With the opioid epidemic in the United States threatening to derail the country, many states like New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington are now considering to make treatment obligatory for all opioid abusers. Lawmakers in many states are planning to come up with statutes that would make treatment compulsory for those who abuse opioids. However, not everyone agrees with the idea of a law to curb rampant opioid abuse in the U.S. This faction feels that despite being laudable, such measures are not the best for the purpose.
In New Hampshire, Senate Bill 220-FN would revamp state involuntary commitment laws to give a new meaning to mental illness by including “ingestion of opioid substances.” Experts believe that merging substance use disorder with mental illness statute is a positive step and a move in the right direction. These two are interlinked and hence, addressing both would expedite the treatment and bring about long-term recovery. According to experts, substance use disorder also comes under mental illness.
People with a mental health disorder or a substance use disorder, who are perilous to themselves or others, require similar treatment. Andrew Kolodny, M.D., co-director of opioid policy research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, told Medscape Medical News, “The courts should handle it the same way.”
Dr. Kolodny, an executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, said the law should be binding on all drugs and should not single out any particular opioid. The law of involuntary commitment proposals should be an umbrella term covering severe substance use disorder, irrespective of the drug.
Another expert on the subject, Andrew J. Saxon, a member of the American Psychiatric Association’s Council on Addiction Psychiatry, felt that the new proposals should ensure that patients of opioid use disorder deserve specialized treatment and there should not be any glitch in providing it to them.
There are minor hiccups, though, when it comes to implementing these laws. For instance, under the involuntary commitment laws, a patient should be discharged within 72 hours. However, a patient with an opioid use disorder may not be fit for discharge within that timeframe. Severe withdrawal, lower tolerance, and other factors put them at higher risk than others. They also need a follow-up.
The problem is that the demand for treatment is so huge that it is not possible to cater to all. Many people with opioid use disorder go untreated or receive delayed treatment, which only amplifies the problem. Lack of adequate services is one of the reasons for non-availability of treatment and the government needs to take this up on an urgent basis. Another problem is the stigma surrounding the disorder for which people need to be educated and informed.
The current state of the country is precarious when it comes to substance use disorder. The U.S. is fighting a bitter battle against opioids, and everyone needs to contribute their bit in overcoming the scourge. Substance use disorder is destructive, yet it is treatable and with the right intervention at the right juncture, long-term recovery can become a reality. So one should seek immediate treatment at credible treatment centers for sobriety.
If you have a loved one grappling with an addiction and you are looking for drug addiction rehab centers, call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-441-4405 for further information. Our experts at 24/7 Recovery Helpline are available round the clock to assist you with all your queries regarding treatment programs and centers suited to your needs.