By RYAN DUNN
Those seeking opioid abuse treatment in Findlay can obtain a prescription drug designed to reduce withdrawal and cravings.
But without dedicated counseling, recovery experts warn, Suboxone only goes so far.
Suboxone is a thin-strip medication that is placed under the user’s tongue and absorbed into the bloodstream. It blocks receptors in the brain that opioids attach to.
The U.S. painkiller and heroin epidemic affects all types of people, said Angy Shaferly, program director at Choices Behavioral Healthcare.
Choices, previously known in Findlay as Anhedonia, in March moved to 222 Center St.
Choices treats 76 patients at its Findlay office and 48 in Perrysburg. Most are recovering from opioid addiction with medical treatment such as Suboxone, Shaferly said.
Suboxone allows time for the brain to heal while curtailing painful withdrawal, Shaferly said.
“There’s no reason to get out of bed in the morning,” Shaferly said of flu-like withdrawal. “Everything is scary and fearful because they have no strength and no ability to cope with things on a daily basis.”
Shaferly said addiction hits a wide range of people, including nurses and teachers.
She described two 19-year-old patients seeking help after seven years of use.
“It’s scary, because there are millions of them like that,” Shaferly said.
Suboxone is also offered at A Renewed Mind, a drug treatment center that opened its Findlay location in September at 1624 Tiffin Ave., Suite B-1.
Director of Nursing Julie Weinandy said the center’s program is 20 percent medication and 80 percent counseling. Suboxone makes patients comfortable and open to counseling, she said.
“We just see that it gives those clients a chance to make some decisions,” Weinandy said.
The Findlay office of A Renewed Mind can currently take about 20 Suboxone patients, and up to 40 in August.
Doctors first perform an assessment and patients are later referred to counseling.
Matt Rizzo, executive vice president of A Renewed Mind, compared this recovery to overcoming diabetes.
“You can’t just take a medication for that, you have to change your behavior,” Rizzo said.