In its continuing effort to become a one-stop-shop for opioid addiction treatment, the Southern Colorado Harm Reduction Association has begun a clinic to help addicts get access to a medicine that helps eliminate dependence.
The SCHRA has partnered with Pueblo's Front Range Clinic to provide suboxone clinics at the SCHRA, 1249 E. Routt Ave., two days a week. The clinics take place on Mondays and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Individuals seeking treatment to get off opioids can go to the clinic and be evaluated and prescribed suboxone by a nurse practitioner or doctor from the Front Range Clinic. Suboxone is a prescription medication used to treat adults who are addicted to or dependent on opioids as part of a complete treatment program.
There have been several people who have already participated in the clinic and gotten suboxone prescribed to them, according to Dr. Shaun Gogarty, the medical director for the Front Range Clinic. The clinic has only been in operation for a couple of weeks now, Gogarty said. If and when the clinic starts seeing more clients, the plan is to increase the number of days it is open.
The SCHRA opened in July 2017 and has been providing resources such as clean needles and Narcan to individuals addicted to opioids. The Front Range Clinic is located at 710 Hunter Drive on Pueblo's North Side and is a drug addiction treatment center that provides a range of services, including prescribing suboxone and vivitrol.
Nerenberg said the clinic makes getting access to suboxone more practical for the people that go to the SCHRA regularly.
"We have found that referring people out, a lot of them can't get to the North Side because transportation is an issue," Nerenberg said. "They also already trust us here. It's a location they've come to know and feel comfortable in and they don't have to go someplace else they don't feel comfortable."
Nerenberg said the SCHRA is only one of a few syringe access/harm reduction centers in the country offering a clinic such at this. He said others in New Hampshire and in the northern part of Colorado have seen success.
The SCHRA aims to keep adding services to its repertoire to make it an all-encompassing destination for opioid addiction treatment.
"That's been our goal all along, to make it a one-stop shop," Nerenberg said. "If you need six services in this town you have to go to six different places. That's six different days because every place you have to go takes a day. And if you don't have transportation and money it's really difficult to do, so the more you can get at one place where they can come for everything, the more helpful it's going to be."