Opioid Treatment is Undergoing Change

3308079338_c8c107bc7f_z“Recovery does not refer to an absence of pain or struggle. Rather, recovery is marked by the transition from anguish to suffering. In anguish the paralyzed man and I lived without hope. We experienced anguish as futile pain, pain that revolved in circles, pain that bore no possibility other than more pain, and pain that lead nowhere. However, when we became hopeful, our anguish was transformed into` true suffering. True suffering is marked by an inner peace, i.e., although we still felt great pain, we also experienced a peace in knowing that this pain was leading us forward into a new future.”
Patricia E. Deegan

  1.  From Huffington Post: Good News on Opioid Epidemic: Treatment Options are Expanding

The Affordable Care Act and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act combined to finally require insurance companies to cover treatment for patients suffering from addiction. Insurance companies can no longer deny treatment or significantly limit treatment for psychiatric disorders, including addiction, as they had in the past.

President Obama recently proposed US$ 1.1 billion in funding to expand access to treatment for opioid addiction and overdose prevention.

In July, the House passed a bill that would further expand access to care for addiction and other mental health conditions.

Then, on July 22, the president signed into law the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016.

If adequately funded by Congress, the law will help to strengthen prevention, treatment and recovery efforts.

This improves treatment options for individuals in the criminal justice system, which may decrease rates of return to crime and prison. It also expands access to naloxone, a lifesaving drug that emergency medical workers and even family and friends, in certain cases, can administer to someone who has overdosed.

                2.  From The New York Times: Are Opioids the Next Antidepressant?

One result might be a depressive syndrome that is not responsive to the antidepressants now in use. There is little doubt that the current medications are inadequate for a significant portion of the population. A large study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health found that the rate of remission after two rounds of drug treatment was about 50 percent. After four rounds, around 30 percent of patients still suffered from depression.

Essentially, all the anti-depressants now in use affect a single group of neurotransmitters called monoamines and are likely to treat only specific subtypes of depression. Clinicians and scientists alike are in agreement that other pathways in the brain that control mood need to be explored. The opioids are one such pathway.

                    3. From Jason Schwartz: A Systems Approach is the Only Way to Address the Opioid Crisis

Health Affairs has a great summary of a recent report on the opioid crisis.

It identifies “six key components to develop a system-wide community solution.”

  1. Recognize That Everyone In Your Community Has A Role To Play
  2. Work Together
  3. Work On Multiple Parts Of The System Simultaneously
  4. Be Unambiguous About The Risks Of Prescription Opioids
  5. Re-Train The Medical Community
  6. Recognize That Addiction Is A Chronic Disease, And Treat It Accordingly

Read the article for details.

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