The opioid epidemic may have new treatment options as digital tools emerge that aim to help people overcome addiction. WorkIt Health provides digital access to doctors, mental health professionals and life coaches through online chats. It provides access to addiction prevention medication, such as Suboxone and Vivitrol. The new tool can coordinate with medical professionals, employers and individuals to provide help for opioid and other drug addictions.
According to the CDC, the opioid crisis has taken place over three waves, which have successively added new elements to the public health crisis:
- In the 1990s, prescription opioids began to be associated with overdose deaths
- In 2010, a wave of overdose deaths related to heroin emerged
- In 2013, synthetic opioids, especially fentanyl, rose in association with overdose deaths
The CDC reports that 399,000 people died from opioid overdose deaths between 1999 and 2017.
Creating Greater Access to Addiction Treatment
There are a variety of local resources available for addiction treatment. Going digital is the latest trend that may help more people succeed in recovery. Online addiction treatment provides another medium for users to equip themselves with tools that can further support recovery, including:
- Online counseling and therapy
- Prescriptions for anti-addiction drugs
- Telemedicine triage
- Telemedicine healthcare
- Medication management through virtual visits with doctors
- Online recovery support groups
- Online drug testing
- Curriculum courses
- Self-set goals
Digital Treatment Tools vs. In-Person Treatment Tools
Digital addiction treatment may benefit people who are especially tech savvy. They may also provide tools that can be accessed outside of regular doctor’s office or business hours. Some users may feel that digital treatment is impersonal; others may be empowered by the ability to reach medical providers and support groups using digital methods.
Benefits of Digital Treatment
Digital addiction treatment has numerous benefits, including:
- Affordable: Companies like WorkIt coordinate with insurance providers and their methods can reduce costs.
- Convenient: Travel and other logistics don’t have to be arranged as a digital format can allow users to reach care from their smartphone or home computer.
- Private: Care can be accessed from inside a user’s own home and on their schedule.
- Immediate Availability: Sometimes, addiction recovery has moments of acute need, in which users can reach out to find immediate support.
Helpful Addiction & Recovery Apps
Digital addiction treatment can have many valuable components to aid in recovery. For example:
- Sobriety Trackers: A sobriety tracker on a sobriety tracker app provides a calendar, countdown or other visual way to remind users of the amount of time they have been sober.
- Mindfulness Apps: Mindfulness apps can provide prompted messaging at scheduled intervals to assist in healthy mental practices for addiction recovery and sobriety.
- Interactive Lessons and Quizzes: WorkIt and other apps have curriculum and courses that can provide ongoing education during and after treatment.
- Online Support Communities: Online addiction support can be provided through chat rooms and digital recovery groups. Drug addiction support online can be a helpful tool for 24-hour access to peer support.
Recovery Happens with a Mix of Tools
The opioid epidemic has a far-reaching impact nationwide. There are many kinds of treatment that can help individuals who struggle with addiction issues:
- Traditional in-person treatment
- Inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities
- Holistic approaches
- Therapy and counseling
- Digital treatment
Digital addiction treatment may meet the need of some people in their recovery journey. Each individual is different and will respond positively to different treatment approaches. The Recovery Village has multiple resources for people struggling with addiction to further explore their treatment options.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Opioid Data Analysis and Resources.” Reviewed May 7, 2019. Accessed August 23, 2019.
Congress.gov. “S.425 – Budgeting for Opioid Addiction Treatment Act.” 116th Congress, February 7, 2019. Accessed August 23, 2019.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Opioid Overdose Crisis.” Revised January 2019. Accessed August 23, 2019.
WorkIt Health. “WorkIt Health Plans.” N.D. Accessed August 23, 2019.