New Drug Addiction Treatment Model Emerging in the States

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Philadelphia and Connecticut are emerging as the leaders in drug addiction treatment in the US, renovating an antiquated system that supports incarceration over treatment.

Currently, laws in the States, resulting from the thirty-year ‘war on drugs’, create a revolving door of drug addiction and relapse. Addicts either face jail-time or are rehabilitated for 30 or 60-day stints, only to be discharged with nothing more than instructions to join a local 12-step program. Addiction treatment in this form is nothing more than triage.

In Philadelphia, however, public and private programs have teamed up to create a larger program to provide more social and practical support to the newly sober—those at the highest risk for relapse. The Philadelphia model looks to treat the underlying personal or emotional issues, giving individualized treatment and long-term support and post-treatment care.

Not a replacement for AA or NA, organizers were looking to add more services, peer support, and social activities to the 12-step program. A network of treatment centres, recovery houses, and a community centre, they offer long-term follow up with counseling, practical aid, housing, schooling, jobs, and, possibly most important of all, social ties. Staffed by peers in recovery, they, beyond all else, have created a community of support.

Community is what keeps addicts sober. Before, recounted one member of the Philadelphia community, no one cared if he lived or died. Now, he is accountable for his life. “This time around, people with the same histories as me are talking to me, telling my story,” he told The New York Times. “That never happened before.”

The addiction treatment model in the US is now moving beyond treating the physical addiction, away from acute care and into a holistic approach with a focus on comprehensive aftercare.

Heritage Home has long adopted this holistic approach to addiction treatment. Our program was built to provide a well-rounded, long-term care that meets the individual’s recovery needs, treats the individual addiction, and includes a comprehensive exit strategy and aftercare program.

Philadelphia and Connecticut are so successful at preventing or significantly shortening the relapse that the federal government has given grants to 24 sites across the US with the mandate to adopt the model.

And the Obama administration is widely expected to announce a comprehensive approach to fighting addiction in March 2010.

Could this be the first step?

Source: The New York Times

New Drug Addiction Treatment Model Emerging in the States