Opioid addiction in America doesn’t just affect people in urban areas, the epidemic has touched thousands of people in some of the most rural parts of the country. The crisis we face is grave to say the least, which is why it is paramount that addiction treatment services be made more readily available to everyone—regardless of location and economic standing.
Metropolitan areas of the country have the infrastructure and resources available to provide those battling with opioid addiction recovery options. Inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities, both public and private, span the urban landscape, yet for those who live off the beaten path—options are scarce. This often forces those who are need of assistance to drive long distances to gain access to desperately needed treatment services.
After realizing that some patients were driving hundreds of miles to acquire prescriptions for Vivitrol (naltrexone), a drug used to help recovering opioid prevent relapse, the chief operating officer of private clinic in Washington County, Pennsylvania decided to take the service on the road, TRIBLive reports. The mobile clinic can now provide Vivitrol to people living far away from metropolitan areas.
While naltrexone is available in pill form to be taken daily, Vivitrol is an extended-release injectable suspension form of the drug. After an injection, a patient will not need another for a month. The injectable version is preferred because patients will never forget to take the drug. A mobile clinic can move from county to county every month to provide the drug to patients so they never miss a dose. The mobile unit makes up for the lack of doctors in rural parts of the state who are willing to offer Vivitrol to patients. Kami Anderson, the executive director of the Armstrong-Indiana-Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission, says that doctors have told her that they don’t want addicts “in their waiting rooms or offices.”
“The hardest problem we have is a lack of doctors that are interested in recovery and want to do that type of medical practice,” said Anderson.