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Buprenorphine Training Equips Staten Island Healthcare Professionals to Offer Medication-Assisted Treatment

There are many different paths on the road to recovery from opioid use disorder. Each individual must find the path that works for them, and sometimes that path involves medication-assisted treatment such as buprenorphine, also known as Bupe or its brand names Suboxone and Subutex.

Studies have shown that buprenorphine is highly effective in treating opioid use disorder. According to the results of a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) survey, physicians and patients reported an average of an 80% reduction in illicit opioid use, along with increases in employment and other determinants of health.

However, in order to be treated with buprenorphine, individuals seeking recovery must first find a provider who is certified (or waivered) to offer the treatment. With Staten Island being an epicenter of the opioid crisis, the Staten Island Partnership for Community Wellness (SIPCW) and the Staten Island Performing Provider System (SI PPS) have been working diligently to ensure that this evidence-based treatment is available to all individuals in a primary care setting. Our vision is to have buprenorphine treatment integrated in healthcare providers’ offices across the Island, where opioid use disorder can be managed alongside a patient’s other health issues. To achieve this, SIPCW’s Nadeen Makhlouf, PharmD., MPH has been providing clinical coaching and support to existing buprenorphine providers in order to expand their services and to certify a new wave of providers to meet the need of the community. Through SI PPS’s Behavioral Health Infrastructure Project (BHIP), SIPCW coordinated a buprenorphine training at Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC) this past Friday, provided by New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH).

While previous training sessions only reached a handful of Staten Island-based healthcare professionals, Friday’s training included 34 clinicians from various backgrounds and departments, willing and enthusiastic at the prospect of helping Staten Islanders achieve recovery. Due to the response to this event, SIPCW and NYC DOHMH are exploring additional training opportunities for local providers, including an event at Staten Island University Hospital – Northwell Health.

Makhlouf, SIPCW’s Senior Coordinator for Clinical Outreach and Education, arranged the event. “We’re so grateful to every single person in the room that took more than six hours out of their busy schedules for this vital training,” said Makhlouf. “This response has taught us that Staten Island healthcare providers and hospital systems understand the gravity of this crisis and the steps needed to help certain individuals find recovery. Thank you to all who supported this event, especially President and CEO of Richmond University Medical Center, Dr. Daniel J. Messina; the Staten Island Borough President James Oddo‘s Health and Wellness Director, Dr. Ginny Mantello; the Executive Director of the Staten Island Performing Provider System, Joseph Conte, PhD, CPHQ; and Assistant Commissioner for the Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Use Prevention, Care and Treatment at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Dr. Hillary Kunins.”

To find a buprenorphine treatment practitioner, visit SAMHSA’s practitioner locator.

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