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TRI February Newsletter

Mobile app gives clients individualized recovery care

As treatment providers rethink their roles in supporting continuous, ongoing addiction care, they need the tools to support this shift into practice. One way to promote continuous care is for clinicians to systematically monitor progress and respond therapeutically. This includes monitoring clients to help guide treatment, review progress, assess risk, and intervene early to reduce relapse and time to treatment re-entry if needed. With proper monitoring, clinicians can reach out when clients miss sessions, drop out, or are discharged in order to support pro-recovery behaviors and facilitate access to recovery supports.

Mobile health has also emerged as a potential alternative to in-person healthcare and a potential pathway to continuous monitoring and extended support.

In collaboration with the Center for Social Innovation (C4),  Treatment Research Institute (TRI) researchers recently completed a small pilot study designed to put clients at the foreground of their recovery and support this concept of continuous care. Adapted from TRI’s clinical outcomes monitoring system, RecoveryTrack®, a mobile app was created to assist counselors in tracking client progress through treatment and recovery. Moreover, clients tracked their own progress and updated individuals in their support system – giving clients an opportunity to manage and engage in their recovery in a new way.

Twenty outpatient treatment clients participated in the pilot, RecoveryTrack-Mobile: A Monitoring and Feedback Intervention, for 2-3 months. The app provided clients with personal daily and weekly assessments. In addition to a formal risk assessment, clients had the option to focus on designated holistic health themes, including nutrition and exercise, as well as to create goals directly related to their abstinence. The app provided immediate feedback to clients in the hopes of increasing abstinence and treatment retention. Also, the monitoring data was available to counselors to inform care, and clients could share status updates with their support network.

Data from the study supports current evidence suggesting that individuals with substance use disorders are inclined to use mobile apps to support recovery.

“While client self-reported satisfaction with the app was high, more impressive was the level of use. Most clients used the app on a daily basis throughout the study,” said John Cacciola, PhD, Director and Senior Researcher. “This level of involvement with a recovery-oriented app shows a need for such support and suggests it can positively impact recovery. We have submitted a lager proposal to actually test this.”

C4 and TRI’s pilot supports efforts to improve monitoring and feedback interventions through innovative solutions. With continued product development, learning and dissemination across behavioral health, we can look to see improved practices and extended abilities to provide substance use disorder treatment for this vulnerable population.

Learn more about RecoveryTrack® – stay tuned for future plans to expand RecoveryTrack-Mobile.

Learn more about the Center for Social Innovation.

RecoveryTrack-Mobile: A Monitoring and Feedback Intervention, was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (National Institutes of Health) grant: 1 R43 DA039590-01.


Dr. Kimberly Kirby discusses opioid epidemic and adolescent addiction

TRI’s Parents Translational Research Center Director, Kimberly Kirby, PhD, participated in a round-table discussion during a special episode of Voices in the Family on WHYY. Along with Livengrin Foundation for Addiction Recovery, family members, and individuals in recovery, the panel discussed what is working in the treatment system and what still needs to change. They discussed interventions, treatment and how to cope with the grief of losing a loved one to the disease.

Listen to the discussion here.


A new way to view, treat and prevent adolescent substance use

While the number of teenagers experimenting with alcohol or other drugs has stabilized, the number of high school students who smoke marijuana daily, who binge drink, and who get drunk is unacceptably high. In fact, for the first time, daily marijuana use exceeds daily tobacco cigarette use among 12th-graders, and the perception of marijuana use as risky continues to decline. This is particularly concerning given marijuana’s potential adverse effects on the developing teenage brain. It is easy to become paralyzed in the face of discouraging information and the already large and growing size of the problem. But we cannot afford inaction: Too much is at stake and too much is changing.

Read more by TRI’s Kathy Meyers, PhD, in YouthToday.


FREE training program for parents

There is still room in our research study offering free training programs for parents who are concerned about their 18-25 year old who is using drugs or alcohol. If you are a parent, guardian or caretaker of a young adult who is using substances and is not willing to get help, you may be eligible. This study is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Learn more here.