Lighting the Way for Healthier Communities: A Whole Person Approach to Recovery

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

This year, National Health Center Week is shining a light on the impact of the COVID-19 on our health centers and our communities. Coronavirus has been particularly challenging for people struggling with substance use disorder and people in recovery. For our medical providers and recovery staff, creativity and innovation are more important than ever as we work to meet the needs of our clients and support their recovery.

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Oregon ranks nearly last in the country in access to addiction treatment. Waitlists for treatment can be months long, and treatment is virtually inaccessible in some rural counties. This is one reason why one to two Oregonians die of drug overdoses every day, sometimes while waiting to get treatment.

Substance use disorder is also a key driver of homelessness. At Central City Concern, our goal is to meet people where they are with treatment options that meet their needs. Our comprehensive approach provides critical primary care, housing and employment assistance to help people stay on the path to recovery.

 

Oregon ranks nearly last in the country in access to addiction treatment . . . One to two Oregonians die of drug overdoses every day, sometimes while waiting to get treatment.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a surge in substance use, acute withdrawal, relapse and overdose, as well as challenges for those currently in recovery. For CCC’s medical providers and recovery staff, creativity is more important than ever in meeting the needs of our clients and supporting their recovery.

Lauren Land is CCC’s Associate Medical Director of Primary Care at Old Town Clinic. She's also one of the pioneers of CCC’s Medically Managed Medication Supported Recovery Program, also known as M3. M3 is an office-based opioid treatment program helping those with an opioid use disorder through the use of prescribed buprenorphine (or Suboxone), used to help reduce harm from opioid addiction.

Office-based treatment is one tool in CCC’s toolbox of available substance use disorder programs. It's often a low-barrier window of opportunity for clients to receive recovery support while engaging with other services within CCC.

As a primary care provider, Land has the unique ability to engage across the spectrum of CCC recovery options, allowing her to support the whole person and address their physical, mental and social determinants of health (e.g. housing related issues, access to food, physical environment, etc.). CCC offers one of the most comprehensive arrays of recovery services in the region, including behavioral interventions and supports, medication management, supportive housing, acupuncture, harm reduction, mental health and culturally specific supports. These range from our Hooper Detoxification and Stabilization Center, CCC Recovery Center, and the Recuperative Care Program, to the Old Town Recovery Center, Imani and Letty Owings Center – to name a few.

Our goal is to meet patients wherever they are on their recovery journey.

“I’m so grateful to be able to offer these services to my patients,” said Land. “What makes CCC stand out is the fact that patients can engage with primary care, behavioral health and access our entire spectrum of services. We take a whole person approach, looking at all of the factors affecting a person’s physical and mental health.”

 

Our goal is to meet patients wherever they are on their recovery journey.

 

One of the cornerstones of recovery is human connection. For those in recovery, isolation is one of the biggest challenges of COVID-19 and can increase the urge to use. While in-person groups and one-on-one mentor sessions have been reduced, CCC has responded by providing tele-connections for clients – meetings with recovery mentors and support groups by phone and video. At the same time, CCC continues to offer a full array of onsite services, including medical visits and physically distanced recovery groups. We have a “no-barriers exist” philosophy.

CCC’s recovery staff often say that isolation is the opposite of recovery. That’s why CCC has made a concerted effort to ensure clients maintain connections with their support systems.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how many people in our communities have been living without proper care and stability. At CCC, we’ve stepped up quickly with a rapid response. We want Portlanders to know that help is available, and we're as steadfast as ever in our commitment to supporting people transitioning away from addiction struggles and homelessness.