As we continue to rely more on technology for other areas in our life, several groups of researchers have sought to find out how it can be used in the substance abuse treatment, recovery, prevention and treatment fields. Can websites, apps and text messages really help people cut back or stop their drug and alcohol use? What they have found thus far is that yes, technology can be used to reduce substance abuse.
Although in-person intervention and prevention techniques are generally more effective, having direct access to people via phone, email and the computer can still have a very positive impact. Both earlier studies as well as more current ones show that the benefits of personal interaction, even if it is through a device, is a helpful tool in the full scope of recovery-related support.
Most recently these tools have targeted college binge drinking. The goal here was more to reduce the amount of time spent drinking as well as the volume consumed and the frequency of consumption. A marked decrease did occur and results were better than campus-wide awareness programs since they targeted people on a more individual level.
Other areas of use have included help for returning vets to reduce their drinking via online interventions, and treatment center aftercare programs to aid in sobriety. There are also a handful of AA- and NA-related apps available to assist people in their personal recovery.