A look inside the Olympia clinic serving hundreds of people battling opioid addiction
“If you hit rock bottom, what would it take to pull you back up? What if the force that pulled you down was a chemical dependency you’d been facing for decades?
Sean Allen and hundreds of locals struggling with opioid use disorder may have found their answer to that question in a small, bustling walk-in clinic that opened about a year ago in downtown Olympia.
The Olympia Bupe Clinic opened at the Capital Recovery Center on Cherry Street Southeast, which also houses the county-run syringe exchange. It provides buprenorphine, which serves as a safer alternative to opioids and heroin, which is the drug people with opioid use disorder often turn to when their prescriptions run out.” CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING
December 18, 2019 –
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Every time she got out of jail, Jamie Cline started hustling again for heroin, driven by an addiction she didn’t understand.
“You want to get clean so bad. You know something’s killing you and you can’t stop,” said the 33-year-old who used heroin for 10 years.
This spring was different. While in a jail work-release program, she took a medication called buprenorphine. It quieted a voice in her brain that told her to keep using.
When she got out of jail, she headed for an Olympia clinic where a doctor is working to spread a philosophy called “medication first.” The surprising approach scraps requirements for counseling, abstinence or even a commitment to recovery.
Published in the Olympian on December 15, 2019
“For many years now, we’ve known that addiction to opioids, including heroin, is a bona fide disease, a persistent mental illness that hijacks the brain in ways that are different from but no less profound than schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
Nonetheless, most people still judge people with this illness harshly. That’s at least partly because one of the first casualties of addiction is honesty, and most addicts lie – even to themselves – to deny or cover up their illness. They sometimes steal from strangers and even from their own families. They can become combative, abusive and unreliable. Those behaviors make compassion hard to come by.” CONTINUE READING HERE
Olympia, WA – Capital Recovery Center is pleased to announce that Jim Morris will serve in the role of Community Relations Liaison. The Community Relations Liaison works with appointed officials and the community-at-large to promote the services and programs offered by Capital Recovery Center. Morris has over 15 years’ experience analyzing state budgets and policies relating to disability and poverty. “The more I traveled around the state listening to sessions on these topics, the more I realized a huge segment of this population was experiencing chronic mental health issues,” said Morris.
A former peer counselor, Morris intends to make additional community connections and discuss the innovative model CRC uses in treatment and recovery. “This model is incredibly effective; I believe it needs to be implemented on a larger level across the state, and we need to share the sense of community we’re building here,” says Morris.
Morris previously served on the Board of Capital Recovery Center and has been doing advocacy work independently since 2016.
Originally published in U.S. News and World Report on October 25, 2019
“GARRETT LEONARD, 31, was in and out of jail in Washington from June 2017 through April 2019 for shoplifting charges. He says he was stealing to support his opioid addiction.
During his six stays in jail, which ranged from about nine days to two months, Leonard says he went through withdrawal without any medication. The most help he received was Gatorade at one jail, to help counter his dehydration due to withdrawal, he says.
“When I went to jail the last time … I was withdrawing off fentanyl because most of the heroin in this area is laced with fentanyl, so it was the worst withdrawal I’ve had,” Leonard says.”They typically have an inmate in the detox tank for maybe three to four days, and I was there for eight days,” he says, adding that he didn’t eat for five of those days.” CONTINUE READING HERE
Many people who develop an Opioid Use Disorder come into contact with the criminal justice system before connecting to other health or social systems. According to research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and National Institutes of Health U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this presents opportunities for intervention and treatment prior to, during, after, or in lieu of incarceration. Studies show that combining criminal justice sanctions with chemical dependency treatment can be effective in decreasing drug misuse and associated crime. Additionally, for incarcerated individuals with substance use disorder, starting chemical dependency treatment in prison and continuing the same treatment upon release results in better outcomes: lower rates of overdose, relapse, and recidivism.
Capital Recovery Center is pleased to welcome Krystal Pierce to the role of Justice Outreach Specialist. The Justice Outreach Specialist (JOS) works with Capital Recovery Center’s Olympia Bupe Clinic (OBC) to help justice-involved individuals in Thurston County with an Opioid Use Disorder access opioid treatment medication. Pierce will coordinate with the correctional facilities, pretrial services, alternative courts, re-entry services, and community corrections to identify, assess, and enroll eligible individuals. In addition, Pierce will provide individuals with information about Opioid Use Disorder, opioid treatment medication, and related services, and will connect individuals to treatment at OBC as appropriate.
Thurston County Treatment Sales Tax funds the position through June 2021. The Treatment Sales Tax (TST) is a local funding stream that works alongside federal and state funding such as Medicaid to meet mental health and substance use needs in Thurston County. Programs funded with TST aim to reduce justice involvement, emergency room use, health care costs, and public assistance.
“I fully support the efforts of Capital Recovery Center’s Olympia Bupe Clinic in response to the ongoing opioid epidemic,” said Thurston County Prosecutor Jon Tunheim. “We look forward to working closely with Ms. Pierce to forge additional pathways to recovery for criminal justice-involved individuals in Thurston County.”
Previously, Pierce worked as a Nisqually Public Safety Corrections Officer. As a corrections officer, she was able to see firsthand the struggles of incarcerated individuals as they went through unmanaged withdrawal. “I felt very limited in terms of my ability to help these people. In this new role, I have the chance to really work with people in this situation and help provide them with access to treatment.” For more information about Thurston County Treatment Sale Tax, visit: https://www.thurstoncountywa.gov/phss/Pages/tst.aspx
“This new program helps create a transition from jail back into the community and can help people get their life back on track and on the road to recovery,” said Meta Hogan, CRC Program Manager. “At Capital Recovery Center, we offer wrap-around peer-supported recovery, supportive employment, or simply referrals to other resources in the community as appropriate.”
Research tells us that 60-70 percent of people with serious mental illness want to work. However, fewer than 15 percent of these individuals are employed. These figures are troublesome because having a job helps people manage their symptoms, rejoin their communities and decrease their reliance on the social service system.
The good news is that Individual Placement and Support (IPS), an evidence-based approach, helps people with serious mental illness to find and keep regular jobs in their communities.
Capital Recovery Center is pleased to offer Supported Employment and welcomes Isabelle Amundsen to the role of IPS Job Developer. IPS is a model of supported employment for people with mental illness, helping these individuals work at regular jobs. The IPS Job Developer carries out the services of the IPS Supported Employment program by assisting clients obtain and maintain employment consistent with their vocational goals. In this role, Amundsen will write job support plans with clients, incorporate input from clients’ mental health providers and adjust plans according to clients’ needs and preferences.
The ISP Job Developer maintains a shared active caseload of 25 ISP clients, referred by CRC’s PATH program, Peer Pathfinders, Olympia Bupe Clinic or CRC PEER counselors.
“Isabelle had worked prior as a vocation specialist and job coach since 2017 and is the ideal fit for this position; we are pleased to welcome her to the team,” says Jim Wright, Executive Director of Capital Recovery Center.
For more information about IPS Supported Employment, visit: https://ipsworks.org/
For more information about Capital Recovery Center, visit: www.crcoly.org