My Dad Treated Addiction Decades AGO: I followed him

father and son on a bike

As told by John Clarkson, MD

Dr Clarkson is in private practice and is the Medical Director for Recovery Works of Cambridge City.

Like many of you, I am a lifelong resident of our community.  The local opioid abuse epidemic which has seeded in our community is astounding, as well as universal.  Our opioid challenge is not going away. Indiana is known to be ranked 15th (in the nation) for heroin addiction. There are more deaths from opioid overdose than car accidents.  Yet, the impact of overall alcohol addiction more quietly surmounts even opioid addiction.

My father was a physician here beginning in the 1950’s and I too have practiced medicine locally for 35 years.  I have seen the disease on a professional, personal and family level.

Full disclosure, I provide office-based opioid treatment (OPOT)/medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in my own private practice. This means that patients can come in, receive a prescription medication to curb their opioid cravings, function in society and begin a road to recovery.  Yet, “patching people up and sending them back out” is often not enough.  My OBOT program requires drug addiction counseling for all patients.

My father practiced in the early days of addiction treatment. He helped in the establishment of Reid Hospital’s Aurora successful in-patient treatment program based off the Hazelton model of addiction treatment.  These programs were successful, but lost favor in the 90’s due to insurances declining payment.  The people of our country, politicians, and insurance companies are now is seeing the downfall of that evolution.  At Recovery Works we offer hope, a local in-patient rehabilitation and residential addictions treatment program.

Entry into a viable program is vital in ensuring greater chances of recovery.  The opportunity to go into a recovery program is the chance to use a reset button. People can learn some of the issues that brought them to where they are and learn coping mechanisms allowing them to lead a life without drugs. Addiction impacts people on multiple levels.  Indeed, it is a disease that causes harm to the entire family.    This means sustained focus on emotional, psychological and physical challenges.

People are reluctant to enter long term treatment because they don’t want to lose their job, be separated from their families, or suffer financial consequence.  Without treatment, they are going to lose anyway. This is the step that they need to take to start the process of not losing.

Treatment does not work every time, but every treatment is a small step in the right direction.  Everybody has to have a first day of being sober. If you go to an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or a Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meeting and see someone sober for ten years…it was not the first day they tried. People spend their lives going through the recovery process.

Where there is treatment, there is hope. We are here to stem this tide. Please take the first step.