According to federal charges, the officer smuggled Suboxone strips and burner cellphones for an inmate serving a 100-year sentence for two first-degree murder convictions.
A trip to the emergency room can be a crucial window to assist people in their recovery. Now some providers are giving patients a medicine to ease the transition so they can seek additional care. Recently, a hospital in Juneau completed one year of this program with encouraging results.
The new clinic is different in a few ways. It’s a for-profit company and it doesn’t currently offer in-house counseling — and that has some in providers in the community worried.
Drug companies and doctors have been accused of fueling the opioid crisis, but some question whether insurers have played a role, too.
“In randomized trial after randomized trial, people randomized to counseling plus buprenorphine or buprenorphine or Suboxone by itself do equally as well in terms of their recovery,” said family physician Steve Martin. He was speaking to a group of primary care providers at a conference.
The overdose death toll from opioids, both prescription drugs and heroin, has almost quadrupled since 1999. In 2014 alone, 28,000 people died of opioid overdoses, more than half from prescription drugs.
Medication-assisted treatment uses one of several drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration to control cravings and reduce relapses. Despite the evidence, the approach is underused.
Robert Meireis had a tough life that included a history of violence, years in prison, even tattoos tying him to white supremacist groups. That he met a violent end in a double murder discovered last month in West Juneau wasn’t necessarily a surprise to some people who knew him.
“Keeping them on the Vivitrol calms down the brain so that they’re not constantly thinking about where’s that next hit coming from,” says family nurse practitioner Jyll Green.