drug trafficking that is yielding a constant challenge to U.S. law enforcement authorities.
Fortunately, community-based drug prevention programs across the country have begun including extensive discussions of the dangers of opioids and fentanyl as a common additive.
Opioid addiction in America will remain a chief concern for many more years to come. Securing local treatment and support has never been more important than it is right now.
The faces of recovery are as diverse as you can imagine. Decades ago, there were common stereotypes of addicts as people who looked a certain way and likely came from a shady side of the tracks.
Today, we now understand that addiction has impacted nearly every family and community across the country. It has crept into mainstream life to such a large extent that the old stereotypes have faded away, and in their place are pictures of everyday people like the ones we know and love.
Opioid addiction is an illness that can be successfully treated. This new reality provides hope and assurance that nearly any person, with proper support and treatment, can successfully manage this illness and regain their life.
However, the odds are not good for individuals who stay in active addiction and who postpone their entry into professional care. With the widespread proliferation of fentanyl and other adulterated street opiates, the risks have never been greater.
In the United States, there are a significant number of methadone clinics, buprenorphine clinics, and qualified physicians who specialize in the treatment of opioid addition using medication-assisted approaches. For the vast majority of opioid addicted people, medication is key in helping them to prevent extremely diffcult opioid withdrawal.
Once withdrawal sickness is effectively eliminated, then counseling & support can help restore a person’s life and open up new paths to the future.
The science of treating opioid addiction has become increasingly popular in both medical circles and in the addiction treatment community.
For decades, medical professionals and even popular recovery organizations did not quite understand how giving an opioid addict a replacement medication could actually facilitate recovery.
Part of the dilemma was that those who defined “recovery” did so using an old school philosophical approach originally crafted for alcoholism. But science has taught us that not all addictions are exactly the same. While there are certainly commonalities between the various substance use disorders, there are very important distinctions and differences which affect the recovery process.
You cannot prescribe a medication that is effective with depression, and expect that same medication to resolve schizophrenia or an anxiety disorder. While they are all mental health disorders that can debilitate a patient, there are critical differences between these disorders and in the overall treatment plan for addressing each one.
Similarly with addiction, science is teaching us that a one-size-fits-all approach to addiction recovery is detrimental and often unproductive.
With opioid addiction in particular, the disease progression is quite unlike most other addictive illnesses. While the medical profession has evolved that understanding, the recovery community and general society has at times struggled to comprehend the necessity of medication-assisted treatment for the opioid addicted.
Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, PA’s, Nurses, and Counselors all play a part in educating patients, their families, the community, and government on the key role that medication plays in the successful management of an opioid use disorder. Methadone, subutex, suboxone, vivitrol, and other medication choices make the difference between recovery success and repeated recovery failures.
Various news outlets are reporting new statistics which indicate deaths from opioid overdose are beginning to go down.
The Associated Press reports that for the first time in a decade overdoses among New York residents (outside of NYC) have declined 15.9%. Government officials are quoted as saying that about 80% of the overdose deaths were attributable to heroin or fentanyl.
The AP cited a new CDC (Centers For Disease Control) July 2019 study which showed overdose deaths in 2018 fell for the first time in nearly three decades.
Various public education efforts and New York’s Opioid Task Force are thought to be significant catalysts for the slowdown in opioid overdoses. The availability of naloxone has also been highly instrumental in impacting overdoses nationwide with many communities across the country now providing naloxone kits for free.
A number of metro areas in the U.S. are also examining the feasibility of mobile opioid treatment since transportation to clinics or physicians is often an impediment to accessing medication-assisted treatment resources.
Methadone and a variety of buprenorphine products are presently available to U.S. citizens who are struggling with opioid addiction. Opioid addiction produces a debilitating physical and psychological dependency that is extremely difficult to overcome without medication-assisted therapy.
Research has shown that nearly 90% of individuals with a moderate to severe level of opioid addiction will be unable to succeed in long-term recovery without medication assistance. Because of this fact, many more individuals are turning to buprenorphine and methadone as an important component of their addiction recovery journey.
Bear in mind that a doctor’s supervision, and prescription, are always needed when undergoing medication-assisted treatment. Counseling is also extremely important in becoming drug-free and in maintaining one’s recovery gains over time.