We Treat Patients with Substance Abuse Differently Than Any Other Chronic Disease

Despite that fact that substance abuse has been defined as a chronic, relapsing disease, we don’t treat it the same as we do other conditions such as diabetes or obesity.  And yet the parallels are clear:  Imagine for a moment that you are obese.  You’ve struggled with it for years, your family and friends give you a hard time about it, your doctor warns you about it.  It’s not clear why this is a problem for you— is it genetics?  Behavior?  Underlying depression?  Why is it that other people can eat as much as they want without gaining weight?  Physically speaking, you shouldn’t be overweight and yet you are, despite your best efforts otherwise.  It’s costing you your health, your happiness, and taking years off your life. Well consider this: how is drug abuse any different? Food addiction is real, just as alcohol addiction and opiate addiction are real. (more…)

Lofexidine (Lucemyra) a “new” drug for opiate withdrawal?

You will soon hear about an “amazing” new drug called Lucemyra (Lofexidine). It was just approved (fast tracked even) to treat patients with opioid withdrawal. Wow! This is just what we need, an amazing breakthrough drug that will allow tens of thousands of patients to get off opiates. This is the first non-opiate FDA approved drug to treat opiate withdrawal. This will surely end the opiate epidemic we struggle with today. Right? (more…)

John Oliver on Rehab. Nailed it!

The Rehab Industry Needs Rehab

This past week John Oliver took an in-depth look at the rehab industry. As a former Medical Director for a residential program, I appreciated his critical analysis of the industry. Like all businesses, there are both good and bad players. But when your business model thrives on your customers failing and needing your services again, we need to look critically at their motivation. I can summarize the motivation of the rehab industry; bill insurance as much as possible, for as long as possible. There you go, I said it. This is what I saw when I was a medical director and this is why I’m not doing it anymore. There is fraud, insurance abuse and lack of oversight in this industry. (more…)

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