Opioid overdose deaths are on the rise. So much in fact that it is now the second-leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., behind motor vehicle accidents. Shocking? Yes. Can something be done to change this? Absolutely, but the treatment being used now, detoxification, is not working. More access is needed to methadone treatment to drastically reduce overall deaths caused by overdosing on opioids.
The Medical News reported in their August 2013 issue that experts were calling for increased availability of medication-based treatments with methadone and buprenorphine to reduce addiction and overdose deaths from opioids and in no way support the “detox” treatment. In fact, they find detoxification to be extremely ineffective as can clearly be seen by opioid overdoses being the second-leading cause of accidental death now in North America.
What’s more concerning is that people from every walk of life, including young people and children, are now abusing these drugs and it’s costing them their lives.
Researcher Bohdan Nosyk, of Simon Fraser University, states that it is time to utilize and expand the use of methadone and buprenorphine treatment to reduce addiction and drug overdose deaths. In his studies, he has found that heroin and prescription drug addiction from drugs like oxycodone are increasing at rapid rates in not only the U.S. but in Canada as well – while there is a huge gap in treating these addictions in both geographic locations.
Nosyk explains, “In the absence of readily-available treatment, some of the prescribed opioid users who are becoming dependent will switch from pills to injecting heroin in search of a more potent high. This would compound the challenges we have in the fight against HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C at a time when new technology and treatment options for these conditions are turning the tide.”
Without proper treatment, patients are set up for failure, which will more than likely lead to death. Nosyk’s research has shown clear evidence that with methadone and buprenorphine treatment, patients will reduce their drug use which will lead to a reduction of overdoses, habits that increase one’s chance of contracting HIV, and illegal criminal activity.
He found that not only is using methadone and buprenorphine treatment successful in helping drug users wean off heroin and prescription drugs, it also makes sense financially.
In his studies, Nosyk makes many recommendations to increase the availability of “evidence-based” medical treatment which include the following:
Eliminate restrictions on prescribing methadone as treatment
Reduce financial hardships to make treatment accessible to those who need it
Reduce the overall dependence on opioid detox treatment
Integrate emerging treatments
Contact a CAP Medical Clinic near you for more information on this study or if you have any questions or concerns.