Jul 30, 2012
Once you decided to get opiate free and you know that you need help to get there, how do you pick where to get that help? Well, I’m going to try to clear the muddy waters for you. Yes, I would love for everyone to come to my clinic, however that is not always reasonable or a viable option for all. But here are some things that every one of you should consider.
The Staff - that is probably the most important part of your procedure. Who is around you during your procedure and how they get you through it is vital to how you do during the process and in the long run. How well they prepare you, what expectations they give and what support you receive afterwards will determine your overall success or failure.
The Physicians - even though it is true that a Board Certified Anesthesiologist is a must, only a few of us actually know the process of rapid drug detox. Experience in this field is extremely important. They do not teach this in anesthesia residency or fellowship. There are clinics that just hire board certified Anesthesiologists or even CRNAs to do the procedure for them by following their "protocol". That is not good enough. The doctor needs to have done many, many procedures and understand the addiction physiology to do this right. There should also be an Internist/Addictionologist who will take care of you prior to, during and after the procedure and is an integral part of your experience. S/he guides you though your follow up Naltrexone therapy and helps you through all the lumps and bumps on the road of recovery.
The Facility - should be equipped with the kind of state of art equipment you would see in any operating room. Then following the procedure you should be in a room that has the same equipment as any hospital’s ICU or post anesthesia recovery unit (PACU). Does the rapid drug detox have to be done in a hospital? No, it does not, not at all. It only increases your costs and decreases your privacy and confidentiality. If the rapid detox clinic is a safe facility that is equipped with appropriate equipment and medications, and is staffed with experienced staff, they will be equipped to deal with any emergency, akin to any other free standing outpatient surgical center. It is helpful if they are located close to a large medical center.
The Follow-up – if rapid drug detox is the best way for you to get opiate free, Naltrexone therapy is the lynchpin of staying opiate free. The best clinics include 2 month Naltrexone pellet into the cost of the procedure. To continue naltrexone therapy at home, Alkermes, the pharmaceutical company that produces Vivitrol (injectable naltrexone) to help those patient who have and are willing to use their Medical Insurance to fully cover these injections for as long as one year after rapid detox procedure, ensuring sobriety. For those patients who are willing to pay for injections out-of-pocket, Alkermes is willing to help with substantial discounts.
Please, be certain you are getting Vivitrol after an opiate detox procedure, and not a compounded generic substitute, as the dose and the delivery mode may not be accurate. Such generic substitutes have been known to be used by some detox clinics.
The Location - can play an important role in making your decision. You may choose to stay close to home to keep the costs down depending on where you live or go half way across the country to keep your confidentiality. You may choose a place that has cheaper tickets to fly into or you may just choose the best clinic there is. You may also choose a clinic by reading the testimonials. Some locations may just be cheaper because of simple matter of local economics or because the clinic is owned by doctors who run it, so they do not have to answer to a corporate entity. This brings me to the last point.
The Cost - is still important to most people, especially in this economic climate. Some centers attract patients with beautiful buildings and surroundings, promises of spa treatments or even scare them into doing it in some “hospital”. They can name amazing university credentials and whatnots, but the basic calculation should be: who are the staff and how are they treating you, do they care about you or your money? Do the doctors have appropriate experience? Are you getting appropriate Naltrexone follow-through treatment? Is the facility well equipped and close to a major medical center? Is location easily accessible? And is the cost reasonable for what you are getting?
Here are all the things you need to consider before you choose. I do hope I made it easier for you.