Until there’s nothing left: Caregiver resource provision to youth with opioid use disorders

Ariel Ludwig, Laura B. Monico, Elizabeth Lertch, Robert P. Schwartz, Marc Fishman, Shannon Gwin Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Aims: Despite the considerable literature associating certain characteristics of caregivers and family structures with risks of adolescent/young adult (youth) substance use, there has been little study of the role of caregivers in opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment outcomes. This qualitative study sought to understand and contextualize the factors that influenced the resources caregivers provided their youth after residential treatment. Methods: In order to improve understandings of the role caregivers play both during and after residential OUD treatment, 31 caregivers of youth who were in a residential substance use disorder treatment center were interviewed at baseline, three-months, and six-months following their youth’s discharge. Results: This analysis focused on the provision of caregiver resources and identified three key influences–OUD understandings and expectations, relationships with youth, and the emotional toll on caregivers. This has important implications as residential treatment success rates are relatively low among this population. Conclusions: These findings suggest that engagement of caregivers and families in outpatient care following residential treatment could offer an important opportunity for interventions that promote youth recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)990-997
Number of pages8
JournalSubstance Abuse
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Caregivers
  • adolescent
  • family
  • opioid use disorder
  • qualitative
  • young adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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