Stop kicking people out of addiction treatment

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You are in rehab. You drink. You get kicked out. Fair do. Right? Wrong! Bill White asks the question  What’s the big problem that takes alcoholics and addicts into treatment? Drinking and using. Why then would you kick them out of treatment for the very thing that brought them into treatment? He says that in 2002, […]

Doctors and Nurses with Addictions

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As I’ve said before, doctors get addicted to alcohol and other drugs. They also get different treatment and outcomes from their patients. But what about nurses? If you are a nurse or a doctor with a substance problem and it comes to the attention of your employer, then what happens to you in the UK […]

Is addiction a brain disease? Does it matter?

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Is addiction a brain disease? It’s an interesting question. Researchers asked over 1,200 members of the public in Australia what their views were. Their paper, published in Drug & Alcohol Review, starts by laying out the challenges of finding consensus: In the USA, directors of the National Institute on Drug Abuse have argued that addiction is a […]

Faith in pharmacology

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Holy grails are few and far between. Pharmaceutical holy grails are no different. They are as rare as a moderate position in the Scottish independence debate. We have a few prescription drugs licensed to treat addiction and some make things significantly better, some have modest impacts, and some appear to have little impact. Regardless of […]

Methadone improves mental health; what’s next?

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Good to see some research from Aberdeen focusing on mental health in patients on methadone and other opiate replacement therapy. Academics in Primary Care conducted a systematic review looking at twenty-two studies where mental health had been assessed at baseline and again at follow up. What did they find? “Mental health significantly improved for all groups receiving […]

Suboxone or Methadone – what do patients want?

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NHS North Lanarkshire asked 90 of their patients to give their viewpoints on what they thought of Suboxone vs. methadone for opioid replacement therapy (ORT). They found that ‘in comparison to methadone, patients receiving buprenorphine–naloxone were highly positive about their treatment experiences and its advantages over methadone, including the “clear-headed response”, improved well-being and concentration, possibility of […]

Recovery in Primary Care – best practice

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Most opioid replacement prescribing takes place in primary care settings and the GP is powerfully placed to be a catalyst in the recovery journey. What if we placed prescribing at the heart of a fully recovery-oriented system of care? SMMGP highlights the Public Health England guidance, a supplement to previous guidance, which calls on all treatment providers to […]

Gabapentin abuse

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Gabapentin can be addictive. Search for gabapentin abuse or pregabalin abuse on Google Scholar and you’ll turn up 18,000 entries in less than a second. Pubmed is a little more specific finding 249 papers related to the subject. Vaults of Erowid has over 100 gabapentin and pregabalin ‘experiences’ detailed by users. I wrote a while back […]

Do AA & NA fit with methadone maintenance?

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  Given the dearth of research on NA populations this study from Bill White and colleagues is welcome. Knowing what we do already from the research on mutual aid groups, the researchers made the reasonable assumption that clients on ORT (opiate replacement therapy) attending 12-step mutual aid were likely to achieve to higher levels of abstinence (no […]