Opiate Addiction: Effective and Promising Treatments

Online Course Materials:    ArticlesArticles   

Co-developed by Ofer Zur, Ph.D. and Taylor & Francis, PLC

This course was developed based on articles published by the Taylor & Francis group. Taylor & Francis, PLC has granted permissions to Zur Institute to include these scientific studies as part of the course content. Zur Institute maintains responsibility for this continuing education program and its content.

General Course Description

If the public reaction to the current opioid epidemic follows the usual course of increases in drug use, a few trends seem likely; calls for harsher penalties for users and an increase in the number of unproven, untested treatments. As psychotherapists begin to identify and treat increasing numbers of clients struggling with opioids, it’s important to know what works with clients and to move beyond the simplistic solution of regular visits to methadone clinics, total abstinence, and little else. The best treatments may turn out to use systemic interventions, including harm reduction approaches and involving physicians and families in an integrated healthcare approach that includes greater input from users.

This beginner level course explores several systemic options and also hears from those who have struggled with opioids and insufficient treatments. Article 1 explores multisystemic therapy for adolescents. The second article summarizes addicts’ views of what’s worked for them and what doesn’t with opiate-substitution therapy. The third article explores moving opiate-substitution treatment from clinics into physicians’ offices and explores how a coordinated effort between physicians, family and psychotherapists can improve recovery rates. The fourth article explores how to increase family involvement in treatment and recovery. Additional resources and references are provided for further study, but they are not part of the course.

Educational Objectives

    This course will teach the participant to:

  • Define a multi-systemic approach to opioid addiction treatment.
  • Summarize the benefits and drawbacks of opioid substitution therapy.
  • Describe the elements of physician-family collaboration concerning opioid substitution treatment.
  • Describe from addict’s perspective what effective treatment should entail.


  • Borsari, B., & Read, J. P. (2019). Introduction to the special issue: Responding to the opioid crisis: Perspectives, challenges and directions. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 87(10), 845–848. https://doi.org/10.1037/ccp0000443
  • De Nadai, A. S., Little, T. B., McCabe, S. E., & Schepis, T. S. (2019). Diverse diagnostic profiles associated with prescription opioid use disorder in a nationwide sample: One crisis, multiple needs. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 87(10), 849–858. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31556672/
  • Magidson, J. F., Jack, H. E., Regenauer, K. S., & Myers, B. (2019). Applying lessons from task sharing in global mental health to the opioid crisis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 87(10), 962–966. https://doi.org/10.1037/ccp0000434

Course Syllabus

  • Multi-systemic therapy substance abuse treatment for adolescents
    • Definition of multi-systemic therapy
    • Advantages and pitfalls
    • Community reinforcement principles
  • Long-term opiate substitution therapy
    • What long-term clients prefer
    • What long-term clients don’t like
    • Beyond mere monitoring
    • Abstinence versus recovery
  • Buprenorphine treatment in primary care
    • Physician characteristics for successful treatment
    • Elements of successful physician-patient-family communication
  • Recovery treatment following overdose: family involvement
    • Infantilization of patient
    • Manipulation by patient
    • Judgementalism of family members
    • Important family characteristics for successful collaboration
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Cost: $39.00

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