I’m sure this piece is going to get a lot of attention. “A treatment that actually works” is the subtitle for the article.
I’m not going to write a lengthy response, but I have written a lot on the subject.
First, how effective is it for someone like the subject of the article? Well, two recent studies are not very promising.
- One study found that only 9 or 103 were retained in treatment over the course of 1 year.
- Another study found a 1 year retention rate of 13% over one year.
Second, what does “actually works” mean? Works to do what?
The reader needs to stop and ask, “What do I want for the addict?” (Our interest might be for a loved one, out of altrusim or as a tax paying community member.) Am I looking for a reduction is drug use, criminal activity and disease transmission? Or, do I want more for them? Is my goal for them a full recovery and a return to full participation in family, community, academic and professional life?
When they say, “it works”, we need to ask if it works to facilitate this kind of full recovery.
Finally, let’s take a look at this statement: “The medical establishment had come to view Suboxone as the best hope for addicts like Patrick.”
“addicts like Patrick.”
What about addicts like members of the medical establishment? They do not view Suboxone as “the best hope” for their addicted colleagues. They have a better approach and enjoy outstanding outcomes. They get long term, high quality, abstinence focused treatment, long term recovery monitoring and support, and rapid re-intervention in the event of a relapse.
Why is that kind of treatment not considered the “best hope” for addicts like Patrick?
The “they’d still be alive” theme merits a response. Here’s a post I wrote on the argument that Philip Seymour Hoffman would be alive if he was prescribed Suboxone. (Preview: 1) He had Suboxone in his apartment. 2) Even if Suboxone helps prevent ODs, you have to take it to be protected. And, as pointed out above, huge numbers of patients stop taking it.)