Expanded access is needed for medical assisted treatment
Compliments to Northpointe Council, a nonprofit organization in Niagara County that offers a range of mental health and substance use services. After much hard work, Northepointe recently received a state grant that will allow them to expand their methadone program. Additional kudos to The Buffalo News for covering this important breakthrough on Oct. 3.
Numerous misconceptions, myths and stereotypes exist about methadone programs in the United States. The truth is that methadone is one of several medical assisted treatments – buprenorphine (Suboxone) and naltrexone (Vivitrol) are others – which experts estimate can reduce the likelihood an individual who uses drugs will die from a drug overdose by 50 percent. Medical assisted treatments do not, as the cynics say, replace one addiction with another.
Elsewhere in Western New York, the Erie County Health Department is working to get physicians trained in prescribing Suboxone and getting it to those who need it the most.
Despite the tragic number of overdose deaths sweeping the country and this community, not everyone dies; many get healthier, safer and better. If we want to increase the number of people who fall into the latter category, we need to expand access to alternatives.
Emma Fabian, Director
Substance User Health Policy