In response to the recent spike in the heroin epidemic in young people in the DC region, in addition to the rise in deaths due to overdoses of heroin and other opiates, for the past 7 years Andromeda has been successfully serving 60 patients with the Buprenorphine and naloxone (Suboxone) treatment program. As one of the few Medication Assisted Therapy (MAT) treatment providers in Washington, DC, Andromeda is uniquely positioned to provide MAT for opioid dependent persons with unmet treatment needs for substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders.
Andromeda’s staff has decades of experience in working with persons with opioid dependence. Staff provides a safe space, inclusive of empathy for the consequences of addiction. Patients are seen once a month by a psychiatrist who provides them with substance abuse and mental health therapy, they participate in a group therapy session, get a urine test and then are provided a 30 day prescription of the medication. In addition, the case managers at Andromeda provide housing support, career orientation, job training opportunities, transportation subsidies, patient navigation services, language acquisition, adherence to HIV medications and/or mental health and substance use medication, nutritional classes and individual weight or diabetes management plans. They also refer patients to the array of educational health and social services that are available in the DC metro area.
Andromeda patients that have been in the program have turned their lives around, working, living free of drugs and reestablishing healthy relationships. Their depression and/or other mental health illness sometimes goes in remission, but any crisis can trigger their need to go back to using opiates. They are in constant contact with Andromeda staff to assure their continued treatment, an essential element to their full recovery and their moving into successful and healthy lives.