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Obama care, Accountibility and Addiction - Is this the answer for addicts?

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Three hundred and fifty people die every day because they never got the addiction treatment they needed. Drug abuse kills more Americans than any other non-natural cause. The true problem is the actual CARE that addicts seek is sub-optimal. Is there hope that Obama care will offer a level of addition services that wll actually make a difference?

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Ninety percent of those who enter addiction-treatment programs in the U.S. don’t receive evidence-based and specialized treatment. Instead, they mostly get “treatments” rooted in the view that addicts are weak and narcissistic, and therefore, if ever they’ll stop their destructive and self-destructive behavior. The 12-step system, although effective, may not have everything for everybody. Instead, many addicts relapse, unable to make the step system stick, and are then left with not other options. They find themselves in the revolving door of rehab and prison with no other alternatives. (D Sheff, Time Magazine)

Many current programs actually reject science as an answer to treatment. For example, they prohibit the use of addiction medications, even though they’ve been shown to be more effective treating some addictions, like Oxycontin to heroin, than anything else including the 12-step higher power. many people, especially those with a history of relapse, need a more hands-on approach that also includes experiential therapies, interactive teaching methods and personalized relapse prevention plans. These approaches allow recovering addicts to not only learn new skills, but to begin putting them to use in a safe, supportive setting.

Few programs offer treatments that work, but many have few qualified staff. Seriously ill patients may never see an M.D. due to the cost. Only 1 in 10 addicts ever gets any treatment whatsoever. Of those who do, few get well. After treatment, when addicts relapse — even when they relapse and die — they’re blamed. It is truly fighting an illness with no medication, only will power and prayer.(D. Sheff, Time Magazine)

In order for specialized care, insurance plans must only pay for programs that offer them. They are the actual best outcome for the money invested.These treatments must be practiced by experts trained in addiction medicine. In addition, practitioners and programs must be monitored and their licenses and accreditations periodically reviewed — just as doctors and hospitals are. There must be full accountability. (D. Sheff, Time Magazine)

If accountability is the issue, both one the part of the addict and the medical profession, then all cards must be on the table with the newest opportunity for those that have been without medical insurance up until now. Medications such as Methadone, Suboxone, and Clonidine should now be covered by insurance and not be a barrier to treatment. What is the cost of a human life? What are we willing to pay to keep someone alive and living a productive life?

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All articles by Wendi Swindell are under copyright and cannot be reposted in part or completely without written permission by the author. For permission, email



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