Integrated approach to opioid addiction

Updated: Jun. 5, 2019 at 7:23 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Mayo Clinic Health System is launching a pilot project to holistically treat addiction, mental and physical health.

It’s a little-known aspect of addiction: According to Mayo Clinic Health Systems, more than 40 percent of those with a substance-use disorder also have a mental health condition.

Yet, only 1 in 10 addicts receive any form of mental health treatment.

“We know that patients with psychiatric condition they use more opioid in terms of misuse or developing an opioid use disorder. They have better outcome if they actually treat both of the conditions in an integrated fashion rather than in isolation or in separation that we see more often happening in the community," Shirshendu Sinha, M.B.B.S., M.D., Mayo Clinic Health System regional chair of Psychiatry and Psychology said.

Jennifer Denn struggled with substance abuse for 11 years before realizing she needed to focus on her mental health.

“Throughout the time I had a lot of doctors talk to me about the mental health side and this time I knew, but I also had help with my regular physician, my therapist and my psychiatrist all pushing me forward to that, I think this is the side you need to look at as well not just the addiction," Denn said.

“What we really need to do that when we’re seeing a patient either with mental health or an addiction, you have to screen for either of the conditions no matter what they’re actually getting referred for. Also looking at the medical part and then coordinating the care with the medical providers," Dr. Sinha added.

Jennifer has been sober for two years now.

“That’s what I hope this program will do for others is maybe some of them will succeed other of them might go back out but this is a seed that can be planted for them to move on into the recovery," Denn said.

This pilot project is being funded by a $75,000 UCare grant to get it off the ground.

The grants benefit underserved populations in Minnesota with innovative services, education, community outreach and research.

“There are some barriers there’s some logistical barriers regarding the state laws and what are the requirements to run such programs in a dual diagnosis fashion but the research has shown that these programs are more effective in terms of cost and also outcome so I’m hoping that there will be some system wide changes happening sooner than later," Dr. Sinha said.

Still in the developmental stage, the project will be implemented at the Eastridge clinic in Mankato as it has an existing mental health model of care that includes an addiction psychiatrist, licensed clinical social worker and psychologists.

It’s expected to launch in fall 2019.

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