Doctor Mensel, I commend you and on your life’s work of researching the disease of heroin addiction. I have been an opiate addict since the age of 22 and I am now 55. I can really relate to the concept of losing my free will. the horrible cycle of use, withdrawl and detox, is as chronic as the disease and also shaming. The whole drug rehab system we have in this country is set up to be failing and shaming. Today I am on methadone for my heroin addiction and I feel okay other than being chained to clinic every day of my life. A drug rehab that does not understand the need to be on an appropriate dose of methadone. I continue to use off and on. This is not what I want for my life. I have periods of being clean long enough to obtain a graduate degree in addiction counseling, get my credentials and begin my career only to use and end up without a job, suspended license, and more guilt and shame. When does the heroin addiction stop? so Please continue doing the work you are doing. We need you so much!
As a heroin addict on and off for 35 years, I have found it takes many months, if not years, for one’s mind to recover from opiate use. During that time, the craving to use is extremely high. we deal with fatigue, low energy and recurring depression. The longer heroin addiction is active, the longer the recovery lasts. The challenge is greater for a patient using pain medication to mask underlining physical and psychological issues.
The problem now is that doctors are closely monitored for pain medication prescribing, opioid prescriptions are more difficult to find – even for those with chronic pain. The new state regulations are pushing addicts to heroin which is cheap, strong and laced with Fentanyl. The heroin addiction rate is up because the delivery systems are far more sophisticated than ever before and easily available in the suburbs.
In my view, Suboxone or naltrexone should be the treatment of choice. In some cases, a Suboxone certified physician is limited to 100 patients and there are not enough certified physicians to meet demand. Naltrexone can reduce a substantial portion of the Suboxone patient load who require long-term Suboxone treatment. Enabling doctors to avoid long-term treatment to open the doors to new patients with heroin addiction.
rehab for heroin addicts is not rocket science. Family doctors know their patients better than addiction experts. Why not let Family doctors prescribe Suboxone with strict standards of practice.
- Non narcotic medications are an important element of drug rehab treatment for many addicts, mostly when combined with heroin addiction counseling. For example, methadone, subutex, and naltrexone and vivitrol are effective in helping clients addicted to heroin or other opioids stabilize their lives and reduce their drug abuse. Acamprosate, disulfiram are medications approved for treating alcohol dependence. For heroin addicts , suboxone can be an effective part of treatment at drug rehab centers, when used as part of a comprehensive behavioral treatment program.
- An individual heroin addict needs treatment should be assessed continually and changed as necessary to ensure success. A patient may require many varieties of services and components during the course of rehab and recovery. In addition to group counseling or psychotherapy, heroin addiction may require medication, family therapy, parenting class, vocational rehabilitation, and social and legal services. For many patients, a continuing after care approach provides the best results, with the rehab treatment intensity varying according to a person’s changing needs.
Remaining in drug rehab treatment for an adequate length of time is crucial. The right length of time for an individual heroin addict depends on the type and degree of the patient’s situation. Research indicates that most addicts need at least 3 months in rehab to significantly stop their drug use and that the most success occurs with longer durations of treatment. recovery from heroin addiction is a long-term simple process and uncomplicated, but sometimes requires multiple stays in drug rehab centers. As with other chronic diseases, relapse to drug abuse can occur and at times will signal a need for treatment to be started over or adjusted. Because heroin addiction often causes clients to leave treatment prematurely, rehab programs should include strategies to engage and keep patients in treatment.
Behavioral therapy—including family, or group counseling—is commonly used at drug rehab centers. cognitive therapies vary in their main focus and may involve attending to a patient’s motivation to change, providing reasons for abstinence, building recovery skills to resist relapse, substituting drug seeking activities with positive and rewarding behavior, improving problem-solving ability, and facilitating better relationships with peers. Also, participation in group therapy and other support programs like AA during and following treatment can help maintain abstinence.
“I have been in a suboxone treatment program for heroin addiction for 15 months. I receive my dose daily at a methadone drug rehab center that also does suboxone treatment. I must go some days and wait for over an hour, and if i do not have the money to pay for it, I cannot get my dose. Eventually I was able to get a job, I would drive the 19 miles one way to a variety of drug rehab centers, and then leave because the line was too long to wait and get to work on time. What employer wants their employee to be a heroin addict? It is a never ending cycle of this craziness day in and day out. It is like getting a fix from a legal drug dealer. I never wanted to be a drug addict and I never planned to create situations that happen in my life. We need to update this system drastically so that other people suffering from heroin addiction can get and maintain the help and support that they need. Some weeks I think t would be easier just to use. It is a horrible world out there for some people in recovery, especially when you don’t have money or insurance to for a private doctor or some drug rehab center for your treatment.” Brian Foog, December 2015