Friday, 10 July 2020

Adventist Health Clear Lake offers expanded treatment options for opioid dependency

CLEARLAKE, Calif. – Adventist Health Clear Lake is expanding treatment options in response to the ongoing issue of opioid dependence.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic takes the focus from health care organizations, local hospitals continue to see emergency department visits due to opioid dependence and withdrawal symptoms.

Adventist Health Clear Lake’s leadership said the hospital is committed to treating the underlying disease of addiction and combating drug use.

Adventist Health Clear Lake routinely treats patients battling opioid use disorder in the emergency department, and there were 19 deaths in Lake County in 2018 due to drug overdose.

People in rural communities have minimal resources for treating opioid use disorder and the barriers to receiving treatment can be high.

Adventist Health Clear Lake, among other hospitals in California, is changing this through the Naloxone Distribution Project and the California Bridge Program grants.

These programs provide training and resources to expand Adventist Health Clear Lake’s existing Medication Assisted Treatment program.

The California Bridge Program is an accelerated training program for health care providers facilitated by the Public Health Institute’s Bridge Program, which aims to enhance access to around-the-clock treatment for substance use disorders.

Program sites such as Adventist Health Clear Lake will receive funding, training and technical assistance to improve and increase access to facility-wide treatment and referral of acute symptoms of substance use disorders.

The Bridge Program is funded through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grant to the California Department of Health Care Services.

At Adventist Health Clear Lake, the Bridge Program employs a substance use navigator, or SUN, who works full-time at Adventist Health Clear Lake.

The SUN, Tina Allen, a certified substance counselor with 17 years’ experience, meets people in the emergency department as they enter care and helps them coordinate the treatment they need after discharge from the hospital.

The Narcan/Naloxone Distribution Project, or NDP, is also funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and administered by DHCS to combat opioid overdose-related deaths throughout California.

The NDP aims to address the opioid crisis by reducing opioid overdose deaths through the provision of free Narcan/Naloxone in its nasal spray formulation.

Narcan/Naloxone is a medication used for the complete or partial reversal of an opioid overdose.

The grant provides training and distribution of Narcan/Naloxone at the Adventist Health Clear Lake emergency department.

These grants offer an opportunity to treat addiction like other medical conditions by building treatment for addiction into the health care system.

When patients present at the emergency room with signs of opioid withdrawal, they can be offered immediate treatment with buprenorphine or Suboxone, an FDA-approved medication that treats both withdrawal and cravings.

Studies have shown that people who were started on Buprenorphine in the emergency department were twice as likely to still be in treatment one month later, compared to “detox” or referral for counseling alone.

Patients are then connected with outpatient addiction treatment options with same-day, next-day or within 72-hour appointments.

“For the first time, instead of just discharging a patient from the emergency department we will be able to provide an opportunity for them to get into recovery and connected to services the same day or next day,” said Allen.

Allen sees each patient presenting with addiction symptoms and offers recovery services. During the weeks from March 13 to April 23, she worked with 26 patients with substance use disorder, and 13 were bridged to recovery. Six of the seven with opioid use disorder were bridged to Medication Addiction Treatment followup appointments.

Susan DeSalvo-Reed is a registered nurse who serves as the project coordinator for Adventist Health Clear Lake’s Medication Addiction Treatment program after previously serving as a coordinator for SafeRx Lake County’s opioid coalition.

“It is gratifying to be evolving from prevention into treatment and recovery with the highest level of care, support and resources to those seeking addiction treatment,” DeSalvo-Reed said. “We will now be able to offer Medication Addiction Treatment in the emergency department to a person in crisis on the spot. This approach has shown a 60 percent success rate.”

The hospital offers continued addiction treatment through its Live Well Program in Clearlake with Dr. Melody Law and Dr. Robert Gardner and Live Well MAT Navigator, Denise Newman, who provides recovery resources to patients with substance use disorders.

At the Live Well Program, the patient receives continuing care including suboxone, medical care and counseling for substance use. The model is a comprehensive treatment program that supports patients at each step of their recovery.

Dr. Marc Shapiro, Adventist Health Clear Lake medical officer, is the champion for the Bridge Program.

“Many of our patients start to use prescription opioids for the treatment of real pain, especially after an injury or surgical procedure. Dependence on the prescription medication is often unintentional,” Shapiro explained. “Often, they cannot stop the medication without severe pain and withdrawal and feel they have no options but to continue use. These grants offer our patients new expanded options through Medication Assisted Treatment both in the emergency department and at outpatient clinics.”

Those who would like to find out about treatment options for substance use disorder may go to the emergency department at Adventist Health Clear Lake Hospital at any time. Narcan/Naloxone distribution kits are available 24 hours a day in the emergency department.

If you are experiencing withdrawal you can be treated immediately and will be connected with a Substance Use Navigator who will assist you in finding the recovery option that works best for you.

Alternatively, you can contact Tina Allen, substance abuse navigator, at 707-349-4340.

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