Even more, the health professionals who administer methadone — and another commonly used treatment drug called buprenorphine — say the medications enable people to find new jobs, to regain custody of their children and to more easily recover from the mind-altering effects of opioids.
Lugo is just one of the tens of thousands of people who benefitted from a methadone treatment program in Connecticut in recent years, but state officials want to see that number increase even more to combat the state’s ongoing epidemic.
A special advisory committee, set up to manage roughly $600 million in opioid settlement funds for Connecticut, published a report earlier this year that laid out several key strategies for curtailing opioid overdoes in the state, and it argued that increasing the accessibility and use of methadone and buprenorphine would be the most effective approach to stemming the mounting death toll.
Sharfstein, who also cowrote a book titled “The Opioid Epidemic: What Everyone Needs to Know,” said treatment programs that incorporate methadone and buprenorphine meet both of those principles.
The effectiveness of medication-assisted treatment, Sharfstein said, has been reviewed by the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
And research has suggested that the use of methadone and buprenorphine in treating opioid use disorders can substantially reduce people’s chances of fatally overdosing — some studies suggest by up to 50%.
“For a disease that is killing many Americans, that is a significant reduction in mortality that you can get with appropriate treatment that includes medications,” Sharfstein said. “And that I think is just an incredibly important point to keep in mind as officials are thinking about expanding access to treatment.”
Author(s): Andrew Brown
Publication Date: 3 Dec 2023
Publication Site: CT Mirror