The Opioid Epidemic: What Can You Do?

Recent overdose rates and high-profile deaths have left many Americans feeling pretty bleak. Efforts to curb abuse of legal opiates like oxycodone and hydrocodone have simply resulted in newer, more dangerous forms of opioids. Truly, we are a nation addicted to opiates- more than 650,000 prescriptions are received daily. Furthermore, 55 billion dollars is spent each year on health and social costs directly linked to the abuse of prescription opiates (more goes to costs surrounding the use of illicit opiates). With death from overdose now the number one killer of Americans under 50, it’s time to see what each one of us can do. There are many ways you can influence your community or those around you, or simply have more knowledge about the current climate of the opioid crisis.

The Dissemination of Naloxone

One huge way that we could curb overdose deaths would be to make it easier to access naloxone for all individuals. Naloxone works instantly in the case of an overdose, immediately blocking the respiration suppression that is a result of opiates. Naloxone is currently available, but there are definite barriers to access in terms of where it can be bought as well as the price. However, it’s up to individuals to champion the use of Naloxone, an antidote to the very bleak and very real reality of overdose.

Stopping Pill Mills

Another way that societally, people can help curb the opiate crisis is by cracking down on providers who are over-prescribing narcotics. There is a lot of money to be made in selling narcotics, especially those of a ridiculously addictive nature like opiates. These “pill mills” as they are called disproportionately affect Americans living in rural, or otherwise disadvantaged areas. State databases and other rulings have begun to curb the rampant prescription of opioids but unfortunately, so many illicit alternatives already exist.

Screening for Addiction

Screening for drug and alcohol abuse, or what is referred to as substance use disorder, would be an extremely helpful practice in combating addiction. Many proponents argue that adult patients should be screened in primary care settings, so as to intervene before things are exacerbated. This intervention has begun to be adapted, and is now covered by (some) insurers as well as Medicaid and Medicare.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment also represents a burgeoning field of growth, and possible hope for the opioid crisis. Certain drugs help to curb cravings, which are the crux of an opiate addiction. These drugs include buprenorphine (Suboxone), methadone, naltrexone (including the 28-day injectable Vivitrol) and naloxone.

Probably the most helpful thing that could be done to help those victimized by the opiate crisis is to increase availability and access to proper treatment. It is currently estimated that 80 to 90 percent of individuals who need substance abuse treatment programs are not getting it.

However, not all drug treatment centers were created the same. The right treatment setting will focus on the individual- including underlying mental health concerns of traumas, teach about the disease model of addiction, and generally offer hope and compassion for addicts and their families. 

The Perfect Outpatient Rehab

 

When Nothing’s Working, Outpatient Rehab Sounds Pretty Good

So you’ve decided you need an outpatient rehab. Your drug use has gotten too painful, but you can’t imagine a day without eating a Xanax, a Lortab, anything. And throwing whiskey at the problem is just making it worse. You’re beat and you know it. You need help, and the occasional support group meeting has never been enough. You need a drug or alcohol rehab that works.

But there are a ton of outpatient rehab facilities out there, a lot of them close to where you live. How do you choose between them? How do you find an intensive outpatient rehab that’s going to help with what’s actually bothering you? That’s what we’re going to talk about today, so read on and keep an open mind.

 

Use Progressive Focus to Narrow Your Choices Down

You’ll to find a detox first. Don’t take any chances with your health. Those nasty withdrawal symptoms might be really dangerous. Besides, you stand a better chance of getting clean if you hand it over the professionals. Start with a general search online. Just type “detox centers near me” into your trusty search engine.

You can also use use a substance abuse treatment facility locator. This can be a great resource for finding treatment that’s close to home. And in the meantime, start making your arrangements. Recruit a family member or friend to drive you. Support is crucial right now, partly because it helps keep you accountable.

You don’t want a lag in your treatment, so find out which drug rehab centers can admit you directly from the drug detox. And when you’ve got a list of several that will, start looking at the treatment methods they use. And make sure they give you specifics. Ask how individual care you’re going to receive, as opposed to group treatment. You’ll need both, but it’s important to get some up close face time. You don’t want a factory style drug rehab, or anyplace else that’s going to treat you like a number.

Explore their options for aftercare too. You might decide you need the continued support of sober living housing. Are they connected to a halfway house? Do they transition you to continued care? How much 12 step stuff is involved? Are they open to alternative support programs? 12 step programs are great, but they’re not your only option. And tell them about any concerns you might have. An outpatient drug rehab is a big commitment. You want to be comfortable with the one you choose.

 

Read the Reviews to Settle On an Outpatient Rehab

Once you’ve narrowed things to down to maybe thee or four facilities, start reading the online reviews. Find out what former clients think, especially ones who have recovered from your drug of choice. This part is important. Some inpatient rehabs are better at treating certain addictions better than others. You want an intensive outpatient rehab that works on your specific issues.

And once you’ve actually chosen a facility, get busy with the admissions process. Your disease will try to change your mind, so don’t wait to get things started. The quicker you get moving, the more likely it is that you’ll follow through with the process. It might not seem like it now, but you’ll find a lot of relief in the right outpatient rehab. Besides, you’ve waited long enough already.

Opiate Addiction Treatment

Opiate Addiction Treatment and The Kitchen Sink

Divided and Conquered

For many years, a drug user who needed opiate addiction treatment didn’t have a whole lot of options.  In fact, for the most part there were just two roads the painkiller or heroin addict could take toward recovery.  If they lived in a large enough city, they could visit the methadone clinic seven days a week.  Everybody else had little choice but to go the 12 step route.  

And worse yet, these two types of opiate addiction treatment had a hard time working together.  They were too suspicious of one another for that.  The methadone folks tended to think that 12 step meetings were too religious, while the 12 steppers thought methadone violated the holy state of abstinence that had saved their lives.

It amounted to a feud between two approaches that should have been on the same side.  It’s probably an oversimplification to say so, but this feud was based on the opposition between science and spirituality.  The result was that both forms of opiate addiction treatment suffered and that opiate users continued to go to prison or die.  

Faith, Science, and Synthesis

Fortunately, this false opposition has started to melt away, along with the misguided binary that’s always stood at its root.  Addicts and experts are learning that science and spirituality can work together in the treatment of opiate addiction.  This is especially true now, with the medical profession actively engaging in the science side of recovery and spiritual types getting more open to what they can do to help.

Culturally speaking, it might have began when people started seeing that prescription painkillers were destroying as many lives as heroin.  Once this happened, it became more difficult to pretend the opiate problem was reserved for hustlers and junkies.  It didn’t take long for the will and the funding to appear for medical treatment for opiate addiction, for options beyond methadone and the problems inherent to it.  

Now the suffering user has options for different kinds of opiate addiction treatment.  They can still go the 12 step route and change themselves from the heart outward, but they can also accept help from drugs like Suboxone or Vivitrol to rewire their chemistry and suppress cravings.  We’ve learned that opiate addiction treatment sometimes needs to fix brain chemistry in ways that 12 step programs alone can’t.  

And as human beings and once suffering addicts, it’s incumbent upon us to open our minds and support whatever mode helps to slow down the incarceration rate and the death toll.  Otherwise, we’re just part of the problem.    

4 Benefits of Outpatient Treatment | Recreate

To overcome an addiction to drugs and alcohol and maintain long-term sobriety, many people need professional addiction treatment. For more severe addictions, some people require residential or inpatient treatment that provides 24-hour care in a hospital-like setting. But for others transitioning out of inpatient treatment or who cannot attend an inpatient treatment center, outpatient treatment is a wonderful option. Inpatient treatment is not a practical option for many people, and fortunately, there are other treatment options. The following are five benefits of outpatient treatment.

Minimizes Disruption to Daily Life

One of the major obstacles preventing people from seeking addiction treatment is the challenge of taking an extended leave of absence from their job or personal family obligations. It is nearly impossible for working parents to take the time to attend an inpatient treatment program, so outpatient treatment is a great option. Many treatment centers offer sessions and therapy that take place in the evenings or on the weekends. One of the major benefits of outpatient treatment is that struggling individuals can receive the help they need without neglecting the other aspects of their lives.

Stay Connected to Loved Ones

Receiving support from your loved ones can be a great way to stay motivated and focused while in treatment. This important support network is often cut off when a person enters inpatient treatment. For many patients, the primary motivation in seeking help is to repair the relationships with their loved ones. Living among supportive loved ones while in treatment can be extremely beneficial for an individual’s recovery and treatment outcomes.

Less Expensive

Another barrier to receiving treatment is often the cost of care. The reality is that rehab is very expensive, particularly when it comes to inpatient programs. Outpatient treatment is much more affordable as you only have to pay for the sessions you attend, rather than food, shelter, and around-the-clock care with an inpatient program. Insurance companies are also more likely to pay for outpatient treatment than inpatient programs.

Get Connected to the Recovery Community

There are recovery communities all around the world, but it can be difficult to find them if you don’t know where to look. By entering an outpatient treatment program, you will be introduced to a recovery community in your area, as well as meet individuals on the same journey as you in your outpatient program. Developing sober support networks is critical to an individual’s recovery from drugs and alcohol. The bonds you form will help you stay connected and maintain your sobriety.

These are just a few of the benefits of outpatient treatment. It is best to speak with an addiction professional and receive a recommendation on what level of treatment is best for you.

Recreate Life Counseling Services

Recreate Life Counseling offers proven and effective addiction treatment at the outpatient level. Located in the sun and warmth of South Florida, Recreate can help you or your loved one recover from your addiction and recreate your life. To hear more about our treatment programs and services, call us today.