Despite extensive research regarding the addictive properties of opioid medications, the number of opioid overdose-related deaths continues to plague the country. The CDC reports that roughly 68% of the 70,200 drug overdose deaths in 2017 involved opioid use. This number has not slowed down as the world shifts its focus to the new pandemic: COVID-19. Some professionals even believe that the new isolation and distancing regulations are increasing the threat of drug abuse and relapse.
Another concern for opioid use disorder (OUD) patients is that they are immunocompromised. Exposure to COVID-19 can be lethal. To minimize contact, we find that Certified Opioid Treatment Programs (OTP) are experiencing a number of challenges in treating OUD patients during this crisis.
Challenges That Certified OTPs Face During COVID-19
There has always been an inherent challenge in treating people with opioid addiction. It is often unsuccessful due to severe withdrawal symptoms that may lead to relapse. Due to COVID-19, it’s increasingly difficult for OUD patients to receive opioid detoxification in the Acute Care and Emergency Room settings.
The Washington Post recently posted an article referencing this growing crisis, ‘People in Addiction Treatment are losing crucial support during coronavirus pandemic.’ In the article, Dan Reck, who oversees MATClinics said, “The last thing that the health-care system needs right now are thousands of people in withdrawal or filling up the emergency rooms or going back on the streets and overdosing.”
The OTPs are working in small shifts to minimize risk and exposure. In other words, OTPs cannot perform detoxification services as often as they normally would.
How Certified Opioid Treatment Programs Are Responding to COVID-19
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published new regulations for OTPs to better support the patients quarantined at home with the coronavirus. The document states that patients can now receive a “doorstep” delivery of take-home medications. When making the delivery, the OTP staff will remain at the door until they observe it was retrieved. Additional guidance for this new process can be found on the SAMHSA website. All in all, this flexibility will help ensure that patients who are passed the detoxification stage can now be treated.
What About Opioid Detoxification Treatment?
For all the OUD patients who are in need of detoxification, Speranza Therapeutics has developed a comprehensive in-home detox program. Partnering with Aware, an in-home detox center in Connecticut, we will treat the patient at their place of residence.
AWARE will take care of the full medical evaluation and ongoing case review by an addiction psychiatrist and licensed professional counselor. Using S.T. Genesis, the licensed professional will be able to reduce a patient’s symptoms of opioid withdrawal. In turn, this helps them successfully transition to medication assisted therapy (MAT). This non-invasive, drug-free intervention utilizes a carefully-calibrated Percutaneous Nerve Field Stimulator (PNFS) device to administer an auricular neurostimulation treatment over the course of 120 hours. Learn more about S.T. Genesis here.
Interested in partnering with Speranza Therapeutics to provide in-home detox services for OTPs in need? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +1 (844) 477-3726.