CleanSlate Blog

We've Been on the Frontlines of the Opioid Epidemic for a Decade. Here are 4 Approaches That Are Working.

by Anthony Belott | Aug 9, 2019

The opioid epidemic has shown some signs of progress over the past few years. Opioid overdose deaths have declined in many states, in part because of decreases in opioid prescriptions and increases in the use of both Narcan to revive overdose victims and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to treat people with addiction.

But progress comes in very small brushstrokes. The epidemic has hardly stalled, continuing to claim an intolerably high number of lives each year. Opioid addiction currently affects 6 million people in the U.S. Alcohol addiction affects and kills even more people every year than drugs, and polysubstance use and the rise of stimulant use further complicate the response to this deadly crisis.

Since 2009, CleanSlate has been on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic, treating more than 41,000 patients in outpatient centers across 11 states. During that time, we have worked relentlessly to convince public policymakers and healthcare payors to recognize addiction as a chronic brain disease that requires a more expansive approach than punitive and judgmental policies, which only perpetuate the crisis. Over time, we have codified a patients-first approach for our company that increases access to treatment and treats each patient with personalized care.

From our vantage point, here are four key challenges of the opioid epidemic and our approach to solving them:

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Bright Spot with Opioid Epidemic: Prescription Opioid Use Plummeting, Medication Treatment Growing

by Anthony Belott | Jun 25, 2019

 Some rare good news on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic:

Prescription opioid use dropped 17 percent in 2018, the single largest annual drop ever recorded in the U.S. market.

At the same time, researchers saw a 300% increase since 2014 in people receiving medication assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction.

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What Does Valentine's Day Have to do with the Opioid Epidemic?

by Anthony Belott | Feb 11, 2019

February is for the heart.

It’s Valentine’s Day season, when we’re besieged with images of love, cupid’s arrows, and heart-shaped everything. Whether we want to or not, it’s a time when we receive messages about our hearts, in the romantic sense.

So it’s not a coincidence that the Powers That Be who choose seasonal observations picked this month to educate people about our hearts, in the biological sense. February is American Heart Month, and also the month for the American Heart Association’s signature initiative for women’s heart health, “Go Red for Women.”

Heart disease remains the number one killer of American men and women, leading to one in four deaths in the United States. The goal of American Heart Month is to spread awareness about healthy choices that can help prevent heart disease, including smarter food choices and increased physical activity.

But there’s another risk to heart health that has been steadily growing: opioid addiction.

A recent study, 22 years in the making, has found that the opioid epidemic and IV drug use has fueled an alarming rise in strokes. Infections known as bacterial endocarditis can be caused by dirty or shared needles; when injected into the bloodstream they can enter the brain and lead to a massive stroke.

Decades ago, bacterial endocarditis used to be common in patients who had childhood rheumatic fever, a disease that is virtually extinct now.

"It used to be rare that we saw anybody with bacterial endocarditis-related stroke," said Dr. Carl McComas, a neurologist at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Virginia, to the Charleston Gazette-Mail. "Now we see one at least every week.”

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Can I Afford Addiction Treatment?

by Anthony Belott | Sep 27, 2018

Opioid addiction currently affects 6 million people in the U.S., according to a recent report, far more than previously estimated. Last year, more than 72,000 people died from drug overdoses, a great many of these from opioids. Alcohol addiction affects and kills even more people every year than drugs.

But even when people want help for their addiction to opioids or alcohol, many wonder if they can afford treatment. Sometimes, the belief that treatment is beyond their financial means stops people from seeking any help at all.

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CleanSlate's CEO and Chief Medical Officer to Present at National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit

by Anthony Belott | Mar 23, 2018

Two senior executives of CleanSlate, a national leader in outpatient addiction medicine, will speak at the 2018 National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summitthe largest national collaboration of federal, state and local professionals seeking to address prescription drug and opioid abuse, misuse and diversion. CleanSlate is also a Gold Level Sponsor.

The Rx Summit runs from April 2nd through April 5th at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.  

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If you or someone you know suffers from the disease of addiction, please call 833-505-HOPE to speak with a professional.

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