NHCW 2016: Offering Another Tool for the Recovery Toolkit

Monday, August 08, 2016

Central City Concern promotes high quality addiction treatment, which is founded on counseling, life skills and community support—with medication for those who need it.

Eastside Concern, CCC’s addiction and recovery outpatient facility in east Portland, offers Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) that frees people from the highs and lows caused by drugs, as well as thinking about drugs all the time. MAT helps take away cravings and allows people to focus on positive change in other areas of life.

“MAT makes some people feel normal,” says Nickolas Reguero, a counselor in CCC’s Eastside Concern’s MAT program. “It gives people breathing room to look at their lives and relationships. They can really examine their identities: who they are, how they want to be remembered by others.”

Between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016, CCC clinics had 220 patients in MAT. About 60 clients are enrolled in Eastside Concern’s MAT program, which began as a CCC pilot in 2015 and became a program in 2016. To be eligible, enrollees must want to stop using all substances, including alcohol and marijuana, and have a safe place to keep their medications.

MAT includes:

- group and individual sessions for the duration of treatment
- random and regular urine drug screens and pill counts
- no alcohol, marijuana or non-prescribed drug use
- participation in community recover support activities
- and engagement with a primary care provider.

Nickolas has worked in the program for only a few months, but he’s already impressed by MAT successes. “To me, the biggest difference from traditional addiction treatment is the continuum of care. We are able to get people connected to community support and primary care,” he says. “I really like that we help people achieve a level of stability so they can make a change. That’s different from other office-based treatments that tend to be silo-ed.”

The program works because the staff keeps a positive, non-stigmatizing and pro-social attitude—and they utilize trauma-informed treatment. “Clients really struggle, but we use those struggles as opportunities to address deeper issues,” Nickolas says. For example, if someone has continually positive urine-analyses, staff can use them as a positive starting point to delve into the reasons why they’re so challenged.

“Our MAT program is about true relationships,” Nickolas explains. “We develop relationships in a thoughtful collaborative manner. We let clients know: somebody cares.”

Eastside Concern has been in operation for more than 30 years; it joined the CCC family in 2011. In addition to MAT, the facility offers a certified DUII program, domestic violence intervention, a specialized corrections program, patient groups to address substance use, specialized relapse prevention, and intensive outpatient services for those requiring maximum support in achieving and maintaining abstinence and recovery.

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