Opioid Use Disorder and the Many Paths to Recovery

By:  Jessica Nevill, LMHC, Clinical Director, WIN Recovery

Opioid use has been the focus of a great deal of national attention recently, with good reason. According to the National Behavioral Council, Americans consume 80% of the opioid prescriptions given worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 41 people die each day in the United States from overdoses on prescription pain killers. As a result, America is now in an opioid crisis. There is a growing number of individuals dying daily from overdose as well as increased criminal activity and increased HIV/AIDS rates.

Opioids have been prescribed in the United States to help individuals who are experiencing pain. These medications are effective at blocking the pain and providing relief. This is done by impacting the “reward pathway” which allows the person using the opioid to experience pleasure and an overall state of well-being. However, when used repeatedly over long periods of time, the person can build a tolerance to the medication which does not allow them to experience the same levels of well-being that they experienced before. This results in individuals taking more and more of the medication to get the same desired results.

So how does this result in an opioid crisis? When individuals need more and more medication to reach desired amounts of relief, they often use medication faster than prescribed. This results in their bodies becoming dependent, and can lead individuals to seek alternative ways of acquiring pain medicine. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has reported that over half of individuals who abused pain killers received them for free or from a relative. Once these individuals are no longer willing or able to provide this medication, individuals often turn to alternative methods such as buying medication illegally or beginning the use of heroin which is also an opioid. Once individuals begin using illegal methods to maintain an opioid dependence they are then at higher risks for HIV and AIDS, incarceration, separation from family, and loss of employment.

Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) are working to tackle the opioid crisis by providing individuals with medication such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone to help them discontinue the use of illicit substances. Methadone activates the same parts of the brain as other opioids. Buprenorphine activates the same parts of the brain, but without the rewarding effects. Naltrexone blocks the part of the brain that opioids activate and removes rewarding effects. Research shows that methadone and buprenorphine, when prescribed by a physician and closely monitored, are the most effective treatment methods for opioid use disorder.  Methadone is considered the “gold standard” of treatment, especially for pregnant woman who are addicted to opioids. This, along with behavioral health services such as individual and group counseling, help individuals gain the skills needed to maintain success in their lives.

WIN Recovery is a State licensed opioid treatment program located in Terre Haute and Vincennes Indiana.  The office provides comprehensive treatment to adults 18 years of age and older suffering from opioid use disorder.  Through medication assisted treatment and behavioral health services individuals are able to Regain Something Lost to addiction. The facility is open 7 days a week, and walk-in assessments are available from 6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Monday through Friday. Fees are based on the provision of service, with Medicaid accepted and no referral necessary.

For more information, call (833) 232-0215, visit our location at 1433 Willow St, Vincennes, IN, or go to www.winrecovery.org.

WIN Recovery, Knox County Now Open

Hamilton Center Inc.’s Certified Opioid Treatment Program to serve adults with opioid use disorder

June 1, 2020 Vincennes IN- Hamilton Center, Inc., a certified Indiana community mental health center, announced the opening of its newest certified opioid treatment program, WIN Recovery at 1433 Willow St., Vincennes, IN.  This clinic is one of two opioid treatment programs operated by Hamilton Center Inc. with a third scheduled to open in the fall in Hendricks county.

The office is open from 6:00 am – 2:30 pm.  New patients are welcome to walk in without an appointment between 6:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. or can call toll free 833-232-0215 or 812-494-2215 to make an appointment. The clinic is open 7 days a week including weekend and holidays.

The facility, which is 5032 square feet, includes three medication dosing stations, separate drug screening rooms, physical examination room, and rooms for individual and group counseling.   Black and white photography of local landmarks adorn the walls which were secured through assistance from the Knox County Public Library and Terre Haute photographer Wayne Jordan.   

In November, 2018 Hamilton Center received a license to open the Knox county program.  The clinic will provide comprehensive treatment for adults 18 years of age and older who are struggling with addiction to heroin or other opioids such as prescription pain medication.  The program provides daily medication (Methadone) coupled with individual and group therapy and case management services to treat each individual’s unique needs.

Whether opioids are prescribed by a physician or acquired illegally, with continued use and misuse, they can cause serious changes to the brain and body.  People often hesitate to begin the recovery process due to fear of the physical symptoms associated with withdrawal, or because they doubt recovery is even possible.

Methadone is a medication administered daily under monitored, controlled conditions. It has been utilized for years with a great deal of research determining its safety and effectiveness. Once patients begin taking methadone at appropriate levels, withdrawal is avoided, cravings are minimized and physical and mental stabilization occurs. “That is when the real recovery begins,” said Jessica Nevill, LMHC, WIN Recovery’s Clinical Director. 

“The combination of medication and behavioral health interventions is the most effective in combating this disease,” said DJ Rhodes, Chief of Opioid Treatment at Hamilton Center Inc.  “Opioid Use Disorder is a disease; treatment works and recovery is absolutely possible,” he added.

“We are so grateful to the Knox county community for welcoming this clinic to the area”, said Melvin L. Burks, CEO of Hamilton Center Inc.  “There is a solid understanding of the benefits of medication assisted treatment and because of that many people in this community will benefit,” he added.  

Hamilton Center, Inc. is a regional behavioral health system in Central and West Central Indiana. The organization provides service regionally to 13,000 clients annually.  For additional information on Hamilton Center Inc., call 800-742-0787. For additional information on WIN Recovery call (833) 232-0215.

To learn more please visit www.winrecovery.org.