an office-based setting for opiate addicted persons who
suffer from chronic
is the Twenty First Century
Miracle Drug. I consider it the “Prozac” for addiction and
Rick Chavez, M.D.
Pain has reached
epidemic proportions with 80 million Americans
suffering from some form of chronic pain which
totals more than $100 billion annually in
health care costs and lost productivity. An
estimated 50 percent of these individuals will
become addicted to their medications. One of our
Nation’s fastest growing drug problem is addiction
to prescription medications.
Managing opioid dependent patients
with multiple chronic pain issues has been hampered
by limited or non-existent effective treatment and
additionally hampered by the stigma and shame
our society, as well as physicians, have placed on
the chemically dependent.
detoxification from opiates. In my experience, it is
no doubt one of the most effective drugs on the market. I
see miracles every day as we help to restore lives back to
those who come into The Pain Institute. Word of mouth has
spread and we get several new patients each day who want
that devil off their back. Often they come in secret: their
mate, husband, wife, boss doesn’t know. Sometimes, their
friends don’t even know. They started taking drugs because
they had chronic pain and doctors continued to prescribe the
medicines and before they knew it, they couldn’t stop and no
one was there to tell them how to stop or assure them that
if they did stop, that they might actually feel far less
pain than when they were taking 20 Vicodin a day!
have used Buprenorphine to treat chronic pain patients who
have become addicted to their doctor prescribed opiates for
over a year now. Our Out-patient Buprenorphine Treatment
Program began June, 2003.
The majority of patients on Buprenorphine at
The Pain Institute are Caucasian, Middle-Class, High-School
or College Educated, Professionals, mid-forty, fifty percent
both male and female and non-IV drug users.
would like to even out the playing field of addiction in
America by introducing Americans to the types of patients
who seek help from addiction. The other type of patient we
see at The Pain Institute is your average Joe, the clean cut
manager of Sears department store, the IT software
executive, the burnt out over-achiever who runs a
multi-million dollar company, the billionaire realtor, the
college jock, the politician, the mechanic, the school
teacher, the police officer? Where are the pictures of all
those “invisible” walking wounded
Those hard working, seemingly
functional people who because of stress, chronic
pain, or an unfortunate accident, have become addicted to
their doctor prescribed medications and are secretly hiding
the fact that they had become dependent, mentally and
physically on narcotics?
There are thousands out there: doctors,
teachers, CEO’s, bankers, students, mothers, fathers, dock
workers, car salesmen, tug boat captains, grandmothers,
grandfathers, teens, actors, writers, singers, tattoo
artists, nurses, you name it, America’s got them.
Addiction crosses every line: color, race, religion,
socio-economic standing, & education. No one is left out.
I know they are out there because one
of them happened to be me.
A respectable family physician, board
certified in pain management, husband, father, all American
male: that is a multi-cultural, bilingual, affluent,
experienced doctor of medicine. Having been addicted to
Vicodin over the course of several years for migraine
headaches, I personally have experienced the grip of opium’s
seductive charms, so seductive that people, so called
“normal, respectable, income earning, four digit salaried,
tax paying people” live under the guise of a multitude of
lies to mask and circumvent their “dis-ease” about
their addiction. A vicious cycle is created and the
individual feels trapped by their dependence on opioids.
Just as I had. However, when I stopped cold turkey, there
was no Buprenorphine to come to my rescue. But today there
“Buprenorphine Treatment for Opioid Dependence in Patients with
Comorbid Chronic Severe Pain: An Open Label Case Study
was presented in New York at the 6th Annual
Conference for Pain & Chemical Dependence. The new study,
“Treating Patients With Comorbid Opioid Depe
ndence and Chronic Severe Pain with Buprenorphine”
includes data from 65 additional patients and was presented at
the College on Problems of Drug Dependency in June in San Juan,
Puerto Rico, as well as at the Third World Congress World
Institute of Pain in Barcelona, Spain September, 2004.
Our multidisciplinary program includes referrals to two
expert addiction psychologists. In the South Bay,
Allan Berger, Ph.D.
has over thirty years of clinical experience in psycho-social
counseling to patients in our out-patient
Buprenorphine Treatment Program. Dr. Berger
Center for Counseling & Recovery in Torrance to serve the needs of individuals and their
families who are struggling with addiction. Dr. Berger is a
featured guest speaker at our monthly Mind, Body Spirit
gatherings at Little Company of Mary Chapel.
Our Addiction specialist in Orange County is
Dominic J. Bronell, Ph.D. With over 28 years of clinical experience in the
treatment of addiction, has been the Director of
The Family Program at Sober Living by the Sea, Newport Beach, CA, an extended residential treatment
program for chemically dependent adults. He is Co-Director of
Mental Health Alternatives,
an integrated service agency program coordinating medical,
psychiatric, psychological, vocational, educational residential
family and recovery programs for chemically dependent residents.
The Pain Institute, we take pride in providing patients with
a unique continuum of care and believe that everyone is entitled
to be treated with compassion and dignity as they embark on
their journey to healing and good health, in mind, body, spirit.
Are you in control of your pain or has your pain taken control of your life? Each year, millions of Americans suffer from persistent chronic pain which can cause profound negative lifestyle changes.
Have you become dependent on doctor prescribed pain medications to relieve your pain? And are you still in pain?
You are not alone.
Pain has reached epidemic proportions with 80 million Americans suffering from some form of chronic pain which totals more than $100 billion annually in health care costs and lost productivity. An estimated 50 percent of these individuals will become addicted to their medications. One of our Nation’s fastest growing drug problem is addiction to prescription medications.
Managing opioid dependent patients with multiple chronic pain issues has been hampered by limited or non-existent effective treatment and additionally hampered by the stigma and shame our society, as well as physicians, have placed on the chemically dependent.