We are all too aware of the horrific toll the opioid epidemic has taken on the families of Northeast Pennsylvania over the past two decades.

Fortunately, we have come a long way in the fight, thanks

to advancements in treatment that I’m proud to say The Wright Center is at the forefront of locally. Alas, we have much work left

to do, as awareness campaigns like National Recovery Month are here

to remind us.

Observed every September by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Recovery Month strives to better educate Americans on how the potent combination of substance use treatment and mental health services can ultimately lead those in recovery to lead long, healthy, happy lives. It also celebrates the gains made by those in recovery.

We see these wonderful gains every day at The Wright Center, which is a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania-designated Opioid Use Disorder Center of Excellence.

What does that mean? Well, unlike a traditional inpatient rehabilitation facility, we offer recovery services on an outpatient basis, allowing our patients to receive first-rate care that doesn’t disrupt the other aspects of their life. Here, we understand that addiction is a lifelong disease requiring a lifelong commitment to recovery, and that no two paths to recovery are the same.

To accomplish our goals, we employ a “whole patient” philosophy centered on Medication-Assisted Treatment, or MAT, a truly innovative concept that combines medical and social support.

The medication works by blocking the receptors in the brain that modern opioids are built to connect to, in the process vanquishing the urges that those in recovery face. Meanwhile, our patients are connected to a network of providers and community support who regularly check in on their progress and keep them engaged.

As a new member of The Wright Center family, I’m proud to join an organization that cares so much about this vulnerable patient population. Our recovery and behavioral health specialists, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, certified recovery specialists and medical providers work as a team to counsel and support individuals coping with a variety of substance use disorders — not just opioids, but also alcohol, cocaine and other addictive drugs. Three of our primary care providers are addiction medicine board-certified while I just completed a fellowship in Addiction Medicine with board certification to follow. In addition, all of our resident physicians and fellows are trained to become MAT waivered.

Throughout the process, we constantly motivate our patients to stay engaged in both physical and behavioral health services, while our team also facilitates recovery by helping individuals find stable housing and employment, navigate insurance barriers and help reestablish family and community relationships. Additionally, we connect patients with highly valuable community groups and peer support networks.

In addition, our Healthy MOMS (Maternal Opiate Medical Support) pregnancy recovery program is available to expecting and new moms who struggle with opioid use disorder. Our program integrates MAT, paired with counseling and social support, to keep expecting mothers and their babies from experiencing symptoms of withdrawal and help them become the leaders in their recovery.

Patients qualify for Center of Excellence care if they have an opioid use disorder; may have co-occurring behavioral/substance abuse and physical health conditions, require assistance navigating the health care system, and need guidance to stay engaged in treatment in order to avoid relapse. Services are offered no matter the patient’s insurance status or ability to pay, with a sliding fee discount available to those who qualify.

The Wright Center is proud to be one of the local leaders in opioid use disorder treatment services. We’re here to assist, not judge, patients on their recovery journey, every step of the way. To us, you’re not an “addict,” but a person, one deserving of great care, respect and, of course, the opportunity for a better life.

Dr. Karen E. Arscott is a primary care physician and addiction medicine specialist who provides comprehensive primary and preventive care as well as addiction and recovery services at The Wright Center for Community Health’s Mid Valley practice.

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