Keli McLoyd posed an interesting question to our class while she explained different types of medication-assisted treatment: What is accessibility if patients can’t afford it? What she meant by this was clear: although there are several avenues for medication-assisted addiction treatment, many of them are costly and complicated, making them inaccessible to many people dealing with substance abuse disorder in Philadelphia. For example, Keli told us Vivitrol — the brand name for naltrexone which helps prevent drug or alcohol relapse — can cost up to $1,000 per shot.
It’s interesting to wonder about the actual accessibility of medication-assisted treatment. Of course, addiction touches all lives: rich and poor, black and white, etc. Still, many people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol are financially insecure. It makes you wonder if there’s real value to developing medical treatments to addiction when sometimes only the privileged in society can access them. Perhaps the solution to a problem like this is simply more lobbying to include medication-assisted treatments in more comprehensive insurance packages, especially medicare and medicaid. I wonder how many more people these medications could help if they were more financially accessible.