Charlotte, N.C. – Individuals who suffer from the disease of addiction have often been characterized as frequent users of the system, and their treatment often called a “revolving door.” While it is true that addiction is a chronic disease and may require ongoing treatment before long-term abstinence is achieved, relapse rates for addiction compare very favorably with the relapse rates for other chronic diseases.
Recent data released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that 44% of persons in any type of treatment have never been in treatment for substance abuse before. Overall, 77% in treatment have had two or less previous treatment episodes. The National Institute for Drug Abuse cites data showing that relapse rates for addiction are comparable to those for Type II diabetes, and are actually lower than the relapse rates for hypertension and asthma. The Institute for Research, Education and Training in Addictions (IRETA) reports that patient compliance with treatment is much higher with addictions treatment than with hypertension or asthma treatment.
Locally, the Mecklenburg County Area Mental Health Substance Abuse Services Center (SASC) collected data on more than 3,000 admissions in fiscal year 2008, July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008. Fewer people who entered the County’s social setting detoxification program are returning for repeat treatment. In fiscal year 2008, 78% of the consumers had not had previous admissions to the Center. Another 15% of admissions had only two admissions and 4% of the people had three admissions into the detoxification program. Only 3% of all admissions overall had more than three admissions into the detoxification program. Given the average cost of less than $500 for a typical four-day detoxification program stay; this is an economical way to provide addiction treatment services. During the same period of time, 95% of persons admitted into the residential treatment program had not had prior treatment in the Center; the other 5% had only one prior admission into the program during the year.
Substance Abuse Services Center Director Kimberly Phillips believes this data reflects the excellent treatment services provided and the overarching philosophy with which services are delivered, known as the Integrated Dual Disorder Treatment (IDDT) model.
“IDDT is a whole different way of working with consumers. It motivates change and requires us to start the recovery process where the consumer actually is instead of where we expect them to be,” Phillips says.
IDDT is an evidence-based, best practice treatment approach that simultaneously addresses both substance abuse and mental health disorders. By incorporating the IDDT approach, consumers receive bio-psychosocial treatment which combines pharmacological, psychological, educational and social interventions. It also promotes consumer and family involvement in the treatment process, promotes stable housing as a necessary condition for recovery, and employment as an expectation. IDDT encourages ongoing recovery from co-occurring substance abuse and severe mental illness through best-practice approaches.
- Relapse of substance abuse and mental illness
- Duplication of services
- Service costs
- Utilization of high-cost services
- Continuity of care
- Consumer quality-of-life outcomes
- Stable housing
- Independent living
The Substance Abuse Services Center offers social setting detoxification services for consumers 18 and older, as well as a 14-28 day residential treatment program. Detox is a program involving the removal of drugs or alcohol from the body and is the first step in the recovery process. Insurance is not necessary. The Substance Abuse Services Center accepts both voluntary and involuntary admissions 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and there is a no-wait admissions philosophy. Detoxification services are provided in a non-hospital, social environment that emphasizes the dignity, safety and individual needs of each consumer. On average, detoxification is safely completed in three to five days.
MeckLINK is Mecklenburg County Area Mental Health’s call center for mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disability service referrals. MeckLINK will assess immediate needs and refer individuals to local providers that can help. Residents can contact MeckLINK at 704-336-6404 or visit http://mecklink.charmeck.org.