By Sarah Allen Benton, MS, LMHC, LPC, LADC
“I don’t have enough time”, “I can’t miss work”, “I cannot afford treatment”, “There is so much traffic to drive there”, “I don’t want anyone to know”, “I won’t be like the other people in treatment”… These are just a few of the many excuses that individuals may use in order to avoid attending addiction treatment. Some of these “excuses” have actually been reasons in the past, and can help to explain why there has been such a shockingly low percentage of individuals with Substance Use Disorder who successfully obtain care. According to SAMSHA, prior to the pandemic only 9.2% of those with Alcohol Use Disorder and 19.7% of those with Opioid Use Disorder received treatment at a speciality facility.
The largest barriers to treatment have long been shame, but access to care has also been a challenge. The pandemic has helped the addiction treatment world to become more creative in how they are delivering services. The In-Home Addiction Treatment (IHAT) model was able to adapt their program to virtual as well as a combination of in-person and virtual delivery that has provided access for individuals who may live in more rural areas or who would otherwise avoid attending. This innovative and adaptable model of care has been quickly expanding from the original location in CT, to MA, NH, ME, RI, IN and FL with availability in other states starting soon.
As insurance providers have begun to see the advantage of covering this treatment model for 1 year, the financial barriers for many seeking care have been broken down. Additionally, there is a sense of privacy to receiving treatment in your home, and this has been helpful for those who were concerned about their privacy.
The IHAT Institute is serving a very important purpose in training healthcare professionals in this model of care in order to serve a larger and larger population among 7 states and growing. While so many have grown used to there only being outpatient, intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization and residential levels of care, it has been ground breaking to have a new option and to have an institute that is ready to train professional to become well-versed in this unique model of care.
This brief presents an overview of trends in substance use disorder treatment between 2015 and 2018 using data from two national surveys sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)–the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS) and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).