Is addiction a risk of going to the hospital? New model of care suggests offering hospital patients addiction services, regardless of why they are there to “close the gap in treatment”
11/28/2017 // Zoey Sky // Views

While patients rely on various drugs to treat their health concerns, medical experts often overlook a crucial aspect of hospital care. More often than not, the patients become addicted to the drugs that are used to address their health issues.

The Boston Medical Center's (BMC) Grayken Center for Addiction has recently rolled out a new program, and it highlighted the importance of giving patients access to addiction treatment even though they are hospitalized for other conditions. The program can be used to “close the gap” in addiction treatment.

Several of the patients who first signed up for the program voluntarily continued treatment once they were discharged, which proves that the program should be considered as an effective way to address addiction. (Related: Opioid addiction is bankrupting America, county by county, city by city… will America collapse into a narco-pharma state?)

At least 17 percent of the patients at the BMC reported that they have an active substance use disorder, and this pushed providers to assess new methods that patients can use to engage in addiction treatment while at the hospital. The providers then came up with an inpatient addiction consult service that was employed immediately. It is staffed by a multidisciplinary care team with members who are well-versed in treating addiction.

Paul Trowbridge, M.D., and a graduate of BMC's addiction medicine fellowship, said, “In order to help curb the epidemic, we need to take every opportunity to engage patients with substance use disorders and get them into treatment when they are ready." Trowbridge, who was also the study's lead author, added, “This service will not only prove beneficial to patients, by helping them get access to evidenced-based treatment, but also to the health care system by reducing costs and readmissions.” The study was published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.


The initial results of the study encouraged the researchers. When methadone treatment was initiated for 70 patients, 76 percent of them were pointed to a methadone clinic upon discharge. After following up, 54 percent of the patients were still receiving methadone at 30 days, 39 percent at 90 days, and 29 percent at 180 days.

Buprenorphine, another opioid, was then given to 40 patients after the methadone clinic consultation, and 49 percent were shown to an outpatient clinic at discharge. After following up, 39 percent of the patients were still engaged in treatment at 30 days, 27 percent at 90 days, and 18 percent at 180 days.

Alex Walley, M.D., MSc, a general internist at BMC's Grayken Center for Addiction, shared, “Like heart disease can cause a heart attack or a stroke, addiction causes many acute injuries requiring immediate attention, but we can't simply treat that issue without delving deeper to address the root cause.” Walley, who also oversees the addiction medicine fellowship, concluded, “Our goal is to engage willing patients in treatment and work with them on a plan that will keep them healthy and safe now and in the future.”

The authors of the study cautioned that treatment is not a catch-all solution to addressing addiction and that additional treatment programs and services are necessary to resolve the issues of other patients, especially for the short and long term resolution of this matter.

Natural ways to fight addiction

While addiction treatment is a necessary step, curbing addiction with more drugs can cause more harm than good. If you're struggling with withdrawal symptoms, try these natural remedies instead:

  • Art Therapy – Researchers believe that behavioral alterations are effective remedies for drug addiction, and art therapy has recently surged in popularity. Through art therapy, you can build your confidence and self-esteem. It's also a good way to curb destructive tendencies and it can help you start appreciating beauty instead. Art therapy can also help lower depression and anxiety, both of which are frequent triggers of substance abuse.
  • Meditation – Meditation is a good way to promote mindfulness and an awareness of your thoughts and feelings, and it can help clear your mind. Try to channel your positive energy and master your emotions, and try not to let any negative vibes or stress cause a relapse. Several studies have looked into the benefits of meditation, and it has been proven to significantly “reduce the psychological and physiological triggers of substance abuse.”
  • Pet Therapy – Various studies have also cited pet therapy as an effective method of fighting addiction. Because a pet instills you with a sense of responsibility, it can help change your mindset. Spending time with pets also helps lower blood pressure and anxiety levels, and it can help reduce pain.

You can read more articles about addiction and how to address it at

Sources include: 1

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