Anti-addiction website used by 300,000 people a month could lead to DEATHS, doctor says

0

A US government-backed website used by up to 300,000 people a month to help them deal with drug addiction could lead to deaths because it contains ‘invalid’ information, a doctor has claimed.

The site – called FindTreatment.gov – was created in 2019 by then-President Donald Trump to connect hundreds of thousands of Americans to the nearest drug addiction clinic.

But Dr Cara Poland, an addiction specialist at a Michigan hospital, warned the site now has “outdated” information about what addiction clinics treat, as well as insurance plans and drug groups. age they accept.

Other experts have argued that the site is not the “gold standard” and should include information on the quality of care provided by the clinics.

But a spokesperson for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – which runs the site – dismissed the claims, arguing they made weekly updates whenever they were notified of changed details.

He added that the website also surveys all clinics every year to ensure that its information is up to date.

It came as the United States hit a record 108,000 drug overdose deaths in 2021, with opioids such as fentanyl responsible for more than three in five deaths.

Experts called for action, saying the numbers showed the United States had reached another “devastating milestone”. A spokesman for the White House drug abuse office called those numbers “unacceptable.”

Pictured above is the homepage of the website, which allows Americans to find the nearest addiction treatment clinic near them.

But Dr Cara Poland, an addiction specialist at a Michigan hospital, warns the site now contains

Then-President Donald Trump (pictured at a rally near the White House last year) created the website

But Dr Cara Poland, an addiction specialist at a Michigan hospital (left), warns the site now contains ‘outdated’ information that could lead to deaths.

The graph above shows CDC estimates for the number of deaths caused by drug overdoses each year in the United States. It reveals the numbers are now at an all-time high and increasing over the past three years

A record 108,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2021

Deaths from drug overdoses in the United States have reached their highest level since records began last year, provisional figures showed on Wednesday – opioids, including fentanyl, being the cause of almost three out of five deaths.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that there were 107,622 overdose-related deaths in 2021, or one every five minutes, marking a 15% increase from the previous year’s record. of 93,655 drug-related deaths and the seventh 12-month period in a rank they rose.

Opioids, including fentanyl, were linked to the majority of deaths, at 80,800, followed by psychostimulants such as methamphetamine with almost 33,000. It was possible that more than one drug was linked to one death.

Only one state – Hawaii – saw its overdose deaths decline last year, with Appalachian states like West Virginia, Tennessee and Pennsylvania remaining the country’s hotspots for deaths.

The website contains details of over 13,000 clinics in all 50 US states.

They offer people help with addiction to all drugs, including fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamines.

But slamming the website, Poland warned KHN: “It’s scary because if you’re going to use the site, it contains invalid information.

‘[With this] people give up and they don’t find a treatment, and there is a risk of losing a life.

“It’s treated as a benchmark, but it’s not.”

Frank Greenagel, an addiction social worker from New Jersey, told the publication that the website should allow patients to sort clinics by quality.

He said it was “misguided” to rely on state licenses because clinics often list services on them that they never actually provide.

Other doctors, however, said the problems with the website were more likely due to a lack of available drug treatment clinics – a problem the website cannot solve on its own.

Currently, the site allows users to filter clinics by treatment — detox, inpatient, or outpatient — and whether or not they offer medication for opioid use disorder.

It does not include categories to list clinics according to the types of care offered, or according to whether they are more efficient.

The initial vision when creating the website was that it would be easier to connect Americans struggling with drugs to their nearest addiction clinic.

A SAMHSA spokesperson said the website “strives to keep the tools up to date.”

When informed of inaccurate information, such as an incorrect address, telephone number or type of service offered, an update is made.

They added that the website generally trusts state health departments to ensure that any clinic they accredit provides good quality treatment.

At the website launch, Advisor to the President Kellyanne Conway said, “We know the drug crisis is blind, so we want the response to be blind.

“We designed it with human-centered principles in mind. We used real words for real people.

It comes as deaths from drug overdoses in the United States hit their highest level since records began last year, provisional figures showed on Wednesday – with opioids, including fentanyl, at the forefront. cause of nearly three out of five deaths.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that there were 107,622 drug overdose-related deaths in 2021, or one every five minutes, marking a 15% increase from the record for the previous year of 93,655 drug-related deaths and the seventh 12-month period in a row they have risen.

Opioids, including fentanyl, were linked to the majority of deaths, at 80,800, followed by psychostimulants such as methamphetamine with almost 33,000. It was possible that more than one drug was linked to one death.

The map above shows the percentage change in drug overdose deaths by state in the United States, with each seeing an increase except Hawaii.  In Oklahoma, deaths have neither increased nor decreased from previous years

The map above shows the percentage change in drug overdose deaths by state in the United States, with each seeing an increase except Hawaii. In Oklahoma, deaths have neither increased nor decreased from previous years

Opioids, including fentanyl (black line), were responsible for nearly three in five drug overdose deaths, according to CDC figures.  The black opioid line includes deaths from synthetic opioids (brown), natural and semi-synthetic opioids (green), heroin (blue), and methadone (purple)

Opioids, including fentanyl (black line), were responsible for nearly three in five drug overdose deaths, according to CDC figures. The black opioid line includes deaths from synthetic opioids (brown), natural and semi-synthetic opioids (green), heroin (blue), and methadone (purple)

Only one state – Hawaii – saw its overdose deaths decline last year, with Appalachian states like West Virginia, Tennessee and Pennsylvania remaining the country’s hotspots for deaths.

To combat the growing drug crisis last month, President Joe Biden’s administration announced a National Drug Control Strategy aimed at tackling the crisis focused on untreated drug addiction and trafficking.

Figures from a 2020 survey showed that of the 41.1 million people who needed treatment for substance use disorders (SUD), only 2.7 million (6.5% ) had received treatment in a specialized facility within the last year.

The administration is seeking to expand access to lifesaving treatments such as naloxone, drug test strips and needle service programs.

He also called for a budget increase for border control and drug enforcement agencies to stem the flow of illegal drugs.

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.