Barriers to Addiction Treatment in Pensacola Florida

Barriers to Addiction Treatment in Pensacola Florida

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In the substance use disorder treatment field, there are many different types of barriers to care, including some serious barriers that affect the population of Pensacola. Some of the best drug and alcohol rehabs in Pensacola suffer from extremely long waiting lists. If you or a loved one has found this article because you are looking for drug rehab in Pensacola or alcohol treatment near Pensacola, please call Florida Springs today.

 A barrier to care is anything that keeps would-be patients away from the treatment they need to fight substance use disorder. In Pensacola, the most common addictions are opioids, alcohol, and meth. The opioid epidemic in Pensacola is extremely serious right now as the vast majority of street level opioids have street fentanyl in them. Illicit fentanyl, or street fentanyl, has been found all over Pensacola and the Florida panhandle, and it is, by far, the deadliest drug on US streets. Street fentanyl killed over 100,000 people the last few years from overdose, more than any other drug. Let’s discuss some barriers that people run into when seeking treatment for an addiction to heroin or fentanyl in Pensacola. First, methadone is an incredibly successful drug for the treatment of opioid use disorder. It is also the opioid use disorder medication that we know the most about, as it has been studied since the 1940s. In 2020, I wrote about a 15-year study on methadone that was done in New York City starting in the 1980s. That scientific research showed how well medication-assisted treatment can work in general, but over the years scientific research of that type has not silenced some of the less informed critics of medication-assisted treatment, including MAT with Buprenorphine (Suboxone, Subutex), which is available through Florida Springs Wellness and Recovery Center in Panama City.

Overdose and Opioid Addiction Treatment in Pensacola

Nearly all people with opioid use disorder are at risk of overdose when they are actively using their drugs of choice. Several studies have shown that there is very little risk of someone with opioid use disorder overdosing on methadone in the context of a medication-assisted treatment regimen. With all that said, in most of the United States, physicians are not allowed to offer their own patients methadone for recovery. For that reason, anyone who cannot go to a methadone clinic each day, for any reason, faces barriers to care. In rural places, this is often due to not having access to transportation to a clinic every day, or not even having a clinic in driving distance. That is absolutely the case for many people around Pensacola, but the largest barrier to care for people needing drug addiction treatment in Pensacola is a lack of financial resources.

Barriers to Addiction Treatment in Pensacola Florida

Methadone and Buprenorphine may not be expensive in direct comparison to a heroin habit, but there are still many people around Escambia County who struggle to keep transportation and funds together each day for drug addiction treatment. Furthermore, even meth users in Pensacola are finding themselves in opioid withdrawal, as drug cartels are lacing even non-opioid drugs with fentanyl in order to get more people addicted. Methamphetamine already has serious withdrawal effects, including psychological challenges related to stopping it’s use, so opioid withdrawal from fentanyl can make stopping meth cold turkey even more daunting and dangerous. People seeking to discontinue any drug use should always speak with a physician, if only to investigate what substances they might be dependent on, as street level drugs have low purity and high levels of adulterants (or other drugs present that are not expected).

Stigmatization of Addiction in Pensacola

Other than a lack of money and transportation, stigmatization of addiction and mistreatment of people with addiction has plagued Pensacola and Florida. Over the last 50 years, many treatment programs have been built to resemble the justice system in many ways. Oftentimes people seeking addiction medical care are not treated like patients in any other area of medicine. Many community treatment programs, including methadone maintenance programs, have protocols designed by law enforcement rather than medical science. The DEA’s efforts to track and control methadone have made it harder for patients to get take home doses of their medication, meaning much more strain on resources and transportation when a person must show up to the clinic every day, rather than picking up a week of medication at a time. As we previously talked about, there is very little relative risk of an opioid-addicted person to overdose on a prescribed amount of methadone. The real risk to a person’s life and well-being is leaving a methadone program because of frustration and mistreatment, or lack of resources, because upon returning to street level drugs they are again exposed to deadly fentanyl mixed with heroin and other substances. If you or a loved one needs the best drug and alcohol rehab near Pensacola, call Florida Springs in Panama City today.

By Tim Cannon