Proove Biosciences and the Genetic Addiction Predictor
Recently, a business promising genetic testing to predict opiate addiction came under scrutiny for selling what they call “genetic tests” to help predict a person’s capacity for addiction. Experts, however, say the test is not scientifically sound and could lead to discrimination for patients that really need the medication.
The genetic test, marketed by Irvine, California-based Proove Biosciences, has been used or tested by roughly 400 physicians over the last five years. While the company claims its genetic test is 93% accurate, experts say it’s junk science. And because the Food and Drug Administration currently does not regulate tests, there’s no proof necessary for them to market the drug. While many factors can be attributed to a person becoming addicted to opiates, there is no “special gene” out there that can predict opiate addiction absolutely.
Kratom and Phenibut
Genetics aren’t the only way that opportunists are cashing in on the opioid epidemic. Supplements marketed online to ease withdrawal, including dangerous pills such as Kratom and Phenibut, too often have addictive properties themselves. Because these natural cures are highly unregulated, they come with their own risks, including allergic reactions and overdoses that present with symptoms just as deadly as their opioid counterparts. Potency varies, and even if a supplement is safe that doesn’t mean it does what its marketers claim. A few of cases of supplements that have been “spiked” with opiates have also been found by government agencies.
Helping addicts trade one addiction for another isn’t the only way that companies seek to profit off of addiction. A quick search on Google will also find many other “quick cures” or flawed advice for addicts trying to get clean. Most are harmless and at worst, misguided. Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, liquid diet detoxes, and even aromatherapy are often recommended by well-meaning natural health practitioners to ease suffering of addicts. It may be true that these therapies are helpful, but when it comes to “curing” addiction, the science is not on their side.
Lengthly Residential Treatment Shows the Best Results
Alternative therapies packaged alone, without meaningful behavioral therapy and a support network, are doomed to failure. Addicts need help changing their behavior, addressing underlying mental health issues and even trauma. Addiction is a brain disease and can’t be predicted from a test alone. This is why doctors recognize that treating the mind is just as important as treating the body when it comes to recovery. All medical studies strongly indicate that 90 days of sobriety in residential treatment program is strongly correlated with successful outcomes (ie long-term sobriety).
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