Our country is in the grips of a nationwide prescription opiate addiction epidemic, with no slowdown in sight. Frankly I don't know what we are going to do about it. Its now estimated that each family in america has at least one member addicted or abusing prescription opiates. On the one hand, we have all these wonderful painkilling drugs developed by the pharmaceutical companies designed to end all types of pain with efficiency and effectiveness. On the other hand we have the DEA trying to restrict access and slow the rise of RX abuse. They go after the doctors prescribing these drugs for their patients, but the patients are the ones these drugs are designed for and resent the fact that they are branded drug abusers when they simply request solutions for their pain. Ending pain and discomfort is the goal of everyone isn't it? When doctors are pressured to slow their prescribing of pain killing narcotics, it affects their legitimate users of these drugs, who really resent this. Can you blame them?
Treatment of opiate addicts basically involves 3 methods which are:
Substitutes such as Suboxone and Methadone to provide maintenance therapy for those unable to abstain from opiates. This reduces crime,improves health of users and helps them to become productive members of society.
Treatment in residential treatment centers with the goal of total abstinence and a drug free lifestyle.This includes Rapid Detox procedures using anesthesia and opiate reversing drugs like naltrexone maintenance.
Groups like NA and AA are used to become drug free for those with limited resources for utilizing inpatient rehab centers. These groups have helped many addicts recover but many remain addicted.
I can relate to the substitution therapy using methadone which has worked for me for over 30 years.I take a dose of methadone every day which eliminates craving, enables me to work and be productive and support my family with no adverse affects other than the $70/week fee for the medication, which is really a small price to pay for the results I have received in my life. I wish I didn't have to take it, but I've been unable to abstain from using opiates illegally, even though I've tried. I've tried inpatient rehab 4 times with no success, as well as NA and AA groups.
We need more solutions for this problem and I challenge any of you reading this to think hard about it and suggest ways to deal with this epidemic which is taking over our country and continues to escalate out of control. Any ideas are welcome and I sincerely hope many of you will respond with your own stories and possible solutions. Thanks for your attention and your ideas. Rodney