Value of Family Involvement in Substance Use Disorder Treatment

Aligning Clinical and Financing Priorities

Published in: Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, Volume 132 (January 2022). doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2021.108652

Posted on on January 07, 2022

by Alex R. Dopp, Jennifer K. Manuel, Joshua Breslau, Barbara Lodge, Brian Hurley, Courtney Ann Kase, Karen Chan Osilla

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Family members' support (e.g., informational, tangible, emotional) has important and lasting impacts on individuals' recovery from substance use disorders (SUDs). Unfortunately, SUD services in the United States do not consistently incorporate patients' family members effectively. One barrier to family involvement in SUD services is the mechanisms through which SUD services in the United States are commonly financed.


Using our recent experiences with developing a group intervention for support persons of patients with opioid use disorder, we illustrate how gaps in feasible financing models limit SUD service systems from effectively implementing and sustaining family services for individuals receiving SUD treatment.


Long-term availability of family-inclusive interventions will require collaboration with payors and health systems. We offer two sets of recommendations for funding family involvement in SUD services; one set of immediately implementable recommendations and other longer-term goals requiring structural changes in SUD service delivery and financing.

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