Drug Treatment Goes Online

A post by guest blogger Russell Webster

There have been a number of online approaches to drug and alcohol treatment developed over recent years and a bunch of apps. The ones I’ve looked at have been, in the main, not very well thought through.

One exception is the excellent app by @UturnTraining which guides people through the process of saving the life of an overdosed heroin user by administering naloxone. Recently I was sent through information about Breaking Free Online – an online treatment and recovery programme.

It is essentially a Computer Assisted Therapy which uses a range of multi-media formats.

I’ve had a cursory look and after a self-assessment process, the programme suggests areas of your life to work on, providing both a range of strategies and downloadable resources.

I’m not a treatment expert but it looks as if there has been considerable effort and thought put into the design with a focus on using evidence-based interventions in a user-friendly way.

There is also a section which enables people to find local treatment services, and AA, NA and SMART recovery meetings.

My initial impression is that this sort of service would work very well in combination with mainstream services, especially when the existing worker is aware of the programme and understands the basics of the Computer Assisted Therapy approach.

I’ve always thought online support is particularly valuable to people who are isolated and vulnerable or restricted to home because of caring duties.

The alcohol version of the progamme is now available as an app on iOS with other platforms to follow. The drug version will also be coming out as an app this year. Here’s the promotional video on YouTube:

Breaking Free Mobile App

SMMGP is very interested in readers’ experience of using Computer Assisted Therapies for substance misuse issues – please comment below.
Note: This post first appeared on Russell Webster’s blog which focuses on Drugs, Crime & Digital Innovation. Russell has no commercial interest in Breaking Free, other applications are available. You can follow Russell on Twitter: @russwebt
Check out this post for other online drug treatment resources.

See also:A pilot outcomes evaluation for computer assisted therapy for substance misuse – an evaluation of Breaking Free Online” by Breaking Free Online Ltd (July 2013), available in the Other Resources section.