Julian F. Keith Treatment Center Expanding Outpatient Services

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People combatting opioid use disorder in Western North Carolina are gaining expanded access to lifesaving outpatient services.

Beginning July 1, Julian F. Keith Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center will add additional services to its existing outpatient program. With financial support from and a partnership with Dogwood Health Trust, many individuals who receive inpatient treatment will now gain access to effective, evidence-based Medication Assisted Treatment, housing assistance and outpatient treatment and support services.

Through a $154,000 grant from the Dogwood Health Trust, JFK will make these additional services available to individuals completing the inpatient treatment program who have a diagnosed opioid use disorder, are candidates for MAT, have no form of health insurance and can benefit from housing support.

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JFK will provide access to two FDA-approved injectable medications — Vivitrol or Sublocade — that are highly effective in treating opioid use disorder. Additionally, through a partnership with Land of Sky Regional Council, eligible individuals will also have access to funding for a deposit and one month’s rent for halfway house placement.

“Far too often, lack of access to safe housing and prescribed Medication Assisted Treatment leads to a return to use of substances, readmission to crisis services and even involvement with the criminal justice system,” said Karen Burkes, Director of the Division of State Operated Healthcare Facilities. “Early and ongoing support during recovery can have a positive and lasting impact on a person’s stability within their community.”

According to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, injectable MAT reduces the risk of relapse as it releases over a 30-day period, contributing to sustained periods of abstinence. Along with MAT and housing services, individuals in the most critical stages of recovery will have the opportunity for sustained engagement with and support from Certified Peer Support Specialists and Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialists.

“Our facility takes pride in serving our community, which includes identifying and meeting the needs of its residents,” said Julian F. Keith Director Erin Bowman. “We saw a gap, identified a need and, through community collaborations that already exist, determined JFK had the ability to fill this need and have a positive impact.”

Currently, JFK’s outpatient peer support program already provides pre-inpatient admission services to help support individuals in following through with their treatment. The program also provides post-inpatient discharge services to assist with participation in ongoing community-based treatment and recovery after they leave 24/7 care.

Behavioral health and resilience is one of NCDHHS’ top three priorities coming out of the pandemic, and increasing access to outpatient behavioral health services and housing supports are important ways of addressing that priority. NCDHHS is also prioritizing investments in child and family well-being and building a strong and inclusive workforce.