Amid the efforts to control the stubbornly rising rate of opioid crisis in the United States, a recent study has highlighted that nearly seven out of 10 patients who have recovered from an overdose are not given any follow-up medicines to prevent a relapse. As a result, in spite of an increase in the number of patients being treated for opioid addiction, the rate of the opioid epidemic is far from slowing down.
“The stunning finding here is that we have effective treatments for people who survive an overdose but only three in 10 are getting those medications,” said Dr. Marc Larochelle, the lead author of the study.
As part of the study, the researchers observed 17,568 patients who overdosed on opioids between 2012 and 2014 in Massachusetts. They noticed that of all the patients given medicines to treat their addiction, 17 percent took buprenorphine (Suboxone), 11 percent took methadone, and only 6 percent took opioid blocker naltrexone (Vivitrol). As a result, while people who were medicated with buprenorphine were able to reduce their death rate by 40 percent after one year, people who were treated with methadone could cut their death rate by 60 percent. Meanwhile, for those who were given naltrexone were no more likely to be alive after a year than those who were not offered or did not take a medication.
“The mortality reduction we see with these drugs is similar to giving someone who suffers a heart attack aspirin — it’s one of the most effective treatments we have in medicine,” added Larochelle. The difference in reduction of death rate further reflected the different dosages of drugs for treating an opioid disorder.
Obstacles in path of opioid addiction treatment
Currently, approximately 115 people succumb to opioid overdose in the U.S. each day. However, the sad part is that the high death rates persist in spite of having effective treatment strategies to address the the problem of opioid addiction.
The aforementioned observation by the researchers has proved that buprenorphine and methadone are effective medications to control the urge to get high on powerful street drugs which can lead to another overdose. Despite that, not many are receiving the treatment owing to lack of access to appropriate clinics that could provide them the medicines. For instance, people in the rural regions have to struggle to reach their nearest methadone clinics for daily doses.
Further, there are also preconceived notions about doctors treating the patients suffering from opioid addiction in a demeaning manner, which further discourages majority of the people from seeking medical treatment. While there are unguided inhibitions of the people that keep them away from seeking treatment, majority of the doctors are also afraid of prescribing these medicines to patients, considering the fact that the patient might abuse the medication as well.
Seeking treatment for opioid addiction is important
The above-mentioned study also concluded that even though there were only three out of 10 patients who received opioid medication treatment in Massachusetts in 2014, the condition was far better than the other states. While the fact that 97 percent of the residents of the state had health insurances played an important role, the availability of clinics providing methadone or buprenorphine treatment for opioid addiction also made the state stand out from the rest.
Amidst all this, it is important for the states and legislatives to understand the importance and need to establish more clinics for opioid treatment. Meanwhile, for the individuals, it is important to recognize the symptoms and seek immediate medical help to recover from opioid addiction. Hence, if you or your loved one is suffering from opioid abuse disorder, contact Sovereign Health’s state-of-the-art, yet affordable, drug detox centers in California for the effective recovery program. Call at our 24/7 helpline number (855) 682-0103 or chat online with our representatives to get in touch with drug detox clinics in California.