Regarding the opioid conference article by Eve Marx, (“From the front lines of the opioid crisis,”) Signal, Oct. 25, the addict goes through several distinct processes.
The first is usually detox, the act of stopping or minimizing use of substances. Addiction therapy follows, where you learn about addiction and recovery, and how to live a better life. Then you pass on to living a life in recovery, finding the way to live each day without intoxication.
The groups that attended this conference help with the first two phases, but typically the third phase is the longest lasting and I don't see anyone representing groups like 12-step or other peer-led recovery. We should have better contact with those groups in order to minimize relapse/recidivism.
We also need to have affordable access to the health groups that did attend the workshop. The lower-income working folks just simply don't get affordable addiction coverage if they have health insurance. They either deal with it themselves or get help from their peers in recovery groups. Imagine having appendicitis and going to your friend down the street who got treatment for it last year, and asking that lay person to help you get better because they know how to do it. Sponsors and mentors want to do the best thing, but they don't have the training.
Relapse will continue to be common until we can improve the life long care for addicts.