Officials and treatment centers take action
Every once in a while there’s some good news about treatment options for people suffering from addiction: their treatment options are expanded. At the beginning of August, Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick signed legislation that will require “health insurers to cover up to two weeks of inpatient treatment for people battling drug addiction,” in response to the state’s “soaring rates of opioid drug abuse.”
If addicts can detox and start treatment, we can hope they will continue. At least it gives them more time to find funding options for further treatment because two weeks is a drop in the bucket. I imagine that was the purpose—to have someone start. The governor also said that the law “puts Massachusetts on the leading edge of access to addiction treatment and recovery services” and that "Those battling the effects of addiction should never face barriers to treatment." (I posted about barriers to treatment on the Brentwood House blog in April 2014.)
The good news went further, however. Patrick also called a meeting with four governors from the northeast to find ways for the states to “work together on fighting addiction.”
Sometimes you have to look for pockets of hope. A couple of months ago, my local paper reported that Daytop, a treatment facility in southern Jersey was expanding. I believe there are not a lot of treatment options in my neck of the woods, but this article said that teens can enter residential treatment immediately but adults often have to wait nine to 12 months. I assume that’s for this center only.
About 500 teens go through Daytop's programs each year across the state. Virtually all of the teens in the Pittsgrove (NJ) facility come from the seven southern counties. When insurance runs out, the facility uses state grants or private funds to keep patients in treatment as long as they need it.”
I liked this article because it told two stories. First, NJ Governor Christie (love him or hate him) told of losing a law school classmate addicted to Percocet. Christie tried to help him, but the man was unsuccessful after 12 trips to rehab. He was found dead, although the article didn’t say whether it was suicide or an accidental overdose. He was found in a motel room with an empty Percocet container and an empty quart of vodka. The second story involved a troubled teen who finally got sober after attending Daytop. His father said he had anxiety from a young age and started taking drugs in eighth grade. Soon he was shooting up between his toes so that his parents wouldn’t know. It was only when he had to face going to jail that he agreed to enter rehab.
This part reminds me of the tragic stories we have heard from from many mothers:
“Indeed, it seems most parents seek help after their children are already young adults and deep into their addictions, explained Kass Foster and Susan Buonomo, founding members of the group Parent-to-Parent. Both women lost sons to addiction and have sought to help other families fighting addiction.”
Although addiction treatment is expanding, it can still be difficult for those who are desperately trying to find treatment for someone in the throes of addiction. This is a step in the right direction, but there's still plenty of room for improvement.