DrugRehab.com provides information regarding illicit and prescription drug
addiction, the various populations at risk for the disease, current statistics and trends, and
psychological disorders that often accompany addiction. You will also find information on spotting
the signs and symptoms of substance use and hotlines for immediate assistance.
Treatment for addiction takes many forms and depends on the needs of the individual.
In accordance with the American Society of Addiction Medicine, we offer information on
outcome-oriented treatment that adheres to an established continuum of care. In this section, you
will find information and resources related to evidence-based treatment models, counseling and
therapy and payment and insurance options.
Treatment for addiction takes many forms and depends on the needs of the
individual. In accordance with the American Society of Addiction Medicine, we offer
information on outcome-oriented treatment that adheres to an established continuum of
care. In this section, you will find information and resources related to evidence-based
treatment models, counseling and therapy and payment and insurance options.
The recovery process doesn't end after 90 days of treatment. The transition back to
life outside of rehab is fraught with the potential for relapse. Aftercare resources such as
12-step groups, sober living homes and support for family and friends promote a life rich with
rewarding relationships and meaning.
Our community offers unique perspectives on lifelong recovery and substance use
prevention, empowering others through stories of strength and courage. From people in active
recovery to advocates who have lost loved ones to the devastating disease of addiction, our
community understands the struggle and provides guidance born of personal experience.
The number of people seeking medical treatment for addiction in the U.S. is larger than the health care system’s capacity to treat them. The result is a spike in the number of child abuse and neglect cases and the number of children born affected by drugs, according to the Washington Post.
The number of people who died of opioid and drug overdoses increased to record numbers in 2014 and more than doubled since 2000, but the health care system’s ability to treat the increasing number of addicts didn’t grow at the same rate. The trend is troubling, because addicts awaiting treatment for opioid addiction are at a very high risk for death, according to a 2013 Journal of Addiction Medicine study.
Years of research points to long wait times as the top reason addicts avoid seeking treatment, and a 2015 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found there were “significant gaps between treatment need and capacity at state and national levels” for opioid treatment.
The authors of the study concluded that as the opioid epidemic in the U.S. increased, the number of rehabilitation facilities available to treat opioid addiction failed to increase at a sufficient rate. Opioids are drugs made from the opium plant, like the prescription painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone or the illicit drug heroin.
“In 2012, a gap of nearly 1 million people existed nationally, which represents a best-case scenario in which all (approved) physicians are prescribing at their maximum patient limit,” the authors wrote.
The national health care system does not operate at a “best-case scenario,” and the authors estimated the gap between the number of Americans seeking treatment and the number of Americans receiving treatment was realistically between 1.3 and 1.4 million people.
State health care systems suffer similar problems. The majority of states had a gap of at least three patients per 100,000 people, and most were already operating at more than 80 percent capacity. At that capacity, it would be unlikely that they could accommodate a “significant number of new patients,” according to the study.
A State Health System Searching for Answers
In Maine, the waiting list for state-funded drug rehab is 18 months, and Maine’s Governor Paul LePage proposed cutting methadone treatment from the state budget in order to save $1.6 million, according to the Washington Post.
When addicts seek treatment, many of them can’t find the long-term care that they need. That’s because rehabilitation centers have little incentive to provide long-term treatment with low insurance reimbursement rates and a lack of state funding, according to the Post.
Addicts are now working the system in order to seek treatment in Maine. Some told a Washington Post reporter that they considered several loopholes, like:
Having a child for the insurance benefits.
Pretending to be suicidal in order to be admitted to a mental health facility.
Maine’s Attorney General Janet Mills said the state didn’t know how to solve the problem.
“There’s no treatment,” Mills told the Post. “We had overdose deaths in every county in the state last year, but we have fewer treatment facilities and we’ve removed thousands of people from the Medicaid rolls. We don’t know how to deal with it. These are people who want treatment, and we have nothing for them.”
When Maine denied federal funds to expand Medicaid, more than 25,000 people lost public health benefits, according to the Post.
Governor LePage endorsed more treatment services incorporating suboxone, because the drug limits withdrawal symptoms without providing a high for users. However, suboxone is notoriously difficult to prescribe, because the number of patients a doctor can treat with the drug is limited by government regulation.
Insurance Expanded, but Number of Providers Didn’t Keep Up
Health care professionals were hoping the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, would open addiction treatment access to more patients. But the research shows facilities in the U.S. didn’t expand quickly enough to handle everyone who needs or wants treatment.
In 2014, treatment for substance use disorders became an essential health benefit that had to be covered by insurance, including Medicaid. Additionally, 27 states and the District of Columbia expanded Medicaid services in October 2014, providing even more access to health coverage.
The Affordable Care included an acknowledgment that the public health workforce would need to expand when it was passed, but insufficient efforts were made. Now, individuals seeking treatment have to find a healthy way to wait for treatment.
Addicts shouldn’t give up hope for sobriety though. If they’re on a waiting list, they can attend support group meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. Most communities also offer educational workshops and other resources for people suffering from addiction.
Medical Disclaimer: DrugRehab.com aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.
Chris Elkins worked as a journalist for three years and was published by multiple newspapers and online publications. Since 2015, he’s written about health-related topics, interviewed addiction experts and authored stories of recovery. Chris has a master’s degree in strategic communication and a graduate certificate in health communication.
Andrews, C. M. et al. (2012). Client and Program Characteristics Associated with Wait Time to Substance Abuse Treatment Entry. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 1-8. Retrieved from http://vpl.uic.edu/reprints/AndrewsAJDAA2012.pdf
Hadland, S. E. et al. (2009, April). Access to drug and alcohol treatment among a cohort of street-involved youth. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 101(1-2), 1-7. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19081203
Peles, E., Schreiber, S., & Adelson, M. (2013). Opiate-dependent patients on a waiting list for methadone maintenance treatment are at a high risk for mortality until treatment entry. Journal of Addiction Medicine, 7(3), 177-182. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23519049
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