A time to find solutions…
Harbor House provides routine on-site nursing services. All clients admitted to the Primary Care Residential Treatment Program undergo a comprehensive nursing assessment and medical evaluation by a licensed physician. In some cases, the Treatment Team or nursing personnel require that a client who may be at risk of a significant physical withdrawal, such as when an individual ceases alcohol and benzodiazepine consumption after an extended period of use, undergo a medically supervised detoxification to ensure that the client’s medical needs do not exceed our on-site resources. Additionally, we have found that, in most instances, full physiological stabilization prior to admittance allows the individual to be physically prepared to engage in their treatment. Withdrawal from other substances such as methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana, while unpleasant, do not produce physical symptoms of withdrawal, and are manageable on site.
The medical staff handles minor illnesses and injuries, dispenses medications and makes referrals for specialty medical, surgical and mental health services. The medical department also assists clients in establishing relationships with community-based primary care medical and mental health providers, collects specimens for drug screens and helps to explore medication options while clients are in residence. Medical Services also arranges for dental, vision and medical appointments and coordinates transportation for each. Our medical department keeps the overdose-reversing drug, Naloxone, on site, in the event of an opioid overdose.
With the onset of the nation’s opioid epidemic, Harbor House implemented a Medication Assisted Treatment Program (MAT), under the supervision of a licensed addictionologist. Studies have indicated that MAT reduces opioid abuse and overdose deaths, and further, once an individual enters drug treatment, it improves their ability to retain what they learn in treatment. The medications we use allow a client to function comfortably while reducing the effects of opioid withdrawal. Oftentimes, it is the unpleasant, and sometimes painful, withdrawal that causes an individual to leave treatment in search of relief . We feel that by incorporating a MAT program, we give the individual time for balance to gradually be restored to the brain functions that have been changed by repeated and extended substance use. Our on-site medical staff dispenses such medication to the prescribed individual and monitors each client’s progress. By incorporating these new tools, we do believe we can arrest and treat opioid use disorder.