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Medication Assisted Treatment in North Dakota

Posted 5/23/13 (Thu)

Ohio Valley Node (OVN) Update
Medication Assisted Treatment in North Dakota

The Ohio Valley Node collaborated with their Community Treatment Program (CTP), Heartview, to plan a two-day conference on medication assisted treatment in Jamestown, North Dakota, at the State hospital. Day One of the conference was a two-track buprenorphine training. Track one was the PCSS-B Half and Half Buprenorphine Training for physicians that was sponsored by the OVN and the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine. Track two was the NIDA/SAMHSA buprenoprhine blending product training for all non-physicians that was sponsored by the Central Rockies Addiction Technology Transfer Center.

Day Two of the conference was the North Dakota Addiction Counselor Association’s Spring Conference, at which Drs. Somoza and Winstanley provided presentations on novel medications to treat addiction, methadone, overdose prevention, barriers to MAT adoption and using social media. Approximately 76 people attended the first day and 68 people attended the second day.

The timing of this conference is significant for two reasons. First, North Dakota recently passed legislation to allow Opioid Treatment Programs. Previously, North Dakota was one of only two states that did not allow methadone treatment, and North Dakota clinicians have very limited experience using addiction medications. There are 13 physicians in the State that can prescribe buprenorphine; however, local physicians report that only approximately 5 physicians are actually prescribing buprenorphine, and perhaps only 2-3 are accepting new patients. In preparation for this conference, Dr. Winstanley traveled to North Dakota in October 2012 and Kurt Snyder (Heartview’s CEO) facilitated meetings with key stakeholders in the State, including the Attorney General. This was an important step to ensure that science was considered as part of the decision of whether to enact legislation that would allow for OTPs.
Secondly, this conference is important because North Dakota is in the middle of an oil boom. While the oil boom has brought economic prosperity to residents, it has not come without a cost – one of which is increasing rates of prescription opioid and heroin use. Hence, the demand for treatment for opioid dependence has increased.
The OVN is very thankful for the partnership with Heartview, as well as the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine and the Central Rockies Addiction Technology Transfer Center that made this conference possible. As a result of the OVN’s trip in October 2012, Heartview’s physician was able to start prescribing Vivitrol, and we are hopeful that this conference will make a real difference in people’s path to recovery. 

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