CleanSlate Blog

Why It’s So Easy for People with Alcoholism to Live in Denial

by Shannon DeMille | Apr 10, 2019


This is part of CleanSlate's special "Spotlight on Alcoholism" discussion during Alcohol Awareness Month.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, a time when we should acknowledge the third leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S. (after tobacco and poor diet/ sedentary lifestyle.) The national focus may be on the opioid epidemic, but the epidemic of alcoholism is far greater and deadlier. Approximately 88,000 people from every walk of life die each year from alcohol-related causes.

Too often, people with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) stay mired in denial about the extent of their problem until the very end. Some of that denial may even be connected to the attention on the opioid epidemic.

“I have a house, I have a great job, I pay the bills,” they tell themselves. “Sure, I may overdo it with my wine, but I don’t have a problem. Those people on TV with the opioid addictions, the ones who are homeless and unemployed - they have problems. I’m fine.”

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Battle Against Opioid Epidemic in Kenosha County, Wisconsin Gets More Support with CleanSlate’s New Center for Medication-Assisted Treatment

by Michael Petersen | Apr 2, 2019

The opioid epidemic has been keenly felt in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, which ranks first out of 72 state counties for heroin-related deaths and hospital encounters involving heroin. After Milwaukee, Kenosha is the city with the next highest opiate deaths per capita in the state, with a 388% increase in overdose deaths in 2017 over the previous eight years.

But as with so many areas around the country, addiction treatment resources are scarce in Kenosha County. This is especially true when it comes to high-quality outpatient services for medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

CleanSlate Outpatient Addiction Medicine is addressing this deficit by opening a second MAT center in the area, located at 7201 Green Bay Road, Suite D, where staff began seeing patients last week. CleanSlate participates in-network with most Medicaid and commercial providers in the state of Wisconsin so that patients can be treated with minimal or no financial burden.

“Kenosha County leaders have been doing important work to battle the opioid epidemic, and CleanSlate is supporting this fight,” said Anthony Belott, Chief Development Officer of CleanSlate. “Increasing access to MAT services in Kenosha will help us save more lives.”

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MAT Facts: Why is There Any Stigma Against Medication-Assisted Treatment?

by Tracey Cohen, M.D. | Apr 2, 2019

MAT Facts is a special CleanSlate blog series that answers questions, corrects misunderstandings, and combats stigma around addiction and medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

Since it was first developed 50 years ago, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has become the gold standard for opioid use disorder (OUD). The combination of behavioral therapy and medications to treat OUD has been shown to be the most effective intervention for people with OUD. The longer that people stay in treatment with medication, evidence proves, the better their health and functioning.

MAT decreases cravings and symptoms of withdrawal while preventing patients from getting high; reduces the chance of overdose; is cost-effective and convenient; and allows people to resume their normal functioning so that they’re able to address the full scope of their recovery. That’s why MAT is increasingly recommended by leading healthcare organizations, public policy experts, and community stakeholders across the country.

So why is MAT still stigmatized by some within the addiction treatment field?

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In Area With Highest Overdose Death Rate in Kentucky, CleanSlate and The Bradley Center Combine Forces to Battle Opioid Epidemic

by Cory McConnell | Apr 1, 2019

Jefferson County is a battlefield for the opioid epidemic.

The county has the highest number of overdose deaths in Kentucky, a state considered to be one of the ‘ground zero’ regions for the opioid epidemic. 

Despite the area’s high death rate, few addiction treatment resources are available to residents, with almost no medication-assisted treatment (MAT) services. The few treatments centers that do exist rarely accept insurance. 

A new partnership hopes to fill that void.

CleanSlate Outpatient Addiction Medicine, a national medical leader in MAT services, has acquired The Bradley Center, a popular local treatment center, to expand access to high-quality MAT services in Louisville.  

“The compassionate work being done by The Bradley Center resonates with our core values. The combined expertise of our two teams at the Bradley Center’s current location will reduce barriers to treatment across Southern Louisville,” said Anthony Belott, Chief Development Officer of CleanSlate.

One of the most significant barriers to treatment is insurance, with many providers operating on a cash-only basis.

“This region is in critical need of more comprehensive treatment options that accept insurance,” said Bradley Helton, owner of The Bradley Center. “Some of our patients had to leave because we were a cash clinic. CleanSlate participates in-network with most Medicaid and commercial plans in Kentucky, and we'll be bringing this access to The Bradley Center. We're thrilled to offer this benefit to patients, which will reduce the financial obstacles to treatment.”

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“We’re In This Together;” Addiction Patients in Emerging Medication-Assisted Treatment Support Groups Discover a Community They Didn’t Think Existed

by Heather Burke | Mar 28, 2019

The phone has been ringing off the hook.

We recently posted a blog about the nascent movement to develop support groups for patients in medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Our piece focused on our own experience with a MAT Group that I help manage in CleanSlate’s outpatient center in Worcester, Mass. Ever since this was published, the Worcester office has been flooded with patient inquiries and requests to join our MAT Group.

Clearly, this blog touched a nerve. And a patient story from today explains why.

For most patients suffering from Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), medication is an essential component of their recovery. But the challenge for so many people is this: once you remove yourself from your old life - the friends, situations, and hobbies that helped perpetuate your addiction - what do you have left? Medication may remove the cravings and symptoms of withdrawal, but it can’t give you friends.

It is HARD WORK to build a support network. How do you go out and find a positive, accepting community, especially when you're at your most vulnerable? Where do you find new friends?

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Virginia's State of Emergency with Opioid Epidemic Prompts CleanSlate to Open Addiction Center in South Richmond

by Jonathan Candee | Mar 27, 2019

All states are affected by the opioid epidemic, but not all states are responding to this crisis with urgency. 

Virginia is.

As the state with the 18th highest rate of overdose deaths, Virginia declared its opioid epidemic to be a public health emergency last year. The state has since developed financial incentives to increase access to treatment.

Amidst this serious response, CleanSlate Outpatient Addiction Treatment is opening the first of several new outpatient centers for medication-addiction treatment in Virginia. The company's inaugural Virginia center, located in South Richmond at 101 Cowardin Avenue, Suite 202, opened its doors to patients last week.

"South Richmond needs more treatment providers to save lives, and CleanSlate is eager to join the community battling the opioid epidemic here," said Brian Coonan, Regional Director of Operations in Virginia. "Our S. Richmond center is located within the same building as a Federally Qualified Health Center, where any of our patients can access a wide range of health services. The FQHC and other stakeholders in this community have welcomed us with open arms, and we look forward to close collaborations with new partners."

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Emergency Rooms in Lexington, Kentucky Desperately Need More Medication-Assisted Treatment Providers. CleanSlate's New Outpatient Center Will Help.

by Cory McConnell | Mar 25, 2019

In Lexington, KY, emergency rooms are increasingly flooded with patients who have suffered opioid-related overdoses. Eighty-two percent of the fatal overdoses in Fayette county involve opioids.

The county has responded by creating several innovative programs to increase access to treatment. This includes providing medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in emergency rooms, with a referral to a long-term care MAT provider.

The only problem: Lexington hospitals don’t have enough high-quality providers to which they can hand off patients.

CleanSlate is addressing this treatment gap with a new physician-led MAT center in Lexington.

“Too many patients in Lexington can’t maintain recovery upon release from the ER because they aren’t receiving medication for their disease,” said Anthony Belott, CleanSlate's Chief Development Officer. “What ensues is a cycle of relapse and despair. We’re grateful to the Lexington community for welcoming CleanSlate so warmly so that together we can help patients reclaim hope.”

Located at 1500 Leestown Rd., Suite 110, CleanSlate’s outpatient center to treat opioid and alcohol addictions will open its doors to patients on March 26th. CleanSlate participates in-network with most Medicaid and commercial providers in Kentucky so that Lexington patients can be treated with minimal or no financial burden.

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MAT Facts: How Does Methadone Work?

by Tracey Cohen, M.D. | Mar 20, 2019

MAT Facts is a special CleanSlate blog series that answers questions, corrects misunderstandings, and combats stigma around addiction and medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

Medication-assisted treatment involves the use of one of three medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA): buprenorphine, naltrexone, or methadone. The oldest of these medications is methadone, a safe and effective treatment which treats withdrawal, controls cravings, and blocks the effects of other opioids.  

Because methadone offers the strongest opioid dosage of the medications, it is highly regulated and only dispensed in licensed opioid treatment programs. Those who choose to pursue this treatment must adhere to strict limitations, such as visiting a clinic every day to receive the medication and following specific guidelines to receive behavioral counseling and support.  

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MAT Facts: How Does Naltrexone Work?

by Tracey Cohen, M.D. | Mar 14, 2019

MAT Facts is a special CleanSlate blog series that answers questions, corrects misunderstandings, and combats stigma around addiction and medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

Amongst the three FDA-approved addiction medications, naltrexone - better known by its brand names, Vivitrol or Revia - is the least utilized.

While Suboxone (buprenorphine) and methadone are more popular, naltrexone helps people suffering from opioid use disorder (OUD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) through different properties.

One of the unique qualities of naltrexone is that it can be administered once per month as an extended-release injectable (Vivitrol). This is one reason that Vivitrol is often given when a person is released from the prison system or a detox.  It reduces the risk of overdose for a full month to give the person time to get into treatment. 

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MAT Facts: How Does Buprenorphine Work?

by Tracey Cohen, M.D. | Mar 12, 2019

MAT Facts is a special CleanSlate blog series that answers questions, corrects misunderstandings, and combats stigma around addiction and medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three treatment medications for addiction: buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone. (Naloxone [Narcan] is a rescue medication for overdose, not a treatment for addiction.)

All three medications control cravings for opioids and block the effects of other opioids. Each medication affects patients somewhat differently, based on whether they act as what doctors call opioid agonists or opioid antagonists.

But here’s what they have in common: addiction medications are effective and affordable, and have been shown to cut premature death rates in half.

Let’s take a look at the first of the three medications we’ll review: buprenorphine.

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