Over the last several years there has been an emerging trend of providing addiction treatment services online. Unsurprisingly this trend accelerated during the COVID pandemic. Service offering include counseling, peer support including recovery support and the use of pharmaceutical treatment drugs. However, Researchers reported at the American Psychological Association annual meeting that face-to-face meetings are more effective than online meetings. Not all providers are embracing the online approach. For example, Destination Hope, is a Florida-based drug rehabilitation and alcohol treatment center, has published information listing the “Pros of Quality In-Person Therapy.”
Something else to watch is whether virtual providers essentially become online pharmacies. For example, a Michigan-based startup called Workit Health raised $118 million in venture capital funding last year, led by global private equity firm Insight Partners with participation from CVS Health Ventures, FirstMark Capital, BCBS Venture Fund and 3L Capital. A review of their website shows an emphasis on using pharmaceutical treatment drugs as a core part of their service. Most troubling is their stated use of “medication for commonly co-occurring issues” for treating meth and cocaine addiction. A clever use of wording to sidestep the fact that there are no FDA-approved drugs for meth or cocaine use disorders. This trend towards online providing deserves caution and monitoring.