The opioid epidemic is still going strong throughout the United States. But in rural towns with limited access to specialized treatment, heroin addicts have few options for recovery.
Addiction is a tough illness to treat in the best of circumstances. Addicts can often be 100% committed to getting help one day and fall into relapse the next day. Those in active addiction can also have trouble paying for and keeping regular appointments with doctors. For those who live in rural areas, local resources for substance abuse may be nonexistent.
In urban areas, doctors and clinics can prescribe addiction-curbing drugs that help recovering addicts cope with withdrawal from heroin and painkillers. Even if there are doctors within reach for rural patients, it’s unlikely that they are equipped and accredited to treat opioid addiction.
Methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone are the three FDA-approved drugs that treat opioid dependency, but some are more effective and safe than others. Buprenorphine, known by its trade name Suboxone, is fast replacing Methadone, which is often abused in the same ways that heroin and other opioids are. Today, most experts agree that Suboxone is much more effective in fighting addiction.
However, there is a very long waiting list for heroin addicts to be prescribed Suboxone. Due to very strict regulations, it is hard for most doctors to write or distribute prescriptions of the drug, especially those who practice in small towns with limited populations.
Already, common excuses for not visiting a doctor are that the office is too far out of the way, appointments take up too much time, or that the patient is too weak to make it.
With the addition of new technology, speaking with a doctor is easier to do than ever before. Telemedicine benefits isolated patients by allowing them to see and speak to a doctor in real time, in lieu of an in-person appointment. For those in rural communities, remote doctor consultations are effective in making sure that these individuals are getting the care and treatment that they need and deserve, despite living in underserved areas. That means all a patient needs to get access to Suboxone is an internet connection.
For a number of other chronic conditions, telemedicine benefits could be immense. To learn more about how telemedicine can help yourself or your loved one overcome opioid addiction, contact Florida’s Peace Medical before it’s too late.