It does seem ironic that the industry most responsible for the creation and continuation of our current opioid epidemic could also be the main beneficiary of this next wave of treatment funding.
I’d feel better if I knew some in our brilliant science community were working hard on ways to taper patients, if just the most highly motivated, off the medications with a reduced risk of return to heroin.
We may be stuck relying on the soft stuff– therapy, support, behavior change, even spiritual growth– all those icky-squicky things that neuroscientists struggle to quantify.
If addiction really is a brain disorder based in complex adaptations to a substance, then who’s to say those adaptations won’t occur with a different drug?
Not surprisingly, the vast majority of patients who drop out or otherwise leave maintenance programs return to heroin at rates of 80% or higher.
It’s the basic unit of most drug-free approaches. What would happen if it could be incorporated into the OTP curriculum?
That’s why I’d welcome more research into the tapering process, with an eye to improving success rates.
Of course with additional treatment responsibilities, a counselor couldn’t be expected to manage a caseload of up to 75.
An answer such as vigorous exercise or meditation or going to a meeting will never be as universally attractive to someone a few weeks sober as “well, here, why don’t you toke this?”