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AAEM Presentation


Summary of a Presentation Made to the American Academy of Environmental Medicine
Presented by David R. Root, MD., 1989

Dr. David Root is a physician specializing in occupational medicine with a private practice in Sacramento. California. He has treated numerous patients who had accumulated lipophilic chemicals through occupational exposure, using the method of detoxification developed by Hub-bard. In the course of his work, he has also treated approximately 75 drug abusers with this detoxification program. He recently reported the results of a follow-up study of these drug abuse patients at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine.

The long-term success rate for drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs is not extremely high. Abstinence from drugs for 2 years after undergoing rehabilitation treatment by 30% of the patients is considered quite acceptable. This means that 70% of the patients are not succeeding in staying off of drugs. Such a recidivism rate is cause for deep concern. One hypothesis is that a hidden cause of recidivism amongst drug abusers is the presence in their bodies of residual levels of drugs and their metabolites. This led to the proposition that removing these compounds from the body would assist in the recovery of the drug abuser.

One program documented to reduce levels of fat-stored xenobiotics is the detoxification method developed by Hubbard. This program was originally developed to assist in the recovery of drug abusers. The program aims to mobilize and eliminate fat-stored xenobiotics. We have treated drug abusers using this detoxification procedure as the chief component of a drug rehabilitation program.

This program consists of the following components:

  • Initial interview.
  • Drug withdrawal (no drugs are administered).
  • Detoxification with the Hubbard method.
  • Stress handling as required.
  • Follow-up.

In the initial interview, the particular needs of the patient are assessed. We refer patients who are addicted to either crack cocaine or to heroin to facilities better able to meet their needs. Drug withdrawal is medically supervised. Drugs are not administered during this step. The patient then undertakes the Hubbard detoxification program. This program lasts for about 30 days. During this phase it sometimes becomes apparent that other factors are reducing a patient’s ability to stay off drugs. In such cases, stress handling is added to the program. The patient identifies those factors or individuals which encourage his or her drug use and works out a program to handle such factors so that they no longer cause him to use drugs. We actively follow up each patient to make sure that he or she is able to stay off of drugs. We have been delivering this program for 5 years. Recently, we conducted a follow-up interview of all available patients to assess the long-term efficacy of this program.

1. PATIENT POPULATION

29 men and 15 women were contacted. Their average age is now 34.2 ± 9.7 years (Range 17 - 73 years.). The average number of years in school was 14.1 ± 2.4 (range 10 - 22) years with an average income of about $30,000/year.

DRUG USE

Drug use had started in these patients at an average age of 16.6 ± 5.1 (range 8-30) years. 27 of those interviewed had used drugs greater than 10 years at the time of treatment. None had used drugs less than one year, three had used drugs I to 3 years and the balance from 4 to 10 years.

At this follow-up interview, 41 of the 45 interviewed (91%) report that they are currently off of drugs. Alcohol was used socially by 22 of those interviewed but none of these reported heavy or uncontrolled drinking. The individual who had undertaken the program specifically for alcohol abuse reported that he no longer used alcohol.

A table of pre- and post-treatment drug use follows. Improvement in drug-abusing behavior was seen for all types of drugs monitored. Those still using drugs are currently using less powerful drugs than they formerly used.

DRUG TYPE
PRETREATMENT
POST-TREATMENT
ALCOHOL
38
22
MARIJUANA/HASHISH
39
3
COCAINE
36
0
AMPHETAMINES
32
0
LSD/HALLUCINOGENS
25
0
HEROIN
8
0
OTHER OPIATES
14
0
ANTIDEPRESSANTS
13
0
OTHERS
8
3

POLY DRUG USE

Another way of monitoring the effectiveness of the program is by the number of drugs used by individuals before and after treatment. The average number of drugs used by individuals dropped from 4.7 different drugs before treatment to 0.6 after treatment. Alcohol was still used by all of those reporting drug use after treatment while four individuals reported using additional drugs.

2. FAMILY RELATIONS

At this follow-up interview, patients were asked about their current family relationships as well as their drug use. 23 reported that their family scene was much better, 14 said that it was better, 7 indicated that ii was about the same and I did not answer. None of the patients stated that their family scene had worsened since treatment.

EMPLOYMENT PROFILES

Work situations had also undergone change in some cases. 31 were already holding steady jobs prior to treatment. Following treatment, this number increased to 38. The number working inconsistently dropped from 6 to 3. The number who did nothing went from 5 to 1. The number of students remained the same. Of note, the one individual who supported himself through criminal activities prior to treatment now worked a steady job.

PATIENTS’ OPINIONS

These patients’ opinions of the program were quite encouraging. 29 rated the program as very positive with another 13 rating it positively. 3 were indifferent and none were negative. Of the 45 surveyed, 39 have recommended this program to others.

SUMMARY

In sum, over the last five years, patients with drug abuse problems have been treated with the Hubbard detoxification program, aimed at removing fat-stored xenobiotics. These patients have been assessed by personal follow-up interviews for ongoing drug abuse and social parameters. The reported rates of recovery from these patients are quite high, with 91% of those interviewed reporting no ongoing drug abuse.

These data support the hypothesis that a hidden cause of recidivism amongst drug abusers is the presence in their bodies of residual levels of drugs and their metabolites.


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