Rising Need for Beds in Detox Centers as Use of Heroin Increases
Since 2002, heroin production levels have gone from 6.8 metric tons to over 50 metric tons per year, representing a 668 percent increase in production rates, according to Roosevelt University. Mexican drug cartels have expanded their operations to incorporate South American heroin shipments, which have greatly contributed to the increase in production levels.
These changes have increased heroin availability and expanded marketing centers to include rural and suburban regions as well as the inner city areas. Not surprisingly, heroin abuse rates have skyrocketed accordingly, so drawing in the least likely of customers.
As more and more people gain access to heroin, more have dared to experiment with this powerfully addictive drug. This has led to an increase in heroin addiction rates, creating a subsequent shortage of beds in detox centers. In actuality, existing routes for obtaining treatment coupled with “roundabout” insurance requirements have had a considerable influence on the availability of treatment and the resulting shortage of beds in detox centers.
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The ongoing heroin epidemic and increasing number of people dying from overdoses has the medical community re-examining current approaches in treating addiction. An article in the Cleveland Northeast Ohio Media Group news reports on how existing treatment protocols handle addiction cases more so like acute conditions rather than as the chronic disease that it is. In effect, addiction’s classification as a disease has yet to be treated as such within the addiction treatment field.
This approach to treating addiction not only sends addicts in and out of treatment facilities but also creates shortages in the number of beds available at any given time. Meanwhile, each time an addict attempts to get help, waiting lists create one and two weak waiting periods for people in need of immediate help.
The significant increase in heroin abuse has no doubt caught treatment facilities by surprise. An article on the North Jersey News site describes how half of those seeking addiction help are turned away by treatment programs for various reasons. Figures collected from 2009 show an estimated 30,000 adults and 15,000 adolescents were turned away within the state of New Jersey alone.
A limited amount of funding for addiction treatment services makes it all but impossible for facilities to increase the number of beds available, let alone take on any additional staff. Without needed and immediate treatment help, heroin addicts who’ve built up the resolve to get better are left to contend with drug cravings and withdrawal effects on their own.
Insurance Company Requirements
Much of the increase in heroin abuse rates has taken place within rural and suburban areas, which up until now have shown little to no trends of heroin use. Unlike people with limited resources or homeless individuals, this new group of users must contend with insurance company authorizations in order to receive needed addiction treatment help.
According to USA Today, it’s not uncommon for policyholders to have to provide evidence of prior treatment attempts through outpatient programs before receiving authorization to get needed inpatient or detox treatment. Insurers may also deny addiction help unless an existing medical condition makes addiction treatment a necessity.
Considering the lack of proper treatment protocols, limited funding availability and insurance company requirements, the overall shortage of beds in heroin detox centers will continue for some time to come.