Healthier Together: Substance use disorder in adults


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How to deal with addiction is top of mind for many people, families and cities. The CEO of Boulder Care says "substance use disorder" is a treatable condition. In this week's Healthier Together, we learn how one treatment center says that virtual visits can help.

Substance use disorder is defined as the continued use of drugs or alcohol despite the negative consequences on an individual's daily life, health, and happiness.

According to Stephanie Strong, CEO of Boulder Care, it's a treatable condition, and the potential of virtual visits can aid in recovery.

"Historically, addiction treatment has been more focused on short-term programs and very expensive and intensive residential stays," said Strong. "Bringing someone away from home and into a facility is definitely not necessary for everyone. The more we learn about addiction and the more we recognize that it can be a chronic condition, and that folks can benefit from long-term treatment that isn't possible away from home."

Strong stressed the importance of addressing the stigma associated with seeking treatment for addiction and the privacy concerns that often deter individuals from pursuing care on their own terms.

Telemedicine offers an accessible and low-barrier method for individuals to access addiction services while receiving ongoing support at home. It provides privacy, long-term support, and access to additional resources such as case management and peer recovery specialists.

"Unfortunately, there's a faltering primary care system and health care worker shortage coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made telemedicine a very helpful tool in expanding access and encouraging care coordination," said Strong. "And for specialty care like addiction treatment often that that privacy and that long term support with ancillary resources, like case management and peer recovery specialists, can just be even more additive for a patient who's looking for holistic health care."

Strong said Boulder Care provides telemedicine support for individuals with substance use disorders, specifically targeting people 65 and older. She cited the challenges faced by older Americans, such as loneliness and social isolation, and the need to support their mental wellbeing and overall health.


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Boulder Care's advocacy for virtual visits and its focus on long-term treatment underscore the potential for telemedicine to revolutionize addiction recovery and support older Americans in their journey towards holistic healthcare.


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