An Olympia clinic that helps people struggling with opioid addiction and homelessness saw a major milestone last week.
The Olympia Bupe Clinic (OBC) at Capital Recovery Center treated its 200th patient last week. The treatment capped a three-month period of rapid growth for the clinic, according to a press release.
The 200th patient was a 21-year-old woman who has been experiencing homelessness in Olympia, according to the release. She reportedly began using heroin two years ago after her father died from an overdose, and she wanted to begin using medication to help her stop using heroin, return home to her mother, and look for a job.
The OBC opened in downtown Olympia on Jan. 9 of last year. The walk-in clinic provides same-day access to buprenorphine — also known by the brand name Suboxone — a medication used to treat addiction to heroin or prescription pain pills. The drug protects against overdose, withdrawal sickness, and opioid craving without producing a high, according to Dr. Lucinda Grande, the clinic’s medical director.
“OBC is one of the first clinics in the country designed specifically to treat high-risk patients,” said Jim Wright, executive director of the Capital Recovery Center, in a prepared statement. “We especially welcome people who have already experienced adverse effects of drug use, such as homelessness, jail time, or overdose.”
The clinic aims to eliminate barriers that might prevent people from accessing buprenorphine. There are no appointments and no cost, and the medicine is dispensed onsite at the time of the visit. Peer recovery coaches are available at the clinic to do intakes and steer patients toward other resources.
The clinic is funded through two federal sources channeled through the state — the Medicaid Transformation Demonstration and the State Opioid Response. It also is supported by the Thurston Mason Behavioral Health Organization and by Medicaid, which pays for most clinic visits and medicines.
Patients may be turned away soon as the clinic continues to grow. It now reportedly sees up to 26 patients each evening, nearing its capacity. “The limiting factor is the shortage of available prescribers,” Grande stated in the press release.
Medical professionals need a waiver certification to prescribe buprenorphine. A free four-hour partial waiver training is being held 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 17 at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia. Participants must register in advance. If interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (360)-493-5583.
More information about the clinic can be found online.
Thumbnail photo by Soberconnections via Creative Commons