Jacobi Medical Center was the recipient of a $350,000 grant from New York State as part of several awards to facilitate the introduction of medication to wean opioids users off the drugs within a hospital’s medical emergency department setting.
The grant allows patients who visit Jacobi’s Medical Emergency Department with withdrawal symptoms to obtain buprenorphine for opioid addiction. Additionally, medicines and guidance will be provided to those who may come into the medical emergency room to seek treatment for withdrawal from alcohol as well, said Dr. Jantra Coll, clinical director of the Jacobi Comprehensive Addiction Treatment Center.
The award was the only one the city’s public hospital system received, she said.
“We are very proud of it, because we are partnering up with our (medical) ED,” said Coll, adding “So many of these patients are coming through our (medical) ED but not making it to our behavioral health services.”
Substance abuse treatment is categorized under behavioral health, explained the doctor.
Especially in Jacobi’s service area, many of the people who may be addicted to alcohol, opioids or other substances are often referred to treatment centers, but they are more likely to seek help when they are having physical symptoms related to addiction, said Coll.
People coming to terms with their addiction may have trouble going to a drug or alcohol treatment center, but may feel more comfortable with going to get medical care, said Coll.
“A medical doctor can create a detox protocol with the patient inside of the ED itself,” said Coll. “We can begin treatment when they start coming into the ED with withdrawal symptoms; we have addiction counselors who will come to the medical ED and provide support.”
She added: “We are getting our medical providers to treat this as a medical condition and not see it only as a psychological condition.”
There is a window of opportunity when someone who is addicted wants to feel better, so it is important to strike then by bringing them treatment options at the right time, said the doctor.
“It is fleeting moment before they have another trigger (to addiction),” she said.
You can contact the Jacobi Comprehensive Addiction Treatment Center at (718) 918-4465 for more information.