Most evidence-based treatments for opioid use disorders (OUD) require face-to-face interactions with individuals who comprise a recovery support network. These individuals include, but are not limited to, clinicians who provide individual therapy sessions, physicians who manage medication-assisted treatments (MAT), support groups, peer recovery coaches and sponsors. Decades of research have enhanced the effectiveness of these services. However, at the specific moment when people in recovery relapse, often they are not in the presence of these trusted individuals. They may also be unable or unwilling to contact individuals who support their recovery by phone or text messages. They are alone, or they are with others who facilitate their drug use.
This Texas Targeted Opioid Response (TTOR)-funded project aims to address this issue by providing people in recovery with a heart-rate biofeedback smartphone app to guide them through slow-paced breathing exercises at the specific moments they feel compelled to use. Consistent use of these breathing exercises can also reduce stress, general anxiety, depression and drug cravings. We are partnering with peer-specialist recovery coaches from the Recovery Support Services of Texas Health and Human Services Commission to provide this intervention to people in their networks.