Monthly Archives: May 2018

10 Things I Learned at the Opioid Conference

The National Family Preservation Network (NFPN) helped coordinate a conference on opioids on May 3. Here are 10 things that I learned about opioids:
1. Opioids are depressants which slow the heart rate and breathing and thus overdoses can quickly cause death. Combining opioids with other drugs exponentially increases the risk of overdose and death.
2. The most frequently obtained source of illegal opioids is from a family member’s or friend’s prescription. Anxiety or depression are some of the main reasons for substance use.
3. Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain. Like any chronic illness, such as diabetes, addiction is difficult to treat. It takes time for the brain to recover and resume production of natural chemicals.
4. Detoxification is not sufficient. It is not treatment. The absence of drugs does not equal recovery.
5. 90% of opioid users require medication-assisted treatment. These medications help the brain to regain normal functioning.
6. Behavior therapies enhance the effectiveness of medications and help people stay in treatment longer. Behavior therapies engage people in treatment, modify their attitudes and behaviors related to drug use, and increase their life skills.
7. Addicts can be helped to overcome addiction, even if they don’t want help!
The outcomes for voluntary and involuntary treatment are similar.
8. Relapse is not a failure. It’s part of recovery. One exemplary drug court does not sanction participants for relapse. Rather, treatment is increased. The court does impose jail time for not showing up…so everyone shows up!
9. Children of substance-using parents are more likely to be abused and neglected, and more likely to be placed in foster care. Interventions include comprehensive assessment, safety plan, and increasing parental protective capacity.
10. Get as much training as possible on opioids. For a comprehensive overview of opioids, visit

Here are additional resources:

NFPN offers a video training on substance use. Pricing starts at $275.

NFPN has trainers (board members) with expertise in helping address the effects of opioid use on families: parenting capacity and skills, motivational interviewing, trauma treatment, and depression. Contact NFPN for more information and rates.

For all questions and for information about resources and training, please contact Priscilla Martens, NFPN Executive Director,, phone 888-498-9047.

Posted by Priscilla Martens, NFPN Executive Director