A vision for you
These positions are intended to speak only to addiction, not lower severity drug and alcohol problems.
Access to treatment
We believe that all addicts should have reasonable access to the full array of evidence-based treatment and recovery support services, including MAT, detox, outpatient treatments, long-term residential, case management, peer support etc.
- All treatment services should be of an adequate duration, dose and quality. (Currently, this is the exception rather than the rule.)
- All treatment services should be followed by long term (2 to 7 years) recovery support and monitoring services.
- Poor treatment response should never be used as a reason to limit access to services. (This implies a lack of hope, implies blame that the patient is responsible for the treatment failure and is out of line with standards of care for other health problems.)
We believe that treatment recipients should receive full informed consent, including:
- An accurate representation of the evidence, including whether the evidence addresses the patient’s desired outcomes.
- For example, the patient may be seeking recovery, which to them means abstinence, full time employment, stable housing, family life, etc. However, the evidence-base for a particular treatment may only focus on reduced criminal activity, reduced disease transmission, etc. In this case, it would not be accurate to suggest that this is an evidence-based treatment for the patient’s desired outcome.
- An accurate representation of the pros and cons of the treatment approaches.
- An accurate representation of what will be required of the patient and addiction professionals for each approach to be successful. (Achieving full recovery is a lot of work for the patient and helpers. This should be considered at the onset of treatment.)
- If the best known treatment is not available to that patient, the patient should be informed of this. (We understand that, in the real world, the available resources may not meet an individual’s needs. However, when care is being rationed, the patient has a right to know.)
- Health plans and treatment providers should not coerce patients into or out of any form of treatment.
- While courts, professional monitoring programs, employers, etc. may coerce people into treatment or into particular levels of care, treatment providers and health plans should not practice coercion.
- Once informed consent requirements have been met, the client should have the right to choose any reasonable treatment.
Recovery is not an easy concept to define, but SAMHSA boiled it down to health, home, purpose and community. We would add abstinence from illicit drugs as a necessary, but not sufficient, element of recovery.
Outcomes that fall short of this may be good for an individual, but they are not recovery and should not be represented as such.
Full recovery ought to be the ultimate goal for all addicts. (This does not imply that interim steps or harm reduction are unacceptable, or that helpers should pressure or coerce patients into abstinence.)
We have no interest in ranking recovery, declaring one form as superior to another or invalidating any path to recovery–someone achieving recovery with the assistance of medication or through a faith community is not inferior to any other form of recovery. Any addict achieving recovery, whatever their path, is cause for celebration.
Further, any addict who has not yet sought or achieved recovery is deserving of respect.
Our only interest is the quality of life for addicts and their loved ones, not in advancing any other interest.
All addicts should be treated by programs and professionals that believe in their capacity to achieve full recovery.
Too many programs and interventions are rooted in the belief that addicts can’t or won’t achieve full recovery.