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Barriers to Effective Addiction Treatment Programs in Seattle
Recent data shows 332 deaths occurred in Seattle in 2016 and the majority of the fatalities were directly linked to opioids.The data made the public focus more on the value of effective addiction treatment and barriers faced by people who need it.
The data has made the public focus more on the value of effective substance abuse and addiction treatment programs.
Joyce Sundin, a Seattle-based intervention professional, counselor and case manager, began working with people struggling with substance use disorders and conducting interventions nationally and internationally in 1980. She's considered one of the pioneers of the clinical approach and has expressed her concerns regarding addiction treatment programs available in the Seattle area.
"I think the 28-day model is insufficient time for a person who has been intervened upon," Sundin said. "If people stay in treatment long enough their brains will begin to heal so they are able to take in the wonderful information and therapy they're being provided. If insurance companies would provide 60 – 90 days of inpatient treatment they'd see better outcomes, which in turn would be cost effective for all. That's why I mostly refer to programs out of this area that provide longer stays."
Local officials and public health organizations have been moving toward educating the public on substance use disorders and improving addiction treatment programs throughout King County (https://www.drugaddictionnow.com/
Sundin explained that she has watched many changes in the recovery industry since she started her career.
Joyce Sundin, a Seattle-based intervention consultant
"In the middle 70s and 80s, insurance companies were covering treatment and if it was determined a person needed a longer stay typically it would be provided," she said. "It was not unusual for a person to spend 6 – 8 weeks in inpatient. Then managed care took over and have continuously made it more and more difficult for people to get sufficient coverage and care. I understand that in some cases insurance will authorize 3 days. That's ludicrous. No wonder the relapse rate is so high."
Sudin said she starts interventions by working with the families and/or friends of those struggling with a substance use disorder because, by educating them on addiction, she can help them see how they oftentimes have unwittingly become complicit in the addiction.
"I do interventions and while some people may feel forced into treatment, the overwhelming majority end up viewing the intervention as that moment or event that changed their lives for the better. Many people think if a person is forced to do something they will just continue to resist and it will be a negative result. Many studies have proven that wrong. As a matter of fact, most people enter treatment under some duress. For example, the spouse may give an ultimatum or it could come from the boss. Perhaps it becomes a medical issue or the courts are involved. If they are in treatment long enough, and their brains begin to heal many will come to see their recovery as a good thing and are motivated to continue staying clean and sober."