Making the important decision to treat drug addiction really can make the difference between life and death. Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, in 2015, more than 52,000 Americans lost their lives to drug overdoses, 33,000 of them from heroin, fentanyl and other opioids. The preliminary numbers for 2016 show an increase to almost 60,000 deaths
Quitting opiates isn't easy, but there are ways to make the treatment process easier.
Treating Addiction as a Disease
Addiction is a disease, yet finding the resources for treatment can sometimes be a challenge. Even within the drug treatment community, many programs don't treat addiction as a disease and rely solely on the traditional 12-step approach to recovery. It is difficult to treat opiate addiction without medical support, as there is a very low success rate for those who have quit opiates without prescription drugs. Complicating matters even further, many medical professionals often lack adequate training and have outdated ideas about addiction.
These attitudes need to change. Just as cancer patients often work with a number of doctors including an oncologist, a primary care physician and other specialists who work together to treat their disease, breaking the addiction to opioids requires the same integrated approach.
The Importance of a Comprehensive Approach
Making the decision to get treatment is tough enough, having to deal with multiple medical professionals in different locations can be overwhelming. Most people don't have the luxury of an inpatient treatment facility, let alone the time to shuttle between multiple providers including a primary care physician.
The ACCESS Medication Asissted Treatment (M.A.T.) program that uses Buprenorphine takes a comprehensive approach to treatment by integrating a doctor into the care plan. The doctor is fully aware and informed about the M.A.T. program and can address the individual's overall health in conjunction with the treatment.
The comprehensive M.A.T. program treats addiction as a disease – combining both supportive medical treatment and emotional reinforcement – to help alleviate it. Hospitalization is not required to begin treatment and the ACCESS Buprenorphine program provides:
- Weekly visits with an ACCESS doctor
- Regular group support sessions
- Behavioral health services and counseling
- Outpatient care – allowing more time for family and work
If you or someone you know struggles with an opiate addiction, seek help today. Contact ACCESS to schedule an appointment at one of our community health centers in the Chicago area.