Telemedicine and addiction recovery: A new way forward?
Will the future of addiction recovery take place on video conference screens and emailed notes? Even a few months ago, treating addiction patients remotely might seem like a stretch at first listen -- metaphorically, geographically, and medicinally. But now, as the Covid-19 crisis puts pressure on outpatient providers to facilitate remote care, some addiction professionals have set aside that skepticism and opened digital care channels, willing to explore any avenue that might lead their patients out of the opioid epidemic's grip and into a healthy future.
The opioid crisis is sweeping rural America
When it comes to addiction, America's statistics are grim. More than 130 people in the United States die daily as the result of an opioid overdose; in 2017 alone, over 47,000 Americans passed away after overdosing on prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl. The same year, the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimated that 1.7 million people nationally suffered from opioid-related substance abuse disorders. As one researcher described the extent of the epidemic's reach in the National Academies Press-published book, Pain Management and the Opioid Epidemic: "Current national trends indicate that each year more people die of overdoses--the majority of which involve opioid drugs--than died in the entirety of the Vietnam War, the Korean War, or any armed conflict since the end of World War II."