A new study was published in the medical journal Addiction in February that shows just how effective sober living facilities can be. This study looked at opioid abuse, including prescription drugs like Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, and other pain medications as well as heroin. The study showed that individuals whose substance abuse included these drugs benefit more from a multi step treatment plan that includes sober living facilities. The initial treatment for these addictions involves a program with a detoxification component and medical oversight. Once the initial treatment is concluded the study fount that clients who transitioned to sober living facilities were far more likely to stay sober and less likely to relapse back into substance abuse. The type of sober living facilities did not matter as long as the most effective treatment methods were used by the facility.
Relapse rates without sober living facilities and continued day treatment can be between 65% and 80%, and this refers to a relapse that occurs within 1 month of treatment, but when these facilities and continued day treatment are provided the relapse rates drop drastically. With the use of sober living facilities alone after treatment the rate of relapse drops down to to a maximum of 63%, and if day treatment is added this drops to 50%. Heroin and opiate based pain medications create an addiction that is hard to kick, but treatment that involves initial detoxification, sober living facilities, and day treatment can help 50% of those with an addiction to these drugs stay sober for 6 months.
According to the lead researcher for the study Michelle Tuten “If we want to help people stay off heroin and stop abusing prescription painkillers, we need to do more than help them initiate abstinence; we need to help them maintain abstinence and build a drug-free lifestyle as well. Improved access to drug free recovery housing and day treatment programs would clearly move us closer to that goal. It’s no surprise that opioid dependent individuals stay off drugs longer when they live in a structured, drug free environment after finishing detox. Drug dependent individuals frequently report housing as their most pressing need.”