Times Union: Her Son Needed Help. It Never Came.

The Times Union published a new story in its ongoing series dedicated to the growing opioid epidemic in the Capital Region. The article featured Melissa Weimer, DO, MCR, Chief of Behavioral Health and Addiction Medicine, Albany Acute Division, and Medical Director for SPARC, and Patrick Carrese, Executive Director of Behavioral Health Services, Albany Acute Division.

The two talked about barriers to treatment and how St. Peter’s Health Partners introduced new and innovative models of care to help patients and their families.

After turning away some 1,000 opiate addicts with withdrawal symptoms in a year, St. Peter’s Health Partners realized last year it had to do more to save people from falling through the cracks.

By the end of September, it had opened a walk-in detox program at four locations in Albany and Rensselaer counties designed to get people dosed right away with buprenorphine until they could get more intensive help. More than 300 people have been served so far by the sites, which are on track to see more than 1,000 patients this year, Weimer said.

“Relapse is part and parcel of substance use disorder, and this is something society allows for people struggling with alcohol but not with other drugs,” he said. “Our first rule needs to be, what do we have to do to keep you alive and keep you disease-free? After that, we can move on to the other stuff.”

To view the article, which also includes a video of Dr. Weimer talking about barriers to treatment and the magnitude of the problem, click HERE.

St. Peter’s Health Partners is proud to be a part of the “Prescription for Progress: United Against Opioid Addiction” coalition, which includes local leaders in health care, media, law enforcement, government, education, and business. The coalition was formed to examine the opioid crisis in our area – how we got here and what it will take to stop more people from dying.

For further details on addiction services at St. Peter’s Health Partners, head to www.sphp.com/opioids.


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