Olympic Medical Center is a comprehensive health care provider serving the residents of Port Angeles, Sequim and surrounding communities. Inpatient services include a level-three trauma designated emergency department, surgical services, and labor and delivery. Outpatient services include cardiac care, cancer care, diagnostic imaging, physical therapy and rehabilitation, laboratory, orthopaedics, surgical services, sleep center, home health, primary care, a walk-in clinic and specialty physician clinics.
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Medication-Assisted Treatment

You do not need to be a patient of Olympic Medical Physicians to receive an initial medication-assisted treatment consultation, and no doctor referral is needed. Please call (360) 565-0999 and request to speak to the Medication-Assisted Treatment Nurse Coordinator to establish an initial appointment.
Using medication to help treat opioid use disorder
Medication-assisted treatment helps manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings in people who have opioid use disorder.

Olympic Medical Physicians Primary Care Clinic has physicians, nurses and patient care navigators committed to helping those in our community with opioid use disorder by offering medication-assisted treatments along with other resources and referrals to help manage withdrawals and help with any underlying health problems. 
Enrollment into the medication-assisted treatment program is easy. Call the clinic at (360) 565-0999 and ask for a referral into the program. People can also ask to receive information. All referrals for the medication-assisted treatment program are confidentially referred to a nurse care manager who will review and then contact the individual for an assessment. 
Currently there is no cure for opioid use disorder or addiction. Medication-assisted treatment is one of the pathways toward recovery.

Recognizing the need and taking the step
The risk of becoming dependent on opioids increases as an individual continues to take opioids for longer periods of time or need to take opioids in higher doses to manage symptoms.
Unfortunately, people who have opioid use disorder and abruptly stop using them will experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are unpleasant, causing many people to start taking the drugs again – even if they want to stop.

An opioid use disorder is typically defined by two or more of the following criteria within a 12-month period:

  • Opioids are often taken in larger amounts than prescribed, or over a longer period of time than was intended
  • An individual experiences a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control opioid use
  • A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain the opioid, use the opioid or recover from its effects
  • An individual craves or has a strong desire or urge to use opioids
  • Continued opioid use that results in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school or home
  • Use of opioids continues despite having persistent or continued social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of opioids
  • Important social, occupational or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of opioid use
  • Opioid use repeatedly occurs in situations in which it is physically hazardous
  • Continued opioid use despite knowledge of having a persistent or continual physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance
  • An individual’s body becomes desensitized to the effects of opioids, and they experience changes in tolerance, either a need for markedly increased amounts of opioids to achieve intoxication or desired effect, or a markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of an opioid
  • Withdrawal symptoms, are different for everyone. Typical characteristics of opioid withdrawal syndrome can include muscle aches, restlessness, anxiety, excessive sweating, and inability to sleep to more intense symptoms such as stomach symptoms, rapid heart beat and high blood pressure. Another symptom is when an opioid or closely related substance is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms

Benefits of treatment
Medication-assisted treatment can improve recovery potential by managing and reducing the symptoms of opioid use disorder. Continued use of opioids comes with serious risks, including, but not limited to physical dependence, increased symptoms of depression, and opioid overdose that could lead to sudden death.
Overdose risk is increased when opioids are combined with alcohol, benzodiazepines (such as alprazolam and diazepam), other sedatives and other opioids.

What are opioids?
Opioids, also known as narcotics, include prescription pain medications. Many opioids exist. Some examples are Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, Ultram, morphine, methadone, oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, codeine, tramadol, and heroin (an opiate). 

What is medication-assisted treatment?
Taking medication for an opioid use disorder is like taking medications to control heart disease or diabetes. It is not the same as substituting one drug for another. When used properly, medications used in this treatment do not create a new addiction and helps improve a person’s recovery potential. 
For more information 
For additional information, call Olympic Medical Physicians at (360) 565-0999 and ask about medication-assisted treatment. 

Opioid Use Disorder

Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, and synthetic opioids available legally by prescription, such as fentanyl, oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others. Opioid use disorder can occur through prescription use as well as illicit use of opioids.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition describes opioid use disorder as a problematic pattern of opioid use leading to problems or distress. Opioid use disorder has several unique factors that separate it from other substance use disorders. Opioids can lead to physical dependence in as little as four to eight weeks of continued use. (Saxon, Renner, Greenfield, & Aoun, 2018). In chronic use, abrupt discontinuance can result in severe symptoms of withdrawal which is manifested through reports of generalized pain, chills, cramping, diarrhea, dilated pupils, restlessness, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, and very intense cravings. The severity of these symptoms decreases motivation to discontinue using opioids. 

At Olympic Medical Physicians, we recognize the need to support and advocate for people in the community who are battling with opioid use disorder. Medication-assisted treatment is offered on site using medications to help manage the disorder while working within a behavioral health model to gain control over the triggers (ie; pain, depression, stressors) leading to continued use of the opioid.

Related Links:


Saxon, A., MD, Renner, J., MD, Greenfield, S., MD, & Aoun, E. G., MD. (2018, November). Opioid Use Disorder. Retrieved May 2, 2019, from https://www.psychiatry.org
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