A research letter was sent to the Journal of the American Medical Association discussing the massive difference between the number of people who are addicted to heroin and those that actually receive some sort of treatment. The problem is that nearly 80% of people with a heroin problem are not getting the help that they need.
There are many different types of treatment available for heroin addicts. The most common include outpatient treatment, replacement drug therapies (such as buprenorphine or methadone) and residential treatment. There are a few main reasons for low numbers of heroin addicts getting help.
One reason is because the vast majority of state-funded treatment centers have an extremely long waiting list. This is usually due to the fact that treatment centers rely on state and federal funding and when that funding runs out it is the addicts that suffer. An insufficient amount of beds and funding causes treatment centers to turn away people who are seeking help. Addicts are told to wait for a call from the center when a bed opens up, but many miss their window of opportunity.
Another common reason why heroin addicts are not enrolling in treatment is that there is still a stigma attached to being classified as an addict. Many people who abuse heroin are aware that they need help but do not want to experience the shame of admitting their problem to those closest to them. “Referring to drug users as junkies or criminals keeps people with addiction in the shadows and away from getting help. They may be open to treatment, but they never seek it out,” explained Brendan Saloner, Johns Hopkins professor and author of the study.
Another issue facing the nation surrounding the opiate addiction epidemic is the availability of various types of medication that can help save lives and improve treatment outcomes. For example, several states have been slow to support the usage of the overdose prevention drug naloxone.
If you have a loved one addicted to heroin other opiates, don’t wait until it’s too late to act. Contact us today for help, from the drug intervention through treatment and on into recovery.