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It is true that people addicted to opioids often need to be detoxed under medical supervision and with the help of opioid-assisted replacement therapy.
In other words, they are being treated by the healthcare establishment for their opioid addiction with opioids in a third-party payor healthcare setting that is CMS-certified.
The clinicians in these rehabilitation centers and hospitals are granted total legitimacy by our federal government to determine the best course of treatment for the addicted.
The truth is, many addicts scoff at detox in inpatient facilities with opioid replacement treatment. Many claim they found it easier to quit on their own, at least when they finally made a real commitment to do so.
There is no “one way” to sobriety, but if, for example, Rock Island County has pre-selected “volunteers” and a “budget” for their roundup operation, those taken to treatment will only have one option.
It’s better than jail, most everyone will say.
Well, perhaps. But these addicts will be in the medical system. It has to be trusted for the wellbeing of these vulnerable people.
Why do I bring all of this up now? Well, for a few concerns I have about the Safe Passage Program, namely the pre-selected (and paid?) roundup crew. I experienced what I would describe as a shocking pre-selected crew in the jail.
I do understand that treatment choices may be limited in Rock Island County, and that Robert Young Center/Riverside may be a natural choice. Still, the nepotism and genetic links between all of these agencies need not be further discussed.
Despite HIPAA, a general sense of transparency about how these addicts are being treated should be paramount. Success rates should be made public since taxpayer dollars are being used to fund the roundup crew (can someone go check that out?).
It’s called Slow-release oral Morphine, or SROM. Already, multiple other “opioid replacement therapies” (treating opioid addiction with different #Pharma formulations of opioids) is commonplace.
It helps a lot of people.
But some claim the therapy prolongs the nightmare. It’s a controversial topic in the rehab community and should not be accepted as gospel, nor should 12-step programs.
By any means.
In a news release, Annals of Internal Medicine, an academic medical journal published by the American College of Physicians, explains:
“With more Americans dying from accidental opioid-related overdoses than from motor vehicle accidents and homicides combined, it is clear that evidence-based solutions are urgently needed.”
It’s very hard to disagree with that. In the commentary by British Columbia Centre on Substance Use, the authors explain, “Buprenorphine and methadone may not be effective for all patients, with some studies indicating that fewer than 50 (percent) of persons who begin (opioid assisted treatment) with these medications are still receiving treatment at six months.”
Um…hopefully they are sober now? How can we define failure as being off the opioid therapy?
“Despite the proven benefits of opioid agonist therapy with buprenorphine or methadone, several health system and regulatory barriers to this treatment persist throughout North America,” the release continues. “In addition, buprenorphine and methadone may not be effective for all patients. These barriers have resulted in a large unmet treatment need, leaving an estimated gap of up to one million persons with untreated opioid use disorder, who continue to be at risk for overdose death and other negative health and social outcomes.”
In other words, everything deemed safe needs to be tried to save someone from opioid addiction. The commentators made a claim that using oral morphine as a (weaning?) treatment tool works just as well as methadone and buprenorphine and is just as safe.
But in a country swirling with distrust around the fetid healthcare system – indeed, 60 Minutes sounded a deafening foghorn waking up America about Congress, Pharma, cozy comforts and thousands of dead Americans.
Can we trust that our vulnerable addicts are being given a true shot at sobriety?
I sure hope so.
Until next time.
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