Local agency to open clinic to help heroin addicts

Posted at: 06/10/2013 3:01 PM | Updated at: 06/10/2013 5:42 PM
By: Amanda Ciavarri | WHEC.com

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A local treatment center says its employees are dedicated to helping those addicted to heroin. In the Rochester area, the numbers have almost tripled in the last year and it is impacting younger victims.

Our I-Team 10 investigation reveals there have been more than 40 heroin overdoses in the Rochester area in just eight months. Most of those dying are in their 20's.

Employees at one treatment center say part of the problem comes when an addict leaves rehab and can't get the medicine they need to stay clean, but now Huther Doyle says they are doing something about it.

Once an addict leaves rehab, the medicine they use to limit withdrawal symptoms,  Suboxone, becomes hard to get. That's because once out of treatment, a primacy car doctor would have to prescribe the medicine. Federal law limits the number of prescriptions a doctor can write per year. Also, treatment centers say many primary care doctors are not familiar with addiction, so they hesitate to give out the medicine.

News10NBC spoke to a recovering heroin addict who describes what withdrawal would be like without the Suboxone. News10NBC has concealed his identity.

“It starts off pretty light, you are really sore like you have a bad flu. You feel achy through your entire body. You won't want to move, you will be running a fever one second and you will be freezing the next. You can't sit still, you will be pacing around. All you can think about is not feeling like that and how you can get your drugs.”

Now Huther Doyle says they have a plan to help addicts after rehab. They are opening Huther Health Clinic. It will be a primary care medical center where their clients can go after their treatment to get the medicines they need.

Robert Lebman, Huther Doyle President and CEO, said, “Will allow us to continue to prescribe the  Suboxone and monitoring people while we are providing health care. And we wont be limited on how long we can keep them, it is like anybody else going to the doctor, you can keep your doctor for ever and see your doctor as much as you need to see the doctor. So we are hopeful that will provide a source to continue  Suboxone maintenance.”

The Huther Health Clinic will be open by the end of this month for the patients in their program and by the end of July, they will start taking referrals from other agencies.

Most insurance companies will pay for the medication. If a person doesn't have insurance, it would be covered by Medicaid. The president and CEO of Huther Doyle says they require regular drug screens to make sure patients are taking their prescribed medications. If they find out they are not, they stop giving them out to the patient and that is something that wouldn't be required by a primary care doctor.

For more information about Huther Doyle and its new clinic, click here.

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