Cheryl Shifflett’s story of opioid addiction starts in way that may sound familiar: She was prescribed opioids for chronic pain and began taking more than she needed. She tried to stop misusing her medication multiple times, but could not do it on her own.
She lost her job, she lost her home, and she damaged important family relationships.
Cheryl’s story of recovering from opioid addiction, however, is not so typical.
The University Place woman is one of the first Washingtonians to receive treatment for opioid use disorder through the state’s new hub-and-spoke treatment model, which helps make addiction medications more available, including methadone, buprenorphine (brand name Suboxone), and naltrexone (brand name Vivitrol).
Meeting the treatment demand for opioid addiction — also known as opioid use disorder — is part of Washington’s strategy for fighting the opioid epidemic, which kills two people a day on average in the state.
The hub-and-spoke program is about networking, and it gets its name from the way it creates a help network within a specific community. There is a hub, which is a facility where staff are certified to administer addiction-treatment drugs such as Suboxone, and there are a variety of nearby spokes, which are other places a person might find help for opioid use disorder. Spokes within a community could include a residential treatment facility, a therapist’s office, drug court, a tribal medical facility or an emergency room, for instance.
Read the rest of the story on the governor's Medium page.