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Recovery houses are important drug treatment option

December 27 — The Courier Post published on December 22 n story that was titled “Cherry Hill couple raises concerns about recovery home.”

Dr. Michael W. Shore, Medical Director of the Malvern Institute Cherry Hill outpatient center, wrote a response on why recovery houses serve an important role in treating the disease of addiction and addressing the opioid epidemic:

I want to comment on the front page article on recovery houses.

I have been practicing addiction medicine and addiction psychiatry for over 25 years. There are many levels of care and treatment for individuals with substance use disorders, from the most intensive inpatient models (“28 days”) to various outpatient types of programs. It is well recognized within the treatment community that a percentage of patients need the availability of halfway houses (recovery houses and Oxford houses) due to a variety of circumstances that preclude their ability to return to their family.

The significant majority of these resident patients do well and are able to rebuild their lives. Yes, some of these individuals do relapse, as this happens with patients with these chemical use disorders. Patients with diabetes, hypertension, liver and kidney disease do relapse as well.

The houses have policies that any resident who resumes using alcohol or drugs cannot stay in the facility.  Random toxicology drug testing and testing for cause are a regular component of the house rules.

Epidemiologic studies show that it is the rule, rather than the exception, that all of us have either a neighbor, friend, family member or fellow employee who suffers from the disease of addiction. Chances are that the couple that was quoted in the article have folks they know that suffer from this condition. Addiction is all around us. Having the ability to rebuild their lives from addiction in safe neighborhoods close to employment and transportation is essential for these recovering individuals.

The overwhelming majority of individuals with substance use disorders want to be able to stop using and resume productive lives. Let’s not take this treatment and recovery option away from them.

Michael W. Shore, M.D., DLFAPA, DFASAM

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