Improving Addiction Medicine in 2021

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Substance use disorder was a huge problem in 2020, just like the preceding decades had been. Experts believe that more people overdosed than ever before, and the trauma of overdose and growing numbers of people addicted to drugs and alcohol was only worsened by the awful SARS-Cov-2 pandemic that swept our country and is near all-time highs as the year 2021 begins. With all that apparent, there were incremental improvements made in the way that we care for people with substance use disorder in the last year. Experts in the field of addiction medicine would like those changes to remain and expand in 2021, and some of those experts put together a list of seven major areas for improvement in 2021. The final two items of that list that we have not covered are promoting paid work for people in recovery, and integrated care for people with substance use disorder. These are two very important subjects which we have talked about before. Most recently we discussed organizations that were not paying for work that was being done by people in recovery, and how that practice needed to end in this industry. Promoting more paid work for those same groups is also key.

Industry Leaders like Florida Springs in Panama City Can Set Example

When authors of studies understand the issue of addiction as deeply as these authors, we need industry leaders to be willing to lead the medical establishment into the future. This can be done at the best drug and alcohol rehabs in the country, including Florida Springs Wellness and Recovery Center in Panama City, Florida. I am calling attention to 2 important steps that the addiction medicine industry can take almost immediately, but I have discussed 7 total steps, or “pillars” over the last 40 days.

To be exact, the authors of the study call the sixth pillar “increasing paid work opportunities to provide better quality of life for people with substance use disorders.” It is certainly my feeling that the other side of that coin is cutting down on organizations who use people in recover as low and unpaid workers. Earlier this year we saw the Salvation Army called out by experts for those types of practices, which they seemed to be using at a national level. If an organization of that size seeks to stop that activity it could better the lives of thousands of addicts who have gone to the Salvation Army for help. I understand that organizations like the Salvation Army have a role to play in the future of addiction treatment, but they must be held to the same high standards as all rehabilitation treatment facilities. It has been shown in multiple studies that paid work can increase the feelings of self-worth and purpose for people in early recovery, and that can be a vital part of a person’s fight to stay away from using drugs and alcohol.

The seventh and final pillar that the authors included in the study we used for this series is “integrated addiction care.” Integrated addiction care is the process of addiction medicine being more in tune with all medicine in general. On this blog we have talked about dentists, anesthesiologists, primary care physicians, and nurses all starting to receive more training related to identifying and working with people who have substance abuse problems. At Florida Springs Wellness and Recovery Center, which is one of the best drug rehabs in Florida, the medical staff is often-times treating people who were previously treated by other health professionals who did not know they had a patient struggling with substance use disorder. This can also be because of stigma, as a patient may not want to be treated differently by a medical provider because of addiction. Training and education is the way to combat that scenario. As far as integration goes, we need to see much less red tape stopping the advancement of addiction medicine. If more primary care physicians and nurses are being trained to handle addiction, then government regulations must be changed in order to let them do that effectively. We are slowly on the right path in some of these areas, but we need to move much quicker than ever before as the addiction epidemic continues to worsen in America. If you or a loved one is in need of addiction treatment options, the best inpatient and outpatient drug rehab in Florida is Florida Springs in Panama City, Florida, and they have options available for every individual and are able to help patients answer insurance and billing questions. The population of Panama City depends on Florida Springs, as few other treatment centers are currently taking all types of patients, including limited spaces for Medicaid/wellcare patients.

By T.A. Cannon (Contact me at TACannonWriting@gmail.com)

References

LÓPEZ-PELAYO, H. et al. “The post-COVID era”: challenges in the treatment of substance use disorder (SUD) after the pandemic. BMC medicine, [s. l.], v. 18, n. 1, p. 241, 2020. DOI 10.1186/s12916-020-01693-9. Disponível em: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mnh&AN=32731868&authtype=geo&geocustid=s8475741&site=ehost-live&scope=site. Acesso em: 13 jan. 2021.