Treating a substance abuse problem can be very complicated. Those who enter treatment often struggle with multiple substances of abuse. Patients may also have multiple mental disorders, including depression or anxiety in addition to their substance abuse problem.
The difficulty in treating those with opioid addiction has been blown up in the face of the prescription painkiller addiction epidemic. While some addicted to opioids are using it as a street drug, many individuals have become addicted unintentionally. A legitimate pain problem treated with a prescription painkiller can become a problem as increasingly larger doses of opioids are necessary to treat the pain.
As a result, substance abuse treatment centers must continually evaluate the practices they use to treat those with opioid addictions. A common practice centers on the use of methadone during drug detox to help patients deal with the withdrawal symptoms that accompany the detox process.
However, in some treatment centers, the use of methadone has proven less effective when cigarettes are being used by the patient. A recent study by Dr. Paolo Mannelli and presented at the 43rd Annual Medical-Scientific Conference of the American Society of Addiction Medicine shows that smoking may offset the benefits of opioid addiction treatment.
Methadone is used by therapists to help patients taper down their opioid use prior to entering an inpatient program. The research presented by Dr. Mannelli shows that methadone’s effectiveness may be lessened when patients are allowed to smoke during the drug detox stage.
The study’s findings show that there was evidence of improved outcomes when opioid addicts were not allowed to smoke when going through drug detox with the assistance of a methadone treatment.
The results may affect practices at substance abuse treatment programs across the United States, where practices are widely varied in response to a patient’s nicotine addiction. Some programs do not allow smoking and require the patient to immediately cease smoking when entering substance abuse treatment.
As an alternative, some treatment centers allow smoking, but encourage cessation through the provision for nicotine addiction treatment while going through drug detox and treatment. While smoking cessation while receiving opioid addiction treatment may be very challenging, some patients may find that the controlled environment of an inpatient drug program may provide some benefits to trying to quit.
The information gained by the study is helpful in light of the current trends in substance abuse treatment. Experts are increasingly valuing strategies that focus on treating the whole person, identifying physical and mental health challenges that may prevent or promote recovery from substance abuse.
Individuals seeking a substance abuse treatment program should carefully evaluate the center’s focus on smoking cessation and other treatment strategies to determine where they can receive the most beneficial care.