As the crisis ramps up, steps are being taken at Providence Alaska Health & Services to help counter and reduce the number of deaths resulting from opioid use disorder. Their approach to care is one of those steps. 

KTVA sat down with Renee Rafferty, Regional Director of Behavioral Health at Providence Alaska Health & Services, to discuss the role the Breakthrough outpatient treatment program is playing.  

"We've been working with nurses and physicians about how to talk to patients so that they don't see themselves as an addict, they see themselves as having a substance use disorder that's a neurobiological disease and requires treatment," Rafferty said. 

But for those dealing with chronic pain or coming off a surgical procedure, it can take more than willing away the pain.  

"If somebody's in pain, they need to speak with their primary care physician or their physician that's prescribing the meds," Rafferty said emphasizing that pain medications need to meet the patient's needs. 

Rafferty says apart from medication-assisted treatment, patients can come in for counseling or support.

"We'll meet the patient wherever they are with their needs," Rafferty said. "If they're just curious and want to come in and talk with a provider, we're open to that. We want to create less stigma about reaching out for support."

The Breakthrough outpatient treatment program can be contacted at 907-212-6970. Information on their services is also available online.

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