Local program is recruiting recovering opioid addicts in medication-assisted treatment

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- A Huntsville-based recovery program is piloting an initiative unlike any of its kind -- a place where recovering opioid addicts in medication-assisted treatment can live in a safe in a safe and sober community. The only requirement is that participants are enrolled in a medication-assisted treatment program providing methadone, suboxone or similar support.

Most opioid addiction recovery programs in the United States, if not all, are abstinence-based. This means no drug or alcohol use is permitted to help with recovery-- not even prescription drugs.

But thousands of addicts rely on medications for recovery.

"They're doing it in their own homes, they're doing it on the streets, they're doing it in all sorts of situations, but not in a recovery group home type setting," said Eric Richards, director of Stepping Stones.

And if these people try to seek help in a group home setting-- they're turned away.

"Some of those people are dead, because we did not know how to accommodate those folks in this type of setting," Richards said.

Now a unique program is being offered in Huntsville where anyone recovering from opioid addiction in medication-assisted treatment can live in a group recovery home where they can have a chance at a normal life.

This pilot program is placing recovering addicts in a separate community where they can take medication in a place where they're safe and under supervision.

"We've been turning away people traditionally, we decided we could do better, so we're gonna do better," Richards said.

The group plans to publish the findings of their study in the spring of next year. If the pilot is successful, the next phase of the study will look at the quality of various outpatient treatment settings to determine the most effective and cost-efficient approach.

Stepping Stones is recruiting men and women into the housing program through the end of 2018. People interested in applying for the program can contact Stepping Stones by clicking here.

There are an estimated 3,000 people in Madison County right now on some kind of medication-assisted treatment. None of them have access to recovery homes until now.

Stepping Stones is a residential community for men and women recovering from substance abuse. By promoting independence and personal responsibility, we mitigate relapse in substance abusers. The goal of Stepping Stones is to ensure every recovering individual has access to quality housing and a supportive environment including employment.

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