In the Journal of Addictive Medicine new primary care guidelines are provided for opioid addiction management, a subject that many primary care providers know little about. The CDC recently declared that there was a national opioid epidemic, and addiction disorders that involve opioid based medications or opioid based street drugs like heroin tend to benefit from the use of certain medications as well as typical psychosocial treatments. Many primary care physicians are not familiar with the medications used to manage opioid dependence and addiction. In addition this type of treatment can be very complicated, with complex requirements and many considerations. There are medications which can help lessen the opioid withdrawal symptoms, giving the individual a better chance at a full and complete recovery.
The primary care guidelines published for opioid addiction management address assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. According to researchers Dr. Margaret Jarvis of Marworth Alcohol and Chemical Dependency Treatment Center, Waverly, Pa, and Dr. Kyle Kampman of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, these guidelines were needed. The researchers wrote that “This Practice Guideline was developed to assist in the evaluation and treatment of opioid use, and in the hope that, using this tool, more physicians will be able to provide effective treatment. Suboptimal treatment has likely contributed to expansion of the epidemic as well as concerns for unethical practices. At the same time, access to competent treatment is profoundly restricted because few physicians are willing and able to provide it. The skill and time needed for effective use of medications for opioid use disorders are not generally available to primary care doctors.”