ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — A recent survey by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation revealed more than half of residents seeking help for drug addiction struggle to find it.
One of the biggest hurdles they often face is long waiting lists to get into treatment. A new program in Attleboro seeks to eliminate that obstacle by giving addicts immediate access to the care they need.
“Our goal is to take the stigma out of substance use,” said Dr. Brian Patel, the chief of emergency services at Sturdy Memorial Hospital.
In an average month, the hospital sees about two dozen overdose patients, according to Dr. Patel.
“When patients come to the ER they want help, but they need help right away,” he said Wednesday. “As soon as you send them out without that appointment or getting them that care right away, the temptation to go back to using again is really high.”
A new facility on Railroad Avenue will get patients that help, with no wait times.
“We get them into treatment right away, as soon as they want it,” Dr. Patel said.
The outpatient clinic is a collaboration between Sturdy Memorial and Column Health. It offers medication-assisted treatment, individual and group therapy, and more.
“We take all insurances,” Dr. Patel noted. “If you have MassHealth there’s no copay, no charge at all, which also distinguishes us from a lot of other clinics because a lot of other clinics are cash-based.”
The new facility accepts walk-ins and hopes to serve as many people as possible.
“We will never kick someone out of the program for relapsing. We won’t turn people away,” Dr. Patel added. “We want everybody to get help and we’ll work with them to get the help that they need, no matter what stage they’re at.”
The clinic will be holding an open house on Tuesday, May 14, from 4-7 p.m. All are welcome to attend.