The use of opioids to treat pain dates back to the Civil War when morphine was first used as an anesthetic by field medics. In response to subsequent morphine addiction rates, Bayer introduced heroin in 1898 as a less-addictive alternative to morphine. Rates of heroin addiction exploded, and in 1924 the federal government b anned the production and sale of it. These examples demonstrate our nation’s long history of opioid addiction.
Today’s opioid epidemic began in the mid-1990s with Perdue Pharma’s introduction of Oxycontin as a non-addictive alternative to other opioid painkillers. Despite efforts to reduce the number of opioid prescriptions, this devastating epidemic continues to destroy millions of lives. MD M.A.T.T. is committed to helping end opioid addiction through our comprehensive, affordable addiction treatment services. Contact us at 410.816.9457 to learn how we can help you or your loved one.
What Are Virtual Treatment Services?
Though many remain trapped in the grips of opioid addiction, reports indicate that the rates of individuals receiving opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment are steadily increasing. Many experts in the field point to reduced restrictions for prescribing buprenorphine and an uptick in the use of telehealth rehab services during Covid-19 for these gains.
While telemedicine and telehealth treatment services are not new, they have been under-utilized for decades. Virtual treatment services involve the use of two-way telecommunication technology to provide access to treatment. MD M.A.T.T. offers virtual treatment services seven days a week through various technologies, including:
- Text messaging
- Email communications
- Telephone-based services
- Video conferences
- Smartphone applications
- Web-based treatment tools
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT), including buprenorphine, is highly effective in treating OUD. However, it is heavily regulated, limiting accessibility, particularly in rural communities where rates of OUD tend to be higher compared to urban areas. Access to primary care physicians, mental health providers, and addiction treatment programs is generally more limited in rural communities. Telehealth treatment services help fill this void by connecting patients to providers they would be otherwise unable to access.
What Are the Benefits of a Telehealth Treatment Program?
Increased access to comprehensive medication-assisted treatment and therapy is a significant benefit of a telehealth treatment program, particularly in underserved areas. Telehealth treatment services also remove common barriers to treatment, including location, cost, stigma, and transportation. In addition to the lack of providers in rural areas, many people with OUD do not have insurance, cannot afford to pay for inpatient treatment, cannot take time off work, or are unable to leave family and household responsibilities.
Other notable benefits of a telehealth treatment program include the following:
- Improved mental and physical health
- Fewer hospitalizations
- Increased patient satisfaction
- Reduced illicit opioid use
- Lower rates of criminal activity
- Decreased overdose and mortality rates
- Higher rates of treatment compliance
- Lower risk for chronic relapse
Telehealth treatment programs allow providers to stay connected with patients for more extended periods than inpatient programs. Patients can access providers quickly in times of crisis, which has numerous benefits. Telehealth treatment programs place less burden on provider facilities and allow patients to access care from home, where they are more comfortable and thus more likely to engage in the therapeutic process.