From Percy Menzies, President of Assisted Recovery Centers of America:
This is my response to the following op-ed article.
In the heated presidential political debate, candidates have been sharing poignant stories of family members being impacted by drugs and some even dying. The common theme that is emerging is:
* The present opioid addiction was triggered by physicians irresponsibly prescribing highly addicting and abusable opioids like oxycodone and Vicodin for relatively minor pain. Patients abused these drugs and when they could not get more pills they switched to heroin which is much cheaper and readily available.
* Stigma for the ‘disease’ of addiction is the major roadblock for patients seeking treatment and has contributed to the worsening of the epidemic
* There is a long waiting perioid for a treatment bed
* We don’t use the treatments that have proven to be effective
* ‘Remove’ the stigma for the disease
* Insurance should cover for inpatient treatment
* The longer the patient stays in residential/inpatient treatment, better the results
* Put tighter restrictions on the use of prescripton opioids and the epidemic will go away
* Stigma is not some law or regulation that can be removed by legislation or decree. Stigma is society’s desperate and failing effort to get people to change. Stigma can only go away through better outcomes. Do we have anything to show like the progress made in the treatment of stigmatized condtions or disease like AIDS/HIV, epilepsy etc?
* Can anyone describe what drug ‘treatment’ or ‘rehab’ is?
* Why is it that patients going home after ‘treatment’ or ‘rehab’ relapse within days and what is being done about it?
* Does anyone know about the restrictions placed on drugs like methadone and buprenorphine? How would diabetic patients react if their medications had these kind of restrictions?
It is time we stop the blaming game and look at why the treatment of addictive disorders is driven by ideology and not science.