May 6, 2024  – Supplementing standard opioid addiction treatment with Mindfulness Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) – an intervention that incorporates mindfulness training, savoring skills, and cognitive reappraisal – cuts program dropout rates by 59 percent and relapses by 42 percent, according to Rutgers-led research.

These trial results come from Rutgers Health amid unprecedented opioid abuse. An estimated 10 million Americans misuse opioids or have opioid use disorder, while annual overdose deaths have exceeded 80,000.

Treatment with methadone or buprenorphine – alone or in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy – is imperfect. Half of all people drop out of treatment within a year, and half of all people who continue treatment keep using opioids.

“Better treatment protocols could save thousands of lives per year, and the data we have from our pilot study and this phase II trial suggest mindfulness training may create a genuinely better treatment protocol,” said Nina Cooperman, an associate professor of psychiatry at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and first author of the study published in JAMA Psychiatry.