Addiction Treatment Center Moves to Baptist Medical Center in Jackson | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Addiction Treatment Center Moves to Baptist Medical Center in Jackson

Brent Boyett, chief medical officer at Pathway Healthcare, says locating the Jackson addiction treatment center in the Baptist Medical Center complex will help break down the stigma by offering services in the midst of other health care specialties.

Brent Boyett, chief medical officer at Pathway Healthcare, says locating the Jackson addiction treatment center in the Baptist Medical Center complex will help break down the stigma by offering services in the midst of other health care specialties. Photo by Pathway Healthcare

— Pathway Healthcare, a drug and alcohol addiction treatment center previously located on County Line Road, has moved its Jackson office to the Baptist Medical Center campus.

The center provides medication-assisted treatment combined with behavioral counseling as a way to combat opioid addiction, as well as alcohol and other drug-use disorders.

Mississippi had 143 overdose deaths in the first three quarters of 2017 alone. Opioid deaths in the state have doubled from 2011 to 2015. The vast majority of those overdose deaths were opioid, heroin and fentanyl overdoses, Department of Health reports show. Mississippi has one of the highest rates of opioid pain-reliever prescriptions per person in the nation.

Gov. Phil Bryant established the state's opioid taskforce, and several stakeholders, including pharmacists and doctors, use prescription monitoring to cut back on overprescribing statewide. President Donald Trump has also declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency in 2017 and plans to role out a plan to combat the crisis, which could include a proposal to punish opioid dealers with the death penalty, Politico reported.

Pathway Healthcare chief medical officer Brent Boyett said opioid and most substance-abuse disorders need to be treated like chronic illnesses. Rehabilitation or 30-day programs do not work with addiction.

"Addiction is not a curable disease, and relapse is always a threat," he told the Jackson Free Press.

Pathway uses two approaches to combat addiction for patients. It uses FDA-approved medication that counteracts the addiction in the person's brain as well as dilute the impact of the drug if the addict relapses. And Pathway offers professional counseling for patients.

Patients at Pathway are treated on an outpatient basis, meaning they come for appointments at the clinic regularly, instead of the traditional rehabilitative, intensive 30-plus-day model associated with substance-abuse treatment.

Moving Jackson's Pathway Healthcare clinic to the Baptist campus will help break down stigma that many people addicted to alcohol or drugs feel going to programs, Boyett said.

"Traditionally patients with substance-abuse disorders have been banished away from the modern health-care system," he said.

Pathway takes patients who voluntarily come to get treatment, and the health-care provider takes most major insurance providers, excluding Mississippi Medicaid.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story said Pathway Healthcare takes Mississippi Medicaid. They do not. We apologize for the error. Email reporter Arielle Dreher at arielle@jacksonfreepress.com.

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