Even with all the health trends, exercise programs, organic food options and more happening in the U.S. right now, America still has an opioid problem. Opioids – a class of drugs that include heroin and prescription pain relievers oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine and others – are highly addictive, and no one is immune. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, in 2015 alone, two million Americans 12 and older had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers and 591,000 involving heroin. This number is spreading. Recently, Dallas County joined with many other counties and states in filing lawsuits against opioid manufacturers. In the meantime, the Dallas Medical Center has partnered with New Vision to help people now!
The Dallas Medical Center and New Vision are opening a new inpatient medical stabilization service. The process begins with a medically supervised hospital stay, typically lasting three days, where the patient goes through a physical exam, a medical history interview and a complete lab workup. If a licensed physician determines inpatient care is needed, the patient is medically treated as they go through withdrawal to manage their symptoms safely, while being monitored by doctors and nurses. After the patient is medically stable, New Vision staff work with him or her to create a discharge plan to place the patient into an appropriate treatment program in the community.
“This is a great way for us to help those who are looking to break the cycle of addiction, but need medical support,” said JT Barnhart, CEO of Dallas Medical Center, in the press release. “There are a number of long-term rehab centers in the area, but not many facilities can handle patients who are medically unstable Our new service will bridge that gap and let us stabilize patients before placing them where they can get the long-term support they need.”
The criteria for admission include: must be in acute withdrawal from alcohol, opiates, or benzodiazepines; must be over the age of 18 and entering the service voluntarily; must have insurance accepted by the hospital and must be psychologically stable.
This new service will provide medical stabilization, which is “managing the physical symptoms of withdrawal.” This is different from detoxification, which is a much longer process that encompasses all of the physiological and psychological aspects of addiction. Dallas Medical Center and New Vision’s program will be able to medically stabilize patients by alleviating the most intense symptoms of withdrawal that often present as an obstacle to treatment once the patients make the decision to seek help.
Fighting the opioid battle won’t be finished in one day. But with this amazing new program, Dallas Medical Center and New Vision hope they can make a positive contribution to the community by helping as many people as they can beat their addictions.