Dying To Be Free

There’s A Treatment For Heroin Addiction That Actually Works.Why Aren’t We Using It?

http://projects.huffingtonpost.com/dying-to-be-free-heroin-treatment

The last image we have of Patrick Cagey is of his first moments as a free man. He has just walked out of a 30-day drug treatment center in Georgetown, Kentucky, dressed in gym clothes and carrying a Nike duffel bag…

He had been a dominant wrestler in high school… (Thinking about you, Cameron.)

(I’m also thinking about how sports and athletics can injure and maim kids before they even get the chance to become adults.)

In the months before Patrick’s death, Sydney Pangallo, 23, a recent Recovery Works alumna, suffered a fatal overdose. Dan Kerwin, 23, attended a Recovery Works program in the spring, and his sister found him dead of an overdose during the July 4th weekend. Tabatha Roland, 24, suffered a fatal overdose in April — one week after graduating from Recovery Works. And in November, Ryan Poland, 24, died of an overdose. He too was a Recovery Works graduate…

New York City had 420 heroin overdose deaths in 2013 — the most in a decade…

“Bupe,” as it’s become known, was originally approved for pain relief…

I’m not sure that’s right (but I’m too depressed to look it up).

If an addict uses it improperly by injecting it, the naloxone kicks in and can send the person into withdrawal — the opposite of a good time…

Is that a nice way of saying torture?

Doctors recommend tapering off the medication only with the greatest of caution. The process can take years given that addiction is a chronic disease and effective therapy can be a long, grueling affair. Doctors and researchers often compare addiction from a medical perspective to diabetes. The medication that addicts are prescribed is comparable to the insulin a diabetic needs to live…

I’m not sure this is true, either.  Most people who become addicted to drugs actually stop using on their own.  It’s only a small percentage of drug addicts that might require medication for the rest of their lives…

In American culture, self-help runs deep. Heroin addiction isn’t only a disease – it’s a crime…

Karyn Hascal, The Healing Place’s president and CEO, said she would never allow Suboxone in her treatment program because her 12-step curriculum is “a drug-free model. There’s kind of a conflict between drug-free and Suboxone.”

Oh, c’mon… Until rehabilitation programs recognize cigarettes, sugar and caffeine as drugs, they will continue to be seen as hypocrites.

In letters home from an abstinence-based facility in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, Kayla Haubner gushed about how she was taking to the program, but worried it wouldn’t be enough…

Recovery Kentucky facilities across the state admitted to HuffPost dropout rates as high as 75 percent…

The state’s treatment providers have little idea how their patients fare once they walk out the door…

(Just like New Mexico’s Department of Health and the Medical Cannabis Program, when patients are unable to renew.)

Like so many others, Tabatha Roland, the 24-year-old addict from Burlington, wanted to get sober but felt she had hit a wall with treatment…

I asked about a former resident, Keith Lillard, a 29-year-old who overdosed in October 2013…

To this day, getting locked up is the de facto treatment for a large percentage of addicts…

Zachary Smith, a Northern Kentucky resident, attended a South Carolina boarding school for issues with pills and marijuana in 2006…

Dr. McLellan, of the Treatment Research Institute, recalled a prominent facility he encountered in 2014 that made addicts wear diapers if they violated its rules…

In October 2013, he advised the mother of Jesse Brown, a 29-year-old Idaho addict who, as a precondition of his early release from prison, was compelled to enter a psychologically brutal “therapeutic community” behind bars. Years earlier, Brown had suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident. His short-term memory was shot, and he crumbled at the slightest sign of stress…

The question was not whether Brown would have succeeded in the program, Deitch said, but “would he have been able to survive?” Brown compared being in the “therapeutic community” to torture. “It felt like you were a prisoner of war,” he said…

Such official endorsements are not winning policy debates. A recent windfall from the state’s settlements with pharmaceutical companies over allegations of corrupt practices has meant more than $30 million in new funding for addiction treatment and prevention programs. None of it is being used on medically assisted treatment…

Shawn Hopper overdosed three times within three weeks of his release from jail; the third was fatal. Michael Glitz overdosed 10 days after leaving jail. Amanda Sue Watson died of an overdose a week after being transferred from jail to an abstinence-based halfway house. Henry Lee fatally overdosed one day after being released from the Kenton County jail. Desi Sandlin fatally overdosed the day she was released from jail…

Brianna Ballard, 30, was revived by paramedics following a 2011 overdose, but was then arrested for the overdose. Released from the Kenton County jail on Feb. 1, 2013, she then fatally overdosed three days later in her bedroom at her mother’s house in Villa Hills, Kentucky. Her mother, Dotie Oliver, said Ballard sought treatment in jail, but didn’t receive any…

France established buprenorphine’s effectiveness years ago. Between 1995 and 1999, the country reduced overdose deaths by 79 percent as buprenorphine use in treatment became widely accepted…

See: https://painkills2.wordpress.com/2014/12/02/whats-the-drugopioid-epidemic-look-like-in-france/

Dr. Preston Gazaway had been prescribing Suboxone for a decade in Maryland’s Baltimore and Howard counties. After the other doctor in his practice became gravely ill in 2012, Gazaway took on his partner’s Suboxone patients. Worried about what might happen to the addicts if they were suddenly cut off from their medication, he went over his 100-patient limit. A few months later, two plainclothes DEA agents appeared at his office with a letter from the Department of Justice giving them permission to inspect his patient files….

The DEA agents let him off easy. Vermont, a state with a long waiting list for medically based drug treatment, suspended a doctor’s license over incomplete paperwork…

Ronni Katz, a former public health official in Portland, Maine, recalled the devastating impact of the state’s two-year lifetime limit on Suboxone. She said Medicaid recipients were cut off at the beginning of 2013 from their prescriptions and many relapsed. “People were suddenly left without their dose,” she said. “They had to do something. It drove people back into the street. We definitely saw the effects.”

One 22-year-old woman addicted to Percocet told researchers in that 2011 report that the stigma of medical treatment for addiction motivated her to buy buprenorphine on the black market. “I wanted to try to do it myself because at first I didn’t want my family to know that I was on [pain pills],” she said. “So if I could get off of them without making it obvious, like by going to treatment and stuff, then I would.”

Nickels did stipulate that NA is a “program of abstinence” and explained that a member who takes a medication like Suboxone or methadone violates that philosophy. “They are taking a drug to treat their addiction,” she said. “They are not clean in our eyes.”

She sounds like a nun.

Quenton Erpenbeck used heroin for 16 months…

Taylor Walters went through a detox, then a three-month outpatient program, and in late December 2012, a 45-day inpatient program. His mother, Sheryl, was desperate for a doctor who would prescribe him Suboxone. She spent three days working the phones, pleading with doctors. “I was crying and begging,” she said…

Three years ago, Holly Specht took her son Nicholas, an addict threatening suicide, to an ER. Nicholas protested that the effort would be a waste of time, and he was right: A doctor discharged him after a mere 15-minute consultation…

Coroner records show that Travis Yenchochic, 29, overdosed five times in the 18 months before his fatal OD in 2013…

Medicaid has tried to deny payment for Suboxone if a patient has failed a drug test while it has also used clean tests to deny payment. Why pay for Suboxone for a drug-free patient?

Duke had come to work at Droege as a way to honor her brother Josh, 28, who fatally overdosed on heroin on January 13, 2011 – six days after completing a 45-day rehab in Cincinnati…

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3 thoughts on “Dying To Be Free

  1. Yes. Read this. It is dead on right. People are dying due to ignoring resarch data that could save lives. As a therapist w/ 30 years experience with these programs, I am really glad the data is finally seeing public eyes. Thank you Huffington Post! And thank you all things chronic~

    Liked by 1 person

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