Supportive Housing, Harm Reduction and Peer Support Can all Aid in Successful Long-Term Recovery from Opioid Addiction
On October 29, 2018, Lilo Stainton reported on a NJ Spotlight sponsored roundtable discussion featuring experts in recovery with a variety of opinions on what contributed to successful Long-Term Recovery from Opioid Addiction from Opioid Addiction.
“Former opioid addicts looking to succeed in long-term recovery benefit from integrated healthcare, safe housing, employment or education, and a stable, supportive community. But experts do not necessarily see eye to eye on what constitutes success when it comes to long-term recovery, including the importance of abstinence from drug use.”
At the roundtable discussion, Integrity House’s CEO Robert Budsock shared what his organization, based in Newark, has found to be critical to ensure the successful recovery of the individuals it serves.
“It’s really wrapping your arms around someone,” he said. “We take pride at our organization that when a client comes here, they’re going to be set for life.”
For Budsock and Integrity House, recovery involves not actively using drugs, working full-time or being in school, and having safe, affordable and supportive housing. “Those are key areas. Another success would be improved health, in terms of physical health,” he said.”
Other panelists argued that programs should not have too many requirements.
An alternative could be a harm reduction model that engages someone minimally initially with the thought that any engagement is better than none.
The Housing First model could work with harm reduction where the individuals receives housing first and then once the housing helps stabilize their life, they begin to access available support services that could include substance abuse treatment and other services to aid in their recovery.
Eric McIntire, assistant director for recovery support services at RWJBarnabas Institute for Prevention and Recovery, shared his perspective. McIntire is also in recovery from drug addiction. “But just engagement alone, even if she’s only doing once-a-month groups, is better than doing nothing,” he added.
“McIntire said the key to creating and building on this engagement is a personal touch; his goal is to find out more about the individual — what music they like, where they are from, what group sessions they feel comfortable attending. He has worked to expand these peer support programs, which he said are key to helping individuals navigate the programs and system that do exist.
“The strong part that’s been missing is the peers to walk them through the process,” he said. “We need to support one another.”