GHP Q3 2019

24 GHP / Q3 2019 , In Fight to End a Nation’s Opioid Crisis, a New Treatment Approach Emerges Study: Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s comprehensive model for treating opioid use disorder reflects successful outcomes Seven years after the industry-leading Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation overhauled its approach to treating opioid addiction, research shows its new model is producing successful outcomes. In a peer-reviewed study published in the September 2019 issue of Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, the Comprehensive Opioid Response with Twelve Steps, or COR-12 ® , framework was shown to result in high rates of medication compliance, high engagement in other aspects of treatment and recovery support, and high rates of continuous abstinence in the first six months after initiating recovery. “For struggling individuals, families and communities, addiction—especially opioid addiction—can seem like an intractable illness, but the reality is that recovery is very much possible,” said Marvin D. Seppala, M.D., chief medical officer of the nonprofit Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, a leading national provider of addiction treatment, education and recovery resources. “Medications help some people, clinical therapy helps others, and still more are helped by peer support. With COR-12, we integrated all three of those elements into a comprehensive model designed to keep people in treatment longer and give them the time and resources they need to stabilize, regain health and hope, learn vital recovery skills, and develop connections to support their long-term recovery. This study shows we are on the right track,” Seppala said. Medications like Suboxone ® and Vivitrol ® —coupled with psychosocial clinical counseling—are widely acknowledged to be the standard of care in treating opioid addiction. But in practice, few medication providers are equipped to provide clinical counseling or to facilitate connections to peer support, while few traditional addiction treatment providers—more experienced at counseling and facilitating peer support—are equipped to provide medications. COR-12 operationalizes the combined use of medications and clinical counseling, and adds the important element of systematically connecting people to Twelve Step programs and other forms of peer support. Philosophical divides have historically prevented such integration of approaches. “When we started COR-12, we heard it from both extremes: those who were ideologically opposed to the use of any medications, thinking it was just replacing one drug with another; and those who favored medications but remained ideologically opposed or indifferent to counseling and peer support, especially anything that might include spiritual elements like the Twelve Steps,” Dr. Seppala said. “We think we have bridged that gulf by embracing multiple effective approaches and showing they can work together, ideally, or in any combination, providing patients with choices and multiple paths to recovery.” Stephen Delisi, M.D., medical director of Hazelden Publishing’s Professional Education Solutions, a training and consultation division within the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, said COR-12 begins to address a longstanding, counterproductive impasse between those against medications and those against Twelve Step-oriented recovery. “COR-12 stands as a bridge across multiple pathways of healing. We ought to be for everything that has evidence for working,” said Dr. Delisi. “People should have access to the compassion and blueprint for living found in Twelve Step communities as well as the potentially lifesaving medications that reduce risk of relapse and overdose.” “As much as anything, COR- 12 is a pro-recovery initiative, breaking down traditional silos and smashing a multitude of stigmas—against medicine, therapy, Twelve Steps and addiction itself,” Dr. Delisi added. “COR-12 brings the best evidence-based treatments and recovery supports together in a recovery-by-any-means blend, anchored by the belief