Addiction Treatment Available

By ROBERT A. DEFRANK

Staff Writer

BARNESVILLE — The struggle with addiction and the opioid epidemic in the Ohio Valley continues, with treatment centers offering aid. Among the newest options for addiction treatment is an addiction services clinic at Barnesville Hospital. The clinic was launched in April and has seen 65 patients so far.

“What makes our program unique is it’s a one-stop shop for withdrawal management from opiates or alcohol, and counseling and medication-assisted treatment,” Joe Jeffries, pharmacy director, said.

“It’s a collaborative effort with a number of organizations,” Jan Chambers, director of development, said. “It came out of the fact that, talking to members of the community, talking to ER physicians, talking to clients themselves, there just were not resources available locally to fight addiction, and when somebody decided they wanted help, there just weren’t resources available, so that was really the emphasis to put it together, to have an out-patient treatment clinic available for area residents.”

Jeffries said most of the patients are from Belmont County and arrive through the judicial system when counseling is ordered, but the clinic also sees patients from Monroe, Harrison, Guernsey and Noble counties.

“We’re seeing about 50/50 in male and female,” Jeffries said. “Most patients are in their 20s, although we are starting to see older patients now. The majority of our patients do suffer from some type of opiate addiction, whether from pills or heroin. We’re seeing more patients that are withdrawing from alcohol, but need long-term treatment with the Vivitrol we use to help with their alcohol addiction.”

Chambers added that patients are given medication to assist them through the withdrawal process on an out-patient basis.

“This is individually tailored to what their needs are, if it’s anxiety, if it’s that they can’t sleep, if it’s that they’re feeling nauseous. The withdrawal process can take 10 to 15 days,” she said, adding that counseling and support is available throughout.

Jeffries pointed out that the withdrawal medications are not themselves addictive. He said Vivitrol has proven valuable after the withdrawal period.

“Vivitrol is useful as a tool to keep them in counseling and block the receptors that the opioids and alcohol are so attracted to,” he said. “On this injectable drug that lasts 28 days, they could take an opiate but it wouldn’t work, and the same thing goes with alcohol, the alcohol just has no effect for that 28 days. It really has no major side effects. It doesn’t act on the body anywhere else.”

The clinic allows patients to continue to work and participate in home and family life. The monthly Vivitrol treatments could last from six months to two years.

“A patient addicted to heroin or opiates or even alcohol, their brain has just been reprogrammed,” he said. “It takes that long to re-train the brain to make correct decisions.”

Other clinics and treatment centers include the Wheeling Comprehensive Treatment Center at Triadelphia, which offers opioid addiction treatment, including Methadone, Subutex, Vivitrol and Suboxone; Al-Anon, an alcohol treatment center in Wheeling; Crossroads Counseling, which provides services for treatment of substance abuse and related disorders, such as eating and gambling disorders. Crossroads also operates Awakenings, a residential treatment for women with chemical dependency issues.

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