MCHC Health Centers Receives $325,000 Grant to Treat Drug Addiction

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May 2016

MCHC Health Centers (MCHC) recently received a $325,000 grant to treat hundreds of additional patients struggling with substance abuse. The Substance Abuse/Medication-Assisted Therapy grant will benefit Lake County residents because MCHC operates Lakeview Health Center in Lakeport. The funding gives Lake County residents greater access to substance abuse services through increased staffing, including new behavioral health providers and case managers. The enhanced program expands substance abuse and depression screening, enhances comprehensive case management, and strengthens Lakeview Health Center’s ability work with community partners to assure a safe detoxification process is available.

According to MCHC Associate Medical Director Justin Ebert, “When responding to stress, trauma or pain, it is natural for people to do their best to cope. Unfortunately, some coping mechanisms are unhealthy, causing people to harm themselves, their families and their communities. Opioid dependency crosses all social and economic barriers and therefore needs a community-based partnership to offer avenues for recovery. This grant will help Lake and Mendocino counties move forward in screening for dependency and developing systems for support and recovery.” The grant will also benefit patients who reside in other communities with MCHC health centers.

Lake County ranks among the worst California counties for health indicators related to opioid use. It has the highest rate in the state for opioid prescriptions, the second highest rate for opioid deaths, and the eleventh highest rate for non-fatal opioid medical visits.  

 According to MCHC Behavioral Health Director Sam Fernandez, “Sometimes trauma is a gateway (trigger) to substance use as people struggle to deal with painful thoughts, feelings and life circumstances. Unfortunately, what is intended to provide a temporary comfort can lead to an ongoing, even many-years-long, problem. If you find yourself in such a situation, maybe we can help.”

In addition to the HRSA grant to combat drug addiction, Lakeview Health Center is part of a community coalition called Safe Rx Lake County. The Safe Rx program is a network of medical professionals, educators, law enforcement, community-based organizations and community members united to accomplish the following goals:

  • Educating the community about the risks and benefits these medications and safer alternative treatments
  • Encouraging health care providers to adopt safe and consistent prescribing guidelines
  • Helping those who misuse or are dependent on prescription painkillers to get the help they need
  • Informing the community regarding safe storage and disposal of medications

“If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, reach out. Treatment is available,” encouraged Lakeview Health Center Director Kim Tangermann. “This is such a great opportunity. Very few other organizations received this grant, and we are so pleased we’ll be able to care for people in our community who want to change their lives for the better.”

Fernandez added, “Often, a lack of resources is a major impediment to recovery from substance use disorders. It is no secret that opioid and other substance misuse is seriously impacting the health and welfare of not only Lake and Mendocino county residents, but our society at large. This generous grant allows MCHC to expand our screening, counseling and treatment options for patients struggling with substance use. We are grateful to be able to use these grant funds to address dependency and reduce suffering in our patients and communities.” 

Located at 5335 Lakeshore Blvd. in Lakeport, Lakeview Health Center provides comprehensive health services including primary medical care, pediatrics, dentistry, women’s health, obstetrical care, counseling, psychiatry, chiropractic and specialty care. MCHC looks forward to growing to meet the ever-expanding needs of the communities it serves. Learn more at www.mchcinc.org.   

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