The Wabash Valley is unfortunately no stranger to the impact of Opioids on the community. Individuals presenting at emergency departments suffering from an opioid overdose has become more prevalent. The need for providers who are equipped to offer medication assisted treatment and the ability to refer to behavioral health is compounded in the Wabash Valley counties of Vermillion and Parke. Only one organization offers substance abuse treatment. This is paired with the fact that three of the top six pain medication prescribers in the state of Indiana practice in Terre Haute according to data from CMS. Training a workforce to deal with individuals who suffer from Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) has become a priority for the UHFMR and the Lugar Center for Rural Health.
This initiative begins with training family medicine residents, rural medical, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and psychology students on the treatment of substance abuse and to incorporate the use of Medication Assisted Treatment. This initiative is spearheaded by the UHFMR faculty who in order to train residents must train themselves in substance abuse treatment and Medication Assisted Treatment. With this curriculum all students involved are trained quarterly on the basics of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA)’s Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 40 guidelines. These guidelines include measures for Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) which gives students the tools necessary to interpret the results and determine the next course of action be it treatment or therapy. Through this initiative UHFMR and the Lugar Center can put in the hands of the next providers the tools necessary to combat the issues that rural citizens face. Specifically affording providers the opportunity to gain the knowledge and certification needed to prescribe buprenorphine (or more commonly known as suboxone) to those individuals who struggle with OUD.