Dr. Willenbring is especially distressed about patients who are treated for opioid addiction, then relapse in part because they are not given maintenance therapy with the drug Suboxone.
“We have some pretty good drugs to help people with addiction problems, but doctors don’t know how to use them,” he said. “The 12-step community doesn’t want to use relapse-prevention medication because they view it as a crutch.”
Before committing to a treatment program, Ms. Fletcher urges prospective clients or their families to do their homework. The first step, she said, is to get an independent assessment of the need for treatment, as well as the kind of treatment needed, by an expert who is not affiliated with the program you are considering.
Check on the credentials of the program’s personnel, who should have “at least a master’s degree,” Ms. Fletcher said. If the therapist is a physician, he or she should be certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine.