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Breaking the Addiction Cycle

Breaking the Addiction Cycle

Drug overdoses killed more than 64,000 Americans in 2016, and 72,000 in 2017(1). One of the most pressing public health questions today, is how do we treat this issue? How do we treat addiction and help others before it leads to death? Addiction is a complex, chronic disease, and therefore access to effective, comprehensive treatment is crucial in the recovery process. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is one viable option for people who are addicted or dependent on opioids, heroin or alcohol. Medication-Assisted Treatment uses FDA approved medications and behavioral therapy to treat substance abuse disorders. These medications are successfully used for opioid, heroin and alcohol addiction/ dependency treatment and assists in reducing craving and withdrawal symptoms. MAT can cut the all-cause mortality rate by half or more(2), which is why it is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institue on Drug Abuse and the World Health Organization. One of the most commonly asked questions is, is Medication-Assisted Treatment replacing one addiction for another? The answer is no, MAT does not support an addiction cycle, and is an approved treatment model in the medical community. The addiction cycle includes a behavioral disruption from heroin and opioid abuse, this generally includes a euphoria, crash, then craving cycle. Medication-Assisted Treatment does not support a behavioral disruption model, because it does not offer these 3 steps and can save and improve the live os people with addiction or dependence. These medications are prescribed in pill form or are injected under monitored and controlled conditions that are safe and effective. For example, Vivitrol is a trade name for Naltrexone, which works by attaching itself to opioid receptors in the brain and blocking them, this injection lasts 30 days. Tune in next week for a deeper look at the medication, Vivitrol. If you are a loved one is struggling with addiction or dependency, call 907-373-9460 for Wasilla or 907-770-1152 in Anchorage.
  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Overdose Death Rates.” NIDA, 9 Aug. 2018, www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates.
  2. Vox. (2018). A new study found a big problem with a popular opioid addiction medication. [online] Available at: https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/11/15/16653718/study-buprenorphine-naltrexone-suboxone-vivitrol [Accessed 5 Dec. 2018].
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