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Choose a Drug Detox Procedure You Can Be Certain Is Safe
Two doctors had their licenses suspended last November following the deaths of two patients to whom they administered rapid detox procedures. The family of one patient sued the doctors for wrongful death. One doctor settled out of court, and the other was just recently ordered to pay the family $34.3 million. The reports also said that other patients were hospitalized after the procedures. Although these doctors did not follow correct medical procedure, many experts feel rapid detox is too dangerous and that someone who wants to get off drugs or alcohol should use other, safer drug detox methods.
What is rapid detox? The addicted person is put under general anesthesia and a drug like naltrexone is pumped into their body for three to six hours. The naltrexone forces the withdrawal process to begin.
If that was all you knew about rapid drug detox, you’d think it sounded pretty good. You’re under, not feeling a thing, and it’s over in a few hours. But nothing could be further from the truth.
The fact that you’re unconscious during the procedure does not, unfortunately, relieve the body itself from the severe pain and trauma of withdrawal. One doctor who observed a person undergoing rapid drug detox commented that the reason the person has to be strapped to the table is that the body flops around “like a fish out of water”. Being under general anesthesia for that length of time also adds to the stress. And recovery can take weeks.
Dr. Frank Evans, president-elect of the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine and director of the health professionals program at Bellwood Health Services in Toronto, was quoted in The Star.com as saying "Patients still suffer from significant pain, anxiety, agitation, depression, diarrhea, all of the symptoms of an opiate withdrawal, days to weeks after," he said. "I have never heard of any patient being completely symptom-free after 24 hours." Dr. Evans said that, in his opinion, rapid detox is “a waste of money.”
And it’s a lot of money. The going rate in some clinics is $15,000.
Danny Oppenheim Jr., the patient whose family filed the wrongful death suit, was a 33-year-old husband and father. He became addicted to painkillers after being prescribed them to recover from surgery. According to his widow, Danny just wanted to get better. “What they promised was like a dream come true,” she said.
But for Danny, and his friends and family, that dream turned into a nightmare. If someone you care about wants to get off drugs or alcohol, find a safe and effective drug detox program you can be certain won’t do the same to you.
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