We have become a medicated generation; one whose “go-to” solution is always the quick fix. When someone is sick, whether it be high cholesterol, sleep issues, or chronic pain, what do they do? Rather than seeking alternative means to better their health, most people look to medication to help them feel better. While environmental changes can often aid in the treatment of certain ailments, such as a better diet, exercise, and changes to lifestyle, most of society would rather take a pill and receive immediate relief. The same goes for those struggling with addiction issues.
Rather than putting in the necessary work to combat their addictive diseases, such as therapy and a 12-step fellowship, many are turning to medication to aid in their disorders. While this impulsive response is understandable, considering the government’s endorsement for this form of “treatment,” relying on addictive medications to aid in the addiction crisis is more than foolish, it’s dangerous. As young drug users turn to a treatment modality that has been strongly recommended by doctors, the government, and Big Pharma, we are slowly and silently creating a bigger problem entirely. Just as with OxyContin or Methadone, in 10 years from now, we will look back baffled and wonder how this problem was created.
Our Quick Fix Society
It is no wonder why our society has become so reliant on medication to do the “trick.” Every time you turn on the T.V. another commercial flashes across your screen, advertising the latest medicine to help with your problems – “Are you having trouble sleeping? Are you restless? Do you feel sad all of the time? Then ask your doctor about this new medication.” We’ve all seen this advertisements, and more than likely, many of us have thought to ourselves, “Yes, I do feel that way. Maybe I need to see my doctor.” Instead of addressing underlying reasons to our ailments, because that would create discomfort and inconvenience, we look to the fastest solution available. And, as we stock our medicine cabinets, Big Pharma lines their pockets.
Although there are some illnesses where medicine certainly is crucial, when it comes to addiction, this is not always the case. In fact, other than in the most extreme scenarios, where someone has made countless efforts to become sober without avail (what many refer to as the chronic relapser), medication can be detrimental in the long run. Long term use of Suboxone, the most popular opioid addiction medication available today, has shown to only further progress opioid addiction. Many times, drug users take these medications, because they are attempting to avoid the pain associated with withdrawal and early recovery. And, why wouldn’t they? When you live in a society where instant relief and quick fixes are the norm, would you expect anything else? Nonetheless, they wind up suffering from harsher withdrawal symptoms and emotional/behavioral issues, compared to those who sought the route of abstinence, addictions counseling, and 12-step fellowships.
Advocates Fight For These Medications, But Studies Show They Don’t Work
Amino most recently published a report revealing data surrounding the opioid addiction crisis in America. While their data shows many interesting points, a few in particular stand out. For instance, in 2012, an estimated quarter of a million privately insured patients were diagnosed with an opioid use disorder. By 2016, that number jumped to 1.4 million – a 6-fold increase. The data also reveals that in states where the addiction crisis is at its worst, such as Kentucky, more doctors are prescribing more medications, like Suboxone. While Amino argues that these forms of treatment should be utilized more often, shouldn’t their data show the opposite? Meaning, if medication was the answer, areas that have higher concentrations of Suboxone patients, should have lower rates of addiction.
While many Suboxone advocates exist today, one study shows us exactly why other forms of treatment, such as abstinence-based treatment and 12-step models should not be forgotten. John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health analyzed pharmacy claims for over 38,000 Suboxone patients between 2006 and 2013. Their study revealed that 67% of those patients filled a prescription for an opioid painkiller within the first year after their Suboxone treatment. Furthermore, 43% filled a prescription for an opioid, while being prescribed Suboxone.
With much of the focus now geared toward medication-assisted treatment, it is important drug users and families understand all of their options. If you are currently struggling with addiction and are considering seeking help, you should know that medication is not the only route you can take. Abstinence, addictions counseling, and 12-step fellowships are proven forms of treatment. Many have come before you that have found success and lasting sobriety by utilizing this model. Remember, there is no “quick fix” to recovery. Although it is a complete lifestyle change, where dedication and hard work is required, it is well worth it in the end.
Contact Clearbrook For Addiction Treatment
For more than 40 years, Clearbrook Treatment Centers has had the honor and privilege to watch many suffering alcoholics and addicts achieve sobriety and rebuild their lives. Through utilizing a 12-step model of treatment and providing a safe, medical detox, we will show you what recovery truly has to offer. We are not saying it will easy, but it will be worth it.
Secluded in the beautiful mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania, you will have the opportunity to begin your journey to wellness in a serene and peaceful environment. If you or a loved one is currently caught in the grips of addiction, please contact our Admissions Specialists today. We are available 24 hours a day to assist you or answer any questions you may have.