There is a much-needed shift happening in the way people view addiction and adequate treatment. A recent article cited that in Baltimore city alone, at least 20,000 people are active heroin users, and many more are crippled by addiction to prescription painkillers. Roughly 10,000 others are receiving treatment for their addiction, but the majority of these are methadone or medicinal maintenance facilities, which provide limited counseling (due in part to limited funding and a supply that simply cannot keep up with demand. While drugs such as methadone and naloxone are certainly advantageous, and can serve to get a person off of street drugs, their use accomplishes little to nothing without adequate counseling and addiction treatment. Addiction is not only a physical disease, but a mental and spiritual disease as well, and all of these areas need to be treated in order to promote true recovery.

What is the Solution?

Maryland’s Medicaid agency is trying to change how they reimburse treatment centers. The goal is to provide an incentive to offer more counseling to the patients that receive medicinal treatment. In the past, Maryland medicaid has paid a flat rate to these facilities for all patients. But beginning in March of 2017, it will pay these providers based on an individual’s needs, to include counseling and other medical services. Similar changes have already been enacted in other states, and shows a growing awareness in the medical and addiction treatment communities that medication is much more beneficial when paired with counseling and other methods of addiction treatment. There is a shift happening towards recognizing the holistic approach for treating addiction, given the proven success of these types of treatment approaches, and the lasting recovery seen in their patients. Dr. Leana Wen, health commissioner for the city of Baltimore, and staunch advocate for addiction treatment, was quoted as saying “Addiction is a disease, treatment exists and recovery is possible. Medications, including methadone and buprenorphine, combined with counseling are proven to lead to better outcomes than treating opioid addiction with medication alone. Counseling allows those in recovery to develop the tools and coping skills they need to prevent relapse.” This is good news, as it reflects a necessary shift in how we as a society view the nature of addiction. There is no medical cure-all, and no easy answer. Addiction is not only a physical dependence, but an issue of emotional and mental soundness, problem-solving, and approach to the outside world. Addicts need intensive and thorough help to address not only the physical part of addiction, but the underlying issues as well.

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Addiction Treatment is Within Reach

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, help is available. Call the treatment professionals at Serenity Acres today, to see if holistic inpatient treatment could be right for you: 1-800-203-2024.