Drug Abuse Treatment

Problems with drug abuse can be handled and resolved through drug abuse treatment that is tailored to the individual needs. With the right treatment plan, patients can learn to control their condition and live normal, productive lives. Common drug abuse treatment often involves attending drug rehab and receiving therapy. Behavioral therapies can include counseling, psychotherapy, support groups, or family therapy.

In general, the more drug abuse treatment given the better one's results. Many in recovery require other services as well, such as medical and mental health services and HIV prevention services. Those who stay in treatment longer than 3 months usually have better outcomes than those who stay less time. Recovering drug abusers who go through medically assisted withdrawal to minimize discomfort but do not receive any further treatment, perform about the same in terms of their drug use as those who were never treated. Over the last 25 years, studies have shown that drug abuse treatment works to reduce drug intake and crimes committed by drug-dependent people. Researchers also have found that drug abusers who have been through treatment are more likely to have jobs.

Types of Drug Abuse Treatment Programs:

The ultimate goal of all drug abuse treatment is to enable the patient to achieve lasting abstinence, but the immediate goals are to reduce drug use, improve the patient's ability to function, and minimize the medical and social complications of drug abuse.

There are several types of drug abuse treatment programs. Short-term methods last less than 6 months and include residential therapy, medication therapy, and drug-free outpatient therapy. Longer term treatment may include, for example, methadone maintenance outpatient treatment for opiate addicts and residential therapeutic community treatment.

In maintenance treatment for heroin addicts, people in treatment are given an oral dose of a synthetic opiate, usually methadone hydrochloride or levo-alpha-acetyl methadol (LAAM), administered at a dosage sufficient to block the effects of heroin and yield a stable, noneuphoric state free from physiological craving for opiates. In this stable state, the person is able to disengage from drug-seeking and related criminal behavior and, with appropriate counseling and social services, become a productive member of his or her community.

Methadone maintenance programs are usually more successful at retaining clients with opiate dependence than are therapeutic communities, which in turn are more successful than outpatient programs that provide psychotherapy and counseling. Within various methadone programs, those that provide higher doses of methadone (usually a minimum of 60 mg.) have better retention rates. Also, those that provide other services, such as counseling, therapy, and medical care, along with methadone generally get better results than the programs that provide minimal services.

History has demonstrated that drug-free heroin and opiate drug treatment programs have a longer-term effect on the individual. With so many millions of Americans addicted to drugs, a different approach to heroin addiction treatment needs to be taken. We need to open our eyes and realize that substituting one drug for another is not working and more needs to be done.

Many top drug abuse treatment programs feel the focus needs to be taken off of what prescription drug a person can take for their illegal drug addiction. Instead, it needs to be put on how the person addicted can live a drug-free life without the assistance of any medication, legal or illegal, ever again. Many do not believe that addiction can be overcome because they have been told it is a "disease" that they are going to live with for the rest of their lives. Luckily, we know different; drug addiction is not a disease and something can be done about it.

Outpatient drug-free treatment does not include medications and encompasses a wide variety of programs for recovering people who visit a clinic at regular intervals. Most of the programs involve individual or group counseling. Therapeutic communities (TCs) are highly structured programs in which one stays at a residence, typically for 6 to 12 months. People in TCs include those with relatively long histories of drug dependence, involvement in serious criminal activities, and seriously impaired social functioning. The focus of the TC is on the re-socialization of the recovering person to a drug-free, crime-free lifestyle.

Short-term residential programs, often referred to as chemical dependency units, are often based on the "Minnesota Model" of treatment for alcoholism. These programs involve a 3- to 6-week inpatient treatment phase followed by extended outpatient therapy or participation in 12-step self-help groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous or Cocaine Anonymous. Chemical dependency programs for drug abuse arose in the private sector in the mid-1980s with insured alcohol/cocaine abusers as their primary patients. Today, as private provider benefits decline, more programs are extending their services to publicly funded patients.

Drug abuse treatment programs in prisons can succeed in preventing patients' return to criminal behavior, particularly if they are linked to community-based programs that continue treatment when the client leaves prison. Some of the more successful programs have reduced the re-arrest rate by one-fourth to one-half. For example, the "Delaware Model," an ongoing study of comprehensive treatment of drug- addicted prison inmates, shows that prison-based treatment including a therapeutic community setting, a work release therapeutic community, and community-based aftercare reduces the probability of re-arrest by 57 percent and reduces the likelihood of returning to drug use by 37 percent.

Drug abuse has a great economic impact on society-an estimated $67 billion per year. This figure includes costs related to crime, medical care, drug abuse treatment, social welfare programs, and time lost from work. Treatment of drug abuse can reduce those costs. Studies have shown that from $4 to $7 are saved for every dollar spent on treatment. It costs approximately $3,600 per month to leave a drug abuser untreated in the community, and incarceration costs approximately $3,300 per month.

Recovery from drug abuse can be a long-term process and frequently requires multiple episodes of drug abuse treatment. As with other chronic health issues, relapses to drug use can occur during or after successful treatment episodes. Addicted individuals may require prolonged drug abuse treatment and multiple episodes of drug abuse treatment to achieve long-term abstinence and fully restored functioning.

In 2004, around 642,000 State prisoners were in need of drug treatment in the year before their admission to prison.

In 2006, 2.3% of individuals who went to drug treatment centers were American Indian or Alaska Native.

Detox is done before entering drug treatment programs.

Drug treatment centers provide rehabilitation services for drug addiction and alcoholism.

In 2007, 625 were older black individuals (ages 55 and up) were admitted to drug treatment centers.

10% of the reasons individuals enter drug treatment centers is due to crack cocaine.

1,749 older individuals (ages 55 and up) had received prior mental health treatment before admitting into a drug treatment centers.

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