No one way? Or no any way? – 

Sept. 11, 2020 – Further still, when a life event, such as a death in the family, divorce, etc. demands real clinical care, they simply increase a patient’s dosage.

The aforementioned population that constitutes a majority of the people getting opioid “treatment” in Colorado don’t actually see much of a quality of life improvement beyond the replacement of IV and street opioids. Though certainly getting off of recreational opioids is a major improvement, these individuals are no better prepared to find the sort of life one can achieve through evidence-based therapy, a supportive and accountable community, and integrated medication-assisted treatment services.

This fractured care model makes sense, however, because the clinics are looking to get as many people off IV drugs as possible for the sake of public health, not to improve each individual’s quality of life. That’s why between 2015 and 2018, the number of people in OTPs (methadone clinics) rose from an average of 1,967 to 5,242 in Colorado despite there only being 12 OTPs in Colorado in 2015 (with a recent uptick to 22) according to state government data. Though we can agree that looking after public health is a noble cause, it does not take the needs of each individual with an addiction into account.

I believe recovery programs should be designed to provide an outpatient MAT program coupled with individualized and comprehensive treatment experience. Why doesn’t this exist already? A doctor’s prescription doesn’t address mental health concerns that are often the root of the addiction, quitting opioids “cold-turkey” is just plain dangerous for the user, and residential detox means putting one’s entire life on hold. Shouldn’t we provide care and treatment that actually works for the individuals who are suffering from opioid use disorder without them having to give up their life, family, and career? You wouldn’t treat a broken leg with a flu shot, so why isn’t MAT coupled with counseling and mental health services the norm for treating opioid use? Why aren’t all opioid users treated with a focus on the needs of the patient as opposed to simply arresting the development of the addiction?

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