- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 9, 2018

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) - Tucked away off First Street across from Terre Haute City Hall and the Vigo County Courthouse sits a new health care facility dedicated exclusively to treatment of opioid addiction.

Western Indiana Recovery Services at 88 Wabash Court, which opened Monday, is the first of five new opioid treatment centers in Indiana to open its doors.

Gov. Eric Holcomb authorized the new centers last year as part of an effort to address the state’s opioid crisis.

“We are offering treatment that is holistic and comprehensive,” said Jennifer Hutchens, a psychologist who is acting chief of addiction at Hamilton Center. “Methadone treats the biological part, and we have behavioral health counseling that will treat the psychological and social piece.”

Sagamore Medical Recovery Services, formed in 2016 by Dr. Christian Shaw and partners, is working with Hamilton Center in providing the medical services.



“Dr. Shaw is a leader in the field and has worked to develop the most successful, innovative and respected methadone-based opioid treatment program in New Mexico,” according to a Hamilton Center news release.

“This type of treatment … is severely needed in this area,” Hutchens said.

Vigo County had 26 opioid overdose deaths in 2016 and 23 in 2017, according to Hutchens. It ranks among the Top 10 in the state for emergency room overdose visits.

As rules tighten for prescription painkillers containing opioids, many addicts turn to heroin, which is cheap and abundant, Hutchins said.

Vigo County is No. 4 statewide for HIV and AIDS, which can be spread by sharing of needles by addicts.

“The opioid epidemic affects not only the person struggling with addiction but affects family, friends, first responders, the health care system, the criminal justice system and the entire community,” Hamilton Center CEO Melvin L. Burks said in a news release.

Sixty percent of those who participate in a treatment program return to work and become productive members of society,” Hutchens said.

But that leaves 40 percent still suffering and Hutchens would like to see the success rate reach 65 percent this year and 70 percent next year.

“I’m always trying to work my way out of a job,” she said. “It’s only when we show our consumers and our patients that we’re here not to judge them but to help them that we can truly help them beat the odds.”

The 3,500-square-foot Recovery Services facility features five medication dosing stations, separate drug screening rooms, a physical examination room and rooms for individual and group counseling, according to the release.

All services are included in a bundled rate. Medicaid and HIP, Indiana’s expanded Medicaid program, are accepted for payment.

“I’m sure Medicare will follow. Private insurance we’re still working toward,” Hutchens said. A self-pay rate is available.

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Source: (Terre Haute) Tribune-Star, https://bit.ly/2K4yn4f

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Information from: Tribune-Star, http://www.tribstar.com

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