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American Addiction Centers National Rehabs Directory

Aftercare Programs for Fentanyl Recovery

Fentanyl is a dangerously potent opioid drug with a high risk of overdose and death when misused.1 With its extremely reinforcing opioid effects, fentanyl can be difficult to remain abstinent from once someone becomes addicted.1 However, despite these dangers, recovery from fentanyl addiction is possible, and effective treatment programs are available.1 Because of the potential for relapse with fentanyl use, an effective treatment plan should include a strong aftercare component to support recovery once formal treatment is completed.2

Importance of Aftercare in Fentanyl Recovery

While the completion of a treatment program is an important part of recovery, other forms of ongoing care are often sought to help people with long-term sobriety maintenance—including various aftercare services.2

Aftercare is an integral part of the continuum of recovery services and provides many benefits.3 Participation in aftercare can help people stay engaged with post-rehab treatment efforts to decrease the chance for relapse and ultimately promote long-term recovery.4

The term aftercare, or continuing care, may refer to a variety of recovery support efforts that take place after the completion of formal treatment. Aftercare programs are designed to help strengthen relapse prevention and connect people to additional supportive resources, such as housing or positive social networks.4 A plan for aftercare services and activities should be developed before completing formal treatment to ensure a smooth transition and to eliminate gaps in service and support.

Avoiding relapse is the primary goal of treatment and aftercare. Relapse prevention strategies come in many forms to meet the unique needs of those in recovery. Some treatment providers offer formal aftercare programs. There are also mutual support programs such as Narcotics Anonymous, community-based support such as SMART Recovery, and many other options.5 One thing to keep in mind is that the more connection and support someone receives as they move through the recovery process, the better prepared they are to avoid relapse to get back on track with their recovery efforts if relapse does occur.4,5

Fentanyl Rehab Aftercare Planning

Aftercare planning is a process of identifying and proactively addressing vulnerabilities to relapse. An aftercare plan aims to provide meaningful support to help strengthen an individual’s resilience following formal treatment efforts. Aftercare plans are most effective when they are individualized and address the unique personal goals and needs, environmental factors, and social context of the person in recovery.4

Types of Aftercare Programs for Fentanyl Addiction

There are various types of aftercare programs to support recovery from fentanyl addiction. These programs can be useful alone or in some combination, based on the patient’s needs and goals.

Examples of types of aftercare programs include:3,4,5

  • Formal aftercare programs such as outpatient treatment.
  • Mutual support and/or 12-Step groups, such as SMART Recovery and the 12-Step group Narcotics Anonymous.
  • Drug testing programs that provide incentives for abstinence.
  • Automated mobile health interventions.
  • Extended monitoring and treatment programs.
  • Medications for opioid use disorder, also sometimes referred to as medications for addiction treatment (MAT).
  • Structured living environments, such as a therapeutic community or sober living (i.e., recovery) housing.

In addition to the types of aftercare programs above, many formal treatment programs also have alumni programs that provide social interaction and informal support in recovery.

Some of the more common aftercare programs are discussed in greater detail below.

Medication Management

Research shows that the combination of behavioral therapy and medications can increase positive recovery outcomes.6 There are currently 3 primary medications for opioid use disorder approved by the FDA to treat fentanyl addiction. These medications are methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. These medications must be prescribed by a physician and are safe and effective when used as prescribed.7

There is no evidence that one of these medications works more effectively than another, so it is important to speak with a healthcare provider to learn about the benefits and risks of each. All of these medications can assist with maintaining abstinence and with improving overall health and functioning.7

Regular monitoring of medication effects is an important part of ensuring that medications are effective and appropriate. Ongoing monitoring of the overall recovery process is an important part of maintaining a healthy, long-term recovery.7

What Is Smart Recovery?

SMART (Self Management and Recovery Training) Recovery is a community-based approach to behavior change, or mutual help group, that teaches principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT). SMART Recovery is considered a non-faith-based alternative to a 12-Step group because it does not involve a spiritual component and takes a self-empowering approach to recovery.

SMART Recovery addresses any addictive or problematic behavior that people want to work on. SMART Recovery meetings are led by trained facilitators, and all meetings are free of charge. There are SMART Recovery meetings that meet in-person as well as online options.8

Narcotics Anonymous (NA)

Narcotics Anonymous, or NA, is a mutual support group open to everyone who wants to participate and who wants to stop using drugs. NA is based on the 12-Step process that began with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) with some changes to the language that reflect addiction as the problem, not any particular substance. NA meetings and activities are run by members. NA meetings are held both in-person and online.9

Sober Living for Fentanyl Addiction Recovery

Having a safe, stable living environment that’s free from substance use is an important part of recovery and can sometimes be difficult to find. As the name indicates, sober living environments are drug- and alcohol-free environments where people can live while they establish sobriety and ongoing recovery.10

Research shows that sober living environments, sometimes called recovery housing, are associated with a variety of positive outcomes for residents, including maintaining sobriety, increased employment and income, improved relationships, and lower rates of legal issues and incarceration.11

Sober living programs are usually paid for by the residents and are often based on 12-Step principles. However, house culture and structure can vary widely. Most sober living programs operate with strict rules and guidelines to ensure the safety and sobriety of the residents.10

Types of Therapy Used in Aftercare

Psychotherapy can be very beneficial as part of an aftercare plan. There are many therapy approaches that work to help change thinking patterns to support ongoing recovery, increase motivation to remain abstinent, and develop or strengthen skills to deal with life’s difficulties and challenges without the use of drugs or alcohol.3

Specific types of therapy that have been found to be effective for fentanyl misuse and addiction include:12

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy.
  • Contingency management.
  • Motivational enhancement therapy.

Therapy is most often offered as individual therapy, family therapy, or in a group setting. Each of these forms of therapy has benefits, and they can all be effective in promoting ongoing recovery.6

Finding Fentanyl Rehab and Aftercare Programs Near Me

The first important step to starting long-term recovery from fentanyl addiction is to find treatment. The first step in finding the right fit for your unique needs is to talk with a professional about your options. At American Addiction Centers (AAC), we have admissions navigators who can help you through this decision process and connect you with a treatment center that fits your needs.

The structured and safe environment of treatment is especially important when seeking help for opioid use disorder or fentanyl misuse. The powerful impact of opioids on the brain’s reward system can derail the recovery process without the professional support offered in a treatment setting.1

As part of the treatment process, you will also develop plans for aftercare and ongoing care that will enhance the insight and skills you develop in treatment and build on those skills to help you continue the progress you’ve made and support your ongoing sobriety and life of recovery. Call AAC today at .

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