The Success in Early Recovery (SIER) Workgroup is a collaboration of patients, caregivers, clinicians, and researchers that is designed to better understand the patient experience in achieving sobriety from drugs and alcohol. A community of concerned stakeholders will explore patient-identified objectives and challenges in early sobriety, while working toward a patient-described definition of success in recovery from substance use disorders (SUDs).
A key group for this collaboration is patients of transitional-aged youth (TAY) in an urban setting. Individuals with substance use disorders in this demographic are at higher risk for infectious diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis C, yet have lower degrees of health literacy. Young women in this group often have poor follow-up with reproductive care, and are at higher risk for sexually transmitted infections. Mental health disorders are also common among these young individuals, with higher rates of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Poor nutrition is another concern for TAY with substance use, during a critical time of ongoing brain development.
While the medical community may describe successful addiction treatment by the number of drug-free urine toxicology screens, the recovery process is multifactorial, with a variety of colors that make up the painting of life quality. This collaborative will create a forum empowering young SUD patients to define success in sobriety for themselves, while building the capacity for patient-driven research questions in the future.