Few public health officials and doctors in the state of PA would argue with the idea that opiate-related overdoses and deaths are on the rise in the Commonwealth. In fact, they have been for decades. It is now 2015, and things look worse than ever.
“It’s absolutely true, and we’re seeing more and more of it here in Delaware and Philadelphia counties,” says Dr. Herbert Avart, a Physiatrist in Broomall, PA who specializes in the treatment and rehabilitation of patients with opiate dependency and/or opiate addiction, as well as numerous other drug addictions such as nicotine, alcohol, and other drugs. He is particularly concerned with opiate abuse because of the steady rise in deaths.
“The opiate abuse problem in Pennsylvania has reached epidemic levels. Heroin alone was likely responsible for over 13,000 deaths last year, but we don’t even have accurate numbers due to the way incidents are reported. And for those who have entered addiction treatment programs for opiate or heroin abuse, the relapse rates are not good. It speaks of a system broken on both ends, but there are definitely things we can do differently. If the goal to produce lasting treatment outcomes, then what we’ve learned in just the last few years must lead to changing the clinical treatment paradigm. We’re doing that right now.”
Dr. Herbert Avart is the Director of My Addiction Physician, Delaware County’s most comprehensive Drug Addiction Treatment Center located at 1999 Sproul Road in Broomall, Pennsylvania. Dr. Avart also serves as Medical Director for the center’s “Race to Recovery Now” intensive outpatient addiction treatment program. Dr. Avart’s programs combine the latest medically-assisted techniques with evidence-based practices proven to restore independence and maintain recovery for addicted individuals.
“Our Delaware County drug addiction center offers a full spectrum of care for individuals with addiction, from individual and family counseling to physical training and medications that optimize brain pathways involved in the disease of addiction. Today, there are non-narcotic and non-addictive medications that can be combined with the proper psychosocial support to provide the basis for a more comprehensive, more effective treatment program,” says Dr. Avart. “The focus of My Addiction Physician is to work with the addicted individual and their loved ones to create a customized treatment approach that includes the 5 key Ingredients for Success and increases the chances for successful recovery. The goal is always to restore independence and revitalize strained relationships.”
Dr. Avart leverages the most advanced medications recently introduced to treat his patients’ addiction as a disease. These medications include Buprenorphine/Naloxone, Naltrexone, and Naltrexone-Extended Release, among other medications that improve compliance and maintain medically assisted sobriety. However, Dr. Avart goes on to explain how medications only play a singular part in the My Addiction Physician approach.
“This program often involves medication to treat individuals suffering with substance abuse, dependency and/or addiction because medication can really help. However, medication can only go so far. Our approach is broader in scope because the latest addiction research is showing us that medication is not enough. For long-term successful outcomes in addiction recovery the treatment program needs other crucial ingredients. In addicted individuals, the recovery needs of the body and brain can go well beyond what medication alone can affect. Independence, which is the ability to self-direct and control your life, has been lost. Addicted individuals need to be taught how to regain THAT.”
Dr. Avart has essentially created a trans-disciplinary model of recovery that engages the patient, physician and loved ones in a proven combination of evidenced-based practices to restore a patient’s independence. This unique and highly effective program combines medications with a more skills-based approach involving cognitive behavioral exercises, physical conditioning exercises, biofeedback, counseling and motivational interviewing.
This medically proven approach to addiction treatment comes at a time when the opiate problem in PA seems most dire. However, Dr. Avart cites that this program can be effectively employed for virtually any addicted individual. Every customized treatment plan gives careful consideration to the individual patient’s diagnoses, substances involved, life circumstances and comfort level.
“The common thread that runs through all addictions is the need to restore independence,” Dr. Avart says. “This is not 12-step. This is a skills-based approach where we teach you how to use your mind to change your brain. It’s personal, family-centered, confidential, and it is all about your independence.”
My Addiction Physician is accepting new patients.