Keli McCloyd is an Associate for Policy Research and Analysis at the Philadelphia-based Treatment Research Institute who works specifically in medically-assisted recovery programs.

“They work, period,” she says in regards to the efficacy of complementary drug tapering. “They save people’s lives, period.”

A common thread among advocates we’ve had speak in our class is the need for the insurance industry and government to recognize the addiction as a peer of other chronic disease models.

“You wouldn’t ask a Diabetic not to take their insulin, or ask them to try four medications before trying insulin,” she says. The two diseases (addiction and diabetes) claim similar onset and relapse rates and progressive nature left untreated. This highlights the hypocrisy of denying this patient population the proper care and medication

“Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease,” McLoyd explains, thus a consistent continuum of care—including methadone, suboxone and naltrexone, could prove necessary in the course of recovery from serious opioid addiction. “Our goal is not preventing people from doing drugs, but preventing full-blown addictions,” McCloyd affirms.