Treating drugs with drugs – its a controversial way to battle addiction. Shelby Rose is putting North Dakota first by giving you a deeper look into how different types of treatments are battling the opioid epidemic in the state.
You may have seen this ad pop up on your social media feeds the last few weeks. Ideal Option is a new treatment facility that specializes in suboxone – an opioid treatment drug.
“It works in the immune receptors partially giving some of the feeling of the reduction of cravings and withdrawls very sucessfully,” said Ideal Option nurse practitioner Geoffrey Godfrey
It’s about half the strength of drugs like methodone. The doctors on staff will perscribe the suboxone to the opioid-addicted patients one a week or every two weeks. It’s the addicts duty to then take it to a pharmacy and administer it themselves.
“They really advocate for themselves. They hold themselves to a higher standard,” said Godfrey.
There are two main types of treatment programs – and Bismarck has borth of them To break it down for you, Ideal Option is what you call an OBOT – Office-based opioid treatment. They only are allowed to treat with perscriptions. There’s also an OTP – opioid treatment program. They have access to more drugs like methadone and can administer it on-site. A good example of this is the Heartview Foundation.
“Opioid use disorders, the medications are different. And the people requiring different medications, it’s complicated,” said executive director Kurt Snyder.
Heartview started out as an OBOT like Ideal Option. But about a year ago – they decided to go through the extensive federal regulations to become an OTP. Every day their outpatients will come in, take their methodone and go on with their normal lives. They also have 13 beds for inpatient treatment.
Snyder added, “It just really allows us to have all the tools available to treat those with opioid use disorders.
But beating the addiction is more than just treating drugs with drugs. Snyder takes pride in the personal side to addiction treatment.
“It is our belief that when we use medications for the treatment of addiction that we also do it hand and glove with education and the treatment services that support people in recovery,” said Snyder.
He says suboxone is not a wrong way to go. Treatment depends on severity of the addiction. Whether it’s an in-house program, or outpatient treatment, Snyder says its about getting healthy.
While it’s not in place yet, Ideal Option is in the process of hiring addiction counsolers for their Bismarck staff.