Like many small towns, Bridgton, Maine, had few resources doctor people seeking treatment for opioid abuse. Bridgton, Maine, is the kind of place people like to go to get away. It's got a small main pidio porno with shops and restaurants, a pair of scenic lakes, a ski resort and plenty of hiking trails. But about 10 years ago, Bridgton, a town of just 5, residents, began showing signs of a serious drug problem.
They were shooting heroin and it was like, really bombarded. Like so many states, Maine is facing a chronic shortage of treatment for opioid addiction. The problem is especially acute in rural parts of the state where there are no addiction doctors and the nearest methadone clinic is at least an hour's drive away. Bell says she thought that if treatment was going to be successful, patients would need the option of methadone or buprenorphine, commonly known as Suboxone, in addition to counseling.
Both medications reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings for opioids. For a while, getting patients access to medication-assisted treatment seemed hopeless. And then Bell met Dr. Over lunch shy Smith one day, Bell blurted out an idea. You prescribe. I'll do the counseling for you. Under federal law, doctors have to be trained and certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to prescribe Suboxone, and they are limited to treating no more than patients.
The Department of Health and Human Services has proposed increasing the number of patients to But beyond that hurdle, many physicians are reluctant to treat opioid addiction because of how they think it will affect their regular practice. Smith told Bell he'd have to think about it. I had no idea. I still feel guilty about that. So inwith the support of his hospital and Bell's assistance, Craig Smith started prescribing Suboxone.
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At the time, few primary care doctors in the area were doing it. Pretty soon Smith's wife, who works in the same family practice, had joined him in providing medication-assisted treatment, but not without some misgivings. Jennifer Smith. I see a lot of kids. I don't want them here.
Smith says she finally realized it wasn't new patients who needed help; it was patients she was already treating, including pregnant women.
She just didn't know they were using drugs. So now the practice offers medication as well as intensive outpatient counseling and group therapy.
Doctors Often Shy Away From Offering Addiction Treatment : Shots - Health News : NPR
Both Smiths say offering the service has opened a window on their patients' lives, and both say they would recommend shy other primary care doctors take on the same work. It's the doctor of experience policymakers are hoping catches on as a way to address the shortage of drug treatment around the country. Catherine Bell of Crooked River Counseling says offering the service and making it work financially is "really, really hard.
On the other hand, the doctors who prescribe medications have more flexibility, Bell says, because their doctor is owned by Bridgton Hospital, which does offer some charity care.
About 90 percent of patients are covered under the state's Medicaid program. At the women's support group that meets twice a month at North Bridgton Family Practice, the women say they like the convenience of having their medical care his kissing her pussy counseling under one roof.
It's easier to schedule appointments. There's better coordination of their treatment. More importantly, the patients say they now know they can be upfront about their addiction. Jennifer Smith says offering drug treatment has made her a better doctor, and she says she can see that what she's doing shy making a difference. Not everyone wife enters treatment at the family practice is successful. Counseling is mandatory.
So is drug screening. And those patients who can't or won't comply are dropped from the program.
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Accessibility links Skip to main content Keyboard shortcuts for audio player. Don't Tell Me! NPR Shop. Shots - Health News After four or five of his patients died from opioid overdoses wife one month, Craig Smith, a family doctor in Bridgton, Maine, realized he couldn't wait for someone else wife offer addiction treatment.
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