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  • Taylor Andrews

What Percent of People Stay Clean and Sober?

One of the most common questions I get asked by patients at my treatment facility as well as by house members at Serenity Falls is what percent of people end up staying clean and/or end up staying sober off alcohol and drugs. As a data driven person, I experienced years of frustration trying to find answers to this question. While in early recovery I was told a wide range of statistics--most of which turned out to be complete Myth. The statistic that I've heard over and over again is that, "1% of opiate addicts stay clean and 10% of Alcoholics stay sober." I want to start off by alleviating any anxiety from readers and state that this statistic is complete myth, although that comes with a few caveats. The first thing to understand is that research into recovery rates involves measuring how different treatments influence recovery rates. The caveat that I mentioned above is that without treatment the numbers ARE scary. According to one study only 6.6% of opiate addicts will get clean without treatment. This isn't the end of the story however. Their are tools that we know can help people get and stay clean and sober. There are 3 medically validated keys to treatment which are inpatient treatment centers, AA/NA/Support Groups, Sober Livings, and MAT Therapy. Everyone knows someone or has heard of someone that has been to a treatment center at least once, and often times more than once. The reason for this is clear: study after study shows that inpatient treatment is extremely effective at helping people get sober. In one study 47% of participants ended up reaching 12 months of sobriety after a 28 day stay, in another study 63% of patients remained sober after a 3 month period. While 50% may not seem like a cure it's an almost 800% increase in recovery rates than without treatment. If this still doesn't seem good enough then lets look at the other factors we listed.


AA, NA, and other support groups are one of the biggest factor for recovery rates. In one study over 62% of individuals who went to meetings regularly stayed clean after 3 years. In this long term study after 16 years 58% were still sober! Next is Sober Livings. In one study by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health found that in structured Sober Livings recovery rates went from 11% to 68%! at 6 and 12 months! The reason for this is because in Sober Livings meeting attendance is required, peer bonding is inevitable, and access to community resources is on hand. This is why we opened Serenity Falls--to be part of the solution. The last factor is MAT therapy. MAT stands for Medication Assisted Treatment. This can include medications such as Suboxone, Campral, Naltrexone, Vivitrol, and many others. Unfortunately in many Sober Livings as well as in the recovery community some of these life changing medications have an unfair negative bias. Looking at just Suboxone will show the power of this therapy. Suboxone is a medication that is given to people suffering from opiate substance use disorder. In one study members of the experiment were detoxed off of their opiate of choice and given no other medications, after a short amount of time only 6.6% of the participants remained sober. However, the scientists took the group that had relapsed and put them on extended Suboxone. The results are astounding: 18% of people stayed abstinent after 4 weeks of extended Suboxone Treatment

And 34%! of people stayed abstinent after 8 weeks of extended Suboxone Treatment.

These numbers don’t accurately show how dramatic this is. In the studies measuring abstinence after 2 and 4 weeks of extended Suboxone treatment abstinence was measured quickly, only 4 weeks after extended Suboxone was first administered. However for the study that had patients on Suboxone for 8 weeks with a 34% success rate, the abstinence rate was delayed and measured after 6 months! When patients utilize treatment centers, group therapy, sober livings, and MAT therapy their success rates sky rocket. Individually each of these can increase the success rate of people trying to get clean and sober, however, when all are applied it stands to reason that success is much more likely. At Serenity Falls we aim to work with treatment centers, utilize group meetings, and provide access to doctors who have experience with MAT therapy.








References

Andersson, H. W., Wenaas, M., & Nordfjærn, T. (2019). Relapse after inpatient substance use treatment: A prospective cohort study among users of illicit substances. Addictive Behaviors, 90, 222-228. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.11.008

Bentzley, B. S., Barth, K. S., Back, S. E., & Book, S. W. (2015). Discontinuation of buprenorphine maintenance therapy: Perspectives and outcomes. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 52, 48-57. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2014.12.011

Dennis, M. L., Scott, C. K., Funk, R., & Foss, M. A. (2005). The duration and correlates of addiction and treatment careers. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 28(2), S51-S62. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2004.10.013

Galanter, M. (2017). Combining medically assisted treatment and twelve-step programming: A perspective and review. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 44(2), 151-159. https://doi.org/10.1080/00952990.2017.1306747

Laudet, A. B., & White, W. L. (2008). Recovery capital as prospective predictor of sustained recovery, life satisfaction, and stress among former poly-substance users. Substance Use & Misuse, 43(1), 27-54. https://doi.org/10.1080/10826080701681473

Moos, R. H., & Moos, B. S. (2006). Rates and predictors of relapse after natural and treated remission from alcohol use disorders. Addiction, 101(2), 212-222. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2006.01310.x

Weiss, R. D. (2011). Adjunctive counseling during brief and extended buprenorphine-naloxone treatment for prescription opioid dependence. Archives of General Psychiatry, 68(12), 1238. https://doi.org/10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2011.121



















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