As Opioid Crisis Rages, Some Trade “Tough Love” for Empathy


From Kaiser Health News: “Two torturous days later, Jeff Duncan came home. While he returned to rehab, the Duncans decided their approach wasn’t working. They sought help, eventually connecting with a program that stresses empathy: CRAFT or Community Reinforcement and Family Training.

‘There was more compassion and “Wow, this is really difficult for you,” more open questions to him instead of dictating what he should and should not behave like,’ said Bea.

The Duncans said the training helped them shift from chaos to calm.

‘I started to feel an immense sense of relief,’ Bea said. ‘I stopped feeling like I had to be a private investigator and controlling mom. I could kind of walk side to side with him on this journey, instead of feeling like I had to take charge of it.’

For the Duncans, the approach meant they could switch from enforcing family consequences, like kicking Jeff out of the house, to supporting him as he faced others, like losing a job due to drug use. It worked well: Bea and Doug helped Jeff stick to his recovery. He’s 28 now and has been sober for nine years.”

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