Treating Opioid Addiction in the Community

Published by John Hartnett Opiate Addiction 27-March-2019

Can we treat opioid addiction in the local community? Health care workers are always trying to come up with new creative ideas when it comes to treating opioid drug addiction in the community. To date, the most successful results have come from removing someone from their personal environment to receive treatment for substance abuse.

However, the scale of the opioid epidemic in some countries is now so serious that this may not be a viable treatment option. Rehab clinics still have their place and are a great place to start your detox process, but afterward, it may be a good idea to explore other options.

Lockbox Ideas from The United States

Treatment by using a lockbox concept is being trialed in Florida in the United States. The initiative comes from the University of South Florida which has been trialing a new initiative to give recovering opioid addicts access to the treatment that they need.

Instead of having to stay in residential care, or attend a day clinic, access to treatments are given by the use of a lockbox. The box can be accessed by a person participating in the program to get their medication to help to control addictions. Further help is also being offered in the way of video conferencing sessions with health care workers.

Receiving Medication in the Comfort of Your Own Home

One of the benefits of the scheme is that the patient can stay in employment. Normally with traditional residential treatments, this is very hard to achieve. But, with the lockbox idea, the plan can be easily tailored to fit in with the patient’s other living requirements. This often makes it easier for him and her to follow a program.

Residential care in a clinic may be of benefit first of all according to the team from the University of South Florida. After that, to make sure treatment is followed, access to medication through the lockbox is being advocated. There is a lot less disruption and this is perhaps one of the reasons the treatment is successful.

The Danger of Breaking Away from Treatment

Many former patients who have received residential treatment in detox clinics find that they break away from treatment once back in the community. Going the lockbox way, it means treatment becomes part of daily life. There is no longer a need to attend as an outpatient and take time off work to receive help.

Is this a model which would work in the UK? Looking at the speed in which the opioid epidemic seems to be growing in the UK, it could be a scheme worth trying. Many people who are addicted to opioid-based painkilling drugs are, in fact, in gainful employment. Taking time off work to receive treatment is often stressful for them.

This is particularly an issue when you have come out of a clinic and would like to settle back into normal life.

Access to Back Up Care

One of the problems with lockbox scheme is that the patient often needs to have access to additional psychological care. If this could be arranged as part of a complete treatment program, the chances of success would be better.

This is just what the team from the University of South Florida is trying as well. Would the same work in the UK? The problem is that there are very few medical schools or university research teams that work directly with the general public in the UK. If standards could be changed, perhaps the idea would work in the UK as well as it does in the United States

Drug Addiction – A Multi-Faceted Problem

Any kind of addiction is a serious problem, but drug-related addiction is more of a concern. You can risk overdosing, and this is another reason why a lockbox solution is effective. It will only give the user access to the right amount of medication.

If you can have control within any kind of framework, drug addiction treatment is much more likely to succeed. Starting with inpatient in a drug rehabilitation facility is a good first step. However, after that, other solutions should be considered.

The lockbox does not restrict a person’s professional or personal life and this is what makes it such an interesting option together with some form of initial care in a detox centre. Should you have any personal concerns, or think that you are in need of help, there is plenty of guidance and help available within the private medical care sector in the UK.

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