Recovery coaches find virtual and in-person addiction treatment equally effective

Virtual substance abuse treatment

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The pandemic forced the health care industry to turn towards telehealth, and addiction treatment groups have done the same. Preliminary findings in a new addiction research study show virtual treatment is just as effective as in-person options. Recovery coaches at CODAC, a behavioral health group in Tucson said members are finding success with online meetings.

“It’s a place I can anchor my rope to," said Eliseo Zamorano, who is in recovery for substance abuse at CODAC. "It has kept me clean and sober and off the streets.”

Zamorano has gone to recovery classes for the past 17 months. His recovery coach, Jamie Patricko, said her members are still finding success with the virtual classes.

“As long as you reach them on a personal level, and you keep them engaged, they want to come," Patricko said.

It’s the personal connections, even through a computer screen, that have helped Zamorano.

“For some reason I always thought it was just me but it’s not," he said. "There’s other people struggling with the same thing and that has been a help to me.”

His classmates have watched his journey.

“They have to look at me also and know that it is possible to leave all that behind and still pick up the pieces of your life," Zamorano said.

He said it’s the support from his coaches that have made all the difference.

“You’re going to realize the tools are already in you," he said. "You just need somebody to bring them out.”

Watching these realizations is the most rewarding part for Patricko.

“I get the chills because want lasts a lot longer than half to," she said.

It’s the desire to change that keeps Zamorano coming back for more.

“People that have experienced what I have experienced. It helps me to know and stay sober. Slowly the desire is even going away," he said,

CODAC offers “walk-day” intakes for anyone looking to start treatment. Call (520) 327-4505 to get started. Assessment, treatment and support for people looking to stop using heroin and other opioids is available 24/7 at (520) 202-1786.

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