Humanity can come in a box: Treating addictions around the world.
Staring into a computer screen at yet another person in a box, I was heartened to learn more about the humanity in a world in crisis, when Guiseppe Carra, from Milan, summarized Italy’s shortage of healthy healthcare providers, challenges treating addictions, and the help received from China, Russia, and especially Cuba. He discussed naloxone distribution delays, intentional overdoses in prisons with methadone, and ended with an apology for a “possibly pretty emotional report”.
The International Society of Addiction Medicine (ISAM), organized a meeting with specialists from around the world to share how they are trying to minimize the risks of infection with Covid-19, while continuing to treat those with addictions, even with social distancing. Iran, with the highest opioid use in the world, reported educating people in “hot spots” with a podcast about hand washing, (where incidentally, there is no water to wash with), advising IV drug users not to share supplies, and distributing phone numbers to call if they do get symptoms. Oklahoma, reported they are weeks away from testing for COVID-19 and have minimal protective equipment. Comminuties are setting up temporary shelters for those homeless, including Compris’s home state, Illinois. Several countries are advising opioid users to inject with someone around them, even if just a phone call away, or have naloxone on-hand. Christos Koumstiditis, from Greece, reported pressure to close opioid substitute treatment sites due to lack of space, but that this would increase travel risks to get to treatment. He said that challenges remain in managing those homeless and using IV drugs, and he was concerned that this crisis would lead to a “further stigmatized population, left without support”.
Countries are treating addictions remotely where possible, delivering medication, and allowing more take-home doses to reduce the frequency of social contact, although, they recognize the risks of medication diversion.
In the midst of the Covid-19 epidemic, the Compris Assessment© is the safest way to help those with addictions start their journey toward health and still keep social distance.
Compris (French, Com·pree, “to understand”) is the only substance use assessment available today that offers comprehensive addiction diagnostics and risk stratification consistent with a chronic illness treatment paradigm. Its carefully designed algorithms translate evidence-based lifetime risk and resilience factors, DSM-5 illness diagnostics, motivation, denial, and self-reported readiness, into the first complete prevention, treatment, and long-term addiction management guide.
Designed for immediate access and optimal use by anyone treating or referring those at risk, Compris’s accessible, 10–15-minute online self-report delivers the ComprisCare Profile© to providers within minutes of completion. Compris’s level of care placement and treatment guidance include greater specificity at the confluence of illness prevention, acuity, severity, lifetime risk, and resilience. Recommendations target both emergent and ongoing concerns of addiction specialists, ER and primary care providers, criminal justice and the military.
And remind yourself in this social distancing, that humanity can come in a box.