Carilion Clinic starts new opioid treatment program in Roanoke

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) Carilion Clinic is talking about another relatively new tool to combat the opioid crisis in our region.

The "Office Based Opioid Treatment" program is an outpatient program located in a Carilion facility along Jefferson Street. The goal is to serve as one single place people can get the help they need.

Cheri Hartman, Carilion Clinic OBOT Administrator, said, “It is created to be a one stop shop because that's the best practice.”

Cheri Hartman with Carilion Clinic is the administrator of this relatively new program. Patients receive counseling, case management as well as medication to help reduce people's cravings for opioids.

“It helps someone benefit more from counseling and therapy when their brains can be recalibrated and back to normal,” said Hartman.

Hartman says they started the program in June 2017. Since then, they've seen 280 patients. She says people dealing with opioid abuse can get stable in a few months, but they can keep receiving treatment for years.

“This is chronic,” said Hartman. “So it's not like you can be cured with a quick fix.”

Christine Baldwin, Hope Initiative Administrator, said, “It's definitely a step in the right direction.”

People come to the program through walk-ins, while others have been referred by the Hope Initiative, which is housed at the Bradley Free Clinic.

“I think any treatment is excellent treatment,” said Baldwin. “It's better than living that hopeless life of an addict.”

Administrator Christine Baldwin has battled her own addiction for 15 years. Now 2 years clean, she's helping others find the right path, and she thinks this program shows promise.

Baldwin said, “You can't just take a medication and it be the cure for addiction. The counseling piece is what really makes it impactful for an addict.”

Carilion's program was one of the first in the state when it started. Now, Hartman is helping others in Virginia get theirs off the ground.