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Integration, Continuity of Care Key to Treating Opioid Addiction, Report Says

New Jersey Reentry Corp. urges state to institute an ‘addiction treatment infrastructure’

What are the essential weapons needed to wage war against opioid addiction? Medication-assisted treatment, recovery coaches, and navigators to coordinate care and a health information exchange, according to a new report from the New Jersey Reentry Corp.

The report recommends replicating best-practice models in Vermont, Texas and Rhode Island, which emphasize sharing information among all the elements that go into successful treatment and recovery.

“We need to integrate these systems so that we have, if you will, an addiction treatment infrastructure,” said former Gov. and Reentry Corp. Board Chair Jim McGreevey.

The report hits hard on calling for continuity of care — encouraging at least six to 12 months of treatment, acknowledging the brain takes much longer than a 28-day program to heal.

“In people with addiction, the pathways that reinforce, that continue the addictive behavior actually get built up as cellular pathways. It takes months, if not even years, to undo those pathways and the damage that they cause,” said Dr. David Gastfriend, researcher at the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Reentry Corp. says it’s time for New Jersey to integrate services and care.

How would New Jersey achieve integration? One possibility is through better coordination, leadership, and legislative action.

“You don’t need stars to align when the systems already do,” said Aakash Shah, medical director for New Jersey Reentry Corp.

Read the full story on NJTV News Online, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.

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