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Data show clinic works

http://blog.mlive.com/chronicle/2008/07/man_pleads_to_drug_charge.html

Data show clinic works

By BEN HACKMAN
Staff Writer
Lebanon Daily News


Lebanon County’s 2-year-old methadone clinic is getting the job done.

Since the clinic opened in North Cornwall Township two years ago, the number of people admitted for detoxification and the number receiving inpatient care have decreased, while the number seeking outpatient treatment is growing. Those numbers show the clinic is working, according to an official who was scheduled to give a report today to the Lebanon County Commission on Drug and Alcohol Abuse.

Last month, the commission’s executive director, Susan Klarsch, compiled data on people seeking treatment at the center, located on the campus of New Perspectives of White Deer Run, which offers methadone treatment and counseling for patients who want to kick heroin addiction.

Methadone is a powerful legal drug that is commonly given to heroin addicts. The drug satisfies the body’s craving for heroin, and eventually the dosage is decreased until a patient no longer needs the methadone.

Thirty-six people sought methadone treatment at the clinic when it opened May 31, 2006. Yesterday, that number stood at 184, about 70 percent of whom are county residents, according to Scott Stephenson, campus director of New Perspectives.

Between the 2005-06 and 2007-08 fiscal years, detox admissions decreased from 154 to 62, and inpatient admissions decreased from 110 to 69, according to Klarsch’s report.

Klarsch said she believes the decrease occurred “because people are getting on methadone



and stabilizing and not coming back in and out of treatment.”

Klarsch said methadone is not only clinically effective; it’s also cost-effective.

During the 2007-08 fiscal year, five days of inpatient detox and 28 days of inpatient rehab cost about $5,350 per patient, according to Klarsch’s analysis.

Meanwhile, a 365-day supply of methadone cost about $2,450 per person after the patient paid an average monthly fee of $100.

But Klarsch noted that many who sought inpatient treatment did so more than once because of relapses, which sent the per-patient cost well above $5,350.

“(The clinic) is definitely effective. We had to do something,” Klarsch said. “We couldn’t have people dying and going in and out of treatment all the time.”

Klarsch said the number of heroin-related deaths in the county has decreased from an average of 12 to 15 per year — before the clinic opened — to four deaths last year. There have been no deaths attributed to heroin overdose this year, she said.

Klarsch said she was “shocked” by the numbers.

“You can’t say for sure it was the methadone clinic, but nothing else changed,” she said.

Lebanon County Commissioner Larry Stohler said the clinic has rounded out the services offered at New Perspectives’ 3030 Chestnut St. campus.

“We had all the services there in the past except the methadone component. We had inpatient detox, inpatient rehab, outpatient unmedicated,” he said. “The only thing we didn’t have was the outpatient medicated.”

The county owns the land where the treatment center was built and contracts with California-based CRC Health Group to run the clinic.

Having a clinic in Lebanon County saves about $13,000 annually that the state had paid to transport county residents to Harrisburg for methadone treatment before 2006, Stohler said.

The methadone clinic has also saved at least $80,000 of state taxpayer money, Stohler said, as outpatient treatment is at least as effective as inpatient treatment but is “much less expensive.”

No county money is used to fund the clinic.

“I’m quite pleased with how well it’s going,” Stohler said. “It’s helping people turn their lives around, and that’s the important thing. Helping them stay productive, helping them change their lifestyle so that they don’t use opiates — they don’t lose themselves, for lack of a better term.”

BenHackman@ldnews.com

Need a GOOD article to prove methadone works-use the link above!  One of the best things we can do to help promote treatment and end stigma is continue to tell our stories and write to newspapers when bad press is written.  BUT we gotta remember to THANK reporters that do a good job!

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