On average, 130 Americans die from opioid overdose every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While many statistics and studies have brought awareness to the nation, many organizations are working to combat the crisis.
In Boaz, Outside the Box Healthcare recently introduced detox therapy that could “make a dent” in opioid abuse. Robin Scott, a certified nurse practitioner and owner of Outside the Box, said the clinic started an outpatient program to treat addicts with Vivitrol.
“Marshall County is one of the biggest, as far as statistics go, for opioid addiction,” Scott said during a “Business After Hours” event. “So, we are trying to combat that in way that’s a little bit different than usual. We are working on a detox outpatient program, because we have no facilities in Alabama. The ones we do have stay booked up and are too far away. A lot of people can’t go to those.
“Vivitrol is the drug we’re using,” she added. “That is a drug that is not addictive. There’s no narcotic in it, and it’s a monthly injection. That injection actually blocks the brain from receiving any narcotics or alcohol. So, they can shoot heroin and not get high – period. So, it would be useless for them to do so. They come in once a month, get their injection and there you go.
“We, so far, have been very successful,” Scott continued. “Not giving any specific information about different patients, but I can tell you we have young folks that could be any of our child or grandchild that was shooting heroin on a daily basis that has been clean for three months now thanks to Vivitrol.”
Scott said many clinics use drugs like Suboxone, but because it contains an opioid, it often causes long-term problems.
“It’s done a successful job in many people getting their lives back together,” Scott said. “The unfortunate part of it is, coming off the Suboxone is harder than coming off the narcotic to start with. So, we end up with people on it for 10-12 years … so we’re trying to get away from that.”
Alcohol addiction can’t be treated on an outpatient basis, but opioid addiction can. Scott said Outside the Box recently partnered with Mountain Lakes Recovery Services, who shares office space at the clinic. Scott said choosing the right medication isn’t the only thing that helps fight addiction; counseling plays a vital role as well.
“I don’t think it’s the drug that does it all,” Scott said. “One thing that we do pride ourselves on with here is we listen. If you come in here, it’s not our goal to get you in and get you out. You might have to wait just a little bit. The person I’m talking to before you – I’m going to give you the same amount of time.”