When treated as a chronic disease, there is healing from opioid dependency

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FEATURE — This country is in the midst of an opioid-overdose epidemic. The Drug Abuse Warning Network estimated that in 2010 approximately 2.3 million emergency room visits in the U.S. resulted from drug misuse or abuse and over half of those involved nonmedical use of pharmaceuticals such as oxycodone.

Opioid overdose is prevalent in Southern Utah not only in forms of illegal drugs such as heroin but in misuse of pain medications like oxycodone, Percocet or Valium. Utah has been one of the highest-ranking states for opioid overdose and death in the United States, according to the Utah Department of Health, ranking No. 7 in the United States for drug poisoning deaths during 2013-2015.

There is no simple cure for opioid addiction but facilities such as BrookStone Medical Center in St. George can help people with opioid dependency by combining medically safe practices with counseling and support.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine said this of addiction:

(It is a) primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social, and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.

Like other chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, hypertension or asthma, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. The rates of relapse between addiction and other chronic diseases are comparable and likewise unable to be cured. It can however be treated and managed to maintain the highest possible quality of life.

When addiction is viewed as a chronic disease, ideas of a quick cure begin to change to the more effective addiction treatment, which is long-term management. There are long-term outpatient programs – such as medically assisted treatment – through which patients are able to receive help managing their disease and reducing or eliminating symptoms caused by opiate withdrawal.

Managing a chronic disease often requires care from patient-oriented and preventive practices coordinated by primary medical and specialty care. Medically assisted treatment programs provide patients with medication to eliminate symptoms of withdrawal coupled with behavioral therapies or counseling to aid in long term addiction management.

Medications in medically assisted treatment programs are a safe and effective component of addiction treatment and chronic disease management. Medications for the treatment of opioid use disorders are available for all phases of treatment. The staff at BrookStone Medical believes that using medications as a tool to treat opioid addiction is underutilized, and they hope to educate the community on the benefits of using medications to aid in addiction recovery.

Medically assisted treatment centers are protected by nondiscrimination laws under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Rehabilitation Act, Fair Housing Act and Workforce Investment Act.

About BrookStone Medical Center

BrookStone Medical Center is a medically assisted outpatient facility specializing in opioid dependency treatment. The facility uses safe and effective medications that aid in the withdrawal process in combination with education and support classes to help people manage their addiction and live a better life.

The primary goal of BrookStone Medical Center is to provide a safe and welcoming environment where those struggling with opioid dependency can find hope and healing. There is not a cure for opiod addiction, but there are treatment options and there is help.

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Resources

  • BrookStone Medical Center | Address: 198 N. 100 East, St. George | Telephone: 435-628-1111 | Website.

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