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Family-Focused Approaches to Opioid Addiction Improve the Effectiveness of Treatment

Publication Year: 
Personal Author: 
Helena J.V. Rutherford
Declan T. Barry
Linda C. Mayes
Corporate Author: 
Society for Research in Child Development
Page Count: 

In treating opioid addiction, moving from an individual approach to a family-focused approach to treatment can have lasting benefits for children and parents, and decrease health care costs. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared opioid addiction a public health emergency. Opioids—which include prescription medicines for pain relief, synthetic drugs such as fentanyl, and heroin1 —lead to an average of 115 deaths by overdose per day in the United States.2,3 The medical and legal response has mainly focused on individual needs, yet opioid addiction has wide-ranging impacts not only on individuals, but also on their families and children. New evidence finds that family-focused approaches can improve upon models that treat individuals, expanding benefits and cost efficiencies, and improving the health and development of children

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