Mid Coast Hospital's Addiction Resource Center is recognized as a national leader in treatment of opioid addiction

Mid Coast Hospital's Addiction Resource Center has received national recognition from the Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment (NIATx) for increasing access to science-based treatment protocols for addiction toprescription opioid drugs such as Codeine, Morphine, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, and Fentanyl; and illicit drugs such as heroin.

Opening the door to such treatment in the Mid Coast region has resulted in improved patient access and outcomes. Wait times for treatment were reduced from 11 days to 2.5 days from first call for help, engagement (staying in treatment) improved from 20% to 85%, and treatment completion rates improved from 60% to 94%.

Addiction Resource Center Director Eric Haram and his team participated in a clinical grant funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation from 2006-2008. The purpose was to use performance improvement practices developed by healthcare engineers to speed up the process of adopting science-based treatment practices in the field. This required "whole systems" change: regulations, funding, reimbursement, workforce development, and community engagement.

The project at the Addiction Resource Center was so successful that Mr. Haram was asked by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and NIATx to mentor and coach other systems across the nation, including in West Virginia and the City of Dallas.

Haram co-authored a well-received national publication called Getting Started with Medication-Assisted Treatment. It is a clinical manual for organizations seeking to implement this evidence-based medical practice into their addiction treatment settings.

When asked about addiction treatment options, Mr. Haram said, "Only one in four people who want addiction treatment are able to access it. Integrating these medical practices into our programs allowed us to provide a relevant, cost-effective service that works to those in need."

"Before using this treatment protocol we were only able to retain 20% of opioid addicted patients in treatment," Haram explains. "After bringing the services in-house, we were able to improve that 20% to 85%. Sustaining an active opiate addiction is very expensive. A person not in treatment who is addicted is going to do whatever is needed to fund the habit and avoid apainful and degrading withdrawal. This often involves illegal activities. Byimproving access and retention in treatment, there are fewer individuals breaking their values and the law to get money to avoid withdrawal."

Highlighting the success of this approach to addiction treatment, Haram continued, "Through this process we were able to provide treatment to 200 more people per year, without any new state or federal dollars. In addition to this, the increased volumes brought the actual cost of treatment down 30% per person."

Unfortunately, as successful as this program has been in Maine, the proposed budget cuts of approximately $5.5 Million to Maine's Substance Abuse Treatment and Prevention system threaten to increase Maine's opioid addiction problems and resulting public safety problems. One third of Maine's addiction treatment services may close under current proposals. The federal block grant that pays for care for those without financial means will be decreased proportionally. Maine's public safety tool, the Prescription Monitoring Program, will lose it's funding source, and the still growing number of young people addicted to opiates may find themselves with only ambulance rides, emergency department visits, and incarceration in county jails.

The Addiction Resource Center (ARC) offers a full range of professional treatment services for persons with alcohol or drug related problems. ARC also provides family and co-dependency services to those affected by someone else's alcohol or drug use.

>> More information on Mid Coast Hospital's Addiction Resource Center

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