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Letter: Comprehensive programs needed to treat opiate addiction

Suboxone is not enough.

Re-Entry is providing treatment with Suboxone as one component of its comprehensive mental health and addictions program. The incorporation of this treatment is a necessary component in response to the significant increase in opiate overdoses and deaths in Carroll County.

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Many Suboxone providers dispense medication only, and rely on other agencies to provide the necessary wrap-around services to support recovery from opiate addiction. Re-Entry provides comprehensive treatment to support to patients who only receive Suboxone elsewhere.

Doctors do not prescribe insulin to a diabetic without education, support and routine continuing follow-up care. An opiate-addicted person cannot expect to be successful being offered less.

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Unfortunately, the prescription and dispensation of Suboxone has become a "cash cow."

"A licensed physicians must either hold a subspecialty board certification, or obtain eight hours of specialized training on buprenorphine therapy. This training can be web based or obtained through a live program offered through one of four approved sponsors," according to healthymaryland.org.

Establishing a Suboxone clinic without wrap-around services is substandard care. Approximately 60 percent of opiate-addicted individuals manifest co-occurring symptoms of mental illness. Just prescribing Suboxone without mental health care does not represent best practices. The addicted also struggle with other problems needing support.

We treat families grieving the loss of a loved one. We help families through the continually stabbing reminders of a child's death as they cooperate with law enforcement, the prosecutors and the courts. That process may take years. Our criminal justice system in Carroll is impressive. They are supportive, caring advocates, who deal with wounds that are fresh, deep and unhealed.

Re-Entry provides comprehensive services through a treatment team consisting of a prescribing psychiatrist, a registered psychiatric nurse, a psychologist, and certified addiction counselor. We provide the essential supportive therapy and wrap-around services. We provide drug testing, and maintain naloxone for emergencies.

We support the 12-step recovery programs of Narcotics and Alcoholics Anonymous. We support our Drug Court. We also support interdiction and accountability.

The tentacles of addiction reach everywhere, and touch most everything.

There are innumerable issues and interventions required beyond a single prescription

Dr. Anthony Swetz

Westminster

The writer is the director of Re-Entry Mental Health Services in Westminster.

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