LiveSmart: Primary Care, Behavioral Health Providers Needed in Battle to Combat Opioid Addiction

[This piece was written by Jessica Wright, CASAC, LMHC, coordinator for Project ECHO, Behavioral Health Services at St. Peter’s Health Partners.]

The opioid addiction crisis is a public health emergency in New York state, and the scope and scale of the problem continues to grow each day. In the battle to combat the epidemic, SPHP launched Project ECHO (Extension for Community Health Outcomes) in the Capital Region earlier this year, with the goal of expanding the network of providers who can support medication-assisted treatment of opioid-use disorders.

Project ECHO increases access to specialty treatment by providing primary care and other front-line physicians with the knowledge and support they need to manage patients with complex conditions, such as opioid-use disorders. It does this by partnering with those physicians and providing them with virtual access to a team of SPHP addiction specialists representing a variety of disciplines (e.g. psychiatry, nursing, social work, psychology, and pharmacy).

The physicians and the SPHP addictions team come together once a week utilizing internet-based videoconferencing. The virtual meeting provides physicians from throughout the Capital Region, particularly ones in rural and underserved areas, with an opportunity to receive training on how best to provide the specialized care those patients battling opioid-use disorders need.

More than a dozen providers have successfully trained in Project ECHO to date and overall the feedback has been very positive. But more providers are still desperately needed. A new training cohort is currently underway and there are spots available, especially for primary care and behavioral health providers. Physicians interested in participating in Project ECHO should contact Jessica Wright at

For those individuals struggling with opioid addiction, St. Peter’s Addiction Recovery Center (SPARC) and St. Mary’s Campus of Samaritan Hospital operate four outpatient treatment sites that provide assessment, symptom relief, and care coordination for individuals seeking assistance. In addition, they provide access to community-based services to ensure ongoing success in the individual’s recovery program.

Care is provided at:

St. Peter’s Hospital
315 South Manning Blvd., Albany

Providing ambulatory detox services, with new patients admitted to service via the emergency department at St. Peter’s Hospital and Albany Memorial Hospital.

St. Mary’s Campus of Samaritan Hospital
1300 Massachusetts Ave., Troy

Providing ambulatory detox services with walk-in admission Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Outside of regular business hours, patients admitted via the emergency department at Samaritan Hospital.

SPARC Cohoes
55 Mohawk Street, Cohoes

Providing ancillary withdrawal services Monday through Friday; accepting new patients Monday through Thursday.

SPARC Central Avenue
845 Central Avenue, Albany

Providing ancillary withdrawal services Monday through Friday; accepting new patients Monday through Thursday.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please call the SPARC Admissions Department at 518-452-6700 or the St. Mary’s ambulatory detox at 518-268-5005. Visit us at for more information.

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