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Improve Staff Training on Substance Use and Addiction Treatment

According to the Center on Addiction, 40 million Americans, or more than one in seven people, struggle with alcohol, nicotine, opioid, or other drug use. Because this is more than the number of Americans with heart conditions, cancer, or diabetes, it’s important to provide effective clinical solutions that treat substance use disorders (SUDs). Substance use disorder training for your staff, however, can be challenging.

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COVID-19’s Impact on Substance Use, Addiction, and Relapse

Many people are experiencing the negative effects of COVID-19, including those in recovery. Being in social and physical isolation, dealing with feelings of worry and anxiety, and potentially dealing with unexpected grief or loss can be significant triggers to relapse. While some AA and NA meetings have moved to virtual formats, there is no true replacement for the in-person support one receives from their peers.

As we continue to navigate the pandemic, more people are forced to find ways to handle their stress, anxiety, and worry. This can lead to unhealthy coping behaviors, such as binge drinking and/or overusing prescription or over-the-counter medicines. Over time, these coping behaviors become dangerous and can lead to undiagnosed addiction.

No matter the practice setting, all healthcare practitioners should be aware of SUDs, including opioid use disorder (OUD) signs and symptoms. The following resources can help your staff and organization screen and treat substance use now and beyond COVID-19.

Challenges in Treating SUDs

Complexities and High Costs

Addiction is a complex disease, meaning treatment is also complex due to the nature of SUDs. These complexities, including their link to co-occurring disorders and serious mental illnesses (SMIs), complicate how you’re able to provide the best care for people living with addiction.

Even though we’re advancing our clinical treatment options, whether through therapy, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), or long-term residential treatment, high costs prevent people from seeking treatment and healthcare organizations from offering ongoing training and development to their staff.

Integrated care policies are necessary, specifically for those with SMIs and/or SUDs, to help treat the whole patient. Reaching integrated care, however, is easier said than done.

Delivering Integrated Care

Inefficiencies in integrated care stem from a lack of training and ongoing professional development. Primary care physicians are often the first to see the warning signs of SUDs. However, because they don’t have the right substance use training, these symptoms go untreated until things get worse. By incorporating early intervention techniques and medication-assisted treatment in doctor’s offices and healthcare facilities, we’re able to deliver integrated care and support those in recovery.

Combining Peer-Support and Evidence-Based Treatment Practice

Peer support services can effectively extend recovery once individuals are no longer in a clinical setting. However, the lack of evidence to support the positive effects of peer-support servicesmakes them difficult to incorporate into evidence-based treatment practices.

LCASs, CSAPCs, ICAADCs, and others involved in treating persons with substance use disorder need to find a way to balance the two to provide better treatment plans and improve the likelihood of sustained recovery.

Blog Posts on Substance Use Disorder and Recovery

The Connection Between Substance Use and Trauma

With millions of Americans struggling with substance use disorder (SUD), this blog looks at the connection between substance use and trauma.

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Recovery Residences: Top Questions Asked by Professionals

Answers to important issues and questions raised on the value of quality recovery residences to long-term recovery.

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Community Partnerships: The Key to Successful Recovery

Following treatment for drug addiction, a community approach may be the key to helping individuals remain on the road to recovery.

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Long-Term Treatment for Addiction Provides Higher Success Rates

It's National Recovery Month. While some believe treatment and recovery are the same thing, they are not: Health care providers need to know the difference.

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The Value of Medication-Assisted Treatment in the Fight Against the Opioid Epidemic

Studies show that for many patients MAT programs can help them stay in recovery longer and have better health and quality of life outcomes.

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Technology and the Opioid Epidemic: Your Questions Answered

What is the current state of the opioid crisis and what types of newer technology can help providers make a positive impact on outcomes?

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Relias Resources

For free courses on telehealth, self-care, and more, please visit our Coronavirus Toolkit. You can also check out these additional free resources below:

distraught man talking with therapistSuicide Prevention Training

No matter your care setting, having up-to-date knowledge on identifying, assessing, and responding to suicide risk in persons served and staff should be an integral part of your practice. Watch suicide survivor stories and preview Relias courses that can help your staff and organization navigate suicide during COVID-19 and beyond.
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Digital Representation of Telemental HealthTelehealth

COVID-19 has forced organizations and people to shift to telehealth. Learn the benefits of telehealth and receive unlimited access to telehealth courses for you and your staff.
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Trauma-Informed Care

The connection between SUDs and trauma spans a wide range of populations, types of trauma, and types of SUDs. Review these resources to help you learn more about trauma and the trauma-informed framework
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Ensure Your Staff is Prepared

Need help keeping your team current on substance use disorders and treatment plans, relapse prevention strategies, and evidence-based care and integrated care practice and policies? Relias helps organizations stay current, competent, and compliant so they can continue to provide quality care and better outcomes to the recovery community.

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