MinnPost: Rural Minnesotans struggle to access opioid addiction treatment

EXCERPT: “Kicking an opioid habit takes serious commitment. Methadone, the drug commonly used to curb withdrawal symptoms as a person tapers off heroin, requires supervised daily dosing in a state-licensed opioid treatment program (OTP) for the first month or more. After that, many patients can take a month’s worth of medication home with them, but federal regulations still require that they pick up their doses and check in at the clinic regularly. Most people spend more than two years on methadone, and some continue taking the drug for decades. Making a daily dosing trip is work for anyone, but if a person lives in the Twin Cities, odds are fairly high that the nearest OTP is relatively accessible — there are 12 such clinics in the seven-county metro area. People struggling with opioid addiction in rural parts of the state face a much bigger hurdle: There are only four OTPs in Greater Minnesota — in Duluth, Brainerd, St. Cloud and Rochester — meaning that many rural residents seeking medication assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction must travel hundreds of miles each day just to manage their treatment.” FULLSTORY: http://bit.ly/2XsNpIP