In response to the growing crisis of heroin addiction and the ongoing problem of alcohol use in our community, Butler Hospital, a member of Care New England (CNE) Health System, announces the opening of an outpatient detoxification unit as an addition to its alcohol and drug treatment services. The ambulatory program provides medically managed safe withdrawal from alcohol and/or heroin, opioid or other prescription medications to adults 18 years or older. “This service allows Butler to expand our ability to support people suffering with the disease of addiction when they are ready to start their recovery process and continue to be there to guide their next step in the recovery journey,” said Alcohol and Drug Program unit chief Alan Gordon, MD.
The need for increasing options for recovery services in the state is evident in the statistics. The Office of the Rhode Island State Medical Examiner reports 141 annual accidental drug overdose deaths through October 2015 and 241 deaths in 2014. Division of Emergency Medical Services reports between 118 and 159 doses of Naloxone, also known as Narcan®, are administered each month by EMS personnel. Of the approximate 38,000 individuals 12 years or older with illicit drug dependence or abuse, about 6,000 per year received treatment for their illicit drug use, according to a survey conducted by Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration’s 2014 Behavioral Health Barometer Report for Rhode Island. To address this epidemic, Butler Hospital continues to seek ways to improve access and continuum of care for drug addiction treatment services.
The addition of outpatient detoxification services to Butler’s recovery program provides another entry point to addiction treatment for Rhode Islanders. The ambulatory program was designed to ensure qualified people are identified; admission and participation in the program is as easy as possible to manage, and transfer to a next level of care is seamless. The program has been designed to meet coverage requirements by most insurance plans popular in Rhode Island.
“As part of our ongoing effort to improve access and efficiency, the outpatient detoxification program allows us to increase our options for the right care in the right environment to meet patient quality of care and control costs to the health care system,” said Butler Hospital President and chief operating officer Lawrence Price, MD.
The treatment team, consisting of a psychiatrist, registered nurse, a licensed clinical social worker and a recovery coach, all specialize in addictions treatment. The program is currently open five days a week, Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the second floor of Center House, located on the Butler Hospital campus. A person is eligible for outpatient detoxification services if he or she has no history of delirium tremens (DTs) or seizures during withdrawal, is stable with any other medical or psychiatric co-occurring conditions, has transportation to and from the hospital campus, and has at-home assistance to cope with the physical and emotional stressors of detoxification.
Program Medical Chief Alan Gordon, MD emphasized that important components of the screening process are ensuring available home support and confidence that there is no abuse of alcohol or substances while participating in the detoxification process. “Generally speaking, the patient needs to be in reasonable general health, without unstable psychiatric symptoms, and to have the needed support at home to assist in coping with the physical and emotional stressors of the process,” he said.
A treatment course is typically three to five consecutive visits to administer medications under nurse supervision. The physician monitors the process to determine the number of visits necessary to enable the patient to safely withdraw. An on-site pharmacy allows patients to pick up prescribed medications before leaving the campus for self-managed care overnight. Patients also have access to emergency support, with the option of transitioning to inpatient treatment if the detoxification is not progressing appropriately. When the patient is sufficiently stable, the team assists with advising and transitioning the patient to the most appropriate next outpatient level of care.
Patients or referring care providers access the outpatient detoxification program by calling (401) 455-6223 or visiting the addiction section of this website for more information and to download a referral form.