Taking a Holistic Approach to Beat the Opioid Crisis in Silicon Valley

Are we losing the battle against opioid abuse? Considering the increasing severity of the opioid crisis, it’s easy to see that things aren’t going well for substance abusers and society in general. President Donald Trump has declared it a public emergency. But simply recognizing the problem wouldn’t cut it. There’s a need for new substance abuse treatment options-and these do not necessarily have to be in the form of a pill. It can be as simple as revamping the current drug rehabilitation programs.

Substance Abuse in Silicon Valley

Some of the smartest people in the world work in Silicon Valley, yet there’s an alarming increase in the number of workers who use drugs while in office. Taking alcohol or drugs is probably a mean of coping up and getting rid of stress, but it doesn’t make the problem any more acceptable. The use of meth to put in more hours at work can turn a casual user into an addict in no time.

Drug rehabilitation facilities must recognize the substance abuse problem in different sectors. As noted, the issue in Silicon Valley is attributed to burnout. The treatment option for these workers may vary from that for millennials, a generation who always want to be in control of their lives. These subtle differences are not factored in by old drug rehabilitation programs, which probably explain the high relapse rates in many facilities.

Shattering the Status Quo

For many years, drug rehab centers have used the 12-step approach in treating drug abuse patients. This program has shown a certain level of success, but it’s clear that it has not worked for a number of people. Dan Manson, CEO of Elevate Addiction Services, has formulated a new program based on 20 years of helping substance abusers. He explains that the inflexible structure of the 12-step program fails to take into account the varying needs of patients.

This understanding has led to the development of the SMART approach. SMART stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training. As its name suggests, the program focuses on helping patients manage their rehabilitation and recovery at their own pace. This gives them the power to take action and make progress steadily compared to following time-restricted procedures which patients often fail.

Another point of emphasis is on the elimination of labels which are so common even in drug rehab facilities. It’s easy for people to label an addict as paranoid and depressed. These labels do not help the patients in any way.

“I don’t really like labels. Many addicts go to the doctor and they’re prescribed medications to treat the different symptoms. But here at EAS, we remove labels entirely while they’re here.”

There’s Always Hope

Most of the graduates are living substance-free a year after completing their SMART program. While the 100% success rate continues to remain elusive, what’s great is that adjustments can be made along the way to ensure that the new approach becomes as effective as can be.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.