The painful and prevalent problem of opioid addiction plaguing families across our country has sparked national attention as the overdose death rates of these individuals has skyrocketed the past few years. The pervasiveness of the opioid epidemic is due in large part to the over-prescription of opioid pain medication and the highly addictive nature of these medications. Pharmaceutical companies and morally-corrupt doctors threw caution to the wind as “pill-mills” popped up all over the US. Although opioid use often begins with a legitimate injury and prescription for pain medication, those unfamiliar with the dangers of addiction are naïve to the depths of depravity it can take even the most innocent of souls.
As tolerance to the drug builds, the individual takes more than prescribed to alleviate the pain. Eventually, the suggestion is made to crush the pill and snort it for a better, more immediate high. The treatment morphs into a habit, then an obsession. Most opioid addictions escalate to intravenous use. Though the person previously swore never to pick up a needle, the temptation outweighs the willpower, and life becomes consumed with chasing the euphoria of that first shot. At this point, the sheer financial burden of the habit is insurmountable. Lying, cheating, stealing, anything becomes justifiable in the name of the next fix.
Inevitably, the solution becomes substituting the FDA regulated pills for the significantly cheaper heroin, which promises a more intense high. The recent inclusion of fentanyl in heroin increases the potency and the likelihood of overdose and death. Suffering with addiction is painful, exhausting, and frightening. Attempting sobriety means enduring withdraws, reality, feelings, and memories. Negative experiences with shady recovery businesses leaves clients feeling jaded and mistrustful. Unfortunately, many treatment centers view clients as numbers or worse, dollar signs.
They treat clients according to insurance benefits rather than clients’ needs. Once insurance quits paying, clients are dropped off at bus stations to fend for themselves with no resources. Luckily, the substance abuse field is starting to shift, and task forces in South Florida are shutting down illegitimate “treatment centers” whose sole focus is greed. Cleaning up the reputation of the recovery realm paves the way for companies genuinely vested in the best interest of the clients and the communities, like Delphi Behavioral Health Group. With fifteen treatment facilities in various locations across the United States offering the spectrum of care, Delphi understands every client is unique and so too is the specific treatment needed. Willing to step outside the norm, Delphi launched New Perspectives in Boynton Beach, Florida, a medication-assisted treatment facility.
MAT, while still somewhat controversial, is becoming an optimal treatment option for those suffering from long-term opioid addiction that have tried and failed at traditional, abstinence-based treatment models. New Perspectives offers a contingency-based model with highly monitored and conservative doses of Suboxone films. Suboxone decreases cravings for opioids and initiates withdrawal symptoms if opioids are ingested. Clients must be compliant with the clinical program to receive their prescriptions. Suboxone, in conjunction with intensive therapeutic services, provides a real opportunity for those afflicted with opioid addiction to finally create a life of sobriety. True, there is an opioid epidemic afflicting our nation, but new medications and treatment modalities bring hope that its reign is nearing an end.
Jennifer Behnke, MS, LMFT, LMHC, QS
Jennifer Behnke, Clinical Director at New Perspectives, has worked in the field of mental health and substance abuse for over a decade. Jennifer graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2012 with a master’s degree in counseling psychology. In 2014, Jennifer became a licensed mental health counselor and licensed marriage & family therapist. At that time, she opened her private practice and took a position as a clinical director. Jennifer helped launch the medication-assisted treatment program at New Perspectives and became a qualified supervisor. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in marriage & family therapy with a specialization in couples therapy at Northcentral University.
Written by Jennifer Behnke