Prescription for Change: Opioid Addiction Treatment
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Doctors with eligibility to treat opioid abuse already have the credentials and experience to administer buprenorphine in a clinical setting. According to the director of National Drug Control Policy, as few as 12 percent of those addicted to opioids actually find the help neede to overcome their addiction. There may be as many as 4000 people, yearly, who abuse painkillers despite not having a doctor’s prescription. Almost 80 people die each day from opioid overdose. Additional efforts by the Health and Human Services have resulted in a large number of studies being conducted on opioid misuse and pain treatment.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration finalized a new rule that allows healthcare providers to increase the number of patients treated with buprenorphine. The drug is used to treat opioid disorders, and is similar to methadone. Until recently, the drug was on the restricted list, and physicians were only allowed to treat 100 patients during a single year. Drugs like heroin, morphine, and opioids can produce extreme highs. Buprenorphine targets the brain’s receptors, and can produce the same sensations of euphoria without harmful and dangerous side effects. Thus, it is an ideal drug to help patients detox.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, few people truly understand how others can succumb to drug addiction. Quite often, it is thought that addicts have fewer morals, or the willpower to fight addictive urges. However, drug addiction is too complex to fit into such a narrow box. Addiction is a disease, and it takes far more than the wave of a wand to bring a person through detox and rehab to aftercare. Drugs can alter the mind, and suppress the desire to quit using. People, many, who are addicted seriously want to quit their addiction. Yes, their intentions are grand, but it takes more than goodwill. When future patients become serious about quitting drug abuse, outpatient drug detox and outpatient alcohol detox programs are available.
Patients receive the same quality treatment as if their outpatient opiate detox program is an inpatient treatment program. The only major difference is that patients return home at the end of their day. With the expansion of clinical services, more people can look forward to getting the help they need to live a life of long-term sobriety.