There have been a number of steps taken and laws passed to try and alleviate the damage done by the opioid epidemic. The abuse of prescription pills has taken and upended countless lives in the United States in recent years and those in power are working gradually to see what can be done to improve the situation. Some have concluded that medication management, as one solution, can at least prevent an opioid relapse, if gone about correctly.

Opioid Relapse Thwarted by Medication Management

Depending on the substance, if a relapse occurs, the consequences can be very different. When it comes to prescription pills, a relapse could be deadly. “That’s because when a person stops using opioids, their body begins to lose the ability to tolerate the drug, and they can easily misjudge how much they can safely consume.” Unfortunately, when it comes to this particular addiction, the rate of relapse is very high, especially within that first year of recovery.

With these potentially-fatal relapses and a widespread addiction, there has been a lot of research into how to combat the epidemic. Professionals in and out of treatment centers are beginning to advocate for medication management as a means of preventing the dangerous relapses that are associated with opioid addiction. Naloxone, or Narcan, is a “rescue medicine” that is being provided more and more to those who are released from treatment back into the world and into their lives. At the very least, this “opioid antidote” might be able to help patients to avoid the dangers following treatment, should they occur.

Even so, as many of these same experts point out, the real focus should be on relapse prevention and on avoiding these incidents entirely. Giving naloxone to those entering into a recovery period is a good first step, but the ideal would be a time in which these individuals wouldn’t need to approach what should be a period of positivity with the statistics stacked against them. Treatment experts “can help do that by identifying those at greatest risk of relapsing and making sure they have access to every tool at

[their] disposal, including medication-assisted treatment.” Of course, the actions taken will vary depending on the state and treatment center, but the fact remains that some action needs to be taken, and soon.

Medication management as an option for preventing relapse is a good step. Even with one of the “rescue” drugs, patients, counselors, and health professionals alike should be able to identify the risk factors associated with opioid relapse and overdose. Some of these include the patient’s history with substance abuse and relapse, their unwillingness to change their lifestyle or habits, and “intense cravings,” which are common for any recovery period.

Therapists and addiction professionals “now need to ensure that clients with opioid dependency receive clear, consistent and universal recommendations for life-protecting medications as part of their treatment.” Lawmakers need to keep the spotlight on this tremendous issue to ensure that those who are struggling receive the most effective care and treatment possible. In the meantime, those who are suffering from substance abuse or relapse issues of any kind should get in touch with The Bergand Group. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, including medication management strategies.  We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.

About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.