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Hospitals and Addiction Treatment

The catastrophic effects of addiction can be seen every single day.  One area that frequently experiences and witnesses these effects upon individuals is hospitals.  More and more people are being admitted to hospitals for addiction or substance use related health conditions, with a large amount of these being overdoses.

A large part of this situation is the prescription drug problem, which has been officially labeled as an epidemic by the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC).  Individuals from various demographics have been increasingly developing addictions to these powerful drugs, including those in their teens, and even those of elderly ages.

Another contributing factor to this situation is many individuals that have been falling into heroin abuse, stemming from the previous use of prescription medications.  It can actually be quite easy for this situation to occur.  When an individual has their prescription cut off by a doctor or can no longer afford it, they may end up turning to heroin because it is more potent, more accessible, and cheaper.  Unfortunately, it can be much easier for individuals to overdose on heroin because of its more potent effects, as well as being unaware of how to properly dose street drugs.

But of course, opiates are not the only drug that can bring about overdose.  There are those who end up with alcohol poisoning for instance, which is essentially a form of overdose.  Overdose can come about from a variety of different substances and hospitals see all kinds of cases.

Hospitals Affected Heavily by Costs of Addiction

Hospitals bear the weight of this massive epidemic in a variety of ways, but one of the largest is through financial cost.  And there are many different costs when it comes to the handling of overdoses and addiction. In recent years, there has been much more pressure from government and private insurers regarding controlling these costs, which has led to a further focus on this problem. Stanford University School of Medicine had conducted a study in 2014 that analyzed nationwide hospital data from 2010, and they had found that 68 percent of opioid-related overdoses treated in emergency departments involved prescription painkillers, and 16.1 percent were due to heroin.  About half of the study participants had received emergency care, as well as inpatient, and this had totaled up to about $2.3 billion dollars.

A large issue is that hospitals do not necessarily receive full compensation for emergency and post-emergency overdose care and treatment.  The Affordable Care Act had assisted somewhat through the expanded Medicaid programs that were implemented in some states, but according to Liz Stallings, director of the clinical operations division of HFS Consultants, “More people are insured but they may be underinsured in terms of what hospitals need to recover their costs.”  And she further stated, “There are a huge amount of resources–medicine and labor–absorbed in responding to overdose patents.”

There have been many initiatives put in place to help remedy this situation.  One of the largest being the increased use of naloxone, a medication which can be administered to reverse or cease an overdose, and can actually save someone’s life immediately.  Many authorities and first responders across the nation have begun to carry this medication with them at all times in the event that they come upon someone overdosing.  This allows them to remedy the immediate issue and then get them to a hospital for further treatment.  While this may only cut a small part of the cost out, it is a step in the right direction.  The reality is that there may not be a widespread change until there is a coordinated effort of healthcare organizations of all types to implement initiatives for overdose cost reduction.  A single organization is not really able to do much on their own in this avenue.  Cost reduction measures could include following up with individuals after overdose to ensure that they receive further treatment to help them overcome addiction, which would assist in minimizing repeated visits.

When Searching for Drug or Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Seeking help with an addiction can be one of the best things that a person can do.  It can easily become overwhelming to attempt to overcome addiction on your own.  Being that addiction can completely take over a person’s life, it can often require treatment for them to be able to finally overcome it.  Finding the right treatment center is a large factor in ensuring the individual has the best chance at success.  There are many different issues and difficulties that can be involved in a person’s addiction, and all of these need to be addressed as part of treatment.  Our staff is familiar with the treatment facilities all across the country and can help find the best fit for you or your loved one.

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