CODAC Behavioral Healthcare, the largest non-profit, outpatient provider for opioid treatment in Rhode Island, today announced the launch of its new mobile medical unit that will dispense methadone along with the other two FDA-approved medications for opioid use disorder (OUD as part of medication-assisted treatment (MAT). CODAC’s mobile medical unit is the first in the nation to be approved under the new DEA regulations that went into effect on July 28, 2021.
CODAC’s 27-foot long mobile medical unit was made possible by a generous grant from the Champlin Foundation; it features a dispensary examination/treatment room, counseling room, waiting area, restroom, and fully equipped security system. The mobile medical unit will begin providing MAT services, including counseling, and methadone dispensing (as well as treatment with buprenorphine and naltrexone) to patients residing in Woonsocket. Services will be provided on-site Monday through Saturday from 6:30 to 10 a.m., with the presence of a Medical Doctor on alternating days of the week. Counseling services will be facilitated via Telehealth in efforts to provide more hands-on support. Other on-site services will include but not be limited to Blood Pressure screening, Glucose Reading, and Mental Health Screening.
“Access to care is more important than ever amid our soaring overdose rates,” stated Linda Hurley, President/CEO of CODAC. “This mobile medical unit will allow us to face that challenge, both geographically and demographically. It will allow us to bring treatment to individuals struggling with addiction and literally meet them where they are — in the places where that treatment is most needed.”
In Rhode Island, deaths from accidental drug overdose (OD) in 2021 were higher than for any other year on record, according to the state Department of Health, and recently passed the benchmark of 100,000 deaths nationally in a twelve-month reporting period.
Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee stated: “A key element of our response to the opioid overdose crisis is meeting people where they are. This new mobile medical unit from CODAC Behavioral Health does just that,” said Governor Dan McKee. “This innovative intervention will help get tools, resources, and supports into communities throughout Rhode Island, and will allow public health workers to respond to trends in overdose activity. Recovery and hope are never out of reach.”
K. Joseph Shekarchi, Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives stated: “Codac again brings RI to the forefront of the efforts to address the opioid overdose epidemic. The mobile medical unit will bring services to communities who have the most difficulty receiving those services and have the most need. Thank you again CODAC”
Dominick J. Ruggerio, President of the Rhode Island Senate stated: “We are extremely proud of the work that CODAC has done, again being the first in the nation to provide a newly DEA regulated mobile medical unit services to address the opioid epidemic. This is a big step in keeping our friends and family safer from this disease.”
Mark W. Parrino, M.P.A. President, American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence, stated: “I am grateful to Linda Hurley and her CODAC colleagues for being among the first to launch a new mobile van under the DEA regulations, which will extend the reach of CODAC’s Opioid Treatment Programs into underserved areas of Rhode Island. It represents the opportunity to expand the OTP hub sites to reach underserved people in desperate need of care for their opioid use disorder.”
Ben Lessing, MSW, CEO, Community Care Alliance, stated: “We have lost too many people in Woonsocket due to opioid addiction and overdose deaths. Community Care Alliance is pleased to welcome CODAC as an additional partner to address this acute behavioral healthcare need. Access, rapid response and addressing opioid concerns in a comprehensive manner is critical. We believe that the presence of CODAC’s Mobile Medical Unit will help to improve current conditions on the ground.”
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