Could new technology help treat more Opiate Addicts?

Could new technology help treat more Opiate Addicts?
Opioid Addiction Treatment Pill Dispenser. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) including opioid treatment programs (OTPs) for Substance Use Disorders.

Could new technology help treat more opiate addicts?

Treatment professionals say opiate abuse costs the U.S. about $56 billion a year. In Vermont the issue has been in the spotlight since the Governor made it the focus in his State of the State Address.

Associate professor [Stacey Sigmon, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of The Chittenden Clinic] at the University of Vermont is hoping a clinical trial will help get more Vermonters the treatment they need.

... the methadone clinic is a waiting list ...
all Suboxone doctors in this state are full ...

(quote from an opioid-dependent Vermonter based on their experience)

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Substance Use Disorders: Vermont is making strides, getting more Vermonters the help they need. At the start of 2014, 767 opiate addicts were on treatment waiting lists. Four months later that number has dropped to 427. Right now 2,124 opiate dependent Vermonters are getting treatment through state programs. Now University of Vermont researcher Stacey Sigmon is hoping to clear that backlog even faster with a revolutionary technology from Finland. 'I hope to start recruiting in May,' said Sigmon. 'We'll place each day's dose in each of these individual cells around the device.'

Sigmon is the first medical professional in the U.S. to use an e-pill Med-O-Wheel [SKU 870812 / UPC 837066002736 / e-pill Med-O-Wheel SECURE] to treat opiate addiction.

e-pill Med-O-Wheel SECURE
It's a computerized, portable device that dispenses a daily dose of buprenorphine.

It's a medicine designed to help addicts get clean by controlling cravings. The project is part of a $700,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health. It will support a clinical trial for 85 patients over the next two years. 'In the standard pill bottle you get your whole script for the month, for example, all in one place. And every time you open the lid you have access to the whole 30 day supply, and that can be tough for patients with a history of medication misuse or drug use to keep secure,' said Sigmon.

Sigmon says a single pill is only available to the patient for a two hour window and the transparent back easily allows staff to check for pill diversion. The study couples take home meds with phone-based monitoring and a rigorous call-back protocol. Sigmon, who also heads the state's largest methadone clinic, says this device eliminates daily trips to a clinic and allows doctors to take on more patients, especially in rural communities where treatment centers may be farther away. 'It's fairly secure. I mean nothing is stopping someone from backing their car over it and destroying it but that's certainly going to be obvious whenever they come for the pill count,' said Sigmon.

Learn more (UVM Innovations News Letter)

MAT (Medication-Assisted Treatment) is the use of medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a whole-patient approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. Research shows that when treating substance-use disorders, a combination of medication and behavioral therapies is most successful.
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