Pubdate: Sun, 10 Apr 2016
Source: Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA)
Copyright: 2016 Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Note: Rarely prints LTEs from outside circulation area - requires 
'Letter to the Editor' in subject
Author: Garen K. Sahagian


The recent problems with opioid addiction represent a critical 
medical treatment system in crisis. This "system" consists of the 
relatively unregulated process by which those with substance use 
issues access recovery treatment services, with its many loopholes 
and routine denials of medical insurance coverage.

The Massachusetts bill enacted recently (H4056), is a laudable 
effort, but does not address the core issues. Without question the 
current addiction epidemic was created by our current medical system, 
to a large extent intentionally and with foreknowledge of the risks. 
Further legislative initiatives must be pursued in the absence of any 
fundamental changes by the regulatory agencies responsible for 
overseeing our currently inadequate collection of independent 
profit-driven recovery treatment facilities. These facilities act as 
"knowledge and expertise silos" which are loosely interconnected into 
a "system" on a voluntary basis by the treating facilities, with the 
patients left to fend for themselves.

There must be a regulatory fix to force the medical insurance 
industry/government to provide true parity in services available to 
drug dependents and addicts (this does not currently exist), and to 
create a fully integrated recovery treatment services system. The 
scale of treatment services available must be increased dramatically 
and proportionally to match the short-term and extended phases of 
recovery resulting from long-term drug use. It is ridiculous to think 
that 3-7 days in a detox facility, followed by a 30-day inpatient 
residential rehabilitation admission (the current "best practices" 
approach), will reverse and effectively treat years of substance use 
and abuse. We Need Help!

Garen K. Sahagian

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