Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Coleman Institute

Peter R. Coleman, M.D.
I have been working with substance abuse patients ever since I got clean and sober in 1984. In the late 1990s, there was a big increase in the number of people getting hooked on strong Heroin and a big increase in the number of people getting hooked on prescription painkillers like OxyContin, Hydrocodone and Methadone. Many of these people simply could not get off the drugs because the withdrawal was so difficult. And, what is perhaps even worse, if patients were able to get off the drugs, the relapse rates were astounding. In some studies, more than 95% of patients who went to treatment to get off opiates were back on opiates after only 3 months. It is no wonder that many patients turned to Methadone Maintenance as a solution.  I knew that there had to be a better way.
From my experience, I knew that most patients crave being completely clean. Most patients do not want to be on maintenance Methadone or Suboxone. They want to be free. I also knew that everyone who gets into a solid recovery lifestyle is able to lead a happy and productive life.
Once people get into a solid recovery they are able to overcome their addiction and become positive influences in their families, their workplace and their communities. They are able to be happy. Some are even able to look back on the struggles that they went through and see that there are positive things they have learned from their struggles.
For people who get into recovery, these positive changes seem to come about, no matter where people start from, no matter how much trouble they got into, or how much damage they did. It is all a question of turning their lives around, and making healthy positive choices on a consistent basis.
When I learned about rapid opiate detoxification and Naltrexone Implants, I realized there was a way to help patients both get clean and stay clean. An effective detoxification process can make it possible for everyone to safely get off the drugs, and long term implants can make it possible for everyone to stay off the drugs.
The early versions of rapid detox were effective, but not very sophisticated. They used general anesthesia and completed the detoxification too quickly so that the post-acute withdrawal was too painful. They required overnight stays in hospitals that increased costs.
I did over 300 of these “Ultra-Rapid Detoxification” procedures and we didn’t have any major complications, but I knew that I could improve on the technique. Over the years we have refined our technique dramatically. We don’t require anesthesia and we are able to do the detoxification completely as an outpatient procedure. We are still able to achieve over 98% success for our patients to complete the detoxification, but now it is considerably safer and much more comfortable. It is also much less expensive and more convenient. When I surveyed a number of our patients a while ago, every one of them said that this was the easiest detoxification they had ever done.
Our Naltrexone Implants have also continued to improve. Now the implants we use reliably deliver doses of Naltrexone for 8 weeks, so that we don’t have to replace them as often. This makes it easier and less expensive for our patients. Our infection rates have also improved so that now we have less than 2% of patients develop infections. We have also added other programs, so now we can help patients with alcohol problems and we can help patients with addictions to Benzodiazepines.
Once our clinical procedures improved, we decided it was time to start to work with other physicians around the country so that they could help their patients get clean and stay clean. For the last few years we have been working with other doctors and now we have a network of seven clinics providing services. We all work together, sharing ideas and experience and I think that our patients benefit from our collaboration.
Our mission statement at The Coleman Institute states that we are in business to “help patients and their loved ones achieve lifelong recovery from their substance abuse problems”. We are “committed to developing and implementing affordable programs to achieve this mission”. As we continue to grow, we are committed to improving what we do to achieve the best long term outcomes for our patients. We are currently working on a 12 month aftercare program which we think will further help our patients to avoid relapse after they complete their detoxification.
This month, Gene Wilson has joined us in the position of Chief Operating Officer. Over the last 25 years, he has provided executive leadership and top quality business management in a wide variety of industries. He is ideally suited to helping us maintain the very top quality in our business practices. Specifically, he brings substantial experience in multi-location business models, including franchising/licensing environments. This will help us to develop more physician practices across the country. He has a wealth of experience in marketing and business growth. Gene also has a personality that makes him easy to work with. He has a natural talent for being able to work with people and support them to get things done.
With Gene’s help, I feel confident we will be able to grow our business and provide top quality services to more people. We will also be able to continue to improve our programs and develop new services to help patients get clean and stay clean. The Coleman Institute will be able to offer patients better and more choices for how they can resolve their substance abuse problems.
Gene said to me when we first met that he was looking for his next big adventure. I think he's found it!

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