Local treatment centers dealing with opiate crisis - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Local treatment centers dealing with opiate crisis

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Less than two months ago, Gov. Deval Patrick declared a public health emergency over opiate abuse in the Bay State.

The issue has also led to a rise in the need for treatment centers.

Clean Slate Addiction Treatment Centers opened in December of 2009.

Over the past 4 1/2 years, they have grown from two facilities to nine and now cover a majority of the state.

Their president said this is not an issue that will be going away anytime soon.

"It will need managing like diabetes needs managing long term," said Dr. Amanda Wilson, president and CEO of Clean Slate.

To meet those demands, Wilson continues to expand her centers.

The company is preparing to move into a new facility in West Springfield, where they treat close to 1,000 patients. 

Right now, due to regulated caps, they have maxed out at 3,500 patients statewide.

"It was really only about three months ago that we hit a cap," said Wilson. "We were consistent in constant recruiting efforts. We've really ramped up our recruiting and that's why we're boarding so many new physicians who are in training right now. I expect that the cap will be gone again very soon."

That moment can't come soon enough. 

Wilson said it is crucial to get patients in the door soon after they decide to get clean.

"If a patient has made a decision that they're really ready for a life change, and they really want to turn things around, they really should have access to being able to speak with a physician provider," Wilson stated.

Clean Slates are housed in local office buildings.

They do not administer medication on site, but they do hold regular meetings with their patients.

Wilson said her centers have not always received a warm welcome.

"It's sad, because when we open, we enable patients to get better," said Wilson. "They get jobs back and go back to work. The frequency of larceny, et cetera, actually go down in those communities."

Wilson told CBS 3 that over 100,000 people are dependent on opiates in Massachusetts.

She has reached out to legislators on both the state and federal level, looking to loosen their restrictions and get more help from insurance companies.

She said it would benefit everyone involved.

"If they relapse, losing their insurance in January and then they end up in detox, that can cost the state $5,000 to $7,000 for one detox and they can get an entire year of treatment at Clean Slate for $5,000," said Wilson.

Wilson said an even more costly event would be a patient potentially relapsing and winding up in jail, as that could cost the state up to $45,000 per year.

Anyone interested in Clean Slate's services can call them at 800-NEW-START or visit their website at www.cleanslatecenters.com.

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