Pelago Expands Digital Substance Use Management Platform to Adolescents
Digital health provider extends substance use disorder care to adolescents to meet rising employer demand, offer hope to workers impacted by family substance use issues
(NEW YORK – July 26, 2023) — Pelago (formerly Quit Genius), the leading digital clinic partner to U.S. businesses and health plans for substance use management, has announced the expansion of its platform to include adolescents. Pelago becomes the first virtual substance use care platform to provide multi-substance adolescent support that includes tobacco, alcohol and opioid treatment.
The announcement comes amid increases in adolescent substance use disorder (SUD) problems, and new Pelago research revealing that U.S. workers are significantly impacted by other family members’ substance use issues.
“Our clients and members face extraordinary challenges when it comes to accessing safe and effective substance use support for teens and adolescents; these challenges have only been exacerbated since the pandemic,” said Pelago CEO and Co-Founder Yusuf Sherwani, M.D. “Family support for substance use has been a longstanding goal for us – one I’m proud to say we’ve achieved with today’s launch of our adolescent substance use management program.”
Under Pelago’s multi-substance, clinically led, coordinated care program, adolescents age 15 to 17 (middle adolescence) will be eligible for tobacco and alcohol SUD treatment, while opioid use disorder treatment eligibility starts at age 16. Dependents age 18 and over are considered adults.
“These expanded employer benefits will support parents and guardians and allow them to focus on their life and work responsibilities, knowing their adolescent children have access to the same high quality, effective care our adult members have,” added Sherwani.
The recently released Pelago Annual State of Substance Use Management Trend Report found that nearly half of all U.S. workers have experienced personal or family problems involving substance or alcohol use. This includes more than 1 in 3 workers who report having a family member struggle with substance use. Furthermore, SUDs and mental health disorders often occur together, creating additional worries for parents and guardians of adolescents:
- Of the 5.1 million young adults with a substance use disorder, nearly 9 in 10 did not get treatment. Mental health fared somewhat better with about 2 in 5 not receiving treatment.
- Nearly 45% of adolescents with an SUD have also experienced a major depressive episode in the last year (Page 41, Figure 43. 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health)*
- Three out of 4 of parents have missed work at least once per month because of concerns for their child’s mental health
- Thirty to 50 percent of working parents’ thoughts are on their child’s mental health and well-being
- The recent worsening of the opioid crisis creates an urgent need for more prevention-oriented digital interventions for opioid use
For adolescents, early identification and treatment of SUDs can help prevent a lifetime of problems. Teens are more vulnerable to the toxic effects of substances, and adolescent substance use can produce a crushing snowball effect. This can lead to an exponential increase in substance use once a first substance is used, and there’s a direct link between SUDs and mental illness, which can carry into adulthood.
The Pelago adolescent program is offered at no cost to employees through their employer using qualified professionals trained specifically to provide adolescent care that is compliant with consent laws. The adolescent program includes Pelago’s value-based, 100%-fees-at-risk guarantee.
“The demonstrated health outcomes and major cost savings we’ve achieved with our existing substance use management programs – including a claims-validated overall ROI of 3.2:1 – gives me great confidence in extending our program to middle-adolescent dependents,” said Suzette Glasner, Ph.D., Pelago Vice President of Clinical Affairs. “And we’re well-prepared and highly qualified to manage the corresponding legal, regulatory and compliance landscape to enable delivery of effective substance use care and support to this population.”
* Calculation is 935,000/(935,000 + 1.2 million) = 43.78%
Pelago, formerly Quit Genius, partners with enterprises as the leading virtual clinic for substance use management among their employees. We are transforming substance use support – from prevention to treatment – delivering education, management skills, and opportunities for positive change to members struggling with substance use, most commonly tobacco, alcohol or opioids. Our solution gives employers the means to offer on-demand, personalized support to workers seeking to live healthier lives. Pelago’s cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs deliver convenient, accessible and effective support that seamlessly integrates with health plans, pharmacy benefit managers, and wellness platforms. To date, Pelago has helped more than 750,000 members manage their substance use and improve their lives.
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