Addiction Counseling During Hospitalization Shows to Be Beneficial

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When a patient is hospitalized because of a drug overdose, what happens after they are discharged from the clinic/hospital? Do they return to their drug abusive behavior as if nothing happened, or do they seek help and attempt to quit using these drugs for good? The result of a recent research study indicates that giving patients (who abuse opioids or are addicted to opioid drugs like heroin) an "outpatient office based treatment program" after hospitalized using buprenorphine treatment can greatly reduce the chances of relapse after they are discharged.

This is different from common practice, as Jane Liebschutz, a physician in general internal medicine at Boston Medical Center stated, "Unfortunately, referral to substance abuse treatment after discharge is often a secondary concern of physicians caring for hospitalized patients...our results show that we can have a marked impact patient's addiction by addressing it during their hospitalization," says Jane Liebschutz.

The study was led by researchers at Boston Medical Center (MDC), and shows how important the role of providers is when offering addiction treatment to patients while they are being hospitalized, including after hospitalization. The reason for patients being at the hospital does not have to involve an addiction, as an overdose can stem from one instance of abuse. Treatment or counseling could help prevent the same event from happening later after they are discharged.

The experiment was carried out by dividing two groups; one group received referral to community treatment programs and a tapered dose treatment of buprenorphine, which is an opioid substitute, taken orally to help curb opioid withdrawal symptoms. The other group was initiated on buprenorphine and referred to a primary care office-based buprenorphine treatment program.

The results indicated that 37 percent of the second group, who were the buprenorphine maintenance group, reported no illicit opioid/drug use for the month after they left the hospital. The other group yielded only 9 percent. More importantly, the second group did not initially come to the hospital to seek treatment for an addiction problem, as they received treatment unexpectedly, yielding better results.

If you or someone you know is ever hospitalized for a drug overdose, make sure you consider immediate treatment options, as it could be the difference in preventing a drug overdose later on in the future. Even if the person is not addicted to a substance, being referred to immediate counseling during hospitalization could be a life changing experience for the patient; a second chance to make better decisions when it comes to drug abuse.

For more information on our addiction treatment programs and therapeutic approaches, call toll free at: 800-960-5041. Florida Center for Recovery offers residential drug and alcohol rehab treatment through 12-Step and Non 12-Step Programs.

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