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Barton Community Health Center

Barton's Medication-Assisted Treatment Addresses Local Opioid Crisis, Expands Care

(South Lake Tahoe, CA) – In an effort to address the opioid crisis and help community members struggling with substance abuse, Barton Health now has certification to dispense Suboxone® as part of a new Medication-assisted Treatment Program. This federally funded treatment program removes travel barriers and reduces stigma for patients and their families seeking treatment for narcotics dependency.

The Medication Assisted Treatment Program is administered to patients who are in withdrawal. Different from Methadone, which requires addiction treatment center visits, or Narcan, which treats overdose, Suboxone® is administered prescribed directly from an outpatient clinic and is coupled with behavioral health services such as counseling sessions with a clinical social worker.

“We are proud to be a resource to our community and be a leader in helping tackle the local opioid crisis,” said Dr. Matthew Wonnacott, Barton Health Chief Medical Officer. “As many as one in four patients receiving prescription opioids long term in a primary care setting struggles with dependency,” he shares.

Dr. Wonnacott stresses the importance of taking a whole person approach while reducing stigma around opioid addiction. “People can become victims of circumstance when being prescribed narcotics for injuries and need legitimate medical help with a resulting dependency,” he says. “The Medication-assisted Treatment Program isn’t just a prescription, it gives patients the tools they need to successfully manage and potentially quit habit-forming opioids.”

Currently, several care providers across Barton Health have earned their X Waiver, or certification to administer Suboxone®. These providers can treat patients presenting withdrawal symptoms in Barton’s Emergency Department, or with a doctor’s referral at Barton Community Health Center. After patients sign a contract committing to their Suboxone® treatment, they are scheduled for medication and therapy.

Barton Health identified substance abuse as a leading health care issue in the community. Those interested in Medication Assisted Treatment can talk to their medical care provider for a referral, or call Barton Community Health Center at 530.543.5623.