SMART-NatCon-16

NatCon ’16 Making Addiction Treatment Less of a Gamble

SMART-at-NatCon-16-768x512March 15, 2016 – The National Council for Behavioral Health (NatCon) Conference, Las Vegas wrapped up this past week.

What we gathered from participants is that there are countless facilities with a new or renewed focus on opiate addiction treatment. Many visitors to our booth were currently opioid treatment providers and many more expressed desire or active plans to implement an OTP (opioid treatment program) in the near future.

The addiction epidemic has not yet showed signs of slowing, so it only makes sense that more behavioral healthcare providers would begin to expand their services to accommodate this growing population. NatCon catered to these attendees with a variety of educational sessions, talks, films, and literature geared toward addiction and more specifically opioid addiction treatment.

As an EHR vendor who has also been an addiction treatment provider, we know the importance of events that bring together so many impactful and caring professionals. Thank you to everyone who spent time at our booth, getting to know our team and OTP software solution.

SMART would also like to congratulate, Armando Moreno, Program Director of Cope Behavioral Health of Tuscon, AZ, the winner of SMART’s Natcon ’16 Fitbit giveaway. COPE is a private, nonprofit healthcare organization with the goal of fostering better mental and physical healthcare through their integrated mind, body and spirit approach.

We look forward to further cultivating our relationships with everyone at National Council ’17 in Seattle!

About the National Council
National Council 2016

The National Council for Behavioral Health is the voice of behavioral health providers. This organization has over 2,000 member organizations that serve our nation’s most vulnerable citizens that are affected by addiction or mental health disorders. Their annual conference gathers Behavioral Healthcare professionals for three days of industry exhibits, mental health training, and discussions about services for the treatment of mental health and addiction disorders. Learn more

discovery-house-program-director

Too Late for Some. Consequences of Maine Underfunding Addiction Treatment

discovery-houseThe Bangor Daily News (BDN) helped give a public voice to substance use treatment facilities during these fiscally turbulent years in Maine. Individuals who are reaching out to get into treatment for their addiction are being wait-listed for long periods of time due to lack of state funding for opioid treatment programs. Maine is finally realizing the depth of their opiate problem and legislators are now taking steps to override the devastating changes. These changes have left thousands of opiate-dependent Mainers without treatment access.

Discovery House‘s Program Director Brent Miller spoke with Bangor Daily News about his clinic’s wait-list. Currently he has 550 methadone patients with approximately 61 people on their ever-growing wait-list. As soon as they are able to take in a new patient they call them, however, many times that individual has become unreachable for reasons like hospitalization, imprisonment or death from overdose. Brent told BDN, “You ought to celebrate that a person is reaching out to get well…We impugn them at every turn and make it difficult for them to actually do it. That’s why it’s a miracle that people are able to fight through the prejudice and actually get into recovery.”

There are whispers of treatment facility reimbursement rates being raised, but for now its just a waiting game. Read the full article

chasing heroin

REACH Ahead of Addiction

evergreen logo newsEvergreen Treatment Services (ETS) has been ahead of the opioid addiction treatment curve for over 20 years with their REACH Program. This program focuses on serving the homeless and addicted with outreach and in-depth case management using a variety of harm-reduction approaches. The primary goal is to meet clients where they are in their recovery process, and ultimately  help them to achieve successful and healthy lives. An important part of REACH services is that they are not contingent upon a client’s sobriety or abstinence. This allows addicted participants the opportunity to keep fighting for their recovery even though they may have been overcome by their addiction during the process.

Sound familiar? The principles of the REACH program are much like that of the later established LEAD Program. With origins in King County, Washington the LEAD Program is privately funded by multiple sponsors and partners with ETS to help treat participants of the program. The Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Program is gaining clout and spreading to law enforcement agencies across the US. Instead of the cyclical process of addiction arrest, jail time, release, repeat –  officials are beginning to embrace the idea that treatment rather than mandatory jail time will produce the long-term recovery results that society should really be striving toward.

chasing heroinThe “addiction epidemic” as it has been rightfully named, has been front and center in the political realm as well. Presidential hopefuls are sharing their intended plans and President Obama announced that the 2017 budget will include $1.1 billion to combat opioid use disorders with expanded access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs. Nevertheless, there is still a segment of the American population that refuses to accept treatment facilities into their communities, mostly for lack of opioid treatment awareness.

This past week PBS aired a powerful 2 hour Frontline Documentary, Chasing Heroin. ETS was one of the facilities featured as the documentary followed a patient into treatment. This film follows the stories of multiple people from varied backgrounds, all fighting the same fight but at different points in their recovery. A core message was that addiction is a disease not a crime and should be treated as such. Those affected are most likely to achieve success when they choose to, not when they are forced to. One police officer, who is involved in the LEAD program said that she acts as more of a “case manager” when interacting with individuals suffering from addiction. Encouraging, uplifting and caring.

Chasing Heroin is enlightening and inspiring look into the state of addiction in the U.S.  It can be viewed online at PBS.org.