Dr. Michael Lowenstein, co-medical director of The Waismann Method, an advanced procedure for rapid opiate detoxification under deep sedation, is expressing grave concern over the implications of a new report that outlines the alarming rise in the number of individuals seeking treatment for opioid dependence, for example, OxyContin addiction.
The new national analysis from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration(SAMHSA) reports that admissions for opiate use, mostly as a result of prescription painkillers like Vicodin and OxyContin, showed the most staggering increase compared to other rehab admissions, such as alcohol and marijuana. The report stated prescription drugs were to blame for 33 percent of opiate rehab admissions in 2009, up from 8 percent in 1999 – an increase of 25 percent.
“It’s alarming to see such a sharp rise in numbers of individuals seeking treatment for prescription drug addiction,” said Dr. Lowenstein. “In the past decade, prescription opioids have become more common as a way to treat pain, and now we’re seeing a backlash of patients struggling with addiction because the drugs were over-prescribed, improperly monitored, or abused by the user. The U.S. population needs to be aware of the dangers and risks involved in taking prescription painkillers, and seek help for themselves or family members who may be in need of treatment or detoxification.”
It is worth noting that not all substance treatment admissions increased during the study period. The new SAMHSA report concluded that cocaine-related admissions between 1999 and 2009 actually decreased from 14 percent to 9 percent. The report also identified that five substance categories were responsible for 96 percent of the nearly 2 million admissions that occurred in 2009. (The report only analyzed data for individuals 12 years and older.) The five substance groups include:
- Alcohol (42 percent)
- Opiates (21 percent)
- Marijuana (18 percent)
- Cocaine (9 percent)
- Methamphetamines/amphetamines (6 percent)
In addition to being the co-medical director of the Waismann Method, Dr. Lowenstein is a pain specialist with expertise in multi-disciplinary pain management. He has more than 14 years experience in treating opiate dependency and has been a pain specialist for more than 20 years.
The Waismann Method is a pioneering medical opiate detoxification procedure that is safe, humane and effective, and provides an alternative option for treatment of prescription painkiller dependency. The majority of opioid detoxification treatments center on facing and experiencing symptoms of withdrawal, whereas the Waismann Method patients experience minimal conscious withdrawal during treatment. A recent Waismann Method poll showed 35 percent of those facing treatment for opioids listed “fear of withdrawals” as the biggest challenge in overcoming their addiction.
Performed in a hospital intensive care unit, the Waismann Method utilizes careful administration of medications to reverse the physiological dependence on opiates while the symptoms of withdrawal are addressed. Following treatment, patients are opiate-free and stay at the Domus Retreat where they are supervised by a team of professionals as part of the recovery and transition process.
About The Waismann Method
Performed in a hospital intensive care unit, the Waismann Method involves cleansing receptors in a patient’s brain of the narcotics while the patient is under deep sedation, reversing the chemical imbalance. During the procedure, the patient will experience minimal conscious withdrawal and will be able to return home within days. Seventy-five percent of the prescription drug dependent patients who are treated with the Waismann Method remain drug-free after one year.