To Beat Heroin Addiction, A Turn To Coaches
This story is part of a partnership that includes WBUR, NPR and Kaiser Health News. It can be republished for free. (details)GOSNOLD, Mass. — Two young men sit in a car outside a church or union hall where they just attended a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. Both men are addicted to heroin. But they haven’t used the drug since they finished a residential treatment program a week or so earlier.
“This happens a lot, there’s the two of us sitting together,” says Jeremy Wurzburg, a thin, pale 21-year-old who became addicted to heroin two years ago.
“We both,” Wurzburg pauses, “we’re not sure whether we’re going to use or not …” That moment, for Wurzburg, could lead right back to his drug of choice, heroin. Most recovery programs, he says, don’t — and maybe can’t — prepare patients in early recovery to fight that urge alone.
“Once I got out of treatment into the real world, it was a big shock,” Wurzburg says.
Of patients addicted to heroin who stop, 40 to 60 percent relapse within the first year. For many it happens soon after finishing a recovery program.
‘Custom-Tailored’ Recovery Help
Wurzberg is now in a new young adult recovery program. It’s a one-year pilot project at Gosnold, which runs a network of addiction treatment services on Cape Cod.
Wurzburg agreed to live in a sober house, attend daily 12-step group meetings and get individual counseling. Perhaps most importantly, Wurzburg has help daily, sometimes hourly, from a recovery coach. Read more