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An Edwardsville therapist says he is seeing more people addicted to opiates than alcohol, a reversal of the usual picture.

“It’s going to get progressively worse,” said John P. Crum, director of Addiction Treatment Strategies, a clinic in Edwardsville.

Not all of the opiate users are addicted to heroin — hydrocodone (Vicodin) and oxycodone (OxyContin) also figure prominently — but the last six admissions to Crum’s treatment center were for heroin addiction.

Opiate addicts made up 30 percent of his patients six months ago. Now it’s 54 percent.

Crum is seeing people who are using 25 “beans” or “buttons” a day, available for about $8 each in volume purchases, he said in a recent interview.

“They’re under foreign management,” said Michael Kramer, director of intensive outpatient and residential services at the clinic. “Addiction is calling the shots.”

Crum describes heroin addiction as a “neurobiological” affliction. In brief, a person starts taking a drug such as heroin in a “mostly” voluntary way.

Continued use cripples the user’s ability to assert self-control because the drug is acting on, and changing, areas of the brain not under the sway of rational thinking.

The key for anyone concerned about someone suspected of using heroin or other addictive drugs is to get them screened to see what drugs are present. (Addiction Treatment Strategies, 2 Sunset Hills Executive Park, provides free screening.)

“Then get them professional help right away,” Crum said.

Crum’s clinic combines medical treatment, such as the use of suboxone to quiet cravings for opiates, with cognitive behavioral therapy.The minimum treatment term is six months, with at least two group and one individual session per month. The cost is $7,500, as much as 60 percent of which may be covered by insurance.

“You need leveraged intervention,” Crum said. “Intervention, treatment and the legal system.”

A free meeting for parents is held Thursdays from 6 to 7 p.m.

State-supported treatment centers are available for people with limited means.


Opiates pushing alcohol aside – The Edwardsville Intelligencer : News: edwardsville, health,: