Summary and Analysis

Dr. Robert L. DuPont, MD, first Director of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse and the second White House Drug Chief, at the Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit spoke about the need for a “peace plan” between the different addiction treatment programs and the “many paths to recovery.”

He suggested that treatments fall into 2 distinctive categories: residential type programs, often with patients going to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and other recovery support,  and the use of medication-assisted treatment (MAT). He noted that drug-free programs were common in private, often insurance-funded, addiction treatment programs while “the major strategy for most public sector addiction treatment programs.” He defined MAT as methadone and now including buprenorphine and naltrexone.

He further noted that the two approaches often battle one another over treatment modalities, which diminishes both approaches.

Excerpted from hmpgloballearningnetwork.com

Our treatments for this polydrug epidemic fall into 2 distinctive categories. One started at the Hazelden Foundation in Center City, Minnesota in the late 1950s, with a 28-day residential program followed by patients going to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and other recovery support for years, often for their lifetimes. This approach is common in private, often insurance-funded, addiction treatment programs.

The other approach is medication-assisted treatment (MAT) which started with methadone in the late 1960s. MAT now includes buprenorphine and naltrexone. MAT is the major strategy for most public sector addiction treatment programs.

Those two approaches often battle one another in this war between treatment modalities. That war is destructive and unnecessary. It diminishes both approaches. The big losers are our patients and the public health.

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