Monday, November 12, 2007

Porter Starke Ready to Open New Indiana Clinic

National Alliance of Methadone Advocates
Press Release

Contact Person:
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director

For Release
November 12, 2007

Located in Valparaiso the clinic is attached to the main Porter-Starke Services building has everything in place except the actual methadone according to advocate and director Carmen Arlt. The clinic has been inspected by state and federal officials and is now waiting for the federal certificate. Once the certificate is received the clinic could be open within days. According to Arlt they are expecting a large number of transfer patients from the Gary area since many of the patients that attend those clinics are from the area

Carmen Arlt is also director of NAMA’s Indiana Chapter The MAG and is one of the few patient advocates to be recognized with the prestigious Marie (Dole-Nyswander) Award.

Since its beginning over 40 years ago methadone maintenance has been the most effective treatment for narcotic addiction. In spite of its success, methadone maintenance is often disparaged as a "substitute drug" by those who ignore the positive benefits that it has clearly brought to society. Such attitudes negatively impact on methadone treatment in a variety of ways, but it is the methadone patients themselves who are particularly stigmatized and harmed. Patients are mistreated and misinformed and considered as social outcasts. They are victims of discrimination in health care, the job market, education, insurance and housing. The National Alliance of Methadone Advocates (NAMA) was organized as a formal mechanism for methadone patients to voice their own needs and to form a strong, unified public presence on their behalf. The primary objective of NAMA is to advocate for the patient in treatment by destigmatizing and empowering methadone patients. First and foremost, it can confront the negative stereotypes that impact on the self esteem and worth of many methadone patients with a powerful affirmation of pride and unity.

Contact Persons:
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director,
Roxanne Baker, President,
Phone/FAX: 212.595.nama

See attached article from Post Tribune.

Final touches on clinic
November 10, 2007
By Teresa Auch Post-Tribune staff writer
VALPARAISO -- The new methadone clinic at Porter-Starke Services is ready to open, just as soon as the federal government gives approval.
The clinic, one of 13 in the state, was supposed to open July 1, Carmen Arlt, director of addiction services said. But the group wanted to put in more safety features, such as cameras and locks, to make the community and staff feel safe.
"We were slowed down by the process of renovation," Arlt said.
The clinic, which is attached to the main Porter-Starke Services building at 701 Wall St. in Valparaiso, has everything in place except the actual methadone.
A camera hovers over the entrance, as do several others in the lobby. Patients coming to get a prescription of methadone must first sign in at a front window.
They then move to another window, walled off from the lobby, to take their dosage.
The clients must sign electronically and then swallow the liquid in front of the registered nurse giving the dose, nurse staff member Don Sison said.
"Sometimes we engage in conversation after they have taken it to make sure they have swallowed it," Sison said.
The conversation also allows the nurses to get a feel for how patients are doing.
The clinic includes several side rooms for physicals, mandatory drug tests and interviews. Anyone who wants to become, and remain, a patient must prove they have tried other measures and that they are making improvements in their lives, Arlt said.
As for the dispensary, the room is made of steel walls, the door has a double lock, along with motion detectors.
Anyone entering the room has to have a nursing certificate posted on a board inside. The methadone supplies are kept in a special safe.
Arlt said the clinic has passed all levels of state and federal regulations.
"We're actually more safe over here than a bank," she said.
As soon as the federal government gives official certification, the clinic can be open within a few days.
That could happen anywhere from days to a few weeks from now, she said.
Arlt said she expects to see a heavy volume of patients soon.
The state government has warned her that about 60 percent of the patients who go to the clinics in Gary are from Porter County and will likely go to Porter-Starke once its clinic opens.