App created in Cleveland helping addicts

CLEVELAND -

It is the newest tool now used in the fight against opioid addiction. Some are calling it the Facebook for recovery.

We all know teens and young adults are always connected to their cell phones, and now the devices are being used to help them battle addiction.

The technology to help them do it was created in Cleveland, and it is about to launch nationwide.

Only News 5 caught up with a recovering heroin addict to see how it is helping them stay on course.

"My father passed away from Heroin," said the recovering addict.

The 18-year old found herself on the same scary course.

"My life, like, was going in a downward spiral pretty much," she said.

The teen, who does not want us to reveal her identity, is very familiar with addiction.

“I have a whole history of addiction in my family," she said.

The young woman is currently living at New Directions, a Pepper Pike recovery center for teens and young adults.

"I've been in and out of treatment probably for a year and a half now," she said.

This time around, her cell phone is helping keep her on track.

"We really felt for young people, adolescents, young adults that our treatment was becoming somewhat irrelevant for them," said Mike Matoney, CEO, New Directions

Right now, more than 70 clients and staff members at New Directions are using the Ascent App.

"This has been a real missing component now that we are addressing," said Matoney.

A new study from Case Western Reserve University shows when used, the app led to a 20 percent increase in the number of addicts successfully completing outpatient therapy.

"It's helping me the most with checking up on myself every single day," said the young recovering addict.

The young woman is now connected to her counselor with just a push of a button.

“It helps me like know there's going to be someone there even if I message them at like 2 o'clock in the morning they will get back to me."

Experts believe apps like Ascent are changing the way they tackle behavioral health issues.

"To be connected to someone 24/7/365 is the kind of support now that our adolescence and young adults expect to have," said Matoney.

The app is now a regular piece of the New Directions' recovery puzzle.

“We're getting requests from the parents now, they wish they could have a parent app so they can also be connected and ask questions and get support in real time," said Matoney.

The Case Western study also found this technology not only helps with completion of a recovery program, it also cuts down on the number of days to get there.

Sign up for the free app begins Sept. 15 and it will be available nationwide starting in January. Ascent expects hundreds of thousands of users in the first year.

Go to ascent.org if you are interested in putting your name on the waiting list.

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