February 14, 2008

New UAMS Program Targets Rx Addiction

LITTLE ROCK – The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) is providing a new drug addiction treatment program that is unique to Arkansas.


 


Offered by the Department of Psychiatry, the Chemical Dependency Outpatient Program fills the gap between residential drug addiction programs and community-run treatment, such as 12-step programs.


 


 “We have determined that there’s a fairly substantial need for this in Arkansas,” said Chris Cargile, M.D., director of the service. “It’s our hope that even patients of modest means can be served by the program.”


 


While the program is available for any drug addiction, Cargile said he expects it to be particularly helpful for patients who have become addicted to prescription pain medications.


 


“Our success rate has been very good,” Cargile said.


 


Despite the need, such treatment has been lacking because it is often not covered by private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare. At UAMS, patients will be charged fees that are as low as possible but that will sustain the program, Cargile said.   



The outpatient program will use counseling and new medications, such as Suboxone, that helps people beat their addictions by blunting the effects of illicit drugs.


 


 UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has 2,538 students and 733 medical residents. Its centers of excellence include the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. It is one of the state’s largest public employers with about 9,600 employees, including nearly 1,150 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $5 billion a year. For more information, visit www.uams.edu.