Moving Away from Abstinence-Based Recovery

It is encouraging to see new treatment models, which offer people options. After all, treatment and recovery is not, never has been, one size fits all. When some of our most established treatment leaders begin exploring, integrating and embracing things such as harm-reduction, it sends a strong message – of innovation and of hope. The blog post below highlights some of the progress strides in evidence-based treatment. Hooray!

The Antidote Clinic

Moving Away from Abstinence-based RecoveryRecovery programs are shifting away from the abstinence-based model.

Two of the largest, the Betty Ford Clinic and Hazelden, are some of the most successful, though recidivism rates for all recovery programs remain high. Regardless, the two centers both used abstinence-based 12-step programs, until now. Each has a remarkable record, helping thousands enter successful, life-long recovery. That’s why it made sense to many when they announced a partnership in 2013. This would make them together the largest nonprofit recovery program.

Many in the industry were astonished. They also announced a limiting or jettisoning altogether of the abstinence-based recovery model. In the abstinence-based model, addicts are not allowed to take any mind-altering substances except in rare cases, such as painkillers after major surgery. This organization is now embracing a harm-reduction treatment model, in which pharmaceuticals are used to wean the addict off of drugs. Drugs like Suboxone and Methadone are…

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