Don’t waste this addiction crisis! Rethinking recovery | Catherine Reichman


The generic pharmaceutical industry in Israel grew in response to the boycott of Israel by big pharmaceutical companies. Israeli drip irrigation developed in response to a pressing need to grow crops under intense water limitations. Return, a holistic therapy facility in Israel, has adapted its outpatient support to the online world to support recovery during the pandemic. And, Retorno has now scaled the intensive and highly structured substance abuse outpatient program to serve Jewish communities around the world.

Never waste a good crisis

The crisis is an opportunity to rethink effective and feasible substance abuse support in the community. (under license from Bigstock)

The pandemic has been especially difficult for people struggling with addiction, anxiety and other emotional issues. For Jews and Jewish communities who were already struggling with stigma and misconceptions about alcoholism and drug addiction, the pandemic has been a triple whammy. The Retorno team rose to the challenge by creating an intensive and affordable online outpatient program to serve Jewish communities.

Retorno was already running like it was a crisis because it always was a crisis

In Israel, Retorno has had to scramble to adapt his community support network to meet social distancing requirements and the concerns of those recovering. The Mifgashim network operates throughout Israel and had to adapt to online sessions as quickly as possible. Building on lessons learned from providing support in Israel, Retorono was able to launch a Holistic Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) which strives to provide highly structured care to English and Spanish speaking Jewish communities around the world.

The IOP provides recovery-focused care that can help people with substance use disorders manage their symptoms, maintain long-term recovery, and live a full life in their community.

Israeli innovation – building resilience and recovery

We are used to Israeli innovation in semiconductors, software and cyber. Online IOP is an Israeli innovation applied to mental health and addiction recovery. Unlike traditional meetings that often focus only on twelve-step type programs, the Retorno Intensive Outpatient Program includes seven hours per week of support, including professional mental health support to address underlying emotional issues that may be fueling the addiction. The program is led by Gil Braverman, a clinical psychologist with twenty-five years of experience in addiction recovery.

the online rehabilitation program is much more affordable than traditional inpatient treatment and offers more intense support and structure than private therapy. The program seeks to disrupt the revolving door or relapse of drug treatment.

Why the pandemic has fueled drug addiction

The pandemic has created a perfect storm for people vulnerable to addiction and addictive behaviors. Loneliness and anxiety have increased, fueling the mental health issues that often fuel addiction. Support groups or in-person therapy either stopped working altogether or became much more limited. Isolation closed off access to healthy coping mechanisms.

The pandemic has exacerbated a challenge that has been building for decades. The United States has seen a steady increase in overdose deaths since at least the 1980s. Then came the pandemic.

Sometimes the revolving door of addiction-rehab-relapse can seem impossible to break. Like stopping the tides. (under license from Bigstock)

Before 2020, drug addiction, overdoses and alcoholism were already reaching historic highs. The pandemic has taken a crisis situation and made it worse, as shown by the spiraling number of overdose deaths. New York City, home to the largest Jewish community outside of Israel, saw a 30% increase in overdose deaths in early 2021 compared to the same period in 2020. Overall in the United States United, overdose deaths increased by 28.5% in the first 12 months of the pandemic compared to the previous 12 months.

The increase in alcohol abuse and drug overdoses crosses borders and affects Jewish communities as much as their neighbours.

The return online rehabilitation program is an out-of-the-box effort to address the crisis in a way that truly meets the needs of individuals and communities. Led by mental health professionals with significant experience in addiction recovery and backed by data from the large-scale adaptation of Retorno in Israel, it appears the program may in fact be a positive disruptor in breaking the revolving door of addiction, treatment, relapse and return. to treatment.

CEO of MethodM Ltd. Hardworking at matching clients and therapists (, and enthusiastic advocate of trial and error in technology and content management (


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