MILWAUKEE, WI — Dr. Selahattin Kurter is one of Milwaukee's leading experts in the field of Addiction Medicine. He serves as the Executive Director of West Grove Clinic [and Sprectum Health] located in Milwaukee County.
Dr Kurter said:
It's a mixed picture, in one way, there's innovation occurring every day. We're also having some difficulties. We're seeing shifts in an ever-evolving epidemic.
That shift includes newer novelty substances like the animal tranquilizer xylazine also known on the streets as "tranq."
Tranq is a drug that started hitting the streets a few years ago. Mostly on the West Coast and on the East Coast, but we started hearing about it about a year ago in the Wisconsin area. If you look at the medical examiners now, about 5% of people dying from opioid overdose also have this drug called Tranq or xylazine – the difficulty is that it's not treatable with Narcan, the reversal agent. The other thing is it doesn't show up commonly on a drug screening.
This so-called zombie drug, which can cause skin rotting and even amputation, is being mixed with drugs like fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine. It's fueling overdoses across the U.S.
It is important to note that xylazine is a sedative and not an opioid. It's intended for use by vets on animals like cows and horses. Just to give you an idea of how potent it is, a 1,200-pound horse would only need about two cubic centimeters as a dosage.
It seems like what's on the street is always adapting and becoming deadlier. In Wisconsin, unfortunately, we're still seeing a lot of parity violations by major insurers where they're not covering the resources that are needed for patients that are suffering from mental health and addiction issues.
Dealing with substance abuse, alcoholism, or drug addiction is never easy, and it's even more difficult when you're also struggling with mental health problems. Dr. Kurter says one of the main components to really helping those with addiction is addressing those mental health issues.
His patient Simone agrees. She's been sober from alcohol addiction for seven years now but knows it's not always easy to obtain state insurance coverage for treatment.
"Getting on state insurance...my family paid for one of my rehabs because I was not accepted. What got me on state insurance was I slipped on the ice and went to St. Francis Hospital and ended up in I.C.U." said Simone.
Research by the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows that when treating addictions, medication should be the first line of treatment, usually combined with some form of counseling.
Jaimie Hauch is a licensed professional and clinical substance abuse counselor. She supervises the intensive outpatient program for recovery at West Grove Clinic.
"It's really a one-on-one space for them to grow and heal and it's also space that sometimes they can bring in loved ones to their sessions if it's appropriate," said Hauch.
Dr. Kurter is extremely passionate about his work helping those battling addictions and earlier this year, he was also able to show his compassion for humanity. He traveled to Turkey with Humanities First to help after that devastating earthquake that killed 50,000 people.
I think that was one of the most rewarding aspects of my life. A wise man once said, helping other people can be a cure, not just for those who are in need, but for one's soul as well.
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Source: TMJ4 News