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Suboxone clinic waiting list growing

Updated: Wednesday, August 13 2014, 05:44 PM EDT

WTOV9.com
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio – There’s been uptick in overdoses in the Ohio Valley in recent days, including two deaths in Weirton from just over the weekend.
Compare that to 2013, when there were only four deaths resulting from heroin overdoses spanning the entire year in Hancock County.
With that, emergency crews aren't the only ones seeing the impact of heavy heroin use. An area Suboxone clinic is also dealing with an influx of patients. By law, Suboxone clinics, like the one run out of Mingo Pharmacy in Mingo Junction, are allowed to take on 100 patients.
"We currently are getting/reaching that limit,” owner Frank Vostatek said. “And we have over a 500-patient waiting list for people that want to get into the clinic.”
That's why Vostatek is in negotiations with two area physicians. Each would be allowed to take on another 100 patients.
“It is a true epidemic around here,” Vostatek said. “People call left and right and they want to know, ‘how do I get into the clinic and what do I need to do?’ We have one person that I’d dedicated, literally, just to taking calls for that."
Opponents say Suboxone is simply replacing one drug with another, but Vostatek says there are stringent laws on clinics and new proposed legislation includes additional safeguards. And, he said, most are already in place at his clinic.
"The urine drug screens, the amount of times you see the patient during the month,” he said. “We try to give them consistency; we try to give them oversight. The patients that come to our clinic, they get all of their counseling on site by a licensed independent chemical dependency councilor."
While Suboxone clinics are not a cure, Vostatek does believe they're a tool to medically monitor addicts.
In the meantime, area agencies continue to be called out and hope the recent spike in overdose calls come to an end.

Suboxone clinic waiting list growing


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