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Landline Texting Recovery Center Intervention Decreases At-Risk Youth from Relapsing

An interactive landline texting for recovery centers program has proven its potential to assist teenagers and at-risk youths to engage more with post-treatment activities to prevent relapse. Researchers found that a program called Educating & Supporting Inquisitive Youths in Recovery (ESQYIR) decreased relapsing by 50% in youths in comparison to typical aftercare programs.

A research team at UCLA led by Dr. Rachel Gonzales and her colleagues is who constructed ESQYIR in an effort to educate and support self-managed wellness in a way that would appeal to the lifestyle of younger patients and communicate more with them in a manner they are used to. The research team found an abundance of advantages with the landline texting approach. Besides being a cost-efficient platform, they found that the flexibility in being able to communicate at any time or place by using personalized texting features was of great benefit.

The Need of Landline Texting

A great percentage of young people lack follow-through with recovery centers, and they tend to resist involvement with the 12-step program along with other recovery activities during the post-treatment stages. As stated by Dr. Rachel Gonzales, “Teenagers don’t really want to be categorized with being a part of recovery or having a disease. In their thought process, after the first treatment, they are finished.” Teenagers don’t look at addiction as a type of disease, she added. They look at substance abuse as a personal choice or lifestyle. The result of that is that a shocking 85% of teenagers end up relapsing within a years’ time.

The research team found that teenagers would engage on a more regular basis with their aftercare program when landline texting was implemented. This innovative form of communicating is popular among youth and surpassed most other methods of social engagement. Text messages can be more personalized, private, and more accessible which is why young people find it to be convenient when reaching out for help. Landline texting is already being used by medical facilitiesto provide communicative support to patients who are overcoming tobacco dependence, obesity, STDs, and other medical problems.

Staying in Touch

There were 80 volunteers between the ages of 14-26 participating in the ESQYIR study who were all being treated in community recovery centers in Los Angeles, CA. The outpatient program included youths who were using drugs such as:

  1. Marijuana (55 percent)

  2. Methamphetamine (30 percent)

  3. Cocaine (15 percent)

  4. Heroin (11 percent)

  5. Prescription drug (6 percent)

  6. and other substances which included alcohol (4 percent)

50% of those who participated received the landline texting program as part of their treatment, while the other 50% were treated with the standard recovery center programs through the facilities they were registered with, which included referrals to a 12-step program.

In the image above, you’ll see an example of the daily text messages participants received to motivate and encourage them, along with self-monitoring message tips on their road to recovery. These substance-use related alerts also provided information on aftercare programs in their local area.

Every day at noon, the group who was partaking in the landline texting program would receive an encouraging message that included a healthy tip for the day. The encouraging portion of the text message would say something like, “Today is a new day in your recovery process! Just think about the wonderful things that await you at the finish line!” While the healthy tip of the day endorsed physical, social, personal, and emotional health. For instance, the text message would say something like, “Tell us the top 3 stressors that would prevent you from using.”

During the late afternoons each weekday, the landline texting participants would receive a text message that would prompt them to self-monitor and reply with a rating of their level of wellbeing, abstinence confidence, recovery behaviors, and substance use (see the self-monitoring portion of the image above).

The group would then receive a reply that would encourage them or provide coping advice to help them stay on track with their recovery and motivate them to attend group therapy or meetings.

Over the weekends, the landline texting participants would receive personalized text messages with resourceful information on where they can seek support through local services.

More Engagement, Less Relapsing

In the image above you will notice that the participants of the landline texting program who were receiving text messages each day had a decrease in teenagers who relapsed over those who were receiving standard treatment

The research team at UCLA monitored the urine of participants for drugs and alcohol use each month during the study. The results proved that over time, the group who participated in the landline texting program had less chance of relapsing to their primary substance increased by only 50% as fast as the group undergoing standard treatment. In comparison to the group in the standard program, the landline texting group participants were less likely to relapse within:

  1. 1 month (8.6 percent vs. 30.3 percent)

  2. 2 months (3.6 percent vs. 39.3 percent)

  3. and 3 months (14.7 percent vs. 62.9 percent) post substance abuse treatment

The research team followed up with 55 out of the 81 participants in the study 6 months later and found that those who were a part of the landline texting program relapsed less than those in the standard treatment program. Only 21.4% relapsed vs. the 59.3% who were in the standard treatment program.

Getting Started with Landline Texting for Recovery Centers

Text My Main Number provides a landline texting platform for recovery centers who are looking to improve their approach in how they motivate substance abuse users that are undergoing treatment. By providing daily messages of encouragement and support, text messages are proving to be an effective tool for people who are struggling on the road to sobriety. If you own or manage a recovery center and are looking to implement an effective communication channel for your facility, we encourage you to start a free trial of the Text My Main Number landline texting platform.

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