NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Long before the nationwide opioid crisis, community health centers were confronting the epidemic head on.
Among them, Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center in New Haven.
They’ve come up with a holistic approach to treating people dependent on painkillers.
Carol Ann gets counseling and treated for pain management.
“I’ve had cancer, I also have degenerative disk disease, and I have arthritis,” she says.
But, she is not hooked on pain meds.
“They keep you on the up and up so that you don’t go the wrong way,” Carol Ann explains.
It’s a comprehensive patient centered approach, done in a primary care setting.
Led by Dr. Douglas Bruce and Dr. Ece Tek.
He specializes in addiction medicine. She’s an addiction psychiatrist.
It comes down to teamwork.
“The biggest change is cultural change so behavioral health team, they became more medical and medical team became more holistic,” Dr. Tek said.
State of mind they say hampers the road to recovery.
“They needed a place to talk,” says Dr. Bruce, “about why they are depressed because their back hurts chronically or maybe they need to talk about the trauma because the back pain is because of a prior domestic violence experience.”
Dee was once addicted to heroin.
“For everything that was wrong, they have fixed here,” she says.
A lifeline – she holds onto.
“There were things, that I had gotten because I was doing drugs and they put me through a special thing. It was hepatitus C, now I no longer have that either,” says Dee.
The integrated model for the opioid epidemic was singled out recently by the publication Modern Healthcare.
“You can find subscribers for pain medication but it can be very difficult to find behavioral health support that can do both addiction and general mental health,” said Dr. Bruce.
It is a chronic disease that can be overcome.
“Some people, they may have pain, behavioral health, and substance abuse- and they know the team will target these three separate issues,” said Dr. Tek.
A team determined to make recovery a reality.
The holistic approach includes acupuncture and meditation.
The Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center serves the under-insured, uninsured and insured.
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