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.”
Capital Recovery Center’s Annual Meeting typically takes place in May. This year it is postponed until June. Stay tuned for the exact date, time and location.
Capital Recovery Center’s Olympia Bupe Clinic is in the news! Thank you, KING 5, for the thoughtful approach to telling our story and sharing the impact our team is having in the community.
OLYMPIA, Wash. — A “low-barrier” approach to dealing with opioid addiction appears to be working in Olympia. The clinic is one of the first in the nation to offer buprenorphine, or bupe, to patients on a drop-by basis, without any appointment necessary.
Since the Olympia Bupe Clinic opened in January of 2019, managers said more than 200 patients have been helped, a higher number than originally predicted.
On Thursday April 11, the Olympia Bupe Clinic (OBC) at Capital Recovery Center (CRC) began treatment of its 200th patient, capping a three-month period of rapid growth and service to the community.
The 200th patient was “Misty,” a 21-year-old female who has been living homeless in Olympia. She started injecting heroin two years ago after her father died from an overdose. She wanted to start medication so she could stop using heroin, return home to her mother and start looking for a job.
OBC opened in downtown Olympia on January 9, 2018, according to Jim Wright, CRC’s Executive Director. It is a walk-in clinic that provides same-day access to buprenorphine (often known by the brand name Suboxone®), a highly effective medicine that treats addiction to heroin or prescription pain pills.
“OBC is one of the first clinics in the country designed specifically to treat high risk patients,” said Mr. Wright. “We especially welcome people who have already experienced adverse effects of drug use such as homelessness, jail time or overdose.”
“The people at highest risk have the hardest time getting access to treatment,” according to Dr. Lucinda Grande, OBC’s Medical Director. “To address this problem, we use a harm reduction model. We provide tools for people to make stepwise improvements to their health and safety.”
“Most of our patients are ready to completely give up using heroin,” says Sofi Harnish, RN, the clinic’s nurse care manager. “But we want to serve even those who are not completely ready. Every day on Suboxone is a safer day, when they are not at risk of an overdose.”
Buprenorphine protects against overdose, withdrawal sickness, and opioid craving, and yet it does not produce a drug high, according to Dr. Grande. It allows people to regain stability and make positive life changes.
The clinic makes it easy for patients to get the medicine, eliminating every conceivable barrier. There are no appointments and no cost. The medicine is dispensed on-site at the time of the visit. Peer recovery coaches greet patients and do new intakes, creating a welcoming atmosphere. They also help patients access other resources.
The clinic has two federal funding sources channeled through Washington State – the Medicaid Transformation Demonstration and the State Opioid Response – and has support from the Thurston Mason Behavioral Health Organization. Additionally, Medicaid pays for most clinic visits and medicines.
OBC is making strides against the stubborn problem of homelessness. In a recent survey done at the clinic by Amanda Bohannon, RN, about one-third of patients noted improvement in their housing situation within weeks of starting the medicine. “Most patients had unstable housing,” said Ms. Bohannon. “People are now reconnecting with their families, who are taking them back into their homes. Many have been able to find and keep jobs, and that helps them afford stable housing.”
Widespread stigma and the high cost of housing remain huge challenges, according to Meta Hogan, director of the OBC peer recovery coach program. “We really need to address housing affordability to overcome homelessness,” she said. “But we are excited to see our patients succeeding.”
Ms. Bohannon’s survey also found that improved mood and self-image were nearly universal after starting buprenorphine. Reduction in both chronic pain and non-opioid drug use was common.
The clinic has rapidly expanded and is now seeing up to 26 patients each evening. With such a large demand, the clinic will soon exceed its capacity. “We, unfortunately, may need to start turning patients away,” said Dr. Grande. “The limiting factor is the shortage of available prescribers.”
The medicine is prescribed by a rotating staff of 13 paid and volunteer physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, most of whom have other full-time jobs. But few other local medical providers have a “waiver,” which is the certification needed to prescribe buprenorphine to treat addiction. The waiver requires several hours of training to understand the medicine and federal regulations.
“Many potential prescribers have not yet stepped forward,” said Dr. Grande. “I think the biggest problem is that they don’t realize how easy and rewarding this is. We all want to save lives, to make a difference. Serving at OBC is a direct way to do just that.”
A free four-hour partial waiver training will be offered at Providence St. Peter Hospital on Friday, May 17th from 9 AM – 1 PM. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-493-5583. See the attached media alert.
Mr. Wright passionately believes in OBC’s mission. “I am excited about the rapid progress we have already seen,” he said. “This clinic is having a direct impact on both the opioid and homelessness crises.”
Who: Olympia Bupe Clinic at Capital Recovery Center
What: Walk-in clinic for opioid treatment medication (buprenorphine, also known as Suboxone®), same-day treatment, no cost, on-site dispensing. Peer recovery coaches help with basic needs and referrals for long term treatment, counseling, medical care, and housing services.
When: Monday – Friday, 4 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Where: Capital Recovery Center, 1000 Cherry Street SE, Olympia, WA 98501. (360) 349-0033. email@example.com | http://crcoly.org/
About Capital Recovery Center: Capital Recovery Center (CRC), established in 1989, is a not-for-profit, Washington State Certified Behavioral Health Agency, specializing in Co-Occurring Treatment, which integrates substance use disorder and mental health services.