Can any problem be solved? Some people believe that every problem defines its own solution; if you completely understand the problem, then you can find a solution. Those who cannot find solutions have perspective and perception problems; in other words they are blocked and need to change their worldview and vantage point. There are many ways to look at both problems and solutions.
Today I Googled the words Addiction Treatment and there were 28,900,000 entries, I entered, the question: What is addiction, there were 48,000,000 results. According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, substance abuse costs our Nation over $600 billion annually. Treatment is less expensive than other alternatives such as incarceration, treatment provides healthcare savings, and lowers social costs.
Conservative estimates say that for every dollar invested in addiction treatment programs, they yield between four and seven dollars in reducing criminal-justice costs, reducing drug-related crime, and theft. When savings related to healthcare are added, total savings can increase to a ratio of twelve to one. Savings stem from fewer interpersonal conflicts, drug-related accidents, and overdoses, and greater productivity in the workplace.
Let’s take a look at some of the models of addiction treatment available today:
- Abstinence: zero tolerance.
- Harm Reduction/ Moderation Management: Some but not drug of choice.
- Twelve-Step: Abstinence with meetings and step-work, Sponsor, Higher-Power.
- Faith Based: Specific to certain religions.
- Medication Management: Suboxone, Subutex, “Bupe”, Methadone, Vivitrol.
- Holistic: Fitness, Yoga, wellness, health, exercise, alternative therapies, meditation.
- Smart Recovery: Self- Empowerment, self-reliance, no Higher-power, will-power, meetings.
Models of Addiction and Addiction Treatment that are used today include:
- The Minnesota Model: 30 day Residential, 12-step, Relapse Prevention, Denial, Drug-screening, AA/NA.
- Disease Process vs. Disorder: sick vs. empowered.
- Non-12-Step Models: Smart Recovery, Holistic
- The Florida Model: Halfway and Sober houses for Aftercare.
- The 12-Step Model: (Used in Fla. & Minn. Models.)
There are several styles of Addiction Treatment starting with detox, where the substance abuser is placed to have chemicals removed from their system and may be place on medication management. Residential treatment programs, which usually 28 to 30 day programs are ranging from $8,000 to $75,000 in price. PHP, or Partial Hospitalization programs, which is day treatment, usually 30 days, $10,000 to $35,000. IOP, or Intensive outpatient programs, usually six weeks in length, they meet three times per week for here hours per day, at $8,000 to $35,000. Halfway houses, and sober houses are usually six months with zero tolerance for relapse, curfews, drug testing, clients must hold jobs, $150 to $750 a week. Twelve-step meetings are free, must get a sponsor, step work, Higher-Power of own understanding.
“We are our choices.” – Jean-Paul Sartre
I would like to examine each model individually based on facts and statistics. First let’s look at medication management. Is it really necessary to replace one powerful drug with another powerful drug?
It seems these medications may serve a purpose short-term for detoxification over a four to six week period; however, many doctors want to keep clients on these medications long-term. Any physician In America, who takes an eight-hour, online course about Suboxone can obtain authorization to prescribe it. Most of these doctors know very little about addiction; it’s far out of the scope of their training. Most Suboxone doctors don’t know how to get their clients off of the drug. There have been no studies from the medical community on long-term effects of being on Suboxone or how to get clients off of it. Buprenorphine can produce euphoria, cause dependency, and cause a high or buzz. Statistics say that 95% of individuals trying to get off of Suboxone fail. Methadone is extremely difficult to get off of and has been attributed to numerous deaths.
Harm reduction seems rather troubling in theory and practice. Why would we want to teach someone suffering from alcoholism or drug abuse to continue to use, but just use less? The toll that drugs and alcohol may have already taken on the person’s health could be life threatening, any usage could be fatal, depending on the drug and the person. Ethically, how can we tell a person that it’s alright to use illicit drugs? If the addiction “professional” understands addiction, they would understand that they are only dealing with a symptom here, not the root or the core of the problem. It would be a fool’s game to think that those suffering from addiction haven’t tried to use safely many times already and failed, that’s why they need help in the first place. There is a good deal of merit to the statement, “a drug is a drug is a drug.”
Faith-based programs can be effective; however, statistics are that only 1% of people recover with religion alone. Faith-based programs in combination with twelve-step such as AA/ NA can be very effective. This type of model all depends on how the program is set up.
Holistic on its own is not very effective, other than to get the person it good shape. This too can become a much more effective program in combination with other programing. The substance abuser needs a vehicle to change addictive thinking and living. This will also depend on the components of the program.
Abstinence Models are good as long as they have vehicles for the substance abuser to change the way that they were living and thinking, such as 12-step programs. Self-empowerment models are troubling because with most substance abusers and alcoholics, their best thinking and actions are what got them high and into the “jackpots” that they have suffered as a result of using.
“Changing is what people do when they have no options left.” – Holly Black
Common sense dictates that the same model will not work for every individual. There are many choices today including peer recovery coaches, professional recovery coaches, case managers, professional family recovery coaches, professional life coaches, interventionists, luxury treatment centers, therapists, counselors, Christian and Pastoral counselors, Al-anon, Families Anonymous, gambling addiction coaches, food addiction coaches, sexual addiction coaches, specialized treatment centers, community centers for recovery, all kinds of 12-step meetings, sober companions, and much more. Each individual must choose what model works for them.
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Oliver Goldsmith
When you ask about success rates at treatment facilities, do you get a truthful answer? The complex answer here is yes and no. There is no concrete way for a facility to calculate their success rate. Think about it, if they stay in touch with former clients, how do they know if the former clients are being honest with them or not? Clients move, change phone numbers, get married, change names, pass away, get unlisted numbers, etc. A facility may calculate their success rate out of the people who respond to them, or the former clients they are able to get in touch with. The question is, how accurate are these numbers? Some facilities consider their program a success if a client graduates their program. Some stay in touch for a period of six month, or one year. What standard are they measuring their success by?
Addiction is an epidemic in our Nation. Our youth are dying every few minutes from substance abuse. There are all sorts of new drugs on the streets, new ways to make them and new ways to use them. Everyone must work together to stop the insanity, to stop the death. There are thousands of individuals in America with long-term recovery, they’ve been to Hell and made it back alive. There is no more time for anonymity, when our young are dying in record numbers. The solutions are already here, yet so many are trying to reinvent the wheel. America and the world are listening, it’s time for those with long-term recovery to share the solutions that work!