Countless soldiers, home from World War I, returned as heroin addicts. Drug Treatment clinics were swamped, then shut down by the Federal Government, because Opioid addiction was considered a criminal offense, rather than a medical problem. Physicians were dissuaded from treating addiction from the 1920s until the 1970s. The Narcotic Addict Treatment Act of 1974 then allowed physicians to treat opioid addicts with methadone in federal and state licensed facilities only. Let us see how DATA2000 weighs in on America’s long history of opioid abuse and addiction.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the media reported that people were suffering needless pain due to doctor and dentist reluctance to prescribe strong pain relief medications. Consequently, the overdose and addiction rates were concurrent with the increase in medical and dental prescriptions of opioids. Chronic pain, treated by opioids, also unpredictably produced thousands of addicts.
Some opioid narcotics are produced straight from opium, like codeine and morphine, while heroin is derived from morphine. However, some opioids are pharmaceutically manufactured, and are similar to opium chemically, such as oxycodone, fentanyl, and hydrocodone. These are particularly effective in the treatment of severe pain. Consequently, injured soldiers and seriously ill, or injured people had become addicted unintentionally. Still, others used it as an entertainment drug.
As prescriptions were written profusely in response to public demand, more than 60% of adolescents became opioid abusers because the medications were so readily available from a family member. Marijuana was quickly surpassed by prescription opioids as the typical gateway to illicit drug abuse among adolescents.
In 2000, The Drug Addiction Treatment Act (DATA) was introduced by Senators Joe Biden (D-DE), Orrin Hatch, (R-UT), and Carl Levin (D-MI). This legislation was necessary because of the continuous increase in the number of opioid addicts and brought changes in the way America looks at and treats drug addiction.
Physicians who meet certain criteria are permitted to treat opioid addicts with addiction therapy medications that are approved by the FDA. Among other prerequisites, physicians are required to have a specialty certification under an approved organization, such as the American Society of Addiction Medicine, American Board of Medical Specialities, or American Osteopathic.
Originally, physicians were permitted to prescribe medications for only 30 opioid addicts in their private practices. However, the law did not differentiate between group and individual physician practices. Some practices, especially clinics or hospitals, may have had hundreds of Suboxone doctors but were still limited to only 30 addict patients; Treatment was denied to countless other addicts who sought help. Seeing the injustice, medical professionals sought help from the legislature and the law was changed in 2005. Now every qualified doctor, in a group or as an individual, can treat 30 patients.
Authorized physicians can now treat up to 100 addicts, if they had submitted, at least one year ago, their original “intent.” This act also allows qualified physicians to obtain a waiver from specific registration stipulations in the Controlled Substances Act as a provision of medication-expedited opioid therapy. This waiver permits physicians to treat addicts with narcotic medications, specifically those on the Schedule as 3(III), 4(IV), or 5(V) narcotics. In 2002, The FDA approved Suboxone and Buprenorphine as treatment drugs for opioid addiction.
Suboxone and Subutex are in high strength tablets that dissolves under the tongue and is used primarily in the treatment of OxyContin and heroin addictions. Subutex is useful in preventing symptoms of withdrawal, while the latter is useful in the maintenance stage of treatment of opioid addicts.
Subutex and Suboxone are two most important drugs that are used at the start of addiction treatment. Injection solutions, Buprenex and Temgesic are used in primary-care locations for acute pain. Butrans and Norspan are opioids that are semi-synthetic transdermal formulations for incessant pain, such as that caused by cancer. These are stronger drugs used for opioid addictions, and in lower doses for pain control in non-addicts.
Buprenorphine, reaches a “ceiling,” meaning stronger doses does not increase its effect. It has fewer adverse effects than does some other opioids and stays in the body decreasing withdrawal symptoms from opioids for nearly 48 hours. Past a certain dose, the duration of withdrawal suppression increases along with opioid blockage. Some opioids, such as methadone and morphine is displaced by the ceiling drug.
Currently, drug addiction in the United States has hit an all-time high. Since 1980, the number of those who have died of drug overdoses has risen more than 540 percent. However, because of DATA2000, the stigma of addiction has been lifted and all addicts, not just opioid addicts, can obtain physician-assisted pharmaceutical treatment to aid in the defeat their addiction.