In the 12 month period between June 2019 and May 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the rapid rise in opioid-related deaths. According to a recent CDC report, overdose deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids increased by 38.4% compared to those during the same 12 months the previous year.
Bicycle Health, an online addiction medicine clinic, intends to make a big dent in those numbers in the future. The platform uses a telehealth model to provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT): an evidence-based treatment approach that has earned a strong track record of preventing relapse and promoting successful recovery.
People seeking help with opioid addiction through Bicycle Health can enroll in a monthly program and pay a monthly fee. Most insurance plans cover medication and lab costs; in some states, Bicycle Health accepts insurance for the monthly fee. Once enrolled, patients work with licensed providers who are addiction medicine specialists. Providers customize treatments using FDA-approved medications such as buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone), methadone, or naltrexone (Vivitrol). Monthly video check-ins and drug testing are required throughout treatment.
Using the Bicycle Health mobile app, patients can communicate with providers and manage prescriptions. The platform also hosts support groups via video calls during which users can choose to listen, share, and offer support.
Virtual addiction treatment has enormous potential in the fight to end the national opioid crisis. Not only does telehealth make opioid recovery treatment more easily accessible and widely available, but it also helps those struggling with opioid use disorder to get treatment without compromising their privacy or employment status.
Bicycle Health expects to operate in 25 states by the end of the first quarter 2021. That’s good news for residents of those states who feel ready to end their dependency on opioids. Let’s hope Bicycle Health and other virtual addiction platforms will soon spread the good news to the other half of the country.