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Opioid Substance Abuse Recovery and Long Term Residential Programs

Opioid Substance Abuse RecoveryA new study shows that long term residential programs for opioid substance abuse recovery may be more effective than outpatient programs that are commonly the first line option for those addicted to opiates like heroin and narcotic pain medications. The study was performed at the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Addiction Services, and it showed that individuals who received treatment in a month long residential program resulted in higher levels of abstinence from opioid abuse after recovery for a full year. Senior study author John Kelly, PhD, stated “Our results suggest that abstinence-focused, 12-step residential treatment may be able to help young adults recover from opioid addiction through a different pathway than the more typical outpatient approach incorporating buprenorphine/naloxone treatment. It’s always good to have different treatment options that may work better for different individuals.”

The study shows that opioid substance abuse recovery has a better outcome when a long term residential program is utilized. Outpatient Addiction Services at Cambridge Health Alliance researcher Schuman-Olivier explained “Our study emphasizes the importance of strong linkage between residential treatment and continuing care. Right now there is a huge gap between residential and community services in many health systems. Yes, residential treatment can be costly, but with an opioid-dependence epidemic that has led to frequent overdose deaths, it’s important to think about what works, not just costs. We have evidence that outpatient treatment for opioid dependence is not as effective in young adults as it is in older adults, so we need alternatives to protect this vulnerable population.”

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