Community Event Explores Opioid Use Disorder as a Brain Disease

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Communities

New Season, the nation’s leading provider of opioid treatment and recovery, hosted an educational seminar in Savannah, GA, June 1 for influential business and community leaders in the fight against the opioid epidemic.

“At one time drug addiction was viewed as a failure of willpower or a flaw of moral character. It was not recognized as a disease of the brain much like mental illness was previously viewed,” said Dr. Kris F. Williams-Falcon, Ph.D., a counselor at the New Season Treatment Center in Savannah, Ga. “Medical authorities have now accepted drug addiction as a chronic, relapsing disorder that alters normal brain function just as any other neurological or psychiatric illness.”

Understanding that opioid use disorder is a brain disease that can be treated with counseling and medication, the team of New Season personnel in Savannah educated prominent and influential players in the region.

“Opioid misuse acts in many ways as a cancer,” said Crystal Malloy, the New Season program director in Savannah, Ga. “It has no limitation on who it affects.”

The informational session presented evidence-based conclusions and educated commentary by trusted medical professionals to provide a realistic perspective on the treatment of opioid overuse with methadone.

“Opioid misuse tragically tricks the brain into thinking opioid drugs are needed for survival,” Williams-Falcon said. “Methadone has the power to reverse the brain’s craving for heroin or prescription painkillers.”

The two-hour event was attended by community and business leaders from mental health organizations, prison systems, adoption agencies and counseling services.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to shine more light on the problem,” said Helen Schandolph, a social worker who attended the program. Gazing across to the treatment center’s playroom filled with children’s activities, Schandolph noted, “this just brings it home for me how children are the silent victims of the epidemic.”

Another community leader, Dr. Graham C. Thomas, shared a similar sentiment about the welcoming environment, saying “I’ve known about medication-assisted treatment for some time, but I just imagine the old methadone clinics of the 70s. It is nice to see that [New Season] is taking the time to do this event and dispel some of the common myths about medication-assisted treatment.”

The highlight of the event was a patient panel presented by three New Season patients that offered a real-world outlook on the effectiveness of medication assisted treatment.

In its more than 40 years treating and recovering victims of opioid use disorder, New Season has helped millions of patients recover from an illicit drug dependency, improve their health, reunite them with their family, hold down steady jobs or return to school and become productive citizens in their communities.

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