From medication-assisted treatment (MAT) availability to opioid alternatives, there have been numerous recent stories and studies involving substance abuse and addiction treatment in Idaho. Here’s are the stories making headlines in the state in recent weeks.
Idaho Medical School Emphasizes Opioid Alternatives
Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine in Meridian, the state’s first medical school, is working to reduce addiction by teaching its students about alternatives to opioids. This is part of the school’s emphasis on osteopathic principles and practices, which consider the whole person and all factors that may be contributing to disease or injury. Students who graduate from the college will have spent at least 200 hours in a learning lab, gaining hands-on experience in treating everyday issues with non-opioid techniques.
More Idaho Teens Struggling With Substance Abuse
The Idaho Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that more than 7,000 high school girls in Idaho used prescription drugs without a prescription in 2017. The study surveyed 1,818 high-school students from 53 public schools across Idaho.
Alexis Pearson, a treatment supervisor for the Treatment and Recovery Center in Twin Falls, noted that marijuana and alcohol use have been the main substance-abuse problems among students. Use of opioids and heroin, however, are beginning to catch up.
Children as young as 13 have sought help from the center, Pearson says. Many students who seek help often have parents who struggle with addiction.
Idaho Lacking in Medication-Assisted Treatment Facilities
Among those U.S. facilities that treat substance use disorders, only a small minority offer MAT, researchers have found. According to research published in the January issue of Health Affairs, Idaho has one of the lowest proportions (16.8 percent) of treatment facilities offering any FDA-approved medication. The study was conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who analyzed national survey data from 2007 to 2016.
Of those facilities that do offer MAT, only 6 percent offer all three FDA-approved medications. Ideally, facilities should offer all three medications (buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone), since patients may see different outcomes from different drugs.
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