For the past 31 years, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has reserved the month of September as National Recovery Month, in recognition of the challenges many Americans face in overcoming addiction. According to their website, “The national observance is held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with mental and substance use disorders to live healthy and rewarding lives.”
In the United States, substance use and addiction are a growing epidemic that affects people of all ages. The latest data from Drug Abuse Statistics.org says that in 2018, more than 165 million Americans (or 60.2% of the population) were current substance users or abusers.
Additionally, AddictionCenter.com states that:
- Drug overdose deaths have more than tripled since 1990
- From 1999 to 2017, more than 700,000 Americans died from an overdose
- About 20% of Americans who have an anxiety disorder or depression also have a substance use disorder
- More than 90% of people who have an addiction started to drink alcohol or use drugs before they were 18 years old
- Alcohol and drug addiction cost the U.S. economy over $600 billion every year
Unfortunately, addiction tendencies commonly begin in early in life. Data shows that nearly 70% of users who try an illegal drug before age 13 go on to develop a substance abuse disorder within the next seven years. For young children with parents who are struggling with addiction, their quality of life is greatly affected by their surroundings and the substances they are exposed to.
In 2018, the most common substance exposure reported to poison control centers was illegal or misused prescription opioids, with nearly 284,000 cases of exposure:
- 44% of cases were for children under the age of five, including 5,300 exposures to heroin and synthetic opioids
- The exposure of children under five to marijuana increased by 148% over a seven-year period
- Exposure to prescription opioids increased 93% each year over a nine-year period
Addiction Amid a Global Pandemic
In addition to the familial cycle of addiction that can begin early in life, the COVID-19 pandemic adds another challenge to the goal of achieving recovery. In the past six months, social connections and interactions have been drastically reduced due to social distancing, mask wearing and virtual learning. Even more, due to economic instability, many people have lost their jobs and unfortunately, their lives due to exposure to this novel disease. All of these factors have led to a decline in people’s mental health and wellbeing and for those prone to or currently struggling with addiction, these unprecedented measures, combined with an uncertain future have caused an increase in new and relapsed cases of substance use.
According to NCBI, “People with SUD are at greater risk of worse COVID-19 outcome. There is surge of addictive behaviors (both new and relapse) including behavioral addiction in this period. Withdrawal emergencies and death are also being increasingly reported. Additionally, these conditions are known to trigger relapse, even in those long-term abstainers, or intensify drug consumption.”
The Road to Recovery
Although we are living in an unprecedented time of addiction and isolation, an estimated 22 million Americans are currently in recovery from opioid and other addictions—and that’s something to celebrate. According to Drug Abuse.gov, “Addiction is a treatable disorder. Research on the science of addiction and the treatment of substance use disorders has led to the development of research-based methods that help people to stop using drugs and resume productive lives, also known as being in recovery.” Although medical professionals have not found a “cure” for addiction, the condition can be managed successfully and many patients can go on to live happy, fulfilled lives—free of drugs and alcohol.
Oftentimes, people consider someone to be in “recovery” when they win their fight against addiction. On one hand, that definition is true—but recovery is actually much more personal and nuanced than once thought. Research shows recovery itself is a process–including periods of relapse. In fact, 40-60% of substance use disorder patients will relapse at least once during their recovery journey. It is in these difficult times when alcohol counselors, therapists and medical professionals can step into shepherd people along their recovery journey. Without their expertise and commitment, recovery would be a much harder path to travel, and some might not make it to their destination.
Believing the Best is Yet to Come
At Therapy Brands, we are honored to serve individuals whose life’s work is to improve the quality of life for others. Balancing the mental and physical needs of their patients (along with their own), these professionals take a glass-half-full approach to facing challenges and helping people overcome their addictions to experience a life in recovery.
Here’s what some of our customers shared about witnessing the power of recovery in their patients’ lives:
“I love my job! I am continually inspired by the resiliency of clients I serve recovering from addiction. I have journeyed with clients who have survived horrific trauma, setbacks and barriers yet continue to thrive towards wholeness and healing. Most credit their success with the power of support from fellow travelers, counselors and others who are there for them consistently and compassionately. National Recovery Month is our clinic’s time to celebrate the accomplishments of our courageous clients that inspire hope and spread joy.”
Katy Cohen, LMHC CASAC, Director of Compliance, Lexington Center for Recovery
“In my 12 years as a substance abuse counselor and social worker I have personally worked with dozens of individuals who have recovered from a substance use disorder. I’m not sure the general population realizes just how often this happens, because active addiction is much more visible than recovery. But recovery happens here at Metropolitan Center for Mental Health every day. All it takes is understanding, patience, and determination.”
Robert Basile, Psy.D., Executive Director, Metropolitan Center for Mental Health and President, Federation of Mental Health Services, Inc.
“It is with deep appreciation at Inter-Care that our country recognizes National Recovery Month. As treatment providers, we have witnessed the journey of recovery, as the ‘fight of one’s life’ where one rises from darkness, chaos, isolation and loss of self to finding serenity, meaningful purpose and connection to one’s self and others.”
Laura Lessa, LMSW, Chief Program Officer, Inter-Care Ltd.
“Better Way of Miami partners with primary care providers to assure the whole person is treated. In the latter part of a client’s stay with us, we broaden the focus to education and job skills and actual employment opportunities as well as stable housing to enhance the environment for a secure recovery once the client leaves us. From the purely clinical to addressing the social determinants of health to adhering to an underlying 12-step philosophy, Better Way’s provision of care has helped thousands of clients succeed. We are fortunate and grateful to regularly hear from many of them and their families.”
Michael Festinger, Esq., President/ CEO, BETTER WAY OF MIAMI, INC.
“At GCASA Patients are not defined by their relapses, but by their decision to remain in recovery despite them.”
Leslie M. Pfalzer, Resource Administrator, Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (GCASA)
Solutions for Support
Addiction professionals accept the daily challenge of supporting patients through some of the lowest points in their lives—helping them see hope and the possibility of recovery. At Therapy Brands, we strive to make their work easier by providing software and solutions that let practitioners spend time where it matters most. We are proud to offer two comprehensive substance use recovery platforms to serve any size practice or agency.
EchoVantage is a client-centered technology with tools and services for recovery-oriented service providers. Their practice management, EHR, billing software and services support behavioral, mental and chemical health providers, large and small, with the following features:
- Integrated Telehealth
- Secure and Easy-to-Use Client Portal with Messaging Module
- Large Selection of Standard Forms or Make Your Own Custom Forms
- Short- and Long-Term Billing Services
- Easy-Order Lab Integrations
- Secure Credit Card Processing
- E-Prescribe from DrFirst®
- Treatment Plans with Wiley Practice Planners®
- Outcomes Assessments – HDI Connect™
- Robust Reporting
EchoVantage is a leading mental and behavioral health electronic health records (EHR) company that provides software solutions for health and human services agencies. Thousands of users in hundreds of offices use EchoVantage to manage a variety of behavioral health service types. EchoVantage offers more than just an EHR – they’re a partner that can help you grow your agency. Other features include:
- Form Design EHR
- Alert Manager
- Form Library
- Reporting Services
- Performance/ Outcomes Dashboards
- Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)
- Clinician Mapping
- Technical Specifications
To learn more about how our solutions can help streamline your business, so you can spend time where it matters most, click here.