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posted by martyb on Sunday June 12 2016, @10:10PM   Printer-friendly
from the Hooked-on-Profits? dept.

The recent uptick in heroin and opioid addiction along with new laws are making addiction treatment an attractive target for investors:

Every crisis presents an opportunity, as the saying goes. And when it comes to opioid addiction, investors and businesses are seeing a big opportunity in addiction treatment. Places like [Gosnold on Cape Cod] are being gobbled up by private equity companies and publicly-traded chains looking to do what is known in Wall Street jargon as a roll-up play. They take a fragmented industry, buy up the bits and pieces and consolidate them into big, branded companies where they hope to make a profit by streamlining and cutting costs.

One company that advises investors listed 27 transactions in which private equity firms or public companies bought or invested in addiction treatment centers and other so-called behavioral health companies in 2014 and 2015 alone. Acadia Healthcare is one national chain that has been on a shopping spree. In 2010 it had only six facilities, but today it has 587 across the country and in the United Kingdom.

What's driving the growth? The opioid addiction crisis is boosting demand for treatment and two relatively recent laws are making it easier to get insurers to pay for it. The Mental Health Parity Act of 2008 requires insurers to cover mental health care as they would cover physical health care. "Mental health parity was the beginning. We saw a big benefit. And then the Affordable Care Act was very positive for our industry," says Joey Jacobs, Acadia's CEO. He spoke at an investor conference last month.

Marketplace has an article about how data and new databases are being used to track and prevent addiction. It cites the following report from Health Affairs:

Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Are Associated With Sustained Reductions In Opioid Prescribing By Physicians (DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.2015.1673)

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 13 2016, @12:13AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 13 2016, @12:13AM (#358975)

    Even without the addiction issue, opioids are very very bad. With perfectly legitimate use, they tend to kill people because they suppress breathing. The people most in need of opioids are those with the most risk of death, and opioids push them over the edge.

    Oh, you're nearly dead from a car crash, so let's suppress your breathing! WTF, this shit is horrible.

    It's not as if we don't have alternatives. Depending on need, we have everything from plain aspirin to exotic stuff like Ziconotide.

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by butthurt on Monday June 13 2016, @12:37AM

    by butthurt (6141) on Monday June 13 2016, @12:37AM (#358996) Journal

    Ask your doctor about ziconotide! Side effects may include dizziness, nausea, confusion, nystagmus, headache, weakness, hypertonia, ataxia, abnormal vision, anorexia, somnolence, unsteadiness on feet, vertigo, urinary retention, pruritis, increased sweating, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, asthenia, fever, rigors, sinusitis, muscle spasms, myalgia, insomnia, anxiety, amnesia, nystagmus, tremor, memory impairment, induced psychiatric disorders, auditory and visual hallucinations, thoughts of suicide, acute renal failure, atrial fibrilation, cardiovascular accident, sepsis, new or worsening depression, paranoia, disorientation, meningitis, seizures and explosive ennui.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by sjames on Monday June 13 2016, @03:19AM

    by sjames (2882) on Monday June 13 2016, @03:19AM (#359101) Journal

    Actually, they're not bad at all when used judiciously. If you're nearly dead from a car crash, you're likely on a respirator. Part of the problem is patients getting cut off cold turkey to please the DEA. Ziconotide btw, must be injected directly into the spine. I can see it's value in some cases but I'll bet most people would rather take their chance with opioids where feasible.

    For people in chronic pain, addiction isn't as much of a problem as tolerance and wind up(it's not like they can stop taking whatever painkiller they're on anyway).

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by GungnirSniper on Monday June 13 2016, @06:53AM

    by GungnirSniper (1671) on Monday June 13 2016, @06:53AM (#359205) Journal

    You've young and don't have chronic pain, nor have ever broken a bone. Aspirin barely does a damn thing, and even ibuprofen can barely take a dent out of pain when it alleviates swelling. The lowering of breaths does not happen without massive abuse or an already-near-death patient.

    To prevent alleviation of pain is immoral and a greater sin than allowing people to knowingly risk themselves to avoid it.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 13 2016, @04:00PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 13 2016, @04:00PM (#359401)

      I broke a finger and a foot. I didn't get shit for either. I kept hopping around with the broken foot, then got a camwalker boot and went about my business almost like normal.

      I'm over 40 now. My joints hurt. My teeth hurt. My cracked heels hurt. My butthole hurts. My muscles often hurt. My drug usage: aspirin about once per year, normally when I'm sick.

      Maybe putting up with pain runs in my family. My grandma had temporal arteriasis, which is some horrible inflamation of blood vescles in the brain, and really bad twisted and deformed feet. She never complained. My dad had his rib cage sawed open and his heart valve replaced, was up and walking the next day, demanded to be off the opioids after a day or two, and was out of the hospital in less than a week. (4 days if I remember right)

      Try not be be a wuss, OK? That's how you end up a druggie.

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by https on Monday June 13 2016, @06:23PM

        by https (5248) on Monday June 13 2016, @06:23PM (#359505) Journal

        You are a fucking idiot. The human body heals faster and better when relaxed than when tense, you wuss.

        Offended and laughing about it.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 13 2016, @08:49PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 13 2016, @08:49PM (#359603)

          I guess heroin addicts must be in great health.