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Wright Center Gets $1M Grant To Help In Opioid Crisis Battle

August 10, 2018

In the next year, a new initiative coordinated by the Wright Center could provide treatment to more than 300 people struggling with opioid addiction.

The recipient of a $1 million grant from the state, the Wright Center will work with other medical providers to curb the epidemic.

“It’s a community problem, and it needs a community solution,” said Maria Montoro Edwards, Ph.D., vice president for grants and strategic initiatives. “Every family has been touched in some way.”

The Wolf Administration awarded three $1 million grants last month, including to the Wright Center, for organizations to build medication-assisted treatment programs for people suffering from addiction. The center will implement a Pennsylvania Coordinated Medication-Assisted Treatment, or PacMAT, program to increase access to treatment across the region. The state grants are funded though

$26.5 million in federal money allocated to Pennsylvania through the 21st Century Cures Act.

Under the PacMAT initiative, 10 existing primary care practices in Luzerne, Lackawanna, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties will collaborate with the Wright Center, using the center’s proven methods. The state refers to the setup as a “hub and spokes” model, with the Wright Center serving as hub of the network, and the partners acting as spokes, providing prevention, treatment and recovery initiatives. The Wright Center expects each of the 10 practices to treat at least 30 people in the first year.

The state designated the Wright Center as an Opioid Use Disorder Center of Excellence in late 2016. Since then, the center has provided care to about 350 people struggling with addiction.

Patients often became physically dependent on prescription painkillers, with some eventually turning to heroin.

“We have to meet people where they’re at, and find out what they’re willing to do,” said Scott Constantini, director of behavioral health at the Wright Center. “We measure progress with baby steps.”

The center uses multiple methods, including prescription treatment and counseling, and helps patients find jobs or housing if necessary.

“It’s a problem that requires the entire community to address this epidemic by coming together, by tapping into each other’s strengths and services, to get patients the help necessary,” Constantini said.

For more information, visit thewrightcenter.org.

Contact the writer:

shofius@timesshamrock.com

570-348-9133; @hofiushallTT

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