Innovative research and changing attitudes about drug addiction, treatment, and recovery are starting to take hold, reports Public Access Journalism. New, effective medications now suppress drug cravings. Hospitals and treatment centers are making stronger efforts to prevent people with addictions from falling through the cracks as they are passed between institutions. Physicians, hospitals, and private clinics have learned that treatment means not only medical attention but setting the stage for a successful reentry into a life without drugs and alcohol, with social services, housing, and job training.
The push is fueled by groundbreaking brain research in the late 1990s that indicates that addiction isn’t driven by weak character, loose morals, or lax discipline. “It’s a good time to be addicted,” said Thomas McLellan of the Treatment Research Institute in Philadelphia, a research think tank that attempts to influence clinical practice and public policy through scientific and real-world studies. “The treatment is beginning to catch up with research. This will save a ton of money and, more importantly, lives.” Medical, addiction, and treatment communities are paying attention to what’s called “the continuum of care,” a phrase meaning addiction treatment and recovery — as well as the training of health-care professionals — that aims for seamless experiences for patients who work with a variety of specialists on the way to their new lives.