A serious problem in our nation is heroin addiction and overall opiate abuse. Over 19,000 American men and women in 2010 died from heroin overdose. Approximately 11,000 American men and women perished from gun homicide, by comparison. We have seen in the last 35 years that approximately 200,000 users of drug injections are now dead due to HIV/AIDS.
Heroin Addiction Treatment – Substitution Therapies Methadone or Buprenorphine
As for substitution therapies, whether it is methadone or buprenorphine, they offer a limited, but fundamental tool to cure opiate disorders. Thus, to enhance harms linked to the misuse of the various substances. Many in research have published a number of studies attempting to understand how outpatient treatment centers can offer the various therapies most efficiently.
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Naturally, this presents an opportunity and challenge in the Affordable Care Act; this vastly expands access to the treatment services for substance abuse. Recently, Deborah Sontag of the New York Times published a comprehensive two-part series, “Addiction Treatment with a Dark Side,” on the misuse of buprenorphine.
Heroin Addiction Treatment – Regular Physician’s Office Over the Methadone Clinic
In the article, Ms. Sontag discusses the redemptive effects of receiving medications at a regular physician’s office rather than at a problematic and grim methadone clinic. However, she is quite vivid in depicting how more vastly abused buprenorphine actually is; buprenorphine is not only more lethal than we’re basically led to believe, but the providers of this drug are less honorable as well.
Ms. Sontag made it quite clear that buprenorphine caused about 42 deaths annually over the last decade; naturally, other substances were actively a part of many of these deaths. This is horrific, but we see this statistic in light of a population which presently experiences 19,000 annual deaths due to overdose.
Approximately 25 years ago, methadone treatment was immensely denounced among the general public, patients and providers to treat heroin addiction. Opposition to methadone caused unnecessary suffering, namely when barriers to treatment coincided with the worst days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Frankly, the plethora of controversies was a distraction from useful ways the treatment of methadone could improve. It is likely that buprenorphine will receive the same disgrace, according to experts.
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