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Economy Impacts People Seeking Treatment for Addiction - 80% Increase Over Last Year

FARMINGTON, Conn., May 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Last month The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment,, saw an 80% increase in patients seeking treatment for painkiller or heroin addiction compared to April of 2008. As of this morning May is on track for an astounding 200% gain.

Dr. Michael Stein, author of new best-selling book The Addict, reviewed in Oprah Magazine and The New York Times, tells NAABT, "With the economic downturn, and the loss of jobs all around us, my buprenorphine practice has been swamped with new patients, as well as with former patients who have relapsed to opiate use in order to relieve, seemingly, the pressures of being out of work and losing one's home. Of course, the relief provided by the use of addictive medication is usually short-lived and one's troubles only re-emerge with greater force in the face of the new demands of uncontrolled drug use now compounding ongoing financial woes. Seeking appropriate care early on, either before relapse, or as soon as one can get into to see a provider for help, will limit the damage of this deadly cycle."

Recently unemployed patients tell us they are trying to get into addiction treatment before their insurance runs out. Others unsure of the future of their employment status want to get treatment in the privacy of a doctor's office while employed and insured.

As word spreads that new pharmaceutical treatments for addiction are safe and effective, patients are flocking to treatment. For the first time these medications allow patients to be treated in the privacy of a doctor's office. This is a much more viable option for people who may not have sought treatment if it meant a long inpatient stay that requires time off of work.

With unemployment still rising addiction to both alcohol and drugs are likely to increase.

Dr. Harold Urschel, author of Healing the Addicted Brain, and special guest on the Dr. Phil show's "How to Stay Sober" episode last week, tells NAABT, "In response to the abrupt, significant economic fallout and stress from the current banking crisis/recession, many people have turned to using alcohol and/or drugs to cope with this stress. Unfortunately, many of these people have become heavy abusers or even addicted, which then causes even more stress on their families and support networks. I have seen a 50% increase in the new admissions to both my private practice and our EnterHealth Life Recovery Center Residential program in Dallas, Texas, especially in the area of heroin or prescription narcotic addition. It is very important to get anyone that has developed addiction or even heavy abuse to find effective, scientifically-sound treatment as soon as possible, in order to minimize the worsening of stress that this chronic brain illness will add to their lives and those of their families/friends."

Live map of patients seeking treatment right now:

What to do: is a free service that uses web technology to help patients find the doctors who can help them. It is a way for patients to reach out for help 24/7 -- over 21,000 patients have been connected with physicians this way. is a community of people going through similar circumstances and can offer advice and support. It helps to know you're not alone.

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