RD270 - Addiction Relapse Prevention Programs in the Commonwealth

  • Published: 2019
  • Author: Joint Commission on Health Care
  • Enabling Authority: Letter Request (2019)

Executive Summary:

By letter of request, Delegate Kory asked the Joint Commission on Health Care (JCHC) to study programs in Virginia that offer assistance to persons who have successfully completed substance abuse recovery regimens and been released to the community, with a particular focus on preventing relapse of opioid addiction. The JCHC Executive Subcommittee and the full Commission approved the study for 2018.

Addiction – the most severe form of Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) – is considered to be complex, chronic, and prone to relapse. Although risk of relapse is inherent in addiction, there is no consensus on its definition. Similarly, data on objective measures of relapse – such as drug screen results – are difficult to collect routinely, leaving various proxy measures to be commonly used as indicators of relapse. A variety of interventions exist to treat and promote recovery from SUDs. These include pharmacotherapy for certain SUDs (e.g., Opioid Use Disorders), as well as a range of psychosocial interventions.

Programs in Virginia most directly connected to recovery and relapse prevention and available to the general public include recovery housing, recovery community organizations and peer support services. State agencies support several SUD recovery-oriented programs focused on specific populations, including justice-involved individuals, high-need Medicaid beneficiaries, pregnant and parenting women, and individuals whose SUD creates a barrier to employment. Although recent State-level initiatives have been taken to coordinate various programs and initiatives focused on SUD treatment and recovery, information provided by State agencies to the public on their availability does not appear to be well-coordinated or -aligned. Additionally, while barriers to accessing SUD programs have been reduced for some populations, and recent State-level initiatives seek to improve quality of SUD treatment and recovery services by clinicians, barriers to accessing SUD services continue to exist for other segments of the population. Also, barriers to the certification and employment of Peer Recovery Specialists remain.

Nine policy options were presented for consideration by the Joint Commission on Health Care and the members approved the following two options:

• Introduce a budget amendment to support the placement of Day Reporting Centers in three DOC probation and parole districts (Richmond City, Norfolk City, Buchanan/Tazewell), with the Day Reporting Centers offering non-pharmacological SUD treatment and recovery services as well as wraparound supports to offenders in need of initial or ongoing SUD services.

• By Letter of the JCHC Chair, request that the Secretaries of HHR and PSHS to convene a workgroup to study the current alignment and coordination of information made available to the public through State agencies on substance use disorder treatment and recovery resources, making recommendations to the General Assembly and JCHC by November 1, 2019 on legislation and/or budget amendments required to improve alignment and coordination of SUD treatment/recovery resource information made available by State agencies.