On January 28, 2016, J. Todd Barlow, the Director of Addiction Services at New Vitae Wellness and Recovery, engaged staff in a discussion and training entitled: “Substance Use Disorders: A Practical Introduction to Alcohol and Drug Problems, Recovery, and Treatment.” Barlow, who has over 25 years of experience serving those who have encountered challenges with alcohol and drug use, reviewed statistics related to alcohol and drug use in America, the impact of opiate use, and the biological changes associated with the progression from substance misuse to addiction.
Barlow initiated the conversation with surprising statistics associated with current substance use. Barlow suggested that approximately 173 million Americans never use substances, or use socially without challenges. Another 60 million may require help due to binging or intermittent use, while 20.8 million individuals have reached a point where their behaviors and outcomes suggest a definite need for help but they elect not to engage recovery supports. A smaller portion, 2.6 million people, need help and are completing or have completed treatment. The very challenging nature of treatment for addictions may underscore these numbers. See the graphic (below) for a breakdown of this data!
Barlow also detailed an “opiate epidemic.” Discussion centered on the importance of including families and allies in a “circle of support” that can facilitate wellness for opioid users; Barlow also reviewed the use of Vivitrol, Suboxone, and Methadone as possibilities to facilitate sobriety in opioid users. Conversation also focused on the science of addiction, specifically comparing addictive behaviors to a light switch in the brain. Parts of the brain appear to battle each other for dominance in the substance use behavior, until time and genetics “flip the switch,” resulting in addiction. This loss of control accompanies the unpredictable outcomes that define addiction.
New Vitae Wellness and Recovery, recognizing the challenges associated with treating addictions, is expanding its services in order to facilitate additional options for drug and alcohol recovery. In addition to our in-house Dual Diagnosis groups and individual therapies, New Vitae is pursuing partnerships, acquisitions & opportunities in the Lehigh Valley to further support those seeking recovery options.