The opioid epidemic continues to plague cities across the country. In Virginia, an average of three residents die daily from opioid overdoses. The state continues to outpace the national average for drug overdose deaths involving opioids, with numbers increasing nearly tenfold from 2012 to 2017.Read More
Massachusetts has the seventh-highest rate of opioid-related overdoses in the United States. The Massachusetts Department of Health recently reported the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl was found in nine out of every 10 opioid-related deaths in 2018. Additionally, 4.6% of all state residents over the age of 11—about 275,000 people— had an opioid use disorder in 2015, according to research published in the American Journal of Public Health.
Community Health Programs, a Federally Qualified Health Center that receives funds from the Health Resources and Services Administration Health Center Program, recently approached CleanSlate about opening a center in Berkshire County to help combat these harrowing statistics.Read More
Sheboygan, Wisconsin, has been a top surf destination for more than 50 years and is known by many as the Freshwater Surf Capital of the World. But beyond its pristine waters lurks a rising problem with opioid addiction.Read More
Wisconsin is no stranger to the opioid crisis. In 2017, the state had 836 drug-related deaths. Recent studies show opioid deaths kill more Wisconsinites than car crashes.Read More
Green Bay, Wisconsin, is known nationwide as the smallest city to host a National Football League team. And while most people know of the city’s sports prowess, few are aware of how opioid addiction has plagued Brown County in recent years.Read More
I have a good feeling when I walk into the office and start my workday every morning as an Addiction Medicine physician
On a recent afternoon at the Athol, Massachusetts, center of CleanSlate, a national provider of outpatient addiction medicine, I met with two new patients who suffer from substance use disorder. One told me how badly she felt about herself. When I thanked her for the privilege of allowing me to work with her, she looked down at the floor (see supporting a loved one in recovery for more).
“I’m just an addict,” she said softly. The other patient sat in silent agreement.
No, I corrected them: I don’t see “addicts” when I meet with patients. I see people who have a chronic disease, no different than other chronic diseases like diabetes. I see people who are battling not only addiction, but also the stigma of addiction, which only multiplies the obstacles to recovery.
“Can you talk to my family?” the patient asked. “They think I’m not anything. They won’t even let me in the house.”
I told this young woman that I’ve seen many families welcome back their loved ones after they had proven their commitment to recovery.
You’ll have to earn back their trust, I told her. But it’s possible.
“As we go through the process of recovery, you will rediscover hope,” I said. “You can reclaim your life. You can regain everything that you’ve lost.”
The patient started crying. I asked her why.
“You’re the first person who ever made me feel like I was worth anything,” she said.
This is why I do what I do.
I am an addiction medicine physician. The American Board of Addiction defines that as a physician who is trained and certified to provide comprehensive care for addiction and substance related disorders, including the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of such health conditions. I define it as a doctor who treats addiction with the evidence-based practices that every disease requires, and who treats patients with the same compassionate care that every person deserves.Read More
Amidst a divisive political climate, there’s one issue that every side agrees upon: the urgent need to combat the deadly opioid epidemic.
Last fall, rare bipartisan cooperation resulted in the passage of the SUPPORT Act, a sweeping package of legislation which addresses multiple aspects of this complex crisis, including treatment, recovery and prevention. This political achievement is to be commended. But a fatal oversight in SUPPORT means that more lives will needlessly be lost every day.
Wildfire without water
Imagine a fast-moving wildfire that is decimating a community.
Now picture this scenario: before firefighters can race to put out the flames, they must submit to a lengthy bureaucratic process for permission to use their hoses. Once granted, the approval still comes with a caveat: the firefighters are only allowed to save a small number of homes. After that, they must turn off their hoses and watch the rest of the town go up in flames.
This is the current state we’re in when it comes to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction.Read More