NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – New state research reveals the state’s lack of success treating opiate addicts.
A Massachusetts Department of Public Health report found 61% of adult opiate addicts who receive treatment Massachusetts leave before they finish. One in 8 adults is readmitted after a month of being discharged.
As of September 30th, the DPH also confirmed over 1,000 opiate-related overdose deaths, and the failure rate is still high even among patients who complete treatment.
Jill Shanahan of the Needle Exchange program of Tapestry Health Northampton explained to 22News that recovery is extremely personal. One person might need to go through treatment only once in order to be fully recovered, while another person might need to experience treatment multiple times throughout his or her life. The challenge of getting an addict to return to treatment depends on previous experiences.
Steve Kozial of Greenfield told 22News, “I think it’s the personal connection, just knowing that somebody is listening to you, and that’s a person you can go back to. You may not do it right away, though, it takes many tries.”
The state’s Health and Human Services Department has made two suggestions to stop this large failure rate. First: increase the low number of recovery specialists; second: create trauma teams within emergency rooms specially trained to respond to overdoses. They also stress continuous retraining when necessary.
The Massachusetts DPH predicts the final number of opiate-related deaths in 2016 will be higher than 2015.
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