State Systems Overwhelmed
Emergency rooms and state resources are stretched trying to respond to the epidemic. Massachusetts, Vermont, and other states have issued “State of Emergency” or created special task forces to deal with the crisis.
Treatment options most available include methadone, abstinence based programs, and buprenorphine/naloxone. Other treatment options are available but have limited access or barriers to access, such as long-acting injectibles.
Methadone, an opiate, provided in clinics has been around since the 1970s. For most, individuals must visit the methadone clinic each day to obtain methadone medication. Methadone is not available in prescription form. While effective, methadone clinics place a significant burden on clients to get medication, and face significant community resistance related to NIMBY issues.
Most well known are drug rehab facilities. Of the 10,000+ drug rehab facilities, most are abstinence based, requiring patients to go “cold turkey” without medication to manage cravings. While widely available, strong withdrawal and craving feelings affect individuals and relapse is high. Despite the availability of rehab facilities, the high cost and high relapse rate makes them a poor treatment option.
In 2000, physicians who received a Data2000 waiver were allowed to prescribe buprenorphine with naloxone to patients with opioid dependency. Physicians are restricted to 30 patients their first year, and may increase it to to 100 patients after their first year. Buprenorphine, not an opiate, manages cravings. Patients could take medication daily, and guidelines recommended counseling. Studies indicate buprenorphine is a highly effective treatment option.
Buprenorphine treatment combined with psychotherapy counseling is the best treatment option for individuals, and the only treatment option available that can scale to meet the needs of this epidemic.
- Treatment is convenient: Individuals are more likely to stay in treatment and be compliant.
- Treatment is cost effective: Alternative treatment services with high relapse rates place undo financial burden on individuals and their families.
- Treatment is local: Keeping individuals in their communities enables them to recover while being part of their community.
Physicians often don’t want to deal with addiction because of societal stigma. Peers and the community may label them “drug doctors”.
Individuals with substance use disorders may be disruptive to their practice and to other patients in the waiting room. Physicians are concerned addiction patients may affect other clientele in their practice.
Treating patients for opioid abuse involves several additional efforts that unique to treating addiction patients. Many physicians find the additional efforts overly burdensome.
DEA guidelines, monitoring, and inspections adds additional burdens to physicians, causing stress on the physician’s practice.
Many physicians who can prescribe are not in areas where opioid abuse is highest making treatment.
Bright Heart Health Approach
A more effective approach to treatment is to remove geographic barriers by using telemedicine.
Medication & Therapy
A comprehensive, evidence-based approach to treatment provides the best opportunity for recovery.
Learn more about Bright Heart Health’s Opioid Use Disorder Program.
Rapid Access Treatment
Bright Heart Health offers Rapid Access to treatment. Learn more about the details of the program, fees, and requirements.
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Emergency Room Services
Bright Heart Health offers onsite referral and assessment services for emergency rooms to assist patients into treatment.
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Learn more about Bright Heart Health services for Data2000 physicians and how Bright Heart Health will manage all the hassles related to prescribing.
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