News

Harmony Foundation Responds to the Opioid Epidemic with HOPE

hope

by Christopher Reveley, MD, and Annie Peters, PhD, LP

The Opioid Epidemic

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), nearly 100 people die from opioid overdose in the United States every day, and 2.6 million Americans struggle with opioid addiction. The prescribing of opioid pain relievers became much more common in the late 1990s, and it soon became evident that these medications were powerfully addictive. Opioid overdose deaths have increased significantly in the years since. Many of those addicted to heroin started with the abuse of prescription opioids.

Overdose along with the spread of HIV, hepatitis C, and withdrawal syndromes in babies born to addicted mothers constitute a nationwide crisis that has overwhelmed the resources of state and local health care delivery services. Recently, the White House identified the opioid epidemic as a national public health emergency.

How is Harmony Responding to Opioid Epidemic?

Harmony Foundation in Estes Park, CO, has been treating addiction for 48 years and has fostered a generation of long-term recovery support for individuals and families. Harmony’s mission is to provide the foundation for sustained recovery from the diseases of drug and alcohol addiction. Harmony staff is committed to continuous improvement and closely monitors a client experience, treatment response, and the research literature on addiction treatment. In the field of opioid addiction research, advances in behavioral treatment, neurobiology, and brain imaging have given treatment programs guidance in developing better services. Harmony now offers HOPE – Harmony’s Opioid Programming Experience. HOPE is offered to all Harmony clients with opioid use disorders. The program involves enhanced medical, counseling, and case management services specifically tailored to meet these clients’ unique needs.

HOPE: Medical and Clinical Approaches

HOPE begins with thorough medical and psychological evaluations. Collaboration with the client, members of the interdisciplinary team and, when appropriate, family and referral sources, determine the most effective treatment plan. All HOPE clients are invited to participate in weekly Opiate Support Groups led by a professional addiction counselor. This group addresses the unique challenges of early opioid recovery, including uncomfortable physical and psychological symptoms, cravings, and strategies to avoid rapid relapse. In this setting, clients support each other and are educated about the process of recovery.

Harmony has provided all clients with mediation-assisted treatment (MAT) for many years. This combination of education, counseling, and the use of medication in early recovery is part of the Harmony philosophy. HOPE expands MAT to include medications that alter the physical response to opioids, reduce craving, and give the individual time to heal from the psychological, social, and spiritual wounds of addiction.

HOPE clients may choose to avoid medications altogether or use only sleep and anxiety-reducing medications during the acute withdrawal period. For others, naltrexone, an opioid receptor blocker, can prevent the euphoria of opioid use and help control cravings, thereby changing the client’s drive to use illicit opioids after treatment.

Buprenorphine

This partial opioid agonist, administered in a tapering protocol, may be chosen by the treatment team and client to ease symptoms of severe opioid withdrawal during detoxification. On an individual basis, this medication may be continued during early recovery, most commonly for those with severe and persistent opioid addiction. Care following residential treatment may include ongoing buprenorphine to provide a craving-free foundation for the client as they rebuild damaged interpersonal and work relationships and regain physical and emotional health. The ultimate goal with all treatment approaches is complete abstinence from all opioids.

While some may question how an opioid medication (buprenorphine) can help someone recover from opioid addiction, this treatment approach is supported by organizations such as the World Health Organization, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, NIDA, the Veterans’ Administration, NAADAC – the Association for Addiction Professionals, and the National Association of Addiction Treatment Professionals. Due to the number and quality of research studies that have been completed on the use of buprenorphine in treating opioid use disorders, the level of evidence for the effectiveness of buprenorphine treatment is considered to be high (Thomas et al., 2014). Positive outcomes typically include improving retention in treatment and reducing illicit opioid use.

The Harmony care team works closely with clients who choose to include buprenorphine in their treatment strategy. This will typically involve full participation in HOPE and a recommendation for participation in Harmony’s Transitional Care Program (TCP), an intensive, 90 day intensive outpatient program coupled with monitored sober living and medication management by Harmony providers. When clinically indicated or to accommodate client preference, Harmony’s case managers may refer clients to other programs with similar services.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Opiate Addiction and needs help right away, Harmony is here to help. Call us at 866-686-7867 and one of our admissions specialists can discuss next steps.

References

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-crisis

Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ), 2016. 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Thomas, CP, Fullerton, CA, Montejano, L, Lyman, DR, Dougherty, RH, Daniels, HS, Ghose, SS, & Delphin-Rittmon, ME. Medication-assisted treatment with buprenorphine: Assessing the evidence. Psychiatric services, 65(2), 158-170.

Webinar Series: Failure to Launch

Elizabethe Olson

Presented by: Elizabeth Olson, Psy.D., LCSW

In this webinar, Dr. Olson will review common causes that contribute to the difficulties that some young adults experience launching into independence. Young adults encounter many challenges that interfere with their ability to launch into academic studies, career pursuits, and independent living skills. Effective strategies for parents will be discussed to assist parents in developing healthy boundaries, encouraging young adults to find their voice and follow their interests, and exploring how to let young adults fail forward. Parents are charged with the delicate task of relationally guiding their young adults while allowing them to become their own person, independent of the family. Unconscious parental motivations that tacitly interfere with the ability to launch will be explored. Aspects of the young adult brain are important to consider in order to understand how best to intervene. Parents will come away from this course with a better understanding of how to parent a youth who is struggling to launch and how to encourage the successful launch of kids who have yet to encounter this important developmental milestone.

WHEN:    November 15, 2017    12:00pm – 1:00p

COST:        Free

1.0 CEU pending

REGISTER HERE

 

Harmony Hosts Open Mic Night!

October 21, 2017 ~ 6:00pm ~ Harmony Campus

Open To All Harmony Alumni & Friends

Join Us For Dinner & Share Your Recovery Journey Through:

Music  ~  Written Word  ~  StoryTelling  ~  Poetry

Dinner @5:15pm:  Reservations Required, Contact Front Office

For More Information Contact:

Cathy Dorman: cdorman@harmonyfoundationinc.com

ALL SUBMISSIONS DUE BY: OCTOBER 18, 2017

 

Continuing Care after Treatment: How to Keep Recovery Moving Forward

Addressing long term recovery often takes more than one episode of primary residential treatment. While the purpose of residential treatment is to provide a safe, structured living environment to help an individual stabilize, detox from drugs and alcohol and begin the early healthy coping skills necessary to help them on their journey to sobriety, it is just the beginning. A good in-patient residential treatment program does not stop once the client completes 28-30 days of treatment. The introduction of a strong continuing care plan should begin once the client completes detox before they exit in-patient treatment.

What is a continuing care plan? A continuing care plan is a collaborative partnership between a clinical case manager, the client and the therapist to design an individualized plan that provides a safety net of resources to continue their addiction treatment work. This could include Partial Hospitalization, Intensive Outpatient and active 12- step programming and sometimes sober living.

Why is continued “step –down” treatment important for long-term sobriety? According to NIDA, relapse is common in addiction treatment, with relapse rates being between 40 and 60 percent. Preventing relapse must include a continuing care plan that supports the individual in their early recovery. The Journal of Psychiatry published a 2014 review article, “The Continuing Care Model of Substance Use Treatment: What Works, and When Is “Enough,” “Enough?” Findings suggest that the overarching objective of any continuing care model should be to sustain treatment gains attained in the primary phase in an effort to ultimately prevent relapse.

In addition to our early primary addiction treatment offered at Harmony Foundation, we have also included a clinical case management team trained to work in partnership with the client and therapists to identify the “right” plan for each person. With over 47 years of treating individuals with substance use disorders, we have fostered partnerships with external providers to help our alumni be successful. “The most critical aspect of building a continuing care plan with our clients is letting them drive their recovery planning process. Telling them what to do and where to go doesn’t allow them to embrace their recovery.” says Alyssa Hansen, Director of Clinical Case Management.

Fostering this partnership and building a continuing care plan has shown positive results. According to M. Vannicelli , overall, continuing care participation in the first 3 months following discharge from residential treatment appears to be significantly related to fewer days since last drink and lower levels of alcohol-related impairment at both 3 and 6 months. Harmony has seen its own positive results in post-treatment engagement with over 54% of clients staying connected to a continuing care plan after 12 months.

When exploring residential treatment, asking about continuing care is as important as learning about the detox process. Without a solid, compassionate and collaborative continuing care team working with the client to approach life outside of residential team, clients may not be sufficiently prepared for their early journey of sobriety.

To learn more about Harmony Foundation Clinical Case Management, Click Here to listen to the team talk more about their important work in facilitating a recovery direction that is designed to be supportive and engaging, helping clients succeed.