Points By General McCaffrey At Conference on New Perspectives in Opiate Treatment

Posted at April 10, 2006 | Categories : 2006 | 0 Comment
  • Congratulate Mayor Jerry Sanders, CRC Health Group Opiate Treatment Program President Phil Herschman, CEO Dr. Barry Karlin who is recovering from surgery, the experts here today including Dr. Tom McLellan, founder, Treatment Research Institute; Dr. Judith Reynolds, Narcotic Treatment Provider; Dr. Marcella Wilson, Addictionologist; Dr. Stewart Leavitt, Editor, Addiction Treatment Forum; and Ms. Rebecca Lira, Deputy Director, California Alcohol and Drug Programs; and the some 300 state and local drug treatment specialists here today. Also want to acknowledge and thank CRC Vice President John Peloquin who organized this conference and Vice President Kathy Sylvia.
  • CRC Health Group is the largest chemical dependency treatment provider in the nation and in the world, treating 22,000 clients daily in over 90 facilities plus a worldwide internet treatment process through their eGetgoing division. We are grateful to and proud of CRC for bringing us together today to discuss the regional and national crisis of addictive painkiller drugs.
  • Overall in the United States, there are 980,000 heroin users, but now 1.4 million Americans abuse or are dependent upon pain relievers.
  • Addictive painkiller drugs are the “new heroin”. The California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs reports a slight decrease in heroin abuse in recent years but an upsurge in painkillers. The National Drug Intelligence Center confirms that OxyContin and heroin are “used as substitutes for one another.” Other abused opiate prescription painkillers include Vicodin, Dilaudid, codeine, morphine and fentanyl.
  • Right here in San Diego, CRC clinics have found that painkiller admissions have risen from 5% of cases five years ago to some 25% now-a five-fold increase. CRC has five San Diego clinics and treats 1,350 people at a time.
  • Dimensions of the crisis are enormous as drug abuse destroys families, jobs, education, and lives, and is directly interrelated with crime.
  • Addiction is a chronic disease, and today we discuss new ways to provide comprehensive treatment and prevention, including new medications to counter opiate addiction. Methadone and buprenorphine are just two of the methods that must be combined with counseling and follow-on.
  • These strategies work. For every dollar spent on methadone maintenance treatment, $4-$7 is realized in economic benefits to society.
  • According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse Treatment Outcomes Study, “Methadone treatment reduced patients’ heroin abuse by 70%, their criminal activity by 57%, and increased their full-time employment by 24%.”
  • Likewise, buprenorphine meets a formerly largely unmet need for persons in early opioid addictions, and for detoxification from opioids. It eliminates withdrawal symptoms and can help individuals return to abstinence from drugs.
  • There are 19 million regular drug abusers, but only 3 million are receiving treatment. The treatment gap has existed for decades, and now we have the opportunity to do something concrete to reduce it. Today we have the opportunity to create a national model program by offering the very most advanced options to help the area community.

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