Overcoming Barriers to Access Drug Treatment

From the calls and emails we receive from people needing help there are two factors that are most challenging for families to overcome. They are the cost of quality substance abuse treatment and the availability to admit to an affordable facility.

Three out of five people who are seeking help to get off drugs or stop drinking hit an immediate road block when they are ready to get treatment. This obstacle is the funding needed to attend rehab.

The reason this is so common is because most addicts are very low functioning by the time they are ready to get help. They often are unemployed and have burned bridges with family members who at one point in time would have supported their medical needs.

So what does someone who can’t afford to get into drug treatment do? Their are still many options in this situation. Options are on an individual basis but often include:

  • Obtaining insurance coverage
  • Applying for a treatment loan
  • Getting a scholarship
  • Getting clean at your own home
  • Applying to a wait list for a state run facility
  • Admitting to a drug court program

These are some of the items we look at when we assess someone seeking treatment. Every person has their own unique situation and obstacles to overcome.

The second most common issue is that people say that the facilities that take their insurance are full and they can’t cant get in for months. This may be true but often these facilities need to see some willingness or have referrals outside of the local proximity that would be viable options. Being persistent goes a long way when searching for facilities.

Lastly, if an addict has yet to hit rock bottom or is using excuses such as work, family or school to evade getting help then there are solutions for those.

AARG is committed to helping addicts and alcoholics achieve a better quality of life by getting off drugs and alcohol. Contact us info@alignmentaddictionrecovery.com

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How America Can Overcome the Opiod Epidemic Once and For All

united-state-america-flag Everyday we read articles regarding awareness and prevention meetings nationwide to address the opiate epidemic. The message has been broadcast and America is aware of the extent of the horror. For the most part the CDC guidelines for medical professionals prescribing opiates for pain has limited the number of new drug opiod abusers in America. What we are left with however is more than three million people needing to overcome their current life threatening addiction to these drugs.

Here is the groundwork that will effectively treat these current addicts and get America back on track and away from a losing battle against addiction:

  • Make substance abuse treatment more readily available – this means opening more facilities and holding insurance companies accountable for paying for people seeking treatment
  • Increased oversight and regulation of substance abuse facilities – this should occur on a state and national level to help the industry increase credibility and effectiveness
  • Create a national standard of care for treatment – this will create one proven national model that will be the basis of what substance abuse treatment should consist of.  ASAM and SAMHSA already have data that offers effective treatment options. This will create greater continuity within treatments and offer more strict parameters for insurance companies to reimburse services rendered.
  • Create more effective treatment – Studies have proven that MAT, medication assisted treatment, with counseling is the most effective treatment for Opiod Use Disorder. A good portion of the substance abuse industry is still stuck on abstinence based treatment which is creating too many relapses and overdoses and often causing a revolving door of treatment.
  • Create broader scopes of treatment services –Home Health Care as we know it within the elderly population can be effectively utilized when treating Opiod Use Disorder. Allow at home medication management and observation of detoxes to be reimbursable services by insurance companies. This allows for safe and effective detox and medication management and also teaches life skills. All while an addict is learning how to remain sober in his/her own home and steering clear of  poor influences as if in a communal setting such as a rehab facility.
  • Ensure that physicians prescribing buprenorphine for opiod abusers have a plan to effectively monitor and manage counseling services being provided. Buprenorphine with limited or no counseling support is just substituting one drug for another.
  • Continue to lessen the punishment given to non-violent drug offenders and use the SBIRT, Screening Brief Intervention Referral to Treatment, program to offer them help for their addiction.
  • Hold the pharmaceutical corporations responsible for this epidemic accountable to pay for treatment of anyone who has been prescribed their medication for a given length of time. It is scientifically proven that opiates are absolutely not effective with pain management for longer than six months.
  • State and national politician should continue to pass laws for all of the above mentioned solutions to the opiod epidemic.

Notice there is no mention of building walls and declaring war on drug cartels. The opiod epidemic was created on American soil and the way to overcome it is to hold the American’s who created it responsible and limit the demand from within.

Don’t let the below banner from Nation Review be the way America chooses to help our sick. That is just another bandaid for a bullet wound. Create change and make a difference for America!


How Rehabs can Maximize Client Care

shutterstock_261878201Substance abuse demand is at an all time high and suddenly addicts needs are being evaluated by politicians and medical professionals.  What has been found by regulators is that there is much need for change, transparency, and improvement in order to effectively overcome the opiate epidemic that is sweeping the nation.

For quite some time the substance abuse treatment industry has operated on the sidelines, seperately from the mainstream medical profession. Some current state laws even prohibit substance abuse rehab from being classified as a medical facility.  This has allowed the industry to adopt non-medical practices as their primary tools for the treatment of addiction.

Due to the lack of standardized medical procedures used to treat addiction until recently, rehabs have over time, become glorified therapeutic communities. Many would think of it as a life skills retreat with extensive individual and group therapy with your peers.  For individuals who have been open to a new way to live and are ready to change it proves successful.  You may ask yourself, if it is successful then what is the problem with it? The answer to that is simple, the cost. The amount of time it takes an addict to change their behaviors and characteristics to a point where they have a solid foundation to build a productive life is many months or even years. Individuals and insurers have a hard time paying for such a long time in treatment. As you can imagine addicts generally have limited resources when they are ready to seek help. The best case has been that they have health insurance that could provide them with substance abuse coverage.  But as expected, health insurance companies have become weary of the amounts they have been paying for such services with high relapse and recidivism rates.

Here is a very direct view that generalizes the two primary substance abuse treatment methods. The first is the commonly known one month program, it is setup as an inpatient rehab center where increased structure and limited real world involvement will likely be found. No matter the types of services offered, the national success rate for continued abstinence with an inpatient stay is dismal. It is known to be less than 5% for continuous years of sobriety. The way that these programs can be successful is to have strong referrals to outpatient programs allowing their participants continued structure and support. Absent additional support these programs quickly become a revolving door for individuals stuck in the rehab cycle until they reach a new found willingness to recover.

Secondly is what came to be knows as the Florida model or long term treatment. It begins with the first type of treatment and then becomes less structured providing a step down approach into an Intensive Outpatient.  This type of treatment has been used as the standard for long term substance abuse treatment for the last decade. The success rates are much greater but there are also many downfalls and issues. The primary bone of contention with this model is the cost.  Keeping someone safe and in a structured or semi-structured environment for months at a time is costly. Most addicts and their families don’t have the finances necessary to support this type of treatment. Addicts and providers have turned to insurance companies to pay for these services. The problem with this is that the definition of medical necessity is quite broad and services can easily be denied accordingly. Furthermore, there is no evidence based research proving that there is a direct correlation to time admitted in a long term program and time remaining clean and sober post discharge.  Participants often perform well when in these structured environments but when discharged face the same obstacles regardless of the amount of time clean they have when discharged.

A majority of extended care rehab facilities are abstinence based programs which rely on therapy and 12 step support to treat their clients. Though this can be effective and is still the most practiced treatment modality it is not the most supported by insurance companies who are the primarily payers for addicts in treatment. The problem with this is that the goal of the extended care treatment facilities is to give clients the longest length of time in treatment. Without meeting the requirements set forth by the insurance companies providers are shorting their clients valuable time they could have had authorized if they had used medication if viewed necessary by their insurance company who is paying for the treatment. Becoming open to the medical components that can increase addicts chances of success and minimize relapse is essential.

AARG View: How can the current models of substance abuse treatment become most effective?  The answers are available but the medical and rehab industries need to embrace each others practices to maximize results. Neither industry can have the best chance of success without the other.  Studies prove that addicts who have well managed medication assistance relapse less and stay engaged in rehab programs longer. Addicts who choose to only take medication from their doctor and do not add any therapeutic components tend to rely on their medication too much which leads to higher chance of dependence, abuse and possible relapse. It is imperative that the standard of care for substance abuse treatment address the need for both tools in treatment plans.  Comprehensive all-encompassing treatment plans will allow addicts relief from cravings in order to stay engaged through therapeutic sessions and gain life skills to overcome their addictions. Being able to stay admitted to treatment will allow addicts to get the most out of their attempt; in essence limiting the maximum amount of time needed in a program before discharging.  This dynamic benefits everyone from the providers, addicts, insurers and the economy as a whole.  Getting an addict back to being a productive member of society for the lowest cost is the overall objective from the standpoint of the nation.  Well composed and practiced treatment and discharge plans using medication, therapy and support groups maximize the chances of reaching that goal.



What Actions Have Been Taken to Address the Opiate Epidemic Thus Far?

shutterstock_451416331The opiate epidemic is on the forefront of most American’s minds as the world enters 2017.  2016 will be known as the deadliest year for drug addiction our nation has ever seen. National and local governments as well as private and public organizations have all focused on how to limit the number of families forever changed from accidental drug overdose.

The shocking statistics were finally published and heavily publicized in 2016.  So now that America knows it is facing a huge drug problem what is being done about it?

  • The CDC has changed the national guidelines for physicians prescribing opiates for pain patience. This should limit the number of newly addicted opiate addicts.
  • The DEA has ordered a reduction in the number of opiates produced from pharmaceutical companies by 1/3 in 2017. AARG sees little impact this will have based on the high quantity of substances obtained from international locations.
  • Narcan, the overdose drug is being made more widely available in communities to reduce overdose deaths. Though it is not as widely available as it should be. AARG believes that for Narcan to be as effective as possible it should accompany every defibrillator location nationwide. Schools, airports, grocery stores, etc.
  • The U.S. government has recently publicly supported and is funding Medically Assisted Treatment for opiate addicts. AARG views this stance as creating a new 
    “Standard of Care” for the substance abuse industry. The belief is that if there is a consistent treatment method backed by the medical field then quality of care will become consistent and insurance reimbursement for services will also become consistent.
  • Extensive drug education has occurred in communities and schools nationwide empowering individuals to help themselves and others.
  • Many court systems and law enforcement agencies have curbed the way they are treating addicts who have committed drug related crimes. Focusing on treatment options over punishment in many cases.




AlignmentAddictionRecovery.com Launches


AARG is proud to announce that our website is up and running. Viewers will much more easily be able to stay up-to-date with our blog in addition to having our services and helpful resource page available. AARG remains dedicated to helping anyone struggling with addiction. No matter each addicts scenario their is always a solution to overcoming drugs or alcohol if that person can find a tad bit of willingness. If you know someone who needs help please contact us. If you have experienced helpful service from facilities or addiction professionals please let us know so we can spread the word and help others. By uniting together and focusing on a common goal we can achieve great results.

visit the website, click here

Potential Risks of Medication Assisted Treatment, the New Standard of Care


In light of the passing of the 21st Century Cures Act the opiate epidemic continues to get mainstream attention. A new standard of treatment for opiates has been created for the first time since the beginning of this dilemma, which began in 1996 with the extensive marketing from pharmaceutical companies.

States are now quickly making grant money available to all sorts of medication assisted treatment (MAT) programs. No matter if these programs are detox centers, outpatient clinics or inpatient facilities everyone seems to be benefitting if they are using buprenorphine, the synthetic opiod used to assist in substance abuse treatment.

Doctor’s are calling buprenorphine a wonder drug. The substance is being wildly accepted into the medical field for its “damage control” traits of allowing addicts to overcome cravings from the more harmful opiates.

But with all this hype and praise comes some room for questions. As we have learned with pharmaceuticals there are always trade offs and side effects.  Take a look at our news feed from yesterday pictured below . It shows that there is a darker side of this miracle drug that nobody is talking about.image

The first article praises the drug and its ability to fill-in for the more deadly opiate craving with little change in daily life practices. We find that the drug alone leaves addicts with minimal tools to handle life’s events as they unfold.

The second article is an addict who is seeking information on how to beat a drug test because he lacks the desire to be sober and has discontinued his medication but needs to make his drug test look like it still contains buprenorphine.

Lastly, the posting is from Craigslist and is a much too common problem with MAT. Successfully managing buprenorphine for an addict is a tall order. An addict can be faced with urges to over medicate or medication becoming misplaced. The fact is that buprenorphine can be abused and misused. Strict guidelines and treatment plans are imperative for long term sobriety and success.

AARG VIEW: Buprenorphine is an effective drug to help addicts stay engaged in treatment without having too severe of cravings that lead to relapse. However, a treatment plan incorporating therapy, life skills, self help programs and other aspects of a balanced lifestyle are imperative to be able to effectively discontinue this medication at some point in the future. We look at buprenorphine as a band aid to allow an addict the mental space to do the work needed to overcome their addiction. Solely using the medication will be the same result as opiate medications have shown for chronic pain users; short term effectiveness, long term problems. MAT requires crucial oversight by professionals to ensure positive outcomes.

AARG helps addict’s use the tools to effectively overcome the barriers of MAT treatment. Contact us for more information. info@alignmentaddictionrecovery.com



One Billion Dollars in Grant Money Heading into Substance Abuse Treatment

obama-signs-21st-century-cures-act-into-law 21st Century Cures Act which can be viewed as President Obama’s final touch to the healthcare industry comes at a much needed time for Americans.  Addiction is now more than ever being treated as a disease from a medical industry standpoint.  Based on the Surgeon General’s report last month drug overdose is the number one cause of accidental death in our nation.  The “Cures Act” places opiate addiction in the same medical arena as Alzheimer’s and cancer. No doubt it is rapidly becoming as big of an industry as cancer treatment has become. Nearly three million American’s are needing immediate treatment for life threatening abuse.  

With funding pouring into the substance abuse industry regulation and change is also being anticipated from states and providers.  The biggest adjustment to date is that all of this funding will be placed into medication assisted treatment facilities (MAT). To date abstinence based programs heavily outweigh the number of MAT programs nationwide. Abstinence based treatment has been fairly successful combatting alcohol addiction throughout the decades but based on recent studies is about thirty percent less effective with opiate addicts.

President Obama’s Affordable Care Act provided addicts treatment who had not previously been provided such care.  In his final act for healthcare he further broadens availability for addicts. This second time around it will just be more tailored to opiates and focus more on medically based treatment. For many providers they will need to widen their treatment options to include MAT treatment to be able to receive this new wave of funding.

Click Here for the entire 21st Century Cures Act