Treating opioid addiction with drugs

March 3, 2016

opioid addictionIn a NY Times article, it says almost one million American physicians can write a prescription for an opioid painkiller like Vicodin and OxyContin — one pathway to opioid addiction. But, because of regulatory hurdles and other factors, fewer than 32,000 doctors are permitted to prescribe buprenorphine, a medication to treat such addiction.

That’s a statistic worth thinking about since opioid painkillers and heroin contributed to the deaths of nearly 30,000 Americans in 2014, triple the number in 2000. Perhaps many of these lives could have been saved with buprenorphine. The Obama administration intends to increase access to it — and its proposed budget would commit hundreds of millions of dollars to do so — but it won’t be easy.

Taking buprenorphine or methadone, alongside counseling, is an effective approach to opioid addiction treatment. Because the drugs relieve patients’ cravings for heroin or narcotic painkillers, patients taking them can focus more on recovery and less on getting high.

The drugs can help addicted patients and their families get their lives back to normal while reducing the risk of fatal overdose, crime and their societal costs. But the need for these treatments far outstrips available supply. Less than half of the 2.5 million Americans who could benefit from medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction receive it. To read the article in full click here.

Treating opioid addiction with drugs will be discussed at the Australian and New Zealand Addiction Conference 2016, themed Alcohol – Other Drugs – Behavioural Addictions, Prevention, Treatment and Recovery.

The conference will be held on the Gold Coast from the 19 – 20 May 2016. To register your attendance at the conference CLICK HERE.



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