Providing Innovative Treatment For Opioid Addiction

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Are you concerned about your opioid drug use, or that of a loved one? The holiday season is often a time of strain and stress, especially for individuals and their families who are struggling with addiction. Yet, the beginning of a new year is a time when many people make efforts towards change. The Opioid Addiction and Family Project may be able to help.

The Opioid Addiction and Family Project is a program designed to provide high-quality, no-cost treatment for adults addicted to opioids.


Opioids are are chemical substances commonly used for pain relief, such as heroin or oxycodone. The Project is a study conducted by researchers at Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) and Harvard Medical School to examine if adding family counseling to individual counseling and recovery medication improves treatment outcomes.

"We have had some tremendous success stories: young people who have stopped out-of-control drug use and gotten their lives back on track," said Mark Albanese, MD, CHA's Director of Addiction Services. "Our communities are plagued by opioid abuse, so we are fortunate that NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) has made this valuable resource available to us."

Adults seeking help for an opioid addiction may be eligible for the program if they are between 21 and 65 years old and live with a family member (spouse, intimate partner, parent, or other family member). All participants receive free individual counseling, and half of all participants also receive free family counseling. The counseling consists of 32 sessions over 4-5 months.

Additionally, all participants receive free Naltrexone medication. Naltrexone is an opiate blocker approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of opioid dependence that has been shown to improve treatment outcomes. Counseling sessions take place at CHA's Central Street Health Center in Somerville, Mass.