There has been much talk recently in the state of Washington about the opioid epidemic. A two-day summit was recently held with two main focuses as follows:
- Reduction of legally purchased drugs
- Medications in the treatment of opioid addiction
However equally important both topics are the questions surrounding the use of medications for treatment is gaining more attention.
A handful of people that work in law enforcement spoke about the importance of treating opioid addiction as a medical condition and it was their general consensus that the drugs should be removed from the shadows of society. They agreed that using medications has proven to reduce deaths and help people lead functional lives.
Much Debate About Using Medications
The debate over using medications to help addicts recover has been very contentious over the last two decades. Prescribing medications to opioid addicts is still the preferred method for treatment towards rehabilitation. Experts will agree that a person who has developed an opioid addiction should be treated like any other patient with a sickness.
Providing medications is often the first step in recovery as well as the first line of defense against an overdose. The goal is to restore a degree of normalcy to the daily life of the addict. Some notable medications for opioid addiction treatment are as follows:
They use some medications like methadone to alleviate the pain of withdrawals and limit euphoria. This classification of drugs allows addicts to perform tasks as rudimentary as going to the store and as important as performing duties in the workplace. Otherwise while under the influence of opioids the addicts have difficulties with most normal activities.
Some medications are used to relieve immediate complications from opioids. This classification of drugs is used to prevent possible death and revive patients who have overdosed.
Various Medications Used:
- Naloxone, has shown a reduction in overdose deaths by 6%
- Buprenorphine, showed better than a 50% reduction in deaths
- Suboxone, showed to alleviate dependence
- Methadone, alleviates pain without the euphoria associated with opioids
Limited Access for Meds
In the state of Washington buprenorphine programs have reached full capacity and therefore have illustrated the need for improved access to medications, namely buprenorphine and methadone. It will take some very serious consideration by policy makers to provide more resources and solve this growing need.
Saving Lives with Naloxone
The importance of Naloxone in saving lives has been proven. When addicts have overdosed the administering of Naloxone is the difference between life and death. There is little argument surrounding it’s effectiveness and any doubt will come under scrutiny from the medical community.
There are some reasons to speculate about using medications to treat addiction. The most well known medication methadone relieves pain and is a detoxifier yet is habit forming and can be dangerous if used improperly. However, methadone has been the forerunner for a long time and it’s usefulness in helping addicts cope has been proven time and time again regardless of it’s adverse effects.
There are multiple approaches to recovery with different levels of effectiveness but the use of medications has been proven to be the most effective. These drugs have been shown to save lives and or allow the addict to maintain a degree of productivity in their daily lives.