Tag Archives: Drug Addiction

Women Face Additional Challenges in Substance Abuse Treatment

Women Face Additional Challenges in Substance Abuse Treatment

Most Americans know that addiction is a personal struggle, but many believe men and women generally experience similar paths when they decide to pursue substance abuse treatment. While many men and women experience significant hardship through addiction and recovery, they tend to face vastly different scenarios due to the social stigma surrounding addiction and the fundamental biological differences between men and women. Unfortunately, women tend to face a more difficult road to recovery.

Women Face Significant Hurdles in Addiction Recovery

Women Face Significant Hurdles in Addiction Recovery

Addiction can have unpredictable effects on anyone’s life, and it almost always influences more than just one life with every case. Both men and women can develop addictions to many different substances. In the early days of professional substance abuse treatment, there were no research areas dedicated to studying the differences between men and women.

Modern science has evolved enough that now researchers know it is crucial to study the effects of addiction on every possible subset of people. Studying the differences of addiction, withdrawal, and recovery between the two sexes can illuminate much about addiction as a whole. In fact, substance abuse treatment has evolved tremendously thanks to this shift in focus. Close examination of the physical, emotional, psychological, and societal challenges facing women experiencing substance abuse has revealed that the road to recovery may be more difficult for many women due to several factors.

Recovery Challenges from Biology

When it comes to addiction, men and women not only tend to experience drug use and abuse differently but also display different habits when it comes to how they use drugs. For example, women tend to consume smaller doses but generally feel the effects of most illicit drugs more intensely. Substance abuse also tends to develop into addiction more rapidly in women than men due to physiological reasons.

Men and women process drugs differently on a physical level, and women tend to experience the long-term or permanent consequences of addiction more frequently and more rapidly than men. For example, alcoholism has a high chance of causing permanent damage to the liver. Between a man and a woman with similar alcohol abuse habits, the woman is far more likely to develop permanent liver damage.

Another reason that alcohol and other drugs affect men and women differently is the sex hormones present in the human body. Men and women have different hormonal levels, and the sex hormones of women may make them feel the effects of some drugs much more acutely than men. Due to the cardiovascular differences between men’s and women’s bodies, women are more likely to experience issues with their hearts and blood vessels due to drug abuse, and they are more likely to die from overdose symptoms when they require emergency room treatment due to substance abuse.

Difficulty Facing Cultural Perceptions of Addiction

Women and Addiction

Women who abuse illicit drugs or alcohol tend to endure a much higher degree of social scrutiny due to the gender roles typically assigned to women, specifically as caretakers, nurturers, wives, and mothers. Social attitudes surrounding these roles generally create different expectations for women and their behavior, resulting in very different needs when it comes to substance abuse treatment.

Any person who goes through the process of substance abuse evolving into addiction and ultimately leading to recovery will experience some degree of shame, but this stigma tends to be more acute and harsher for women. Overcoming this stigma or confronting it among friends and even family members can be incredibly distressful, and women face a much higher risk of strained personal relationships as a consequence of substance abuse.

Psychological Challenges Facing Women

Substance abuse researchers believe that the pressure of issues concerning child custody, parenting, divorce, the loss or death of a co-parent or parent, and other traumatic events are more likely to propel women toward substance abuse than men. Women who suffer as victims of domestic violence are also more likely to engage in substance abuse as a coping mechanism.

Over time, addiction changes the way the brain processes information and stimuli. These changes tend to occur more rapidly in women, making women more likely to not only experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, and panic disorders, but also more likely to develop long-term psychiatric conditions as the result of substance abuse.

Substance Abuse and Pregnancy

When substance abuse escalates to dependency and addiction, those who experience this shift may engage in risky behavior more frequently, especially when it comes to securing more of their drug of choice. Women face exceptional risk when it comes to the world of illicit drugs as they are generally more vulnerable to sexual assault and carry a risk of unwanted pregnancy while under the influence.

Whether a pregnancy is wanted or unwanted, expected, or unexpected, a mother’s substance abuse puts her child at incredible risk. Women who abuse opioids and other illicit drugs while pregnant risk serious permanent damage to their babies, increase the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and are also more likely to give birth to children with significant birth defects and medical complications.

Childcare and Substance Abuse Treatment

Many people who have developed substance abuse disorders over the years would not fit into the typical “junkie” stereotype, and some of them are parents with careers and household responsibilities. Mothers who develop addictions may have scheduling problems when it comes to arranging childcare while they go into substance abuse treatment. They may not be able to afford the costs of childcare and allow themselves to experience worsened substance abuse and withdrawal to make ends meet.

It can also be very difficult for women to secure legal representation or substance abuse treatment during or following pregnancy because of the social stigmas surrounding addiction. Very few addiction treatments centers in the US offer the full range of addiction recovery services, legal services, childcare options, and parenting classes that many women with substance abuse disorders need to live healthy and fulfilling lives.

The Benefits of Women’s-Only Substance Abuse Treatment

The Benefits of Women’s-Only Substance Abuse Treatment

Studies into sex-specific substance abuse treatment has revealed that women tend to display more positive recovery outcomes and higher long-term abstinence rates after completing substance abuse treatment designed specifically for women. There are many reasons for this, but the noticeable increase in quality outcomes tends to fall to specific attention to women’s physical needs and breaking down the guilt, shame, and pressure that social stigmas place on women in substance abuse recovery.

A women’s-only substance abuse treatment program generally allows women to receive more complete and more specific attention to their behaviors, medical needs, and psychosocial issues. Women’s-only treatment tends to be especially effective for women who have experienced domestic violence or sexual abuse during their addictions. Ultimately, it is vital for any woman experiencing substance abuse on any level to understand the unique risks, challenges, and obstacles she may face on her road to recovery.

Echo Recovery exists to help those seeking substance abuse treatment find the programs and treatment centers most suitable to their needs. If you need a women’s-only substance abuse treatment program or want to learn more about what these programs can offer, contact Echo Recovery today and we can connect you with the resources you need to start your path to recovery.

Addiction And Sleep Disorders: A Common Struggle

Addiction And Sleep Disorders: A Common Struggle

If you are recovering from an addiction to drugs and alcohol, you know that the road to recovery is full of challenges. You have to manage cravings, stave off relapses, handle withdrawal symptoms, and rebuild relationships, among many other tasks. However, one of the most common and most stressful issues that people in recovery face is sleep disorders. Not being able to sleep can heighten your chances of relapse and make recovery even more difficult – but there are strategies you can use to manage your sleep and get the rest you need.

What Happens To Your Sleep In Recovery?

According to the Journal of Addiction Medicine, people in recovery are 5 times more likely to suffer from insomnia than the general population. People in recovery are mainly at risk for these sleep disorders because of the complex psychological issues that occur when coming off of a substance, especially if you used this substance to help you fall asleep in the past. Sleep disorders can range during recovery – you may only deal with them during the withdrawal period, or you can keep experiencing them for weeks, months, or even years after recovery.

When it comes to addiction, you can experience long-lasting effects that impact your physical and mental health. Anxiety, depression, and other psychological conditions contribute to insomnia – and these issues are also common side effects during the recovery process. Unfortunately, sleep disorders can also feed into the risk of relapse, making recovery even more difficult.

First, you may have used the substance you are recovering from to help you sleep in the past. Now that you are clean from this substance, you cannot rely on it to fall asleep. In addition, you may be battling with very unpleasant side effects while in recovery – anxiety, depression, stress, and fear are some of the most common. As a result, it is more difficult for you to fall asleep at night.

Since it is more difficult to fall asleep, the sleep disorder exacerbates some of your recovery side effects. In particular, insomnia makes anxiety, depression, and stress even worse. You feel irritable, overtired, and like you cannot perform your daily functions – and your stress levels go through the roof.

You may think that old coping mechanisms, such as drug and alcohol use, are looking like a better decision. Since you are suffering from sleep deprivation, you could have more impulsive tendencies and want to end your discomfort as soon as possible. You could run the risk of relapsing at this point, or you could continue to suffer from sleep issues. However, a third option is available: using healthy methods to improve your sleep.

How Does Addiction Impact Your Sleep?

While sleep disorders in recovery are common, it is likely that you have experienced trouble sleeping before. Addiction itself can worsen your sleeping habits. Depending on the type of substance you used, you could impact your brain chemistry and sleep cycles. In addition, addiction withdrawal symptoms can also reduce your quality of sleep.

Because of the changes that drugs and alcohol make to your body, it can be very difficult to develop healthy sleeping habits while on these substances. Recovery and healthy sleep methods are the best options.

Addiction throws your natural body clock out of its rhythm – you often stay up very late in the night and wake up very late in the day. Drugs can also impact the time you spend in REM sleep, which reduces your feelings of restfulness in the morning. It takes longer to fall asleep when you are addicted to a substance, and you will reduce your overall sleep time because you often wake up during the night.

Tips For Improving Sleep While In Recovery From Addiction

While sleep disorders are often unavoidable in addiction recovery, it doesn’t mean that you cannot get a good night’s sleep. Follow these tips to enjoy a better night’s sleep and naturally improve your symptoms:

  • Exercise plays an important role in regulation your sleep cycles and increasing your relaxation during the day. In addition, exercise produces natural endorphins that can aid in your recovery journey. Performing 15 to 30 minutes of exercise about 3 to 4 hours before you go to bed can have a great impact on your ability to fall asleep.
  • Meditation can also aid in helping you fall asleep, especially if anxiety or intrusive thoughts play a role in your insomnia. With consistent practice, you can reduce your stress and help you focus on the present, both of which can help you fall asleep easier.
  • You can change your sleep environment to promote relaxation and aid you in falling asleep. If your mattress is uncomfortable, invest in a new one and supply it with supportive pillows, new blankets, and clean sheets. Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature, around 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Invest in a white noise machine to block out intrusive noises.
  • Using electronic devices right before bed can make it harder to fall asleep, since the blue light can block the release of your sleep hormones. Enable night mode to lower your exposure to this light before bed or avoid screens completely in the hours before you fall asleep.
  • A poor diet can also make it more difficult to get some rest, in addition to increasing stress and discomfort. Avoid foods that are high in sugar, fat, spice, and caffeine after midday. Incorporate foods that promote sleep, such as legumes, leafy green vegetables, dairy products, and meats, into your diet. Avoid eating large, heavy meals late at night.
  • Establishing a regular bedtime routine can also help you fall asleep easier. Having a regular schedule allows you to develop a ritual that can help you combat insomnia and promote relaxation. Avoid doing anything other than sleeping and relaxing in your bed. Go to bed and wake up around the same times every day, including weekends. Perform relaxation activities before bed, such as meditating, doing some light yoga, taking a warm bath, or reading a book.

If you are still struggling from a sleep disorder during recovery, visit a medical professional as soon as possible. If you find yourself struggling with a sleep disorder due to addiction, seek professional treatment from a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. For more information on pursuing your recovery journey, visit Echo Recovery today to gain valuable resources from others like you.

First Responders Are In U.S. Classrooms Helping The Silent Victims Of Drug Abuse

First Responders Are in U.S. Classrooms, Helping the Silent Victims of Drug Abuse

The opioid crisis is causing far more damage beyond overdose deaths and increasing addiction rates. Drug addiction has had a profound effect on American families in every state. Every community has unique concerns when it comes to the opioid crisis, and American teachers are quickly becoming one of the most important forces of positive support in the country.

How American Teachers Are Stepping Up To Face The Effects Of The Opioid Crisis

The effects of drug addiction on a family may go unnoticed by outsiders. It’s difficult to tell the difference between a child suffering from the effects of addiction at home and the typical growing pains of the school-age years. However, American teachers are witnessing the effects of addiction on American children firsthand. More students are living in poverty and broken families than ever before, largely due to the ongoing opioid crisis. This makes teachers an important source of support for many American youths.

Families Fractured By Drug Abuse

Addiction takes a toll on a family. A parent with a substance abuse disorder will eventually deteriorate without intervention, and his or her children are likely to suffer the most when this happens. There are countless ways that drug abuse can harm a family, but children bear the brunt of this damage and often carry the scars for the rest of their lives. Addiction can also separate a child from his or her parents during the time parents are needed most; during the early years and school-age years.

Children In Foster Care And Poverty

Many areas across the country have been reporting higher entrance rates into the foster care system since the opioid epidemic started picking up steam. When a parent neglects financial responsibilities or endangers a child, the state intervenes and will typically place the child with a foster family or relative if possible. Ultimately, the state has a legal duty to rule in favor of the best interests of any children involved in any case.

Many parents have lost homes, custody, and even visitation rights due to substance abuse. Some go years without any contact. While there are plenty of avenues the government may take to separate a child from a potentially harmful parent, there are very few channels for reuniting families once a parent overcomes addiction.

Abuse And Neglect From Addiction

Drug abuse can lead to seriously damaging effects for any family. Some children have suffered physical and sexual abuse at the hands of addicted parents and relatives. Others have been trafficked to pay for a parent’s addiction. Many face neglect, homelessness, and poverty due to their parents’ habits and may come to school tired, hungry, and wearing filthy clothes.

Children who experience poverty, abuse, and/or neglect at young ages typically display significant behavioral and psychological distress for years to come. Seeing drug abuse firsthand at home can be traumatic and drastically impact a child’s outlook on the world. Children from fractured homes and those who go through the foster care system generally face a higher risk of developing substance abuse disorders themselves as well.

West Virginia Teacher Addresses Student Poverty

A recent Huffington Post report* covered the story of Gary Cruey, a middle school teacher in War, West Virginia, one of the areas of the country most acutely affected by the opioid epidemic. While the rate of foster care admissions in 2016 was 369 per 100,000 children, the rate in West Virginia skyrocketed to 1,221 per 100,000 children. Cruey reports that as many as half of the students he teaches live in foster care, with one parent, or another relative.

In 2014, McDowell County had the highest opioid-related hospitalization rate in the state, and West Virginia already reported significantly higher opioid abuse statistics than most other states. Cruey also reported that about 40% of middle school students in his district have individualized lesson plans or participate in special education. He attributes this spike in special education needs to the number of pregnant mothers abusing drugs in the area.

Long-Term Damage For Children Of Addicted Parents

The children who witness drug abuse at home often experience severe trauma. Even the children lucky enough to avoid physical and sexual abuse may still come home to find a parent dead from an overdose, eviction from unpaid rent, or a sudden removal from his or her home and foster care placement. The efficacy and safety of the U.S. foster care system has also been a hot topic of debate in recent years due to the increasing number of reports of abuse at the hands of foster parents and poor vetting practices in foster care services. Essentially, there is no guarantee that a child removed from his or her family home due to substance abuse will benefit in any way from foster care placement.

Overcoming trauma is difficult for anyone, but children lack the self-awareness of adults and may not be able to make sense of their environments. This leads to trouble learning, problems socializing, and an increased risk of drug abuse and criminal activity later in life. Teachers can play an important role in helping children in need by stepping outside their role as educators and offering support however they can. While this is an undue burden on American teachers whose job it is to simply teach, many undertake this burden because they want the best for their students and feel compelled to help however possible.

Finding Hope In Recovery

The resources available for fighting the ongoing opioid crisis are very limited, and while state and federal policymakers have made significant strides toward improving access to treatment and boosting the effectiveness of available treatments, there has been little progress in the way of improving the lives of children affected by substance abuse.

Echo Recovery offers a full range of substance abuse treatment services, including support for families struggling with homelessness. Learn more about the housing services we can provide and consider how you can start rebuilding in recovery.

Drug Rehab Fraud and Its Effect on Insurers and Access to Addiction Treatment

Drug Rehab Fraud and Its Effect on Insurers and Access to Addiction Treatment

Rick and Drew want to help people get better. As licensed therapists and shareholders in a rehab center, these dedicated addiction and mental health professionals lost everything five years ago due to insurance fraud. Meaining, through no fault of their own, Rick and Drew paid the price for other rehab centers’ unethical practices.

Although the names have been changed, this sad but true story is becoming more and more the norm today.

The Rise of Insurance Fraud Cartels

Rick says sketchy facilities were billing patients’ health insurance $1,200 for a urinalysis, which should have been billed for about $10. Using a typical schedule of three urinalyses a week per patient, some addiction treatment centers were gouging the insurance companies big time.

Holding themselves to a higher moral standard, Drew and Rick refused to over-bill for their services to survive.

Burdened by outrageous bills from other rehabs, insurance companies became slow to pay and eventually stopped paying altogether. Drew spent many hours trying to collect insurance debts of more than $1 million.

The lack of payments drove Rick and Drew out of business, and both therapists lost their life savings that was invested in their dream of helping people.

It brings new meaning to the phrase “drug cartels.”

Insurance Companies Sued

Insurance companies like Health Net, which serves Arizona and California, are suddenly not paying claims for drug addiction treatment. Health Net was sued by nine drug and alcohol treatment centers last year for delayed or incomplete payments for policyholders’ addiction treatment.

The nine treatment centers claim Health Net improperly withheld funds from virtually all drug addiction rehab facilities in Arizona and California.

Similarly, a group of California treatment facilities filed a lawsuit against Health Net for halted payments for medically necessary services.

The New Drug Cartels

This trend of health insurers absconding reflects poorly on the new drug cartels. Insurers control the ebb and flow of industry money, and for each company that gets away with the money, there’s another company that follows suit.

In the same way, sketchy rehab centers act like drug treatment cartels by inflating their claims, gouging insurance companies and learning underhanded tactics from other rehabs.

The Fraud Fallout

Like Rick and Drew’s story, some rehabs have been squeezed financially to the point they could no longer operate, closing their doors permanently. Health insurers blame drug rehabs for filing claims with grossly inflated prices in an attempt to regain their losses impacted by fraud in the industry.

Laws Governing Mental Health Care

Although the rehab industry is not regulated by state or federal government, there are laws requiring mental health care benefits for all insured patients.

Here are a couple of the laws governing mental health care in the U.S:

  • Under federal law, insurance companies are required to provide equitable coverage for substance abuse and addiction treatment.
  • Equitable coverage is relegated under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Act.
  • The Affordable Care Act reiterates the mandate for essential health benefits, including behavioral health services.
  • Insurers are forbidden from denying these benefits due to a preexisting condition.

A few unscrupulous substance abuse programs misapplied these laws and billed exorbitantly, believing the insurers would be required to pay for services no matter what. Additionally, in some circumstances, the services were not medically necessary or not performed at all.

Patient Brokering

Another way disreputable addiction treatment centers have skirted the laws and taken advantage of insurers is by patient brokering. Patient brokering involves hiring sales agents to convince prospective clients into traveling to a certain rehab facility. The sales agents get a kickback for each client referred.

Potential clients are offered everything from free airfare to perks and financial help to go to the advertising rehab. The recruiters use deceptive advertising and urgency tactics, and when the client’s insurance benefits run out, he or she is immediately discharged.

Early discharge is certainly not in the best interest of the client, as some are released too early and immediately relapse. Death by accidental overdose happens fairly often during a relapse.

Of note, when someone has a relapse, they qualify for readmittance into rehab, and the insurance benefits reset for a new round of therapy.

Patient brokering is illegal in some states, like Florida. Florida rehab facilities are forbidden to fly out-of-state clients in for treatment. They are not allowed to waive fees, copays or give any other monetary compensation for coming to their rehab.

Some rehab facilities have gone so far as to bring out-of-state patients into treatment and help them apply for health insurance from an insurer that pays out high benefits. There are even cases of addiction centers applying for insurance for a patient who is unaware the center is doing so.

Despite these laws, drug rehab fraud is still occurring, and health insurance companies are spending additional time and resources sifting through legitimate and illegitimate claims.

How Insurance Fraud Is Affecting Availability of Treatment for Americans

The availability of addiction treatment for patients is limited. The problems:

  • Insurance fraud
  • The out-of-network designations with higher patient responsibility
  • Increasing number of rehab centers falling into the out-of-network providers’ category
  • The impact of the opioid crisis demanding more services than are available in some areas

These factors make it difficult for some to find a rehab center that accepts their insurance and that the patient can afford to go to.

Many who are insured are discovering that most rehab centers are becoming out-of-network providers under their plans. Because more costly rehabs are being excluded from the in-network list, patients are responsible to bear the lion’s share of the costs.

In an unregulated industry, the little man gets the brunt of the bill. For instance, many rehab facilities are refusing to admit patients with certain types of health insurance — like Health Net. Non-payment became an insurmountable hindrance to the aforementioned California and Arizona facilities, and they had to start refusing care to patients with Health Net insurance.

In this way, Americans are losing the freedom to go to the rehab of their choice.

Between soaring premiums, deductibles, copays and the out-of-network factor, patients are paying the price. Patients are not only paying the financial price, but also receiving a lower quality of mental health care.

Soaring Costs for Patients

The cost of substance abuse services covered under PPO plans surpasses all other types of medical treatment. Cancer, childbirth and even surgeries are less expensive than lengthy rehab stays.

Even when insurance policies require prior authorization of treatment — and when that treatment gets approved — the big business of health insurance stiffs the small business rehabs. It has been documented that insurance companies are doing audits of the claims, invoices and services of drug and alcohol abuse programs. But even when the audits come back clean, insurers often find a reason not to pay.

Patients receive huge bills after coming home from rehab. Quite a few people who’ve struggled with addiction have been ravaged by their disease and come to treatment broke and homeless. When the emotional, mental and physical work concludes and individuals regain their health, the financial aspect of life may take longer to recoup.

In other words, people who trusted their insurance to pay as agreed are left with a big bill they can’t pay.

In the end, the drug addiction and sober living homes suffer. Their patients can’t pay and their insurance won’t. The smaller facilities, like Rick and Drew’s, are forced out of business. Health insurance companies are bought and sold for billions of dollars; it is a highly profitable industry.

Having difficulty finding an in-network provider can be a roadblock for families seeking help for their loved one. Addiction devastates one’s whole life and whole being, and those dealing with addiction need the proper help to recover.

Insurance Premium Hikes for Policyholders

Health Net reports that due to widespread fraud at drug rehab centers in California and Arizona, they have lost tens of millions of dollars and have had to pass the costs on to individuals in the way of higher premiums.

If it hasn’t already affected your insurance premium, it may be coming. Attempting to balance the deficit caused by fraud, insurers are passing on the expense to employers and policyholders. Even if you get your health insurance through your job, your company will likely only take on a portion of the increase in cost and make you responsible for the rest.

It’s a dirty needle business.

Insurance companies have to be cautious that claims are not fraudulent to protect themselves. They certainly can’t turn a blind eye to blatant misuse or providers taking advantage of the system. But also, insurers must keep their agreements to pay and not penalize all rehab facilities and patients because of a few underhanded for-profit facilities.

Opioid Epidemic Killing People and Prices

At a time when, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 115 people die every day from overdosing on opioids, we need addiction treatment centers more than ever. The CDC also reports opioid-related deaths are still continuing to rise. In a country divided on how to solve the opioid issue, one thing we all agree on is something needs to change. We need to help our people.

With the swelling opioid crisis, a continually growing number of beds and treatment centers are needed to meet the demand. The rehabilitation industry booms because the opioid epidemic booms. Along with more rehab centers springing up and sober living communities growing, the demand cannot be met fast enough.

However, the effects of drug rehab fraud on insurers and the trickle-down effect on patients trying to gain access to addiction treatment are concerning obstacles. Proper health care needs to be a priority, and the rising number of opioid-addicted citizens means an increasing burden on insurance companies to pay out mounting costs from more rehab patients.

Like Rick and Drew discovered, insurance is foremost a for-profit business and their bottom line is their top priority.

While it’s true that the substance abuse treatment field is littered with bad apples, that’s only half the story. The other half is people like Drew and Rick who lost everything because insurers failed to keep their agreements.

The Impact of Halted Payments

It’s now five years after Drew and Rick lost their life’s work. They only recently received the records and files their attorney requested for review. In viewing the documents, they were shocked to find so many late and unpaid claims, along with trumped-up excuses from health insurance companies.

A few months after their loss, Rick and Drew pulled themselves out of the situational depression engulfing them and they found work as therapists in a bigger rehab center. They spearheaded a new program at the center, and as a team still working together, they run the obsessive-compulsive process addiction department.

They don’t make the money they used to, but their hearts are full once again, doing the work they love and helping people recover. Rick is 81 years old and Drew is 79.

Rick, Drew and many other addiction treatment providers are still waiting for their money from insurance companies.

ECHO Recovery Is Helping

Because the opioid epidemic and rehab fraud are making it more difficult for some people to receive addiction treatment, ECHO Recovery is working harder than ever to help as many Americans as possible find affordable addiction treatment, housing, and help.

If you can empathize with the plight of those struggling with the debilitating disease of addition, we encourage you to be a champion of those who need it the most and join our grassroots movement.

Success is found in the small, compassionate, everyday acts of goodness. Donating to the cause alleviates the suffering of those addicted to drugs and alcohol, one dollar at a time.  If you’re considering donating, click below to see where your money would go.

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We Need Your Help in Fighting the Opioid Epidemic

We Need Your Help in Fighting the Opioid Epidemic

Countless people throughout the United States have experienced substance abuse in some way, either personally or through a relative or close friend. Although there are many destructive substances causing havoc in American communities, opioids are the deadliest. The numbers of opioid prescriptions, opioid overdoses, and opioid-related deaths have skyrocketed in recent years, and it’s up to everyone to fight this ongoing epidemic.

How Can I Help?

One of the best ways you can help fight the opioid epidemic is by talking to your friends and loved ones about substance abuse. Even if you believe that no one you know is struggling, many people hide their addictions or simply don’t pay enough attention to them because they do not realize the danger. Starting conversations is one of the best ways to drive awareness of this issue, so be sure to talk to the people you know and love.

It’s also important to know how to spot the warning signs of addiction. If a friend or relative starts displaying odd behavior, seems preoccupied when you spend time with him or her, or has sudden financial trouble, these could all be signs of a blossoming addiction. Let him or her know you are concerned, and if you discover that any type of substance abuse is happening, help him or her find resources for treatment and recovery.

Advocacy Programs

Starting conversations in your own circles is definitely helpful, but you can take this a step further if you have the time to join an advocacy group. There are addiction advocacy organizations all over the country, so you should be able to find one close to you relatively easily. When you take part in an advocacy program, you may work toward informing your community about the dangers of substance abuse in your area, but these organizations offer other opportunities as well. People who have completed recovery often participate in such programs to act as mentors, guides, and sponsors to people just starting their recovery journey. You can also plan and participate in community actions, charity drives, and many other events.

Donating To Help Substance Abuse Treatment

Echo Recovery is a not-for-profit organization that helps connect people struggling with addiction to specialists and treatment centers that can help them recover. You can help this endeavor by donating items that sober living and addiction treatment homes greatly need.

Living in a residential treatment program or transitioning from rehab to recovery are difficult times for people struggling with substance abuse, and the items you donate can make a tremendous difference in many peoples’ recovery experience.

Basic items like bedding (twin size), pillows, pillowcases, and comforters help people in recovery live comfortably as they work toward lifelong sobriety. You can also donate paper items and cleaning supplies like paper towels, toilet paper, trash bags, soaps, detergents, and disposable plates, cups, and cutlery. During a stay in a residential treatment program, patients start to relearn the basic requirements of daily life like cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry. Dish soap, laundry soap, dryer sheets, cooking utensils, and pots and pans are tremendously helpful in this regard.

You can also donate lawn care equipment like mowers, weed whackers, and gardening tools. We accept new and some gently used items. Donations can also take the form of gift cards to gas stations, grocery stores, and department stores like Target and Walmart. These donations will allow recovery patients to shop for basic living essentials in their areas. You can also donate nonperishable food.

Questions About Donating?

If you’re unsure what type of donation to make, want suggestions for a future donation, or simply don’t know where to send your donated items, contact Echo Foundation today and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have about donating. We can also let you know of items in high demand or whether a gently used item qualifies for donation.

Mailing a donation of supplies may not work for everyone, so if you’d prefer to make a cash donation, you can do so through the Network for Good. Your donation may be tax deductible as well, so be sure to speak with a tax advisor in your area about your donation to make sure you meet any applicable regulations or donation caps for your area.

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The Echo Foundation blog covers the latest news in substance abuse, treatment, and the latest statistics across the country. We are dedicated to providing the public with the latest and most accurate information regarding substance abuse and treatment in the United States. Continue following our blog for the latest news and to learn more ways you can help those in need during recovery.

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What Will Insurance Cover for Addiction Treatment?

What Will Insurance Cover for Addiction Treatment?

Anyone struggling with an addiction is likely to have countless questions about detox, rehab – and how to pay for both. Thanks to the Federal Parity Law enacted in 2008, large employers with more than 50 employees who purchase group healthcare plans must secure coverage for employee mental health and drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Additionally, a plan that offers such coverage cannot restrict it any more than coverage for other medical issues like surgeries and emergency care. “Parity” implies that coverage for mental health services and substance abuse treatment is equal to more “traditional” medical coverage.

While the Federal Parity Law ensures large employer coverage for mental health and substance abuse treatment, smaller employers with fewer than 50 employees do not need to meet this requirement. However, many states have enacted their own parity laws concerning mental health and substance abuse coverage for employee insurance plans. Roughly 96% of American employers report that their insurance coverage applies to mental health and substance abuse. When an insurance plan falls under the jurisdiction of both federal and state-level parity laws, whichever one provides the greater benefits applies.

Depending on your health insurance coverage, your plan may cover all or part of your substance abuse rehabilitation. However, it’s vital to carefully review your policy to look for disclaimers or network restrictions. You may need to attend a rehabilitation center from a specified list provided by your insurance carrier or within a certain radius of your primary residence. Some insurance plans will require a referral before coverage applies, and some plans may not cover your type of addiction.

What Does Insurance Cover For Drug Rehab?

If you want to get the most out of your existing insurance coverage, you should first look at the differences in benefit allowance for in-network versus out-of-network care. For example, your plan may cover 100% of the cost of visiting an in-network provider, but only cover 60% of the cost of an out-of-network provider.

You should also investigate your deductible obligation to find out how much you’ll have to spend out of pocket before your insurance coverage takes over. Your plan may also include an out-of-pocket limit. Once you reach this limit, all of your remaining medical expenses for the year receive 100% coverage. Your insurer will also want proof of good faith that you are taking rehab seriously, so you should expect some type of monitoring during your recovery.

There’s no solid answer to what your insurance will cover for drug rehab. Coverage will vary based on insurance carrier, employer, location, state parity laws, and individual details. Some of the largest medical insurers in the country offer drug rehab coverage under certain conditions.

Aetna Drug And Alcohol Insurance Coverage

Aetna offers a variety of drug rehab coverage, and plan details vary by plan option as well as by state. Aetna plans offer coverage for inpatient and outpatient rehab services as well as behavioral health services, so it’s up to you to find a plan that works for you. Some Aetna plans will cover a portion of inpatient substance abuse treatment, outpatient rehabilitation services, and behavioral health counseling. The covered portion of the cost can sometimes exceed $9,000 per individual per the calendar year, depending on the plan. As a baseline, most Aetna plans will offer up to $1,500 toward detox and withdrawal treatment and another $2,500 per year for additional services.

Anthem Drug And Alcohol Insurance Coverage

Anthem is part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance network and upholds the belief that behavioral health is integral to overall health. Anthem plans can include 100% coverage or partial coverage for substance abuse treatment, psychological counseling, and behavioral health services. Policyholders will also have the option of purchasing partial coverage for lower premiums or participating in a health savings account. The exact details of Anthem’s coverage vary from plan to plan.

Assurant Drug and Alcohol Insurance Coverage

Assurant provides a wide variety of mental health and substance abuse coverage options in their insurance plans. Most Assurant plans will cover most inpatient and outpatient treatment services, typically requiring a $30 copay per calendar day. Some plans limit the number of service days you can have in one year while others have no limits. This is especially valuable for intensive treatment programs like inpatient substance abuse rehabilitation.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Drug And Alcohol Insurance Coverage

Blue Cross Blue Shield is one of the largest medical insurance carriers in the country, and the details of a Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance plan will vary on an individual basis. Coverage options vary between states, so it’s vital for policyholders to understand the coverage they have in their state.

While there are limits to certain types of coverage, most Blue Cross Blue Shield plans include coverage for family counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, medication coverage, and psychotherapy. A distinct benefit to Blue Cross Blue Shield coverage is that there are no dollar limits you will need to meet throughout the year that affects your ability to receive treatment.

Cigna Drug And Alcohol Insurance Coverage

Cigna coverage can include outpatient rehabilitation services, intensive inpatient rehabilitation, and some residential treatments. Like all other insurance carriers, it’s important for policyholders to carefully review the terms of their coverage to confirm in-network and out-of-network rates, disclaimers, and restrictions for coverage. Cigna also has a unique Alcohol Specialty Care Management Team including licensed professionals with training in alcohol abuse disorders. This team helps connect policyholders to providers in their area.

Coventry Health Care Drug and Alcohol Insurance Coverage

Coventry is part of the Aetna insurance network and offers access to the First Health Network, one of the largest and most reputable Preferred Provider Organizations in the country. Coventry also offers Medicare Advantage plans that may cover both inpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment services.

Harvard Pilgrim Health Drug And Alcohol Insurance Coverage

Harvard Pilgrim offers coverage through United Behavioral Health, a network of specialists and professionals including medical doctors, detox experts, psychologists, psychiatrists, and holistic therapy experts. Harvard Pilgrim also offers family counseling, marriage counseling, and even access to social workers and individual counselors.

Health Alliance Plan (HAP) Drug And Alcohol Insurance Coverage

Based in Michigan, the HAP is part of the Henry Ford Health System and assigns a unique service coordinator to every policyholder. HAP also covers emergency services and urgent care anywhere, even outside of Michigan, and detox and rehab programs throughout Michigan fall under HAP coverage as well.

Humana Drug And Alcohol Insurance Coverage

Humana is one of the largest insurance carriers in the country and offers both individual and group healthcare plans. Every plan is different, and there are several options for coverage for inpatient services, intensive outpatient services, and behavioral health counseling.

Medical Mutual Drug And Alcohol Insurance Coverage

Medical Mutual offers coverage for substance abuse, dependency, individualized therapies, and both inpatient and outpatient addiction care. This insurance carrier also sets itself apart by guaranteeing at least partial coverage for all the typical expenses associated with a rehabilitation program. A Medical Mutual plan may also cover alternative, faith-based, or holistic therapies.

Oxford Health Plans Drug And Alcohol Insurance Coverage

Oxford Health Plans operate under the umbrella of United Healthcare in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, but coverage often extends outside of these states as well. As a branch of United Healthcare, Oxford offers a wide variety of individual plan options for policyholders in many states, and plans can cover inpatient, outpatient, and mental health services.

United Healthcare Drug And Alcohol Insurance Coverage

United Healthcare offers nationwide coverage, so you won’t have to worry about traveling out of state for substance abuse treatment. United offers several plans that cover a wide range of treatment options for substance abuse and rehabilitation programs in every state. Coverage can extend from detox through inpatient and outpatient intensive care and behavioral health counseling.

Learn More At The Echo Foundation

The Echo Foundation is committed to providing the public with the latest news concerning addiction, substance abuse, advocacy, and treatment in the United States. Visit us to learn more about our work and the latest treatments available in addiction recovery.

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Meet ECHO Recovery

Meet ECHO Recovery: Supporting Addiction Recovery in New England

ECHO Recovery has been launched to help offset the limited housing designed to serve individuals in the midst of addiction recovery. Here at ECHO Recovery, we are eager to start our mission to right this wrong. Our goal is to share information with the community, equipping recovering addicts and their loved ones with the tools necessary to get back to a sober lifestyle.

Knowing that the East Coast is one of the hotbeds of the nation’s alarming opioid epidemic, our goal is to create a safe and welcoming environment that is easily accessible not only to Maryland residents, but also to those across the entire New England region.

Jim Haggerty, one of our founders, has years of experience as a facilities administrator and as a recovery professional. His vision is to ease the burden placed on addicts and their families during treatment by finding a safe and reliable place for them to stay during recovery.

Opioid Deaths Reflect Need for Solutions

ECHO Recovery

While many types of drug addiction threaten Americans in 2017, opioids are by far the most deadly and dangerous. The threat posed by opioids doesn’t only stem from the black market.

Prescriptions for powerful painkillers in the past few decades have created an entire generation that seems to be hooked on opioids. It’s no surprise that the use of illegal opioids, like heroin and fentanyl, has worsened as opioid painkillers have become more widely prescribed.

Taking a look at the hard numbers reveals just how bad the problem is. According to the Centers for Disease Control:

  • 91 Americans are killed daily by prescription opioids and heroin (out of 142 overall drug overdose deaths each day).
  • The number of opioid-related deaths in the U.S. has quadrupled since 1999.
  • Heroin use between 18 to 25 year olds saw a large increase between 2002 and 2013.
  • Overdose deaths related to synthetic opioids rose significantly from 2014 to 2015.

The ECHO Recovery Solution

The concerning increase in opioid use and overdoses in the past two decades is a large part of what motivated a concerned group of professionals to found ECHO Recovery in the first place. Our goal is to not only help people in Maryland, but to provide resources to all of New England. After all, the region has been hit harder than most by the rash of opioid overdoses.

Americans struggling with opioid addiction on the East Coast face a major shortage of resources for treatment. ECHO Recovery represents an opportunity for anyone dealing with heroin or painkiller addiction to get help and start fresh.

Don’t feel like you need to deal with this struggle alone. You can find support among peers and recovery experts in a safe, established treatment community. If you feel that you may need assistance finding housing for addiction treatment or have any questions about recovery, please  contact us online.

Explore Our Sober Housing Services

ECHO Foundation

Welcome to the ECHO Recovery Blog

In 2014 veteran addiction treatment executive Jim Haggerty spearheaded the effort to form the nonprofit ECHO Recovery, and after much time and effort, we are thrilled to present this brand new website to the public.

With the advent of this blog as part of the new site, our goal is to cover such topics as:

  • Rehab Industry Advancements
  • Best Treatment Practices
  • Breakdown of the Different Levels of Care for Addiction
  • Recovery and Relapse-Prevention Tips and Strategies
  • Sober Living News and Advocacy
  • Drug Use Stats and News (especially regarding the opioid epidemic)

What Does ECHO Mean?

The “ECHO” in ECHO Foundation stands for East Coast Housing Opportunities. In short, our goal is to help people going through rehab find safe and reliable sober homes while actively enrolled in a treatment program – especially outpatient and aftercare. Online donations play a major role in allowing us to help these individuals locate and finance their sober living accommodations.

ECHO Recovery is getting our start by offering our services in The Old Line State of Maryland. We have plans to quickly expand our sober living offerings throughout the East Coast (hence our name), especially to New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York – states hard hit by the opioid epidemic.

According to Haggerty, there are not enough long-term sober living options available on the East Coast for individuals who have graduated residential addiction rehab programs. So, ECHO Recovery is prepared to help solve that problem.

Ultimately, we aim to expand services nationwide to help as many people as possible become and stay sober.

Why the Focus on Outpatient Addiction Treatment?

Outpatient addiction treatment is the critical step between graduating a residential program and returning to so-called “normal life.” Studies show that the longer someone is in treatment for addiction, the better his or her chance for long-term recovery. Since many residential programs are only 30 days, most aren’t getting the breadth of care they truly need to be able to go forward in life substance-free.

Partial hospitalization and outpatient programs help fill the void, but many clients are in need of a stable place to stay as they continue receiving outpatient services. Sober homes encourage accountability in each client’s sobriety and remove the temptation of substance use. They also provide a solid base for the client to return to after attending outpatient sessions. Clients are even encouraged to work part-time or continue their formal education.

If you need a refresher on the services commonly offered in outpatient rehab services, they include (but are not limited to):

  • Individual Therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Faith-Based Support Groups (such as 12-Step Meetings)
  • Nutrition Counseling
  • Relapse Prevention Education
  • Life Skills Counseling
  • Alumni Events
  • Holistic Therapies (such as Yoga, Massage, etc.)

Offering Much More than Sober Housing

Providing sober living opportunities is just a portion of what we do at ECHO Recovery. Our overall mission is three-pronged:

  • Advocacy – We want to advocate on local and national levels for expanded and easier access to addiction treatment services for those who need the help.
  • Education – We want to educate individuals and the public on what addiction is and how treatment can make the difference. This will have the ancillary benefit of helping end the stigma surrounding addiction.
  • Support – We pledge our unwavering support to individuals and families who need to cease the destructive cycle of drug and alcohol abuse. This is where sober housing comes into play.

Stay Tuned for Much More

The best is yet to come from ECHO Recovery. We invite you to follow us on our journey as our site continues to grow as we expand our reach throughout the East Coast and on to the rest of the country. There’s an opioid epidemic that needs to come to an end, as does the stigma surround drug and alcohol addiction. There’s much work to be done.

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