Rates of addiction have increased significantly across the world over the last 12 months, particularly when it comes to opioids and alcohol, and there hasn’t been a large amount of change in how officials are trying to deal with it.

Private drug rehab is the most common, and most effective solution, and while that will continue to be the case, there have been calls from drug policy groups and medical associations for overhauls of drug policy in order to combat the crisis.

The next 12 months are going to be critical in dealing with the crisis worldwide, and there will be a number of debates that continue to happen throughout, including…

Supervised injections

A number of supervised injection centers have popped up around North America, including Toronto, with the aim being to reduce the number of overdose deaths. It has already proven a widely controversial move, but one that is saving lives, with trained professionals on hand to combat overdosing, while they also provide sanitized needles.

There are only a handful in operation across North America, with them actually considered illegal. There is going to be a large amount of back and forth around this subject over the coming months, with it still unclear whether any states will look to open any further supervised injection sites.

Methadone

Those suffering with opioid addiction and taking methadone are almost 60% less likely to lose their life due to an opioid overdose according to statistics, but methadone itself is a powerful opioid.

That means it’s only currently available on certified treatment programs and requires patients to go through a significant process before being prescribed it.

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The debate rises with many professionals wanting to deregulate the drug, making it more accessible to those suffering from opioid abuse, and doctors allowed to directly prescribe it to those suffering.

Methadone overdoses are rare, but making access more readily available could lead to addiction to that, as well as patients more likely to stay on the treatment rather than going through the process of rehabilitation or the process of the certified treatment programs.

Telehealth

Due to the pandemic, we’ve all become a little more open to seeing our doctor over the telephone, and that could be a step forward for drug addiction treatment. During that period, doctors were able to prescribe buprenorphine in order to treat opioid addiction, but there are still questions from many over quality of care and patient privacy.

That will continue to rumble on over the next 12 months, but it’s something that the government and healthcare professionals will continue to move along with.