HELENA – A mobile application will be used to help treat addiction in Montana under a new partnership between an addiction treatment provider in Billings and a private company, state officials announced Tuesday.
The program called Recovery Pathways will send personalized phone messages to those recovering from addiction and their family members to supplement in-person therapy under the jurisdiction of drug treatment courts in Yellowstone County.
Gov. Greg Gianforte, who has made addiction treatment a priority since he was elected last November, said “there is no doubt” the app will save lives in Montana.
Messages provide advice on managing stress, preparing for court appearances and practicing self-care, among other topics.
“It reinforces the very things the care coordinators are trying to get (people recovering from drug addiction) to do, but in their environment. It stays with the person. And that’s what we need in life,” said Bob Golf, founder of GoMo Health, which developed the app.
The Montana public health department estimates 64,000 residents have a substance abuse disorder — more than 6% of the state’s population — contributing to a high rate of children in foster care and a lower high school graduation rate, among other challenges.
Gianforte said the coronavirus pandemic and the quarantine requirements have likely exacerbated substance abuse problems in Montana.
Yellowstone County treatment court Judge Mary Jane Knisely said treatment courts in Montana had already begun offering some services remotely during the coronavirus pandemic with virtual therapy sessions and remote drug testing.
“Technology continues to be a big deal to us,” Knisely said.
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