Warm Hand-Off Program: Overdose to Treatment

Countless numbers of people are being treated with the opioid antidote, naloxone. An opioid reversal drug, administering this substance pulls people back from the brink of death as a result of drug overdose. Unfortunately, a reversal of an overdose is not a reversal of addiction or chemical dependency. After having an overdose reversed, an individual is left with the sometimes crippling symptoms of withdrawal. Sadly, this practice just sets opioid addicts up for failure because they are not provided with any options or structure for beginning a sober life.

In Pennsylvania, over 1,600 opioid overdoses have been reversed with naloxone, but the Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP) has decided to do more. Knowing that the first clean and sober hours, days, and weeks are the most critical in an addicted person’s life, the DDAP created a program that would take an overdose survivor straight from their hospital bed to a treatment bed.

This move is transformative for the treatment of opioid addiction. Many times an individual leaves their emergency situation and returns to using opioids. The program aims to curb this dangerous behavior by humanizing the treatment of ‘addicts’ and not throwing them back into the fire of the streets. Treatment is the solution, and through harm reduction practices, such as the program in Pennsylvania, we can hope to see lower overdose death rates in the future.

There is hope that other states will soon adopt similar practices to the ‘Warm Hand-Off Program’. Warm hand-offs do exist for other mental health conditions, and the disease of addiction should be treated no differently. Much of the future of funding for these types of programs lies in limbo with Congress and the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As citizens, we can write our Representatives and urge them to take a stand for those who cannot stand for themselves. The more we can de-stigmatize the face of addiction, the more likely it will be treated for what it is: a disease.

If you are struggling with the disease of addiction, call The Lakehouse Recovery Center. After keeping you safe and as comfortable as possible while detoxing, you will then transition into our top-notch treatment program. You are not alone in this. A new life can begin with a phone call; we are available 24/7, toll-free at (877) 762-3707. Break the never-ending addiction cycle, and come recover. You can do this. Call today.



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