Caroline County launches mobile opioid addiction treatment unit
DENTON, Md. – The opioid epidemic has taken the nation by storm the last several years and it’s no different here on Delmarva. To combat that, a new opioid addiction treatment service is coming to the Eastern Shore and their services are all on wheels.
It’s called the “Eastern Shore Care Collaborative” and it will provide treatment services for areas just like Caroline County, who are lacking access. A recent study from the CDC shows patients in rural areas are 100% more likely to get an opioid prescription than urban areas. That’s why this 36-foot mobile treatment unit is crucial.
After a study was done a few years back on the Eastern Shore by the Maryland General Assembly, the health department decided to switch gears after hearing results. Results showed they lacked in transportation. Plus, for a large geographic area, there aren’t enough resources in Caroline County.
But you’re probably wondering how this van will work. The mobile care unit is going to have a peer counselor and nursing professional, so they’ll take vitals when a client comes in. From there, they’ll connect to a psychiatrist, who’s in University of Maryland in Baltimore, through a video chat. From there, they’ll offer a Medicaid-assisted treatment, which is an evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder. The Health Officer for Caroline County tells 47 ABC, “We’re going to keep them in therapy so it’s not just a prescription and a drug, we also have therapy that goes with it so they have long term success.”
For an area like Caroline County, a mobile care unit like this is essential because there’s been an increase in opioid prescriptions for non-malignant pain, such as dental work or minor surgeries.
They will eventually expand their services to other counties, as well. We’re told they can even take this van to a recovery home and then schedule appointments through the health department.
They are also working with Shore Health System, so if someone goes to the emergency department for an overdose, they can offer services.
Officials tells us that this program is valuable because there are many stakeholders involved, like the state and federal government, Caroline County Health Department and University of Maryland, so having all hands on deck was essential to get this unit up and running.