Adolescents can – and do – get into trouble with addictions to opioids. Medication-assisted treatment is now available locally for this age-group, according to Patricia Rehmer, president of the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network.
Q: Tell us about the local recovery program that the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network provides specifically for adolescents.
A: Adolescents clearly do get into trouble with addictions and I think when medication assisted treatment first evolved, that we really weren’t thinking of it as much for adolescents. Because they’re newer into their addiction. And initially, medication-assisted treatment was thought for people who are further along in their addiction. But what we have seen with opioids is that it’s so involved and so addicting that medication-assisted treatment is truly appropriate for adolescents. Rushford, specifically, has really has gone on that journey and we’ve decided to offer medication-assisted treatment to adolescents that appear to need it.
Q: Tell us a little about the response from parents who are so concerned about their kids and from the adolescents themselves.
A: I think parents are very relieved that they have another option open for their child. It’s a very scary addiction, obviously, and medication-assisted treatment is another treatment tool. We need every tool that we can in the toolbox when we’re treating addictions, and we know medication-assisted treatment is an evidence-based practice. It has an 87% better chance of a better outcome for an individual who is struggling with any addiction. So having that is something that we can offer to adolescents we see as a very positive thing. They may not need to be on it as long as somebody that is older, but it gives them a little bit of a jump start if you will, to get into recovery and to give them the hope that they need.