The Healthcare field is constantly advancing. Day-by-day and year-by-year, treatment modalities for illnesses and disorders that were once considered incurable now have standard treatment protocols that lead to minimal morbidity and mortality rates, and also increases productivity, as there is less time required to achieve homeostasis in the body. A prime example is Hepatitis treatment, which was once a very time consuming and painful process. A part of effective healthcare management is preventative medicine which boasts the potential to decrease healthcare expenditures exhausted on treating illnesses and also has a positive effect on morbidity and mortality rates.
Currently, there are over 20 million people in the United States who are both active and former addicts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 2000 to 2015, more than half a million individuals died from drug overdoses. 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. In 2017, the number of opiate overdose deaths has jumped to 144 per day. Addiction plays a multi-faceted role in how it affects society. Not only is it detrimental for the abuser’s overall health and risk of developing disease, it affects incarceration rates, vehicle accidents, employment and the overall financial burden placed on the government and health insurers. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has estimated that the annual financial burden to be in excess of $78.5 billion, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement.
According to SAMHSA, approximately 8.9 million Americans have co-occurring mental health illness and a substance abuse issue, known as dual-diagnosis. They estimated that over 55% of people with co-occurring disorders do not receive any treatment for their conditions. With that being said, there is no simple fix solution to the issue at hand. Rather, addiction is a multi-faceted problem which needs to be addressed from several different angles. It is imperative that the medical and behavioral components of addiction go hand-in-hand and are addressed collectively to achieve positive outcomes. Along with that, patients have to be held accountable for their recovery and will be provided with all the tools necessary to achieve their goal of long-term sobriety and re-integration into society, as a responsible citizen.
With Opioid overdose deaths on the rise, it is important to educate substance abuser and the general public about the detrimental effects of using excessive amounts of opiates, and what the warning signs of addiction is. Accessibility to Narcan and emergency medical service should also be available. One primary reason death occurs after consuming excessive amounts of opiates is respiratory depression. A report published in Science Translational Medicine describes an app that has been developed which identifies any changes in breathing patterns that may precede any possible overdose and during an actual overdose as well.
PhD Candidates at the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington wrote about how researchers created an algorithm that used sonar to monitor patients’ breathing rate and identify when an opioid overdose has occurred. The article mentions that “Existing, human-based approaches to diagnose overdose rely on medical-grade equipment or trained recognition of diagnostic signs of opioid toxicity system. … Validating the efficacy of any opioid toxicity system requires access to patients and data while high-risk opioid use occurs, which is difficult because this can represent a medically life-threatening situation”.
Researchers created an algorithm which utilized sonar to monitor a patients’ breathing rate, identifying when opioid overdose has occurred. The app is able to identify when respiratory depression occurred, apnea and gross motor movements are present which are tied to acute opioid toxicity. The app was named second chance and was tested in Vancouver, British Columbia 209 patients that used the supervised injection facility. This app identified post-injection, opioid-induced central apnea with 96% sensitivity and 98% specificity. The app also identified respiratory depression with 87% sensitivity and 89% specificity. The app will be submitted for approval by the FDA.
Detox of South Florida, one of the best South Florida drug rehab centers, is actively involved in researching novel treatment modalities that can become mainstay treatments for other alcohol treatment centers and drug rehab centers in Florida which can have a meaningful effect on patient outcomes. As patient outcomes are an important gauge in determining whether a therapeutic/ treatment modality is working, it is imperative that time energy and resources be dedicated to this field of expertise. This will ensure that all alcohol rehab centers in Florida and addiction treatment in Florida can remain above par. Within the realms of Addiction medicine, there is much opportunity to discover effective therapeutic modalities which can help curb relapse rates and help assist those struggling with addiction to fight cravings.
Dr. Vikram Tarugu, M.D, is the CEO of Detox of South Florida, Inc and medical professional focused on addiction. A veteran in the medical field with over 25 years of professional experience. He is a consultant for many South Florida Rehab centers. Patients travel from allover the US to seek his help with addiction and Hepatitis C treatment.
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