Should opioid addicts get help to detox at home?

Posted at 11:43 AM, Jun 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-27 19:30:26-04

As the opioid crisis continues to take more lives, many families dealing with an addicted loved-one say they have a very hard time finding placement in a facility that specializes in opioid detox.  That is compounded by a high relapse rate for addicts who leave treatment facilities.

To try and help, there is a new proposal being put together that would help treat opioid addicts going through withdrawal while they remain at home.

The idea is part of an effort being put forth by Save the Michaels House of Hope in Buffalo.

Avi Israel, founder and president of Save the Michaels House of Hope, which trains family members as recovery coaches, is planning to submit a grant application for a minimum of $100,000 to the Erie County Legislature.

The Erie County Legislature has allocated $500,000 for funding private and community initiatives that could help deal with the opioid epidemic.

Under the proposed at-home detox plan, Save the Michaels House of Hope will help train families about addiction, pay for doctors to prescribe medicines to help stop the cravings, make sure visiting nurses check on a patient daily, and connect families to recovery coaches and organizations.

Avi Israel said he hopes the at-home approach will also help families better understand addiction and provide a recovering addict with stronger support.

The idea is creating a discussion, even though some doctors believe the best place for an addict to be treated is in a facility that specializes in addiction recovery.  

Dr. Torin Finver, from U.B. Family Medicine's Department of Addiction Medicine worries the at-home plan will put too much pressure on families to play doctor.

As far as effectiveness, Dr. Finver said studies show short-term detox only increases the chance for overdose and he believes addicts need a comprehensive medical plan for recovery that includes many aspects.

Dr. Finver said he knows families are desperate for help, and he understands how the at-home detox plan came about, but the doctor said he supports a pilot plan being implemented at ECMC that puts addicts on medication to break the cravings with a follow-up check within a week.

However, Avi Israel argues that with people dying everyday, there is no harm in trying the at-home detox plan to evaluate its effectiveness.

In the following two reports, hear from Avi Israel who is hoping to get the at-home detox plan funded, as well as Cheryl Placek from Niagara Falls who strongly supports it.  Placek's son Daniel, 28, committed suicide in 2012 after battling a opioid addiction that started when Daniel was placed on pain killers after being hurt at work.

In the other report, hear from Dr. Finver who has concerns about the at-home approach to detox.

Also hear from Becky Barnell whose son died one year ago from an opioid addiction about how hard it is to break the addiction.