FARMINGTON—Opioid addiction has hit epidemic proportions. So much so that the crisis has even been addressed during this legislative session.
An agency that has worked tirelessly to curb the problem, Davis Behavioral Health (DBH), was recognized for its efforts recently with the 2016 Governor’s Award for excellence in substance abuse treatment. DBH was presented with the award at a Davis County Commission meeting on Feb. 14.
“We’ve been really working hard to combat the opioid epidemic through public education campaigns, educating doctors and through treating those who are already addicted,” said Dr. Noel Schenk, medical director at DBH. “It’s kind of a three pronged approach. We’ve had billboards and posters for public awareness about the dangers of opioids. We’ve also partnered with IHC for education in their facilities to help doctors minimize prescribing them. They’re encouraged not to use an opioid the first time or prescribe for only seven days. We want to minimize the amount of opioids on the street and get them out of medicine cabinets. We don’t want doctors to be contributing to the addiction.”
DBH also treats those who are already addicted. “They work with a substance abuse therapist, attend group therapy and we also use certain medications to help with treatment,” said Schenk. “There is good scientific evidence that the medications help them to get clean and stay clean.”
Schenk said some people come in for treatment on their own or a doctor or the court system might refer them to DBH.
“When someone comes in they’ll meet with a therapist who will do a screening evaluation and recommend appropriate care,” she said. “The biggest thing is we use evidence based treatment and it’s working.”
As part of the program, Schenk recommends everyone have Naloxone (NARCAN) in his or her first aid kit. “It reverses the side effects of an opioid overdose,” she said. “Any doctor can prescribe it or patients can get it from us or their pharmacist can give it out without a prescription. It’s just in case. We hope they never need it but we’d rather they be alive.”