Replacement Drug Therapy

There’s no doubt about it when a person is addicted to drugs and alcohol, he or she has a lot of options to consider when trying to find an effective treatment program. Every year it would seem that new approaches to drug addiction and substance abuse, in general, appear on the market.  This is excellent because with more options comes more chances for success, but at the same time, this can also pose a challenge for the average addict when making a decision on which is the best treatment center or program for their needs.  In addition to the variety of programs available today, there are other options a person must consider such as replacement drug therapy, especially if treatment for heroin or meth addiction is needed.

This decision might be a tough one indeed, but it is a decision that must be made eventually.  There is no such thing as a “bad” technique for getting someone off of drugs and alcohol.  That is, of course, unless that technique harms the person or causes an addiction to some other substance as is often the case with replacement drug therapy. But factually speaking, drug addiction rehab efforts do intend to create good results and mean well in their efforts to rehabilitate.

As mentioned above, it would seem that replacement drug therapy is the only option that stands out as being one that many addicts might want to avoid, as its controversial nature has brought it into speculation time and time again.  This is because this approach to treatment does tend to get a lot of people addicted to replacement drugs like Suboxone, Subutex, and Methadone.

Rehabilitation: The Nation’s Opiate Epidemic Leaves Little Room for Replacement Drugs

The opiate epidemic in the nation today is truly just that, an opiate epidemic.  In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention labeled the nation’s prescription drug abuse problem as an actual epidemic, the only drug abuse problem in the entire nation to ever get that label from the CDC, ever.  This was pretty groundbreaking, and it definitely showed just how serious an issue it is today.

For instance:

  • Prescription opiate abuse may yet be at its worst ever.  In 2014 for example, 467,000 adolescents were current nonmedical users of pain reliever, with 168,000 having an addiction to prescription pain relievers.  That’s just the demographic between the ages of twelve to eighteen!  All told there were more than ten million prescription drug addicts in the United States in 2014.
  • Opiates accounted for almost a quarter of all substance abuse treatment admissions in 2010.  In 2015, that number jumped to nearly half of all treatment admissions.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) are particularly concerned about this increase as it is the fastest growing drug of interest that this nation has ever seen before.
  • Heroin abuse and addiction in the United States jumped by an alarming sixty-three percent between 2002 and 2013, in direct correlation to a similar rise in prescription opiate abuse.  The two go up in tandem, linked as they are because addicts go back and forth between the two substances.
  • The top three most concerning and most damaging substances in the United States today are prescription, opiate-based pain reliever drugs, heroin, and alcohol.  These easily cause the most concern as they take the most lives by far regarding overdose, have the most people addicted to them, and are the hardest substances to come down off of once one is addicted to them.  The fact of the matter is that roughly eighty-thousand Americans die every year as a result of prescription opiate drugs, heroin, and alcohol, whereas all other drugs combined scarcely even amount to twenty-thousand deaths annually.
  • Prescription painkillers are the new best thing in the drug abusing community.  Prescription pills, in particular, are killing more Americans than any other single type of drug, and even more so than all other drugs combined.  These are the ones to watch out for the most, and unfortunately, they are also the ones pushed by doctors the most too, as saddening as that truth is.  Of the 22,400 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2005, opioid prescription painkillers were the most commonly found drug, accounting for about sixty percent of the total deaths from drug substances.

Some Alternatives to Replacement Drug Therapy

There are other ways to beating an opiate addiction that don’t involve getting the individual hooked on yet another drug.  That is the key problem with replacement drug therapy, even though there are some benefits. When carefully monitored by professionals, this treatment can be beneficial. However, most people get on this plan for months, years, or for the rest of their lives instead, and not just for a few weeks as was originally intended for them by their doctors.

Replacement drugs are meant to counteract the effects of opiate withdrawal and craving.  But, the problem is that when using this drug, the person is not addressing the facts of why he or she abuses drugs in the first place.  This method never actually rehabilitates the individual, it just tides the person over for a short time. This is why replacement drug therapy patients often relapse if they run out of their maintenance drug.

For these reasons and others, it is strongly advised to commit to entering an inpatient rehabilitation treatment center.  That is the most successful route by far.  Although it takes time, it is easily worth the few months spent in rehab to then be sober for the rest of one’s life and not have to worthy about going to a clinic to fill a prescription for a replacement drug every week or in some cases, every day.  It is best just to address and handle the problem all at once and in one go, rather than draw it out forever.

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