MARIETTA - A new medication-assisted drug rehabilitation and counseling center is set to open in Marietta later this summer.
SelfRefind, a Danville, Ky.-based business, helps patients with opiate addictions lessen their dependency on the drugs with the use of Suboxone, said Keith Tiemeyer, public relations director for SelfRefind.
"Suboxone is a different kind of molecule than your average opiate," explained Tiemeyer.
The Suboxone works to reduce powerful withdrawal symptoms that an opiate addict might have because it stimulates the brain's receptors in a similar way; however Suboxone is much less powerful than opiates, giving addicts the opportunity to lessen their physical dependency on opiates over time, he said.
The medication also has safeguards in place to prevent it from being abused. If a patient tries to take it in addition to an opiate, it sweeps the opiate out of the system, causing a powerful immediate withdrawal, according to Tiemeyer.
Only a doctor with a special certification specifically for Suboxone can prescribe the drug, he added.
SelfRefind also couples addiction counseling with the medication-assisted treatment and clients are required to report three or four times a month for counseling and drug tests, said Tiemeyer.
Patients also have their prescription counted to ensure they are not giving it away or selling it, he said.
A Marietta location is tentatively scheduled to open Aug. 19 and will be located at 1338 Colegate Drive. It will be the company's 15th location and its third in Ohio.
Looking at statistics of prescription drug use per capita, Washington County was ranked high, said Tiemeyer.
"We also typically go to smaller towns because they are usually under-served," he said.
Local drug addiction and mental health counseling company L&P Services does offer some Suboxone treatment also, though not as its main treatment method, said CEO Chuck Larrick.
"We serve over 400 clients with substance abuse issues and we only have a max of 20 on the Suboxone program," he said.
Unlike SelfRefind, which only treats addiction, L&P also offers mental health treatment services and it recently opened a primary care medical facility on Marion Street in Marietta.
SelfRefind will start by opening one day a week and will add days as it builds appointments. Aside from a doctor who prescribes the Suboxone, it will also staff a receptionist, intake coordinator and possibly an on-site counselor, said Tiemeyer.
The company has already been in contact with some local officials and has joined the Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce, he added.
"We want to be a good community partner, too," he said.
Tiemeyer said he is working with Marietta Police Officer Pat Gragan to see how the company can become involved in the D.A.R.E. drug education program offered in area elementary schools.
Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane said he has referred Wood County criminal defendants with opiate addictions to the Parkersburg Treatment Center, which also offers Suboxone treatment.
"Everything helps. It's hard for me to say how well it works because I don't often see Wood County defendants again," said Lane.
Suboxone treatment is not a quick fix for an addiction, noted Tiemeyer. Treatment typically takes six to eight months before a patient will be weened off the Suboxone, he said.
The privately-owned company is funded through patient fees. Insurance or Medicaid will sometimes cover the fee, which is $350 per month if made in one payment, or two $200 payments a month if split. Between 10 to 20 percent of patients self pay, said Tiemeyer.
Currently SelfRefind is seeing about 2,700 patients a month throughout its 14 locations in Kentucky and Ohio, he said.