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Author: Justin Mckibben
Addiction is not an easy problem to address. It is a complex issue with many variables, so of course there is no simple answer to fix it. There is no one-size-fits-all solution; no monopoly on the right kind of treatment. It is understandable that there is a degree of effectiveness with utilizing any medical means available to try and address addiction, but are maintenance drugs really the answer?
Surely medication assisted treatment is useful, and it helps a lot of people. Most inpatient treatment programs utilize some form of medication to ease withdrawal symptoms and other side-effects of long-term drug use. The detox period of treatment usually focuses on medically assisting someone struggling with drugs in this transition.
However, is getting people off of one drug by making them dependent on another really the best case scenario? It seems now insurance companies are putting more effort into using maintenance drugs to treat addiction. Is this really a better strategy?
Firstly, let us make a clear definition of what maintenance drugs are. Typically, the definition of maintenance drugs is along the lines of prescriptions commonly used to treat conditions that are considered chronic or long-term. These conditions usually require regular, daily use of medicines.
Examples of common maintenance drugs are medications such as:
- Fluticasone and salmeterol (Advair Diskus) which is used to treat asthma
- Insulin glargine (Lantus) used to treat diabetes
If you consider these examples the point is that people use these medications to “manage” their illness, not to overcome or remedy it. So looking at the issue of addiction, there are some well-known maintenance drugs, specifically concerning opioid addiction.
These medications can be effective, but they also present a level of danger themselves. Even though doctors prescribe them to combat withdrawals, they actually can create their own devastating withdrawals, especially with long term use.
Aetna Aims for Maintenance Drugs
Aetna is one of the nation’s largest insurance companies. In a recent Aetna report, the company is prepared to remove a major restriction for patients seeking maintenance drugs for opioid addiction. The change is set to begin this coming March. Aetna is the third major health insurer to announce such a shift in policy in recent months, now in league with Anthem and Cigna insurers.
To be more specific, this insurance company will stop requiring doctors to seek approval before they prescribe particular medications that are used to combat withdrawal symptoms. One of these medications is suboxone, a well-known medication that many people use to fight opiate addiction.
The common insurance practice is known as “prior authorization”. The reason they are seeking to eliminate this policy is because it sometimes results in delays of hours to days before a patient can get the medications.
This new approach to regulation of maintenance drugs impacts all its private insurance plans, an Aetna spokeswoman confirmed.
Advocates of Maintenance Drugs
Addiction treatment advocates to support having expanded access to maintenance drugs. Dr. Corey Waller, an emergency physician who chairs the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s legislative advocacy committee, states:
“It’s a first-line, Food and Drug Administration-approved therapy for a disease with a known mortality. [For] every other disease with a known mortality, the first-line drugs are available right away.”
Essentially, the idea that parity laws require insurers to cover addiction treatments at the same level as other kinds of healthcare means these kinds of medication should be available for immediate access. This should be the same for all forms of addiction treatment.
Opinion: Treatment over Maintenance
While many would argue that maintenance drugs are a form of treatment, it is still a relevant argument that maintenance drugs are also imperfect and could actually be harmful if they become the cookie-cutter answer implemented by most insurers.
While harm reduction is understandable, and maintenance drugs can help people struggling with heroin or other dangerous opioids avoid other serious risks, the fact is many maintenance drugs include their own side-effects. Some often become subject to abuse themselves.
For instance, suboxone can be useful as a harm reduction tactic, but it can also be abused. Many people who have used suboxone as a long-term solution have found themselves battling suboxone withdrawal symptoms. The dangers of suboxone are very relevant.
The same, if not worse, has often been said about methadone maintenance drugs. While they may keep someone alive to get treatment, there should still be a strong emphasis on treatment itself. Maintenance drugs are most effective when part of a program. They are not a substitute for a treatment program.
Treatment should focus on finding solutions, not prolonging the suffering. Drug and alcohol addiction treatment should come from a holistic approach that addresses more than just physical ailments. Holistic treatment focuses on providing extensive and personalized therapy, combined with physical and emotional heal. If insurance companies want to focus on combining rational medical resources with comprehensive treatment, then this could be a great thing. However, if the focus becomes a quick-fix drug option opposing a full recovery through treatment, it only adds to the danger.
Maintenance drugs have support from the recovery community, but typically they must be accompanied by therapy and other means of treatment. Maintenance drugs are just that- drugs. They are often powerful narcotics, and are true to their title- “maintenance,” not a permanent solution.
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Author: Shernide Delva
A pharmaceutical company that manufactures a form of the painkiller fentanyl made a $500,000 contribution towards an anti-pot legalization campaign. Pro-marijuana reform advocates believe the company may be trying to “kill a non-pharmaceutical market for marijuana in order to line their own pockets.”
It would be hard to imagine a more controversial donor than Insys Therapeutics Inc. The company, based in Chandler, Arizona, makes a fentanyl sublingual spray called Subsys. Many argue that drug companies like Insys Therapeutics Inc., are eager to keep cannabis illegal to dominate the market with their often dangerous and addictive drugs. The donation from Insys Therapeutics Inc. makes up more than a third of all the funds raised by the group. Advocates for marijuana legalization criticized the contribution, citing a variety of legal issues around the company Insys.
Advocates for marijuana legalizations criticized the contribution, citing a variety of legal issues around the company Insys.
“[Our opponents] are now funding their campaign with profits from the sale of opioids—and maybe even the improper sale of opioids,” said J.P. Holyoak, chairman of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.
“We hope that every Arizonan understands that Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy is now a complete misnomer. Their entire campaign is tainted by this money. Any time an ad airs against Proposition 205, the voters should know that it was paid for by highly suspect Big Pharma actors.”
In addition to selling Subsys, Insys Therapeutics Inc. has developed Syndros, a synthetic version of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. The drug received approval from the FDA in July 2016 for the treatment of AIDS and cancer patients.
Still, while the contribution is a victory for the opposition, the initiative itself remains a contest for either side to claim. A recent poll found that 50% of Arizona voters favor
While the contribution is a victory for the opposition, the initiative itself remains a contest for either side to claim. A recent poll discovered 50 percent of registered Arizona voters favor legalization, 40 percent oppose the measure, and 10 percent are undecided
Insys said in a statement that its opposition to the legalization of cannabis was “because it fails to protect the safety of Arizona’s citizens, and particularly its children.”
Furthermore, there have been studies revealing some negative health effects of marijuana. Some of these studies link marijuana to a variety of side effects.
In a report from the American Medical Association, they stated:
“Heavy cannabis use in adolescence causes persistent impairments in neurocognitive performance and IQ, and use is associated with increased rates of anxiety, mood and psychotic thought disorders.”
Many in opposition to marijuana legalization believe the drug can be addictive for some people. Also, some worry about the easy-access child may have to the drug if legalized.
Proposition 205: The Final Verdict
On November 8, 2016, Arizona residents will vote on the ballot regarding Proposition 205:
- A “yes” vote supports this measure to legalize the possession and consumption of marijuana by persons who are 21 years of age or older.
- A “no” vote opposes this measure to legalize the possession and consumption of marijuana by persons who are 21 years of age or older.
Marijuana legalization will continue to be a hot topic across the country. Many believe marijuana legalization would put a strain on the recovery community. Still, when it comes to sobriety, it is up to the individual to commit to the lifestyle of recovery. If you are struggling with any form of addiction, legal or illegal, we can help. Call toll-free today.
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Author: Justin Mckibben
Since drug and alcohol addict has been treated exclusively there have pretty much always been treatment programs that revolve around religious ideals. Narconon’s practices have been invariably derived directly from Scientology’s religious doctrines with only minimal changes to obscure their origins. Now there are plans to build a new Scientology-affiliated addiction treatment center in Maryland on the site of a former presidential retreat, but according to recent reports this new proposal has reportedly been met with opposition.
Notes on Narconon
Narconon is an international drug rehabilitation organization founded back in 1966 which currently claims a presence in 26 countries around the world, but while it also boasts of an alarmingly high success rate it has openly been criticized on these claims due to the details of the studies on the success rates being almost impossibly hard to obtain. Allegedly because Narconon does not seem to want to distribute them even though it publicizes their “conclusions”, which have systematically been misquoted or misrepresented.
The Narconon program uses treatment methods developed by Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. Much of Narconon’s critics state that the Narconon “science” is based on provably false scientific statements by Hubbard, and the research which Narconon is allegedly based upon has never been published or scientifically approved. Keys aspects of their programs include:
This is the equivalent to going “cold turkey”, meaning an addict is expected to stopping all drugs at once and deal with the resulting physical and mental pain of detox with vitamin doses and “assists”, a form of spiritual healing.
A series of drills performed with another person that is intended to “bring about interaction between the individual and the existing physical universe”.
- New Life Detoxification Program
Intensive schedule of running, massive overdoses of vitamins and very long sauna sessions, designed to “run out” drugs and radiation from the body (the body cannot sweat out radiation, but Scientology says it does).
Short courses aimed to improve a person’s ability to study, communicate and exercise moral judgments. This kind of treatment seems trapped in the mindset that addiction is a moral dilemma and not a disease.
Some have also said that Narconon is based on “bogus science” which puts clients at serious risks for and threatens their safety. These claims got a lot of attention back in 2012, when there were a series of deaths, 3 in a 9 month period, at one of the facilities in near the town of Canadian, Oklahoma.
That controversy came to a head when 2 former Narconon executives spoke out in the news against the program. The former president of the Oklahoma facility and a former executive at a Narconon facility in Michigan came forward to expose what they called deceitful marketing techniques and under-qualified staff, and that shed new light on an investigation that has since tarnished the Narconon name.
Taking all this into account, the bid for them to open a new facility in Maryland is finding it harder and harder to make headway in their efforts to get approval.
Ever since the release of the documentary on HBO Going Clear about exposing the Church of Scientology, which is highly critical of the religion, the organization has been under a magnifying glass. But many celebrities like Kirstie Alley credit Narconon with helping beat their addictions, and have gone on record to defend the church.
The Fight in Maryland
Narconon now fights for their ambitions to establish a “residential drug rehabilitation center” at Trout Run, a 40-acre camp in Frederick County, Md., that was visited by Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower.
Scientology has even been criticized in the past for the various extensions of the church manipulating circumstances to meet its needs, and now the church’s real estate arm and Narconon have requested the property to be designated for historic preservation, which would allow them to make changes otherwise banned by zoning laws.
Many local council members expressed concerns this week based on skepticism about Scientology. One speaker pointed out the power-play by the real estate extension of the church, claiming Narconon is “going through the back end” to get the appropriate licensing for the center, leading residents to regard the organization as dishonest. Frederick County council voted to postpone the decision until April 21 to allow for more public consideration, and at this point it’s not looking too promising.
While opinions on the Narconon program are shrouded with controversy and confusion, hidden behind the exclusivity of its founding religion, there are still many programs out there to help those who struggle with drugs or alcohol to overcome the obstacles they may face in obtaining sobriety, and with a holistic approach Palm Partners is proud to actively help men and women from all walks of life find a path to recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
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What to Expect from Drug and Alcohol Treatment: How It Works
A drug and alcohol treatment facility or program is a medical and residential program that specializes in helping you get off drugs and alcohol. A medical staff monitors you and administers medicine to alleviate your withdrawal symptoms so that your detox and recovery are safe and comfortable.
What to Expect from Drug and Alcohol Treatment: Alcohol Detox
If you are dependent on alcohol, you will require the help that a drug and alcohol treatment program can offer. It’s not safe to go “cold turkey,” suddenly stopping your drinking. The staff at the drug and alcohol treatment facility is trained to help and administer certain medications in order to ease your withdrawal symptoms.
Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a medical condition that results when you stop drinking once you are physically dependent on alcohol. The withdrawal symptoms from alcohol dependence can range in severity, from mild such as insomnia and anxiety to severe and life-threatening, such as convulsions, which can lead to death. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome can cause seizures, delirium tremens, also known as “the shakes,” anxiety, panic attacks, and paranoia.
What to Expect from Drug and Alcohol Treatment: Drug Detox
The withdrawal symptoms from alcohol and other drugs can be extremely uncomfortable, even painful, psychologically disturbing and can result in death. So much so that, many people in your situation say that the biggest obstacle to their recovery is their fear of withdrawal symptoms. The staff at the drug and alcohol treatment facility can address your withdrawal symptoms from a number of different drugs, not just alcohol.
If you are using opiates, such as the prescription painkillers oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone or heroin, the withdrawals aren’t life-threatening however, in some cases, people have experienced seizures when they stopped on their own. Alcohol and drug treatment programs can help alleviate your withdrawal symptoms and you will be able to manage them much more comfortably.
If you are dependent on benzos, such as Xanax or Valium, or barbiturates then a medical drug detox is necessary. Just like with alcohol withdrawal syndrome, benzo withdrawal syndrome is potentially fatal. Severe symptoms are seizure, heart failure, stroke, coma, and death.
If you are addicted to amphetamines, such as cocaine and crack, and methamphetamine, such as crystal meth, the withdrawals include uncomfortable and frightening psychological symptoms such as hallucinations and extreme paranoia. The drug and alcohol treatment programs are equipped for treating these symptoms as well.
What to Expect from Drug and Alcohol Treatment: Rehab
After detox, which may last from 4 to 10 days depending on your progress, you will enter the next level of the program offered at your drug and alcohol treatment. A detox program is not enough, on its own.
Real recovery begins with the residential inpatient rehabilitation level of treatment, called “rehab” for short. This can last up to 30 days, which really is only a drop in the bucket compared to a lifetime. At the rehab level, you will reside in a safe and comfortable environment where all of your needs will be met.
You will be kept comfortable, have case management support, and will have medical services provided. You will attend meetings, called groups, where you will learn about substance abuse and be given the tools to use once you complete the program so that you don’t get caught up in drugs and alcohol again. You will also have group and individual therapy sessions where you can address any dual diagnosis, or co-occurring issues such as depression, anxiety, as well as trauma-related issues.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction and don’t know what to expect from a drug and alcohol treatment, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 so that you can speak directly with an Addiction Specialist. We are available around the clock to answer your questions and help you decide what’s next.
Author: Justin Mckibben
Treatment for Molly Addiction: What is Molly?
The drug called ‘Molly’ has been marketed to teens and young adults all over as pure form of MDMA by dealers across the country, and those who take the drug believe they’re taking pure MDMA. To better understand what would make effective treatment for Molly addiction possible, it is important to know what this drug is and what it can do.
According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, only 13% of Molly contains any MDMA at all. MDMA (also known as ecstasy) is a synthetic drug that that acts as a hallucinogen and stimulant and alters the mind to bring on feelings of euphoria, and the common misconception of what Molly actually is, is a dangerous one. Experts involved in treatment for Molly addiction are aware that MDMA can cause:
- Increased heart rate
- Heavy sweating
- Teeth clenching
- A very sharp increase in body temperature that can lead to organ failure and death
Molly samples have been investigated to uncover the reality behind its ingredients, and authorities have found Molly can sometimes contain addictive drugs, such as:
The ingredients in Molly have been implicated in the emergency room visits and deaths of people who assumed they were taking pure MDMA.
Treatment for Molly Addiction: Molly Withdrawals
With treatment for Molly addiction, knowing the withdrawals that can come from excessive Molly abuse is important to assisting with that transition. Those who use Molly or MDMA often experience dehydration (which can lead to overheating, convulsing and seizing), as well as:
Along with these effects on an individual using Molly, other withdrawal symptoms that are addressed with treatment for Molly addiction include:
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble focusing
Treatment for Molly Addiction: Detox
As with most any treatment program, there will be a period of detox in treatment for Molly addiction. Detox is the part that most people are afraid to experience, which holds them back from getting the proper treatment, but with a medical detox program in treatment for Molly addiction there is often non-narcotic medication used to safely and comfortably wean individuals off of substances.
Trying do go ‘cold-turkey’ is never the easiest or safest way to try and get off any drug, and Molly is no exception. The medical staff is there to make sure that detox is completed in a healthy and effective process.
Treatment for Molly Addiction: Residential Rehab
After detox, which may last from 4 to 10 days depending on your progress, you will enter the next level of the program offered in treatment for Molly addiction. A detox program is too often misunderstood, and is typically not enough on its own to maintain lasting recovery.
Real recovery begins with the residential inpatient rehabilitation level of treatment for Molly addiction, called “rehab” for short. This can last anywhere from 30 days to a few months depending on your person recovery plan, which really is only a drop in the bucket compared to a lifetime. At the rehab level, individuals reside in a safe and comfortable environment where all basic needs will be met while they attend groups.
There is case management support, medical services, and a variety of therapy options available. Treatment for Molly addiction allows people to attend meetings, group therapy, and individual cognitive therapy where you will learn about substance abuse and be given the tools to use once the program has been completed. Treatment for Molly addiction can also address any dual diagnosis, or co-occurring issues such as depression, anxiety, as well as trauma-related issues.
Treatment for Molly Addiction: Aftercare
After the residential portion of treatment for Molly addiction, there is also the opportunity for aftercare, which an individual would want to develop a strategy for during inpatient residential rehab. Typically this can be included with intensive outpatient treatment (IOP) as a recovery plan that goes beyond the inpatient stage and helps someone maintain their new coping skills and provides some additional therapy and group sessions to continue assisting a recovering addict during this important transition.
Devising an aftercare plan helps an individual to continue to work actively for their sobriety, with support groups and continued therapy. Treatment for Molly addiction can mean a chance at a new life, and for most it can mean the difference between living and dying.
While many do not understand the reality of what risks they run with abusing MDMA and other drugs, there are many who are very aware of the dangers but who are still afraid of giving it up. With the right kind of treatment for Molly addiction anyone has a real fighting chance of changing for life. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135