Novus Medical Detox Addresses Opioids for Chronic Pain: The “Silent Epidemic” of Distress, Disability and Danger

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Although little scientific evidence exists to support the safety and efficacy of long-term opioid use and despite deadly results, an estimated 8 million Americans use opioids in lieu of many other available treatments for chronic pain.

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Discoveries in science reveal a broader systemic view of disease and open up the intricacies of each individual case. There are no templates for therapy.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in 2012 more than 259 million prescriptions were written for powerful painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin and other opioids (synthetic opium derivatives) – about one bottle for every U.S. adult. These drugs were originally intended for a much smaller demographic. In the year prior, unintentional overdoses killed about 17,000 Americans, 46 a day – a rate that continues to climb. In fact, Dr. Francis Collins, reporting in the NIH Director’s Blog, refers to opioid use as a “silent epidemic”. (1)

Kent Runyon, Executive Director of Novus Medical Detox Center, a Florida drug rehab facility noted for successful addiction and detox programs, sees the other end of runaway prescription abuse: people desperate to get their lives back. He has stated, “Discoveries in science reveal a broader systemic view of disease and open up the intricacies of each individual case. There are no templates for therapy.” He pointed out that one characteristic of 19th century medicine that persists today is the drugging of symptoms without eliminating causes. Runyon said he sees modern medicine struggling to progress from these older practices and adds, “At Novus we expect a more effective therapy for pain, one that includes tailored natural solutions embracing the whole being.” To keep pace, Novus has recently expanded their detox facilities in order to deal with the growing number of people caught in the addiction trap.

To initiate a solution that could bring this situation under control, the NIH, along with others, sponsored a multidisciplinary workshop composed of members of major national medical institutions focused on health, disease, pain, drug abuse and neurological disorders.

The overriding question posed to this body of experts was, “Are we as a nation approaching management of chronic pain in the best possible manner that maximizes effectiveness and minimizes harm?”

Their answer was unequivocal: no.

They not only found a shocking absence of guidelines for the safety of long term opioid use and its impact on patient’s pain, functionality and quality of life, they were alarmed to discover that many people have been dumped into one-size-fits-all treatments when their chronic pain clearly spans a multitude of conditions, presents in different ways, and requires an individualized, evidence-based approach to manage. This reckless disregard for tailored treatment may have come about from doctor’s who see no effective alternatives to relieve suffering.

The Workshop advised the doctors of those seeking help for chronic pain to first try non-drug approaches. Physicians should also consider more fully the whole patient – from their quality of life and psychological wellbeing to the presence of other pain-causing conditions and sensitivity. (2)

In a position paper published by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), Dr. Gary M. Franklin said about opioids, “Whereas there is evidence for significant short-term pain relief, there is no substantial evidence for maintenance of pain relief or improved function over long periods of time without incurring serious risk of overdose, dependence, or addiction.” (3)

MedPage Today recently polled noted clinicians for their take on the use of opioids for chronic pain. All doctors agreed that each patient should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. One of these clinicians, Dr. Jack Freer, summed it up when he said, "It is difficult to predict which pain will be most responsive to opioids... Conscientious management of chronic non-cancer pain requires a disciplined approach with ongoing reassessment and a transparent but firm relationship with the patient. Prescription drug abuse is an enormous public health problem and physicians must be prepared to take an unpopular stance with some persistent patients." (4)

For more information about Novus and its detox services, visit http://www.novusdetox.com.

About Novus Medical Detox Center:

Novus Medical Detox Center is a Joint Commission Accredited inpatient medical detox facility that offers safe, effective alcohol and drug treatment programs in a home-like residential setting. Located on 3.25 tree-lined acres in New Port Richey, Fla., Novus is also licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families and is known for minimizing the discomfort of withdrawal from prescription medication, drugs or alcohol by creating a customized detox program for each patient. By incorporating medication, natural supplements and fluid replenishment, Novus tailors the detox process for each patient, putting the dignity and humanity back into drug detoxification. Patients have 24/7 medical supervision, including round-the-clock nursing care and access to a withdrawal specialist, and enjoy comfortable private or shared rooms with a telephone, cable television and high-speed Internet access. Novus’ expansion is tied to their contribution to their industry and their local community, ranking number 48 on the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s 2014 Fast 50 Awards list of the fastest-growing companies in Tampa Bay, and number 2,936 on the 2014 Inc. 500/5000 list of fastest-growing companies in America. For more information, visit http://www.novusdetox.com.

1.    “Managing Chronic Pain: Opioids Are Often Not the Answer”. Dr. Francis Collins. National Institutes of Health. January 27, 2015. Web. N.p. directorsblog.nih.gov/2015/01/27/managing-chronic-pain-opioids-are-often-not-the-answer/

2.    “National Institutes of Health Pathways to Prevention Workshop: The Role of Opioids in the Treatment of Chronic Pain”. Reuben DB, Alvanzo AAH, Ashikaga T, Bogat A, Callahan CM, Ruffing V, and Steffens DC. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2015 January 13. Web. N.p.

3.    “Opioids for chronic noncancer pain. A position paper of the American Academy of Neurology” Gary M. Franklin, MD, MPH Web. N.p, n.d. neurology.org/content/83/14/1277.full

4.    “Friday Feedback: Opioids for Chronic Pain” MedPage Today. Molly Walker. April 2015. Web N.p. medpagetoday.com/PainManagement/PainManagement/50809

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