Evergreen Treatment Services ( ETS ) Executive Director Molly Carney and Research and Training Manager K. Michelle Peavy wrote an article entitled “A lifesaving drug for opioid addicts, but it’s not easy to get” that was published in the Seattle Times. It detailed their experiences in the treatment field; the importance of Naloxone (Narcan) and the pressing need for a shift in our nation’s perception of “addicts.”
Often reported in the news Naloxone (Narcan) is helping to save the lives of people who would otherwise succumb to overdose. The regulations about obtaining this life-saving medicine are hopefully expanding to other categories of people besides police and EMTs who are likely to need to administer Naloxone. Nevertheless, ETS makes the point that the focus should be on the public’s perception and treatment of people affected by addiction.
Funding of recovery support is often outweighed by public opinion that finds it’s ‘not my fault, not my problem’. Looking at the associated costs of treatment, the taxpayers may prefer to have their tax dollars spent on projects or causes that are perceived to be more deserving. However, it is important to consider the cost of not providing treatment. Whether or not one feels that the community should be responsible for helping addicted individuals, one should not outweigh the very real and steep costs associated with individuals who are not in treatment; ER visits, jail time, etc. According to the State Department of Social and Health Services, “the risk of felony conviction is 83 percent lower for those in methadone treatment for more than one year, compared to opioid addicts who are untreated.” The National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA) estimates that illicit drug abuse costs our nation over 193 billion dollars annually in the form of crime, lost work productivity and healthcare.
In short the authors deduced that, “We need an integrated approach, which includes expanded access to treatment, to drive down rates of overdose and address opioid addiction.”
“Evergreen Treatment Services is a private, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which has been delivering evidence-based addiction treatment services in Western Washington since 1973. Since our founding, we have earned a nationwide reputation for excellence in our work. Our interdisciplinary team of professionals includes clinicians with advanced degrees in medicine, psychiatry, nursing, psychology, social work, and counseling.
ETS uses a comprehensive approach to treatment which combines medication assisted treatment with wrap-around services such as counseling, mental health care, and case management services.