There are an estimated 21.5 million people with drug abuse problems in the United States. With a relapse rate of about 40-60%, you are looking at a very real problem in your hands. The federal and state governments have been trying to find foolproof ways for relapse prevention.
But drug addiction is a very complex disease. You have to treat each case individually rather than impose a generic program and hope it will have the same positive impact on everybody.
The Marlatt’s Cognitive-Behavioral Model posts that successful relapse prevention is rooted in the following interventions:
- Identify the situations that serve as triggers for the patient
- Enhance the coping mechanism of the patient to respond well to those high-risk situations
- Educate the patient on the effects of the chemical substance
- Change the patient’s attitude toward the relapse process
Over the years, the behavior toward the relapse has changed. Instead of thinking of it as a mistake, patients are encouraged to view it as a process. When you begin to think that a relapse is a normal step toward recovery, you stop being too hard on yourself.
The Bitcoin and Drug Addiction
For years, the authorities have been trying to crack down on the Dark Web, which arguably has become the digital bazaar for illicit drugs and prescription opioids. A report from CNBC News in April 2018 reported how the Dark Web has been fueling America’s drug crisis.
Drug traffickers have been exploiting the loopholes in the system. For one, they are using the US Postal Service to ship drugs, such as fentanyl for instance, to their clients. The US Postal Service doesn’t really verify if the information inputted by the sender is true or not.
Fentanyl is a very potent drug that is said to be 50 times deadlier than heroin and 100 times more fatal than morphine. It’s a powerful painkiller that is only prescribed under strict regulations, and only if ordinary painkillers don’t work anymore.
How do the Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies figure into this?
Well, in the Dark Web, your money isn’t accepted. They only work through digital currencies because of two main reasons:
- They protect their anonymity since each transaction is encrypted and known only to the two parties involved
- Delivery is fast because you dispense with financial intermediaries like banks
How Cryptocurrency Can Divert Drug Addiction
When the Bitcoin was first released in 2009, nobody could really foresee how it’s going to revolutionize the way the digital marketplace will operate.
Granted, that it’s just experimental but Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society reported about a new app that leverages on the popularity of cryptocurrencies in the hopes of aiding the drug recovery.
The drug recovery app developed by Hayver offers digital currency (for now The Duitcoin) as an incentive for people to work hard to avoid a relapse.
Dr. John M. Copenhaver, the co-founder of Hayver, explained that the app will build on a reward system for the patient. He said that research has found a high success rate for patients who go through random screenings after they graduated from rehab for drugs and alcohol. These patients were found to have a high likelihood of staying sober after leaving the treatment center.
The app will encourage patients into going through daily checks and random urine tests to make sure they are clean. They will have to sign up for the app and will become a member of what is known as the “accountability group” comprise of 20 others who will serve as the support system. They get a digital coin, along with their accountability group, as a reward.
This is just one example of the creative use of cryptocurrency to divert the attention of the patient away from the substance abuse. As the technology grows, surely there would be other applications such as this to help the millions of Americans struggling with substance abuse.