Monthly Archives: August 2016

Having Problems Getting Into Treatment?

Many people who have an opioid addiction don’t enter treatment. Three-fourths of people who need help don’t get it. There are many reasons for this failure. Listen to a group of people who have been dependent on opiates talk about their experiences finding the right help for them.

Discussion Guide:

Did you have difficulty accessing treatment for your addiction?

If you had problems finding the right treatment for you, where did it go wrong?

Did the stigma about addiction and medication treatment keep you from seeking treatment?

Was your physician knowledgeable about treatment resources and options?

When you were ready to get help, was help immediately available or did you have to wait?

Supplemental Reading:

David Heitz, Opioid Addiction Epidemic: Most Users Are Not Getting Help, But Long-Term Recovery Is Their Best Hope,

SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator

What is “True” Recovery?

Medications such as Methadone and Suboxone are the gold standard for opiate dependence. They allow the person to cease drug use and return to a normal level of functioning. However, opponents of medication assisted treatment believe that these medications numb emotions, and therefore prevent them from addressing core emotional issues in recovery. Listen in to a group of former opiate addicts discuss what they believe constitutes “true” recovery.

Discussion Guide:

How do you define recovery?

What are the necessary components of recovery?

Has your medication (Methadone, Suboxone, Vivitrol) blunted your emotions and ability to examine the cause of your addiction?

Have you addressed the core issues that may have led you to opioid dependence, such as trauma and emotional distress?

Do you believe that you have to stop your medication in order to address these issues more fully?

Supplemental Reading:

Desanto, Joseph, MD, Do Suboxone and Methadone Prevent Us From Experiencing True Recovery?

Advances in Opioid Treatment

In the news this week I’m reading of advances in treatment for opioid dependence. In the past there were very few resources for people who were addicted to opiates. But with news coverage of the overdose epidemic, there are a growing number of available options. Although there is still a stigma against medication assisted treatment, I am encouraged to hear of new opportunities. In this podcast we discuss several news articles that reference new options within two jails and improved third party insurance reimbursement.

Discussion Guide:

Has it been difficult for you to access treatment for your dependence?

Have you been incarcerated and underwent a detox without assistance?

If you were offered a criminal diversion program prior to incarceration, would you participate?

If there were additional federal funds available towards opioid dependence, where would you recommend it be applied?

Have you abused gabapentin to boost the high you get from opiates?

Supplemental Reading:

Health Department Takes the Next Step By addressing the Regional Opioid Crisis: The expansion of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) services 

Jail Detox Program Gives Female Heroin Addicts a Head Start to Recovery by Mark Ockerbloom and Jason Solowski

Magellan Healthcare Provider Focus, Tackling the Opioid Epidemic

1 in 5 Opioid Users Also Might Be Abusing Seizure Drug: Study, Health Day, News for Healthier Living

International Overdose Awareness Day

August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day. It is a global event held each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. Listen to a group of opiate addicts talk about their experiences with drug overdose and prevention.

Discussion Guide:

Have you experienced a drug overdose?

How many people have you known that have overdosed?

How many of those people died as a result of a drug overdose?

If you were to write a tribute to your family and friends who have died, would you share it without guilt or shame? Or, would the stigma against addiction prevent you from sharing it?

What advise would you give others for drug safety and overdose prevention?


David Konow, Heath Ledger’s Family Recall His Tragic Accidental Overdose,

August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day

International Overdose Awareness Day,

Paul Gaia, Fentanyl Patches Are More Dangerous in Hot Weather,

Get the Overdose Aware App:

Should You Stop? Criteria for Ceasing Medication Assisted Treatment

The properties of Medication Assisted Treatment are such that they stop withdrawal symptoms, decrease cravings and block the user from getting high if they use opiates. Because of this, MAT is a godsend to opiate addicts. But many hope to stop MAT at some point. Have you thought about tapering off your medication? What do you hope for and what do you fear about ceasing your medication? Listen to a group of opiate addicts discuss their hopes and fears.

Discussion Guide:

Do you intend to stop utilizing medication assisted treatment for your recovery?

How long do you believe one should engage in treatment before tapering off medication?

What are the pros and cons of stopping your medication?

Do you meet the criteria for ceasing medication assisted treatment?

What are your fears of ceasing MAT?

Supplemental Reading:

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Client Handbook, Chapter 8 How Long Will I Be On Methadone?

What If You Don’t Stop All Substances?

Not everyone who enters drug treatment wants to be free of all substances. They may have a desire to cease the drug that is causing the most negative consequences.  Writer, Ross Fishman of THE FIX featured a father’s dilemma about Suboxone treatment and wrote his expert advice to the father.  In this podcast our members respond to the questions posed by the father who is concerned about his son who is opiate free but continues to abuse multiple other substances. Listen in to hear our group of recovering opiate addicts give their opinions and advice.

Discussion Guide:

Did you continue to abuse substances, other than your drug of choice,  on your path to recovery? (cross addiction)

How much control does the prescribing doctor have over cross addictions?

What is your advice to a father who asks “should my son stay on Suboxone if he is still using other drugs?

What are the pros and cons of stopping medication assisted treatment?

How much influence do family and friends have over an addict’s behavior?

Supplemental Reading:

Ross Fishman, Ask an Expert: Should My Son Stay On Suboxone If He Is Still Using Other (Non-Opioid) Drugs?

The University of New Mexico, Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions (CASAA) Readiness Ruler,