Duffy Health Center Launches Addiction Treatment for Teens

DuffyHYANNIS – Duffy Health Center has announced it will provide Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for teenagers between 16 and 18 years of age who are addicted to opioids.

The treatment was not previously available for those in that age bracket, forcing those who pursued it to head to Boston.

Duffy Health Center CEO Heidi Nelson said the strict program will open on the third floor of the building, and will require patients to receive substance abuse counseling.

“We’ve been providing these treatments for adults for over ten years, and the results have been amazing,” she said. “People stay in treatment longer, they decrease their illegal drug use, stay in school, get jobs and keep jobs.”

The program was available through funding from the state, federal government and a private funder called the Tower Foundation.

Duffy will prescribe their young patients carefully monitored doses of Suboxone, which eases the impact of withdrawal, and Vivitrol, which blocks alcohol and drugs from entering the body’s internal systems.

A child and adolescent therapist and psychiatrist have also been hired to provide support.

Nelson said the treatment also acts as a homelessness prevention system.

“These younger people who sometimes have burned bridges with friends and family members are able to work and go to school [during treatment] and ultimately be accepted back into the home,” Nelson said.

She said she expects the MAT program to treat 15 to 20 teens in its first year.

To make a referral for the program, call (508) 771-9599.

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