Local clinic offering opioid treatment to beat addiction

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, August 28, 2018

In response to the current opioid addiction epidemic, Pearl River Family Clinic Nurse Practitioner Joe Taylor said he has started a treatment program for those who want to end their addiction, but don’t have the time or money to afford in-patient care at a hospital or want to go to a rehab center.

Taylor said the treatment program would involve weekly treatments utilizing a series of medication. Patients come in every week for consultations and to take a drug test to make sure they have stopped using opioids. Patients are closely monitored and are given contact information for the clinic and the hospital, so they have emergency medical access whenever they need it.

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Taylor said these patients can suffer from a wide range of withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, muscle cramps, vomiting, sweats, diarrhea and dehydration. If not monitored properly, some of these symptoms could result in the patient needing to go to the hospital for treatment. This is one reason why getting off of drugs is so difficult – the withdrawal symptoms can last from three to seven days and are sometimes impossible to bear, Taylor said.

“Opioids are harder to get off of than cigarettes,” Taylor said.

To help with the medical costs, patients who enroll in the program are only required to pay the base rate of a clinic visit and the cost of the drug tests. Besides that, there are no additional or hidden fees associated with the treatment, whereas the cost of a typical rehab center can range up to $10,000, Taylor said. Keeping costs low at the clinic helps those who have neither the time nor the money for that kind of program, he said.

Taylor said that he has had a 75 percent success rate so far. Patients usually take between four to 12 weeks to flush the narcotics out of their system. Family members are encouraged to be involved in the visits to the clinic to ensure everyone is on the same page, Taylor said. He said opioids are some of the most difficult substances to quit, so it is important for patients to have a strong support system.

Taylor said one of his favorite success stories involves a young man who came into his clinic a year ago wanting to beat his addiction to pills. In four weeks time, he quit taking opioids completely with no additional medical assistance. Taylor said he still keeps up with the man’s progress and recently found out that he was accepted into a university doctorate program.

For more information or for a consultation, Pearl River Family Clinic can be reached at 601-403-8284.