Technical Proposal: Medically-Assisted vs Abstinence-Based Treatment of Opioid Dependance

TO: Dr. Robinson
DATE: 23 February 2016
SUBJECT: Proposal to complete a technical report on abstinence-based treatment of opioid dependency versus medically-assisted treatment of opioid dependency.

The primary purpose of my proposal is to both investigate and evaluate the two major methods of treatment of opioid addiction.   Over the next few weeks, I will interview a variety of staff members from Palmetto Recovery Center in Rayville, Louisiana and from the Center for Behavioral Health in Shreveport, Louisiana, as well as at least one former patient of each facility. I will combine these perspectives with additional research I will obtain from sources such as medical journals, books, and websites in hopes of arriving at an educated recommendation of which treatment method is most effective in the treatment of opioid dependency.

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, with 47,055 lethal drug overdoses in 2014. Opioid addiction is driving this epidemic, with over 29,000 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers or heroin. The ever-growing problem has even gained attention from the White House, as President Barack Obama has proposed a $1.1 billion budget for the purpose of funding various programs that are effective in reducing drug use and overdose. Of all of these programs, the two most common are abstinence-based treatment centers, focusing on complete abstinence from any drug use, and medically-assisted treatment facilities, such as methadone clinics, where the addict is given a replacement drug so they can successfully stop using opioids without experiencing acute withdrawal symptoms. I believe that it is our responsibility as American citizens to proactively address this epidemic by educating ourselves and others on both the problem and solution(s) to this problem. I have seen this epidemic grow rampantly in the...