Dr. Anthony Smith has been a licensed doctor since 2005 specializing in emergency medicine for the last 13 years and also in opiate and drug recovery since 2016.
- What have your experiences been treating opioid addiction with Suboxone or similar drugs? What type of patients do you see at MATR?I’ve seen Suboxone® be very effective in preventing withdrawal symptoms so patients can function and focus on recovery. Like a person with diabetes takes a medication to manage their diabetes, our patients take a medication to manage their addiction. Some people think that the majority of patients in medically-assisted drug treatment have socio-economic struggles and that’s true with some of our patients but not all. Our team of staff and care-providers treat all patients warmly and with confidentiality at our facilities. Separating us from many others, we are state board of pharmacy approved with a terminal distributors license.
- Of the patients you’ve started on medically-assisted treatment, what percentage would you say improved?Medically-assisted treatment plans, including those that prescribe Suboxone®, are extremely effective when followed as prescribed. We require patients at MATR to attend one monthly group counselling session in addition to a doctor’s visit and urine analysis in order to maintain an active prescription for Suboxone or similar medication. Almost all of our patients show improvement in regards to their opiate addiction!
- Can you describe how you decide to do a short-term detoxification with a patient on Suboxone®, versus keeping the patients on it for longer, and what your experiences have been?We keep in close communication with our patients. Regulations require that patients must be seen by doctor 28-30 days in order to maintain an active Suboxone® prescription. Through this open dialogue we can monitor the patient’s treatment plan and work with them to determine the appropriate dosage of medication. Some patients take Suboxone® because they are afraid of relapsing, and others see it as a tool for motivation to “jump start” their recovery.
We check in with our clients each time about their goals and life events to ensure they too feel they are advancing on their recovery journey. Suboxone® can dramatically reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Patients can have a more stable life because their physical symptoms are in control. Thus, they can focus on counseling and inner cravings. Then in some cases the patient will continue on a low-dose Suboxone® prescription or even taper off the medication.
- What are some examples/any there any key “success” metrics you look for in a “recovered” patient?It is our goal that patients can function successfully in their lives, meeting family, work and other responsibilities. “Recovery” will be different for each patient, which is why it we are so passionate about providing intimate care for our patients, including open discussion with all staff on site. Our top goal is for our patients to be opiate free and live normal lives once again.
- Are there any problems that you’ve seen/experienced with medically assisted treatment/recovery?Suboxone® and other prescribed medications in chemically-assisted drug treatment must be taken as prescribed by the doctor. Our drug screenings include a test for Suboxone®, to ensure the patient is taking it as prescribed.
- How much does medically-assisted treatment cost? Cost for treatment at MATR is $180/month and includes unlimited group counselling sessions in addition to the monthly visit required to maintain a current Suboxone® prescription. We also offer one on one counseling that is set up separately at no additional cost to the patient.
- If you had an opiate-addicted patient who had unlimited money, time, willingness, and resources, what treatment would you recommend first? What would the treatment plan look like?Treatment would consist of seeing a doctor one on one to figure out how the patient got to that point in their life. Most addictions don’t just happen but rather some social situation that lead them to begin using opiates or some previous surgery or medical complication that lead to opiate use and subsequent addiction. Next, they would undergo counseling. By understanding what their addictions were, we can help tailor a program that would be best suited to their individualized addiction.
- What do you think drug treatment programming will look like in 5/10 years?There is a lot of testing right now in injectables for Suboxone® and similar medically-assisted drug addiction treatment therapy. The problems with opiate overdoses and opiate related deaths has basically caused a pandemic in Ohio and certain parts of the country. The use for Suboxone® is at its highest and has truly helped so many struggling with opiate addiction. It does save lives and does help patients and their families. There is constantly new research in addiction medicine and there will continue to be new advances made for new medications. Ohio government officials have been pressured to change laws and they have incorporated new legislation to help. For instance, the Ohio State Pharmacy Board has stepped up their game to ensure clinics are operating correctly with certified staff and clinicians. The new state laws have been implemented to help shut down inappropriate pill mills and to stop unethical Suboxone® usage. We at MATR are proudly certified by the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy at both of our locations.