Written by Bethany Brummitt, Recovery Care Clinic Manager
How many times have you heard the words “opioid crisis,” “overdose,” or “Narcan” in media outlets within the last month? Lost count? Yeah, me too. In 2019, it’s reasonable to state that each one of us knows someone who has been directly or indirectly affected by the opioid epidemic. While I could provide countless statistics on the magnitude of this problem, I’d prefer to talk about one way of combatting it.
The Next Door strives to provide the best in clinical practices and evidence-based treatments (EBT). One undervalued player in substance abuse EBT is called Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). What is MAT, you ask? SAMHSA defines MAT as “the use of medications with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorders and prevent opioid overdose.” MAT is quickly becoming the new standard of care in the treatment of opioid abuse. Many have questioned the use of medication and wonder if this is simply substituting one drug for another. I’m happy to tell you it isn’t! The medications TND has chosen to use do not create the same effect as illegal opiates, pain killers, and alcohol. These maintenance medications assist in controlling cravings and normalizing brain chemistry and body functions which in turn allows clients a greater ability to focus on their recovery.
This greater ability to focus on recovery sets the stage for higher patient survival, increased retention in treatment, decreased illicit drug use and criminal activity, greater ability to obtain and maintain employment and housing, improve birth outcomes among pregnant women suffering from substance abuse, decrease the spread of infectious diseases, and improve chances of parent/child reunification in cases where mothers have been separated from their children due to substance abuse.
TND’s outpatient MAT program is called the Recovery Care Clinic (RCC) and was launched on June 3, 2019. Our clinic meets weekly and provides on-going medication monitoring, case management services, and group therapy. RCC clients are encouraged to establish outside individual therapy, psychiatric care when needed, and to engage with a 12-Step recovery community. They may be enrolled anywhere from a few weeks up to a couple of years, whatever it takes to support them in achieving a healthy, productive and self-directed life in their community.
Our medical director shared with staff recently that it takes 18-24 months for the brain to heal from substance use disorders (opiate addiction being particularly difficult). That’s 18-24 months for proper judgement and insight to be restored. Think about that. With that knowledge it is often unrealistic to expect clients to maintain sobriety after 30-60 days of treatment. TND’s ultimate goal is complete abstinence from substances for all of our clients. That will not change. However, with the addition of MAT and our Recovery Care Clinic, we are able to extend our continuum of care so that women can stay in treatment with us longer. This is crucial, as clients build relationships throughout our programs-with each other and staff-which contributes to their success. RCC is the lowest level of care, providing women with another tool toward building a life of sustained recovery.
You can help us! TND’s Recovery Care Clinic takes place every Monday from 12-3pm. Our team seeks wisdom and guidance as we build a sustainable program for the women we serve. Would you consider a commitment to pray for five minutes every Monday during that time for both staff and clients?
“O my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to all the prayers made to you in this place.” 2 Chronicles 6:40