Transformed…beyond hope

What is there to say?

The NAOMI study was funded by an $8.1-million research grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

The heroin and hydromorphone participants received three doses a day from health-care professionals in downtown clinics. Most participants – 192 – were from Vancouver. Fifty-nine were from Montreal.

After one year, 90 per cent of the addicts being provided heroin were still in the program and 54 per cent in the methadone program remained – much higher than the retention rates for conventional treatment, Dr. Schechter said.

Researchers said they found a decrease in criminal activity and use of street drugs, and an improvement in health among participants.

Participants must have been addicted to heroin for at least five years and attempted treatment twice in the past.

“This is a group that society has written off as beyond hope,” Dr. Schechter said.

Once again, Emerson comes to mind:

This conformity makes them not false in a few particulars, authors of a few lies, but false in all particulars. Their every truth is not quite true. Their two is not the real two, their four not the real four ; so that every word they say chagrins us and we know not where to begin to set them right.

Two failed treatments and the best we can hope for is reduced crime, some improvements in health and persistence in showing up to receive free heroin? All for only $32,270 per participant?

5 thoughts on “Transformed…beyond hope

  1. Why does treatment of addiction have to be ALL OR NOTHING? The other forms of treatment these people have tried didn’t give them ANY success! So whats wrong with improved health, reduced crime and a pretty good chance that they will continue to see these “small” improvements if they continue treatment.In fact, isn’t the point of treatment for ANY chronic UN-CURABLE disease IMPROVED HEALTH? Isn’t that the whole POINT? Compared to the other forms of treatment they tried with NO improvement in these areas (or any others) I would consider this a success for these particular individuals. They are the “treatment resistant” group and any improvement in health should be considered a success.The 32K for each patient is a drop in the bucked compared to conventional treatment which costs that much for ONE MONTH….and what happens when they leave treatment? Their chances of overdosing in the first month is dramatically increased, their chances of staying abstinant are 90% and then they are right back where they started.

  2. 32K would cover one month of boutique treatment. In a program like ours it would cover 12 people for 3 months of residential treatment and they could then move into supportive housing, get a job and pay their own rent. We do it with opiate addicts every day.

  3. Not surprising that 90 per cent of the addicts being provided heroin were still in the program after a year. I would still be there as well if I had the option. I think the problem is always greater than the drugs themselves. Sounds like “Harm Reduction” to me. Anyone with an opiate addiction has options that don’t necessarily involve treating addiction with more drugs. Though they may be “successful” remission is possible with 100% abstinence, I see it everyday. A true success is when an addict overcomes the odds and lives a meaningful, purposeful life. One that is abstinence, and recovery based and not a slave to any system or drug whether prescribed or not.

  4. “”” A true success is when an addict overcomes the odds and lives a meaningful, purposeful life. One that is abstinence, and recovery based and not a slave to any system or drug whether prescribed or not.”””This is YOUR idea of success, not everyones. A lot of us are pretty happy getting the first part–and many people on methadone do have meaningful, purposeful lives. If you wanna talk about being a “slave” to a system–lets talk about being a slave to the 12steps! I guarentee people in abstinance spend a whole lot more of their lives in meetings than I do as a “slave” to the clinic. But to each his own…my idea of recovery is simple: how much of my life am I wasting because of my addiction? That includes time wasted craving a substance…obessessing about a substance…and time wasted in treatment.Since being on methadone frees me from cravings and obsession and takes me exactly a half hour each week to get–I’d say my recovery is going pretty well.If your idea of recovery from an illness is spending your life finding ways to “live with” it’s symptoms–then by all means go AHEAD. I want my life back…I have my life back.”””32K would cover one month of boutique treatment. In a program like ours it would cover 12 people for 3 months of residential treatment and they could then move into supportive housing, get a job and pay their own rent. We do it with opiate addicts every day.11:47 AM”””And what percentage stay WELL? How do you KNOW they stay WELL? How many times do you USUALLY see opiate addicts go through your treatment program before it finally “works”? Many addicts spontaneously stop using substances addictively after 60 with NO treatment at all. Since the chances of this happening are about the same as an opiate addict getting well through 12 step programs-(90% will relapse) I don’t know how or why we even call it treatment. It’s like saying to someone with a broken leg: you can sit around and hope the leg heals on it’s own, you can sit around and talk about your feelings and tell the story of how the broken leg happened and still hope the leg will heal OR YOU CAN PUT A CAST ON THE LEG MAKE SURE IT HEALS.

  5. I’m happy for you that you’ve found recovery. I wish you nothing but the best. All I want is for people to have a choice. We have a waiting list that is 6 months long for males that don’t qualify for public funding and can’t pay for their own treatment (we cover the cost). All of them could get into a methadone program today. They want drug-free recovery and can’t access adequate drug-free treatment.BTW – Of 2006 discharges, 55% of all follow-ups we abstinent at one year (45% continuously and 10% abstinent again for more than 60 days.) and 79% of treatment completers were abstinent at 1 year. (66% continuously and 13% abstinent again.)As for wellness, we could/should do better in measuring it within our program. The previous discussion of that was based on the commenter using that term and was focused on research. For what it’s worth (I suspect it’s not worth much with you.), we see people coming back every day to help current clients. They’re working again, getting promotions, repairing their families, starting families, going back to college, buying homes, etc.

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