Finding Recovery From Opioid Addiction | The Partnership

I think the problem has been, in the past, that the options were so limited, in what type of treatment was available for opioid dependence. Medication’s very valuable, in terms of having someone be able to tolerate the stressors of being reignited with the thoughts of using. So this is very different, this is very new. When we talk about medication-assisted treatments, we refer to an approach to treat patients with substance use disorder, where medication play a major role. Old timer AAs may still say that, “You’re not really in recovery, if you’re on something, and that this isn’t real recovery, because you’re taking something, you have a crutch.” But that’s really, I think, we’re steering away from that. Smart recovery is where we’re now entering, where we’ll do anything that’s gonna help us get to a place, where we’re in recovery, right? So why would we not use medication-assisted treatment, especially statistically, when we’re seeing that there’s better outcomes? It’s important to remember that those medications are most effective when they are used in conjunction with counseling, therapy, recovery work, self-help groups. Many other ways that we know are very helpful for people who are trying to abstain from substances. Family can be involved in therapy work. They can play very important role and try to help to make sure that the patient has the best environment for recovery. Unfortunately, there is still stigma about medications. Family members say, “But aren’t they just gonna get hooked on this? Well, isn’t this just substituting the drug?” But I think changing the view is gonna be very helpful. What we want to allow people to see, is that we’re actually changing the functioning of the patient. If we can change that with medication or with counseling, that’s so valuable. I think people, parents, loved ones need to know what’s available to them, need to know that there is help out there, that there are support groups, that there’s medication, there’s medication-assisted treatment. Seeing how many patients benefit from Vivitrol, from Suboxone, from what’s out there now, it’s a life changer. This is why I love this job because people get better

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