Pre pandemic, online recovery was viewed by many in our industry as novel – not quite the same as in-person options. At Lionrock, we knew those views were limited, while we agreed that online treatment differed significantly from in-person. Now, as the pandemic drags into another year, the world has caught up with what we know to be indisputable: online recovery has been, and continues to be, the most private and successful way to get help with substance abuse. That vision we had when we launched Lionrock more than ten years ago wasn’t so crazy after all.

The growing opioid crisis – a record 93,000 drug-overdose deaths were documented last year, a nearly 30% increase from 2019 –  combined with pandemic-related stay-at-home orders, fear of going out, and heightened general anxiety left many people with substance use disorders (SUDs) susceptible to increased drug use or relapse. For those people, online recovery was, and continues to be, critical.

At Lionrock, we’ve been confident from the outset that if we could reach people, we could help them. We have always delivered all of our care online by secure video conference and now mobile app too. And it works. Studies show that 80 percent of Lionrock’s clients remained abstinent at 18 months after discharge from treatment; that’s considerably higher than the national average. We’ve reached thousands of people and half of them tell us that they aren’t willing to get help in a traditional setting.

Why? For starters, online treatment is affordable. So even for people without health insurance, we can create private pay packages that fit most budgets.

Next, it’s private. With a telehealth solution, people can seek and receive treatment from the privacy of their home. Let’s face it, getting help for alcohol or drug addiction takes courage. Receiving help from a private, comfortable and familiar setting, reduces a major barrier to seeking help.  

Also, it’s flexible. When you take away the need to commute to and from treatment and you add in options for different times of the day, treatment becomes a much more realistic option for people who may have been wondering how to get the help they need without signaling to their employers or others that there is a problem.

Getting people help sooner, through earlier intervention, holds the most promise for better outcomes. So does keeping people engaged and connected through recovery. The online video tools of telehealth go a long way to making that happen.

Sadly, COVID and the mental health distress that accompanies it, isn’t going away anytime soon. Luckily, neither is online recovery.