There is a desperate need in the United States to provide greater access to opioid use disorder treatment. At the end of the day, treating addiction is the only effective way of dealing with the epidemic ravaging families across the country. Experts wholeheartedly concur with each other: The American opioid epidemic is not something that we can arrest our way out of, and solutions are to be found in prevention and recovery efforts.
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2016, which was approved in both the Congress and Senate, calling for expanding access to substance use disorder treatment centers. It is well known that the vast majority of people battling addiction, never see the inside of a treatment facility, meaning that the likelihood of those people every finding recovery is diminished greatly. Recently, the President asked congress for over a billion dollars to help fund such efforts.
CARA and Buprenorphine
The Drug Policy Alliance points out that the three main takeaways from CARA, include:
- CARA supports the expansion of diversion programs, such as Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, that direct people stopped by law enforcement for low-level drug law violations away from the criminal justice system and into evidence-based treatment and other services.
- CARA supports the expanded provision of buprenorphine, methadone and other forms of medication-assisted treatment, including to people involved with the criminal justice system. The vast majority of correctional facilities do not provide medication-assisted treatment despite an overwhelming need among incarcerated people and the strong evidence base supporting medication-assisted therapy to treat opioid dependence.
- CARA supports the expanded use of naloxone by first responders and community members such as family members in a position to administer naloxone to a person experiencing an opioid overdose. Naloxone effectively reverses opioid overdoses and is safe to use but people who are at-risk of experiencing or witnessing an overdose often cannot access this lifesaving drug.
Buprenorphine is a drug that help people with opioid withdrawal symptoms. Ideally, after the withdrawal period is over, a patient will be tapered off of buprenorphine, commonly sold under the brand name Suboxone®. A patient or client will then invest all of their energy into working a program of recovery, in order to mitigate the risk of relapse and learn how to live a productive life. Yet, even with a program, relapse is still a real possibility, which is why there has been a call for continuing a Suboxone® regiment after treatment.
There are several problems with that line of thinking, even if it is the lesser of two evils. Buprenorphine is an opioid derivative, which does cause feelings of euphoria and will cause withdrawal symptoms when taken away. People utilizing a buprenorphine maintenance program are essentially trading one opioid for another. At Synergy Group Services, our medical staff is specifically trained and licensed in Suboxone® treatment to help our patients begin the journey of recovery, and we are fully capable of helping our patients wean off of it after detox.
Opioid Use Disorder Recovery
We understand that discontinuing Suboxone® is no easy task, but we will develop a holistic treatment program which will help you be free from Suboxone® during the course of your treatment, so that you can start your program of recovery, without the use of any mind altering substances.
The first quarter of 2016 has shown a lot of promise so far with regard to combating the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic in the United States. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle can basically all agree that proactive measures are needed to limit prescribing practices and expand access to substance use disorder treatment. On top of that, efforts are underway to make it easier for addicts and their family to acquire the life saving opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone. If the drug is administered in timely manner, the drug can counter the symptoms of an opioid overdose.
If you have been following the news, you may be aware the Northeast has been hit hard by the opioid crisis. In response, the Massachusetts House unanimously passed a comprehensive bill for addressing opioid addiction, MassLive reports. The legislation would impose a limit on a doctor prescribing opioids, as well as a requirement that a mental health professional conduct a substance abuse evaluation to opioid overdose victims within 24 hours before they are discharged.
“We are in the midst of a public health crisis that is draining vitality from our hometowns, extinguishing lives and stealing souls,” said House Speaker Robert DeLeo, D-Winthrop, in a statement. “The House has crafted legislation and budgets that complement each other and set a foundation for continual improvement.”
A number of states are considering similar legislation aimed at tackling the problem. On top of that, the Federal government is attempting to tow the line as well. Last week, the Senate unanimously passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which authorizes the U.S. Attorneys General to award grants for addressing the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic. The following day, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy announced plans from the White House to spend nearly $100 million to expand addiction treatment services.
All the legislation in the works is a clear sign that lawmakers understand that we, as a nation, cannot arrest our way out of this epidemic. What’s needed is greater access to addiction treatment services, especially the way things are currently. In some parts of the country, addicts can wait as long as a month to receive a bed at a treatment center – especially in rural America.
If you are currently struggling with prescription opioid and/or heroin addiction, please contact Synergy Group Services. We can give you the tools necessary for living a life free from drugs and alcohol.
Recovering from addiction is no small feat, it requires determination and perseverance. Learning how to live a life free from drugs and alcohol cannot be done alone, and for 80 years members of 12-step programs have helped each other recover from the debilitating disease of addiction. September is a special time of year for people in recovery, being National Recovery Month.
All month long events are being held across the country with the collective goal of breaking the stigma of addiction and mental health disorders. September is also a time to celebrate everyone who is actively working a program of recovery and the countless people who work tirelessly in the field of addiction and mental health services.
National Recovery Month events are open to the public. They are good opportunity for people, without substance use disorders and people who have loved ones active in their addiction, to learn about the disease and how they can assist people to find recovery. The nation is currently in the grips of a tragic opioid epidemic, with addicts needlessly losing their life to overdoses every day. Opening up the dialogue about addiction can go a long way in the fight against this epidemic, changing how the general public looks at addiction will result in more people seeking help for their problem – saving lives.
We encourage everyone in recovery to attend National Recovery Month events. Recovery is worth celebrating, and your success is a living testament that: “We Can, and Do Recover”. On Monday, the President made a Proclamation showing his support for National Recovery Month and commending everyone in recovery. Please take a moment to read the Proclamation.
NATIONAL ALCOHOL AND DRUG ADDICTION RECOVERY MONTH, 2015
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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Every day, resilient Americans with substance use disorders summon extraordinary courage and strength and commit to living healthy and productive lives through recovery. From big cities to small towns to Indian Country, substance use disorders affect the lives of millions of Americans. This month, we reaffirm our unwavering commitment to all those who are seeking or in need of treatment, and we recognize the key role families, friends, and health care providers play in supporting those on the path to a better tomorrow.
This year’s theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Visible, Vocal, Valuable!” It encourages us all to do our part to eliminate negative public attitudes associated with substance use disorders and treatment. People in recovery are part of our communities — they are our family and friends, colleagues and neighbors — and by supporting them and raising awareness of the challenges they face, we can help eradicate prejudice and discrimination associated with substance use disorders, as well as with co-occurring mental disorders. Prevention and treatment work, and people recover — and we must ensure all those seeking help feel empowered, encouraged, and confident in their ability to take control of their future. Americans looking for help for themselves or their loved ones can call 1-800-662-HELP or use the “Treatment Locator” tool at www.SAMHSA.gov.
My Administration remains dedicated to pursuing evidence-based strategies to address substance use disorders as part of our National Drug Control Strategy. Seeking to widen pathways to recovery, our strategy supports the integration of substance use treatment into primary health care settings and the expansion of support services in places such as high schools, institutions of higher education, and throughout the criminal justice system. In the wake of public health crises related to non-medical use of prescription drugs and heroin in communities across our Nation, my Administration has pledged considerable resources to help Federal, State, and local authorities boost prevention efforts, improve public health and safety, and increase access to treatment in communities across the country. And the Affordable Care Act has extended substance use disorder and mental health benefits and Federal parity protections to millions of Americans.
Behavioral health is essential to overall health, and recovery is a process through which individuals are able to improve their wellness, live increasingly self-directed lives, and strive to fulfill their greatest potential. During National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, we reaffirm our belief that recovery and limitless opportunity are within reach of every single American battling substance use disorders, and we continue our work to achieve this reality.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 2015 as National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.
At Synergy Group Services we offer individualized treatment plans for addiction recovery.