While technology has changed our society, it has not always been for the better. For example, texting while driving has lead to many fatal accidents, cell phones have replaced face to face communication, and paper jams in printers have lead to nothing but frustration. A new form of technology, however, is proving to be quite helpful for a certain vulnerable population in our community.
As Opiate addiction and abuse become an epidemic across the nation, it is clear that treatment programs need to become as effective and efficient as possible. Any development that can expand the options for a recovering addict should be explored. A new high-tech program was the brainchild of Professor Warren Bickel when he had the idea to use technology to curb substance abuse and addiction. Over the course of many years, a variety of computerized programs have been tested, and a new program is catching the attention of the medical community.
Computerized Treatment Having Positive Results
A recent innovative version of a computerized treatment program for recovering addicts has had positive results, according to a recent study. The study was run by Warren Bickel, a professor at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute. The participants of the study were all recovering Opiate addicts who were receiving Suboxone and attending therapy sessions with counselors. Half of the group was offered the computerized treatment program to supplement their rehabilitation.
The idea behind the computerized program is not to replace therapy, but to help the addict learn the basic information on Opiate addiction, treatment, and recovery. Those who used the program had better retention of the material and they needed less time with the actual therapist. The benefits of this result are two fold. The addict gets better, more cost and time efficient treatment, while the therapist experiences less stress and burn out due to client overload. The therapist is also able to focus more on strategizing with the addict than covering the basic information, which the addict has already learned via the program.
Overall, the medical treatment of Suboxone, the therapeutic treatment with the counselor, and the computerized treatment program have created the most beneficial plan for recovering addicts. Professor Bickel believes we can advance the field of substance abuse recovery even further continuing to use computerized technology.