National leaders in addiction talk about multiple paths to recovery and about patient-centered treatment at industry conferences, and audiences rise as one with overflowing praise. But how many in the enthusiastic masses take that message home? Will we ever stop seeing professionals draw a line in the sand with views such as:
“The 12 Steps aren’t proven.”
“Only AA works.”
“Medication-assisted treatment isn’t recovery.”
“Herbal products are snake oil.”
The other day we received an e-mail from a hospital-based reader who objected—vehemently—to an advertisement on our site for a nutraceutical product offering an opiate withdrawal option outside of traditional detox. “Where is your professional credibility when you accept advertising of clear quackery?” asked the reader.
I went to the product maker’s website to learn more about the object of this reader’s ire. There I found, among more typical anonymous testimonials for the product, some comments from a physician who serves as clinical director of an inpatient drug treatment program. He apparently doesn’t see the product as an example of quackery, saying he now recommends it to patients to combat physical and mental symptoms of withdrawal.
The product’s founder, who has experienced addiction to pain medication, clearly finds fault with what he considers the limited detox options available to most. But he also does not portray his product as the “cure” or “solution” that our reader referred to multiple times when contacting us. He markets his product and the additional information on his website as “a first step” in getting one’s life back from pain medication addiction.