New Opioid Research and a Welcome Home Plan for Loved Ones with Substance Use Disorder


Can opioid withdrawal medications heal a brain damaged by addiction? Which medication works best for patients?

Government scientists are conducting research at the National Institute of Health’s research hospital to find answers to these questions. They are studying the brains of individuals with opioid use disorder to see whether opioid withdrawal medications, like methadone and buprenorphine, can do more than relieve withdrawal symptoms.

Research proves that these medications can effectively treat opioid use disorder, but we also know that long term use changes the chemistry in the brain leaving individuals vulnerable to relapse.

For this reason, it is important for families to be fully prepared and supportive for when their loved ones return home from a residential treatment program.

An article published by The Partnership for a Drug-Free Kids outlines 6 things to do before your loved one returns home from rehab:

1. Do a thorough house cleaning of any paraphernalia and properly secure or dispose of your prescription medications to avoid temptations.

2. Get naloxone as a prevention measure in the event of an overdose.

3. Make the aftercare plan a priority, whether it be family counseling, an outpatient program, recovery support groups, psychiatric appointments, or psychiatric mediations.

4. Try CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training) to improve your communication skills.

5. Develop a contract and recovery plan as a symbol of your commitment to help support and maintain continued recovery and personal growth.

6. Take it one moment at a time, and don’t lose hope.

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