Pathways Provides Long-Term Detox Medication and Support
Drug and alcohol addiction is costly, both for individuals who suffer from substance abuse and for the rest of us as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the United States spends well over $300 billion a year on addiction-related costs such as medical services, law enforcement, and lost wages and productivity.
ADOLESCENTS AT RISK
Pathways sponsors an outpatient educational program for teenagers who have been identified by their families, schools, and physicians as being at high risk for dangerous behaviors like drinking and using drugs. Warning signs that your child may be experimenting with alcohol or drugs include:
But when people receive help, the picture changes: a 2005 study by researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) concluded that society saves $7 for every $1 invested in addiction treatment. Because recovering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol is an ongoing process, Pathways, the AAMC-affiliated addiction treatment center, is developing new long-term outpatient programs to support adolescents and adults through their rehabilitation and help them stay clean and sober.
Medical insurance often severely limits the time a patient can stay in an intensive inpatient detoxification program, so remaining drug- and alcohol-free for good can be a huge challenge. Pathways recently expanded its services to better meet patient needs for long-term medication and support, says Helen Reines, executive director.
“Before this outpatient program was implemented, patients who relapsed and started using again had two options: to be readmitted as an inpatient or, if they refused, to be discharged from the program,” said Ms. Reines. “This meant that many people had no safety net.”
In the new intensive outpatient program, patients have medical and emotional support for as long as they need it. “We’ve been extremely successful with people who might not have made it this far without the extra support,” Ms. Reines said. “And because it is a lower level of care (than an inpatient residential program) managed care is funding it.”
The outpatient detox program offers several levels of individualized care. Initially, patients come in daily for medication and counseling. Over time, as their health improves, they may progress to checking in at Pathways only a few times a month.
Ms. Reines says that the availability of newer medications has helped in patients’ recovery processes. Until recently, those in treatment received shots several times a day to manage withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, muscle aches, irritability and anxiety. Regulations allow for this medication to be given only for three days.
“We used to see patients beginning to use again—not to get high, but to alleviate these very severe symptoms,” said Ms. Reines. “But some of the new medications like suboxone are given sublingually (under the tongue) and can be used for as long as is medically necessary.”
Pathways’ outpatient detox program also offers services such as group education therapy and education in relaxation techniques, stress management, and pain management. The 40-bed Pathways facility provides services that include individual and family counseling and relapse prevention skills. Adults and adolescents participate in daily support group meetings, and patients participate in adventure therapy sessions on the outdoor ropes course located on the wooded grounds. Adolescents also attend school on the premises.
To learn more about Pathways or get help for someone who is struggling with addiction, call 410-573-5400.