Tag Archives: treatment

For many heroin addicts, treatment barriers remain

heroinspoonThe rise in heroin addiction across the nation, fueled by the prescription drug addiction epidemic, means that increasing numbers of people are in need of inpatient treatment services — but many who need help are contending with a shortage of services and constraints placed on care by insurance companies, according to this article.

Unlike withdrawal from dependencies on alcohol or benzodiazepines, heroin withdrawal isn’t life-threatening – but it is so horrific that many addicts are drawn back to the drug and overdose, the article notes. Because withdrawal is not directly deadly, most insurance companies won’t pay for inpatient rehab, either claiming that the addict does not meet the “criteria for medical necessity” — that inpatient care would be an inappropriate treatment — or requiring that the user first try outpatient rehab, the article says.

Of the 23.1 million Americans who needed treatment for drugs or alcohol in 2012, only 2.5 million people received care at a specialty facility, the article says, citing data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The number of people reporting heroin use in the previous year increased between 2007 and 2012, from 373,000 to 669,000, while nearly 80 percent of people who had used heroin in 2011 had also previously abused prescription painkillers classified as opioids.

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Heroin addicts facing treatment barriers

drug moneyThe rise in heroin addiction across the nation, fueled by the prescription drug addiction epidemic, has caused an uptick in the number of people in need of inpatient treatment services — but many who need help are contending with a shortage of services and constraints placed on care by insurance companies. The increase in demand for treatment has left many addicts to wait weeks in some cases for care because of denial from their insurance companies, according to this article. Before insurance companies agree to cover inpatient services they want evidence that an addict has tried one or more outpatient programs, has little or no outside support network, and has a health condition that makes treatment a medical necessity, the article says.

Previously, a typical inpatient program lasted a month and the average detox program ran seven to 10 days; these days, as a result of insurance companies scaling back their coverage and increasing their deductibles, inpatient services generally run 10 days and detoxes three to five days — and most insurers will only pay for up to 10 days, the article says.

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Opioid abuse epidemic leaving many untreated

RXAs of 2009, around 2.3 million Americans suffered from addiction to opioids such as heroin or the prescription drug oxycodone, and new research shows that many of these people aren’t getting the treatment they need, according to this article. The massive uptick in opiate addiction has resulted in a major gap between current treatment options and evidence-based practices, the article says, citing an article published in the journal Health Affairs.

Excessive regulation presents the biggest barrier for treatment in the U.S., the article says. In addition, although maintenance treatment with methadone is the dominant form of treatment for opioid dependence throughout most of the developed world, detox is still a popular option, particularly in the U.S. – even though it is ineffective in getting and keeping people off of opioids, the article says.

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Fla. clinic to serve opiate-addicted babies

babybottleIn Florida, the prescription drug addiction epidemic has resulted in more pregnant mothers giving birth to children who are already addicted to opiates. To deal with this troubling issue, the Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Clinic at All Children’s Outpatient Care in Sarasota has begun providing a variety of free services for addicted babies from birth to 24 months of age, according to this article.

In the last two to three years, Sarasota Memorial Hospital saw an increase in drug-addicted newborns of about 700%, the article says. Statewide, seven out of 1,000 babies born in Florida have neonatal abstinence syndrome, which involves symptoms such as inconsolable crying, tremors, seizures, diarrhea and vomiting. In 2011, 1,563 newborns were diagnosed with drug exposure in Florida, according to the article.

Most NAS cases involve non-Hispanic white infants, the article adds, and nearly half of women who delivered a baby diagnosed with NAS received prenatal care in a private physician’s office.

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Opiate abuse epidemic prompts new N.C. inpatient center

Addiction-Resources-Helping-HandsNorth Carolina is set to open a new inpatient treatment center specifically to deal with the state’s growing problem with opioid addiction, according to this article. The Walter B. Jones Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center in Greenville, N.C. has been certified by the federal government to become the state’s only inpatient center, and will be one of 75 nationwide offering full services for opiate addiction.

The program will serve high-risk patients with intake, detoxification and treatment in a hospital setting, and will also offer services to new mothers, who can bring children under age one into treatment with them, the article says.

Last year, about 1,000 people in North Carolina died of prescription drug overdoses, according to the N.C. Attorney General’s Office.

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Pill addiction treatment admissions up by 569%: report

A new government report has found that treatment admissions for people addicted to both benzodiazepines and narcotic pain relievers jumped 569.7% between 2000 and 2010. According to the report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), overall substance abuse treatment admissions increased 4% during the same time period.

In 2010, 33,701 people received treatment for addiction to both medications, according to the report. Nearly 40% of those with this combined addiction began using both drugs in the same year, while about 34% first became addicted to narcotic pain relievers and 27% started with benzodiazepines.

In addition, almost half of patients treated for the combined addiction also had a psychiatric disorder, and people ages 18 to 34 represented 66.9% of those treated, the report found.

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