- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 1, 2017

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Less than six months after opening, Minot’s opioid treatment clinic is busier than its corporate owners anticipated it would be.

Community Medical Services is North Dakota’s first opioid treatment clinic using drug therapy with methadone, the Minot Daily News (https://bit.ly/2jNkN8K ) reported.

Mark Schaefer, the clinic’s regional manager in Minot, said while methadone doesn’t produce a drug-induced high, it is addictive.

The narcotic, which is controlled by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, can be used to stabilize clients that in most cases can be weaned off the drug.

CMS currently operates four clinics in Arizona, four in Montana and one in Alaska, with clients ranging from ages 19 to 62.

Many of the clients who go to CMS clinic in Minot are from surrounding areas such as Bismarck, Jamestown, Williston and Grand Forks. For those surrounding areas there are no other options, Schaefer said.

CMS plans to open another clinic in Fargo in late spring or early summer, and Heartview in Bismarck is also planning to open a clinic.

About 95 percent of the clients who seek out the clinic are self-referred, and are motivated to complete the program.

“The phrase I hear most often is, ‘I just can’t do this anymore,’” Schaefer said. “They are ready to change. They just need the tools and the assistance to get going.”

Currently, the CMS services are self-pay, but they are working with the state on Medicaid and with private insurers to provide coverage in the future. In the meantime, about a dozen clients in Minot take advantage of a voucher program that can provide subsidies to low-income individuals.

Last year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that there were more deaths in 2015 from opioid overdose, 12,989, than homicides, 12,979.


Information from: Minot Daily News, https://www.minotdailynews.com

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