Rockbridge County clinic gets grant to stock opioid-fighting medication

The clinic will start prescribing Suboxone in February

LEXINGTON, Va. – Rockbridge Area Community Services has a new tool to fight opioid abuse.

The clinic will soon start prescribing Suboxone, a medication desigined to wean users off of opioids, thanks to a $70,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. 

"We've been very worried that we haven't had a good system for helping people with opioid addiction in the Rockbridge area," said Dr. Kirk Luder, Rockbridge Area Community Services' medical director. "We really are excited about it."

The clinic will start prescibing Suboxone to people with opioid addiction in and around Rockbridge and Bath counties in February. Before the grant, the closest Suboxone provider was 40 minutes away from the clinic, which Luder said was challenging for his patients.

"The issue of just getting back and forth to treatment is a major impediment," said Luder. "Opioid withdrawal and craving is so intense and uncomfortable that even people who are pretty highly motivated to try and change their lives are just defeated."

Luder said the clinic needed this medication because of the difference it can make for people recovering from opioid addiction.

"If they go through a standard inpatient, 28-day rehab and detox program, between 90 and 100 percent of them relapse within a month," said Luder. "Suboxone is just crucial for the transition from opioid addiction to complete abstinence because it helps people remain physically comfortable and able to make the life changes they need to make to support the abstinent life."

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