Rapid Detox Interview:
BILL: I recently had a conversation with Clare Waismann, an accredited addiction specialist who’s an administrative director for the Waismann Method of rapid detox. Dave, are you familiar with it?
DR. DAVE: They’re a leading developer of what is called “Rapid Drug Detoxification.” Ordinarily, prescription opiate addicts might spend up to seven days sweating through withdrawal. In Rapid Detox, the patient is often only hospitalized for one to two days – sleeping under a light anesthetic, while special medications are administered which facilitate the cleansing of opiate drugs from the patient’s brain receptors.
BILL: The claim is that upon awakening, the patient is no longer physically dependent on opiates and has no conscious awareness of experiencing the withdrawal process during the procedure. Doc, can that be true?
DR. DAVE: It certainly is. Rapid Detox has been in active use since the 1990s. In fact, hospitals, including the University of Miamis Mount Sinai, have stated that the Waismann method had a “100% rate of successful detoxification.”
BILL: What’s the catch?
DR. DAVE: Well, that’s like saying 100% of the people who swallowed a vitamin were successful at taking their vitamins. Detoxification is a physical process that occurs when you stop taking an addictive drug – whether in a hospital, an outpatient clinic or at home because you run out.
BILL: But the psychological addiction is still there. Dave, a lot of drunks and addicts I know would sure like to sleep through the shakes, the sweats and sheer embarrassment of being an emotional and physical wreck for a week. How come you didn’t use the Waisman Method when you headed up the Scripps detox unit in California?
DR. DAVE: First off, when I was at Scripps back in 1999, the New Jersey Attorney General had just filed a lawsuit against the pre-eminent Rapid Detox medical director, Dr. Lawrence Gooberman, for the deaths of seven opiate addicts undergoing Rapid Detox. Ultimately he was fined $375,000 and lost his medical license for two years.
BILL: So, is Rapid Detox just a scam, then?
DR. DAVE: A little more medical judiciousness, please, Bill. Although the past president of the American Society for Addiction Medicine, Dr. David Smith, was an outspoken supporter of the prosecution of Dr. Gooberman in 1999 — today, that very same Society has come out in support of Rapid Detox, calling it “one of the most innovative developments in the field since the advent of the 12-step program in the 1930s.”
BILL: I appreciate your balanced view. I take it your ideas about the method have changed too?
DR. DAVE: If you go to Dr. Gooberman’s Web site, you can read his new position for yourself. Rather than seeing his efforts as an alternative to other treatment, he now positions it for treating persons deterred by the horror stories of opiate detox and the video portrayals of junkies having seizures.
BILL: Exactly why it may be popular with addicted women who cannot picture themselves in a detox center filled with male junkies and drunks.
DR. DAVE: In the words of Dr Gooberman himself, “ROD avoids much of the physical comfort of withdrawal and may avoid attrition caused by the pain of withdrawal, but it cannot be expected to suffice or to offer long-term efficacy unless clients are treated within a psychosocial context. We strongly advocate lifelong participation in a 12-step program as indispensable in maintaining abstinence.” Which is why, if I were running the Scripps Detox Unit today, a Rapid Detox would be something I could strongly support.
Dr. David Moore is a licensed psychologist and chemical dependency professional who is a graduate school faculty member at Argosy University’s Seattle campus. Bill Manville is a writer and novelist who has been sober for over 20 years. His most recent non-fiction work, “Cool, Hip & Sober,” is available at online bookstores.
Source of the rapid detox interview: New York Daily News
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