Is it possible to treat teens with addictions at home, the very place they struggle to stay sober? A Connecticut-based company called Aware Recovery Center has proved that it does. Of those who sought treatment with the Aware program, 64% completed it and 72% have stayed in treatment or are abstinent. The latter figure is more than double (35%) the success rate of 30-day traditional outpatient rehabilitation programs that don’t provide follow-up care.
NBC’s Nightly News with Lester Holt featured a segment on eighteen-year-old Emily Gendreau, whose battle with drug addiction led to much trouble and trips to rehab centers.
In 2016, suffering from a difficult breakup and a loss of a family member, Emily turned to prescription killers, which were left over from a surgery she had. She eventually graduated to using heroin. Her life began spiraling out of control: losing friends and money, getting arrested, and being expelled from school – all this by the time she was in senior high.
Emily knew she hit rock bottom when she was caught using heroin in school by the principal. It was then that she realized she needed help.
A six-day detox at the Arms Acers rehab facility in upstate New York was followed by a stay for 89 days at Newport Academy, a treatment center specializing in teen addiction in Bethlehem, Connecticut.
Just like others with addictions, it was the returning home and post-rehab life that made Emily anxious. There, she would be exposed to addiction triggers, including parties and friends who were drug users. To cope with this, she turned to Aware for help.
Aware is a 52-week, in-home rehabilitation program providing around-the-clock treatment for patients, including support from a multi-disciplinary rehabilitation team comprised of an addiction psychiatrist, a case manager, a family therapist, a nurse coach, a primary care doctor, as well as peer support and 12-step meetings. Participants of the program can also be provided with GPS tracking, medication-assisted treatment, and urine screening if they choose.
Just because the symptoms are in control doesn’t mean addiction has disappeared. Addiction is a chronic illness and someone who is prematurely discharged from a rehab program has an increased risk of using again when back in their old environment.
The Aware model makes sure that those recovering from addictions don’t get tempted to use even when in a familiar environment. A representative from the program will visit the home to look for issues that could trigger a relapse then provide solutions.
In Emily’s case, Aware taught her a technique called “riding the wave,” which lets the patient have the cravings should they feel like taking drugs or alcohol which they then let go of.
Aware also set up a meeting with Emily’s guidance counselor and principal at school to help her avoid triggers. This included allowing her to go to the nurse’s office rather than use the school bathrooms.
The out-of-pocket cost of the Aware program is $38,000 a year. This sum looks costly but it is roughly equal to what will be spent on one month inpatient treatment.