An addiction glossary: Treatment

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An addiction glossary: Treatment

Virginia’s Piedmont has no shortage of help for opioid addicts and their families. Here is a sampling of  available resources. Some require pa…

Finding the right treatment for opioid addiction can be daunting. Not only are there multiple options, but their effectiveness can vary from person to person. One big challenge is how to start your search.  Some options include the Rappahannock-Rapidan Community Services Board Crisis Line (540-825-5656), the Mental Health Association of Fauquier County (540) 341-8732) and the Come As You Are online resources guide ( 

Here are terms it’s helpful to know:   

Abstinence-based: The model of treatment based largely on peer-support rather than the use of medications. The commitment to abstain from alcohol and drugs is a core element of 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery.  

Acute care: Early phase of treatment during which detox can occur and a person is stabilized under medically managed or monitored care in a residential facility. Usually lasts about a month.  

Assessment: A process used to evaluate an addict’s condition and determine his or her  medical, psychological and social needs. It usually involves biological tests, such as blood and urine samples, as well as a clinical diagnostic interview, and is the first step in developing an appropriate treatment and recovery plan. 

Drug courts: Special courts that take a public health approach to drug-related crimes. Judges, attorneys, probation officers, law enforcement, mental health agencies, social services and treatment communities work together to help addicted offenders get into recovery programs. 

Employee assistance programs (EAP): Voluntary intervention programs offered by employers to support employees dealing with mental health and emotional issues, including substance use. Services offered may vary, but they include providing employees with free, confidential assessments,  short-term counseling and follow-up services. 

Harm reduction: Strategies, policies and programs meant to reduce the negative consequences associated with drug use. Examples include clean-needle exchange programs designed to reduce cases of hepatitis and HIV, and wide distribution of Narcan to save overdose victims.  

Intensive outpatient program (IOP): A nonresidential clinical treatment where patients participate in hours of individual and group therapy sessions several days a week for as long as four months. It enables people still early in their recovery to transition to living at home and working in a job while getting intensive therapy. 

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT): Combines behavioral therapy with use of FDA-approved medications, including Suboxone, methadone and naltrexone. 

Narcotics Anonymous (NA): Modeled after the principles, practices and structure of Alcoholics Anonymous, it’s a 12-step program for individuals struggling with drug use. NA has regular open meetings in more than 100 countries. 

Oxford House: A concept of recovery housing where rent-paying tenants live in democratically-run homes where they must abstain from alcohol and drugs and follow other house rules or they are evicted. It’s based on a model created by the nonprofit Oxford House Inc. 

Peer support groups: Structured nonclinical programs in which people recovering from substance abuse get support from peer-sharing their own experiences with recovery. Best known peer-to-peer groups are AA and NA.  

Peer counselors: Trained and certified counselors who have long-term recovery from addiction and are providing help and counseling to those still trying to recover. 

Recovery coach: A person who works with a recovering addict to make better life decisions and spend less time struggling with overcoming their situation.  He or she can assist in many aspects of recovery, from following through on treatment to rebuilding trust from family members and friends. 

Trigger: A particular event or situation that increases the likelihood that an addict will relapse. Stress is a common trigger for many addicts, as are associations with people still using.


Opioid Ripples is an ongoing series produced jointly by four organizations: two independent, nonprofit civic news organizations, Piedmont Journalism Foundation and Foothills Forum; and two media companies, Piedmont Media and Rappahannock Media. The nonprofits provide the research and reporting; the media companies decide when and what to publish in their newspapers and on their websites.

Foothills Forum, founded in 2014, and Piedmont Journalism Foundation, founded in 2018, were created to increase in-depth news coverage and public discussion of issues in their communities.

Foothills Forum focuses on Rappahannock County. For more information, see

Piedmont Journalism Foundation focuses on Fauquier and surrounding counties. For more information, see

Community support of the nonprofits makes this and other projects possible. Funding for this series comes in part from the PATH Foundation, which provides grants to improve health and vitality in Fauquier, Rappahannock and Culpeper counties.

Coming soon

• How the role of police in dealing with the opioid epidemic is shifting from making arrests to educating the public.

• For all the raised awareness about opioid addiction, its stigma persists and plays out in many ways. Also, how other communities are dealing with the challenges of the opioid crisis.

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