With the Opioid Crisis in Humboldt County, Redwoods Rural Health Center Now Offers Treatment for Addicts

Mandi Battles and Robin Barnes

Mandi Battles and Robin Barnes

Humboldt County has five times the opioid deaths of the rest of California and Redwoods Rural Health Center in Redway has begun a new program to help address the problem.

Two of Redwoods Rural’s employees–Mandi Battles, PA and Robin Barnes, FNP–have received their certifications to provide Suboxone Opioid Use Disorder treatment. The two are working with Singing Trees Recovery Center to provide help for those with opioid addiction.

“The program is not only for those who are addicted to street drugs but also for those who need help with their prescriptions,” explained Tina Tvedt, the Executive Director of Redwoods Rural. “Insurance covers it or we have a grant through Aegis for uninsured or underinsured.” Those who have insurance just have to cover their copay.

Part of the treatment is offering Buprenorphine/Suboxone which is a medication approved for detoxification by the Federal Food and Drug Administration. “Suboxone is a lot safer than opioids,” Tvedt explained. “There are a lot of people who die from opioids.”

Tvedt said, “Right now we are accepting current patients of Redwood Health who have had a visit in the last 12 months. There is…a process to see if you would be a good candidate for the program…We are accepting new clients for suboxone treatment, but they need to establish medical care with RRHC first and utilize RRHC as their primary care provider.” She explained that anyone seeking treatment would reach out to the Medical and Behavioral Health Team at the clinic.

There is an intake to see if someone would be a good fit for the program, Tvedt said. “If you are accepted, depending on how severe your dependency is, we may require weekly checkins,” she added. “People then would graduate into a less frequent check-in.” Tvedt said the treatment is completely confidential.

She noted that the Suboxone program “is really both a medical treatment and behavioral treatment. People not only take the medication, they also meet and talk.”  She explained, “Singing Trees has an hour-long group where they talk about how to manage change and set goals for recovery and how to manage pain.”

She added, “On a case by case basis, counselors may see that individual counseling is needed…They have to come at least once a month for the behavioral health component.”

Tvedt stressed, “If people relapse, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are kicked off the program.” Counselors understand that the patient is going through a process and will work with individuals on a case by case basis to make sure they get the support they need.

Having a program in Southern Humboldt could be very helpful to those who have been commuting to Eureka for help, Tvedt explained. “We are accepting folks who are wanting to transfer…We are trying to get those local who are going to Open Door programs to come down here. We don’t want people to have that burden of going to up to Eureka. We maintain what Open Door has been doing.”

Note: Redwoods Rural Health Center is an advertiser on this website.

 

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55 comments

  • Thank you!!!

  • Yeeaahhh. Free methadone! Payed for by taxpayers,given to people who refuse to get a job because there “sick”

  • This is awesome!

    Congratulations to RRC for responding to the critical need for Suboxone Therapy, and associated Behavioral Health Services.

    This is a greatly needed service. Thank you RRC!

  • Five times as many addicts driving around in Humboldt compared to other counties, let the stupid car accidents carry on

  • Suboxone is a joke. There is no end to the Suboxone program. Whats worse is the children born addicted to Suboxone take three times longer to ween than a Heroin baby. Big Pharma wins again. Let Natural Selection weed out all the weak addicts.

    • Yyyeeepppppp. Your choise. Your life.

    • Groba dude trustafarian osnt

      Suboxone and subutex are not to replace drugs, but they do make it easier to get clean. Stop taking it after awhile!

      Live clean, leave Humboldt if you have to.

      It’s worth it!

    • Not sure where you got that information from…
      In my personal experience Suboxone was safe during pregnancy. It’s said that the molecules because of their size don’t pass through the placenta..
      My daughter had zero withdraw and no sign of it in her system She was one of the first babies born from a suboxone patient at UCSF. Our case (her birth) was used to inform and teach the hospital.
      I’ve never done heroin but due to a back injury have been on prescription meds for many years and when I became pregnant it was deemed healthier to be on Suboxone than norcos or vicodin.
      Withdrawal however was much worse from Suboxone It’s great for long-term use but feels near impossible to get off because of how long it stays in your system.

    • Namaste at home

      You are mistaken in your understanding in what suboxone is. Do some research. It is a drug that saves lives.

  • Suboxone saved my loved ones life. Ofcourse it only works if you Use it as directed, ofcourse there will be those that abuse it or misuse it, as it is with any drug prescribed or not , there are always going to be abusers. Wake up people , opiates are far more dangerous than Suboxone, which is proven to save many many lives.

  • Does Singing Trees accept MediCal or is it still insurance/self pay?

  • When will the government finally taint the heroin supply? That would help move the natural selection process of weeding out the weak right along…one would think.

  • As someone that comes from a family of addicts not just drugs but alcohol as well, its nice to see that there is help for those that want it. Whether its big pharma or not. All those that are happy to see a wonderful program be available in our area, don’t let the “NEGATIVE NANCY’S” bring you down.

    • Curing drugs with drugs is not the answer. Sober up ( all drugs) and do some serious self realization of why your there in the first place! Pay the street hustler or pay Big Pharm….. up to you, but remember jobless junkie, im paying for your legal drugs. Your welcome by the way.

  • Is Keith’s pharmacy going to be accepting this insurance?? As of right now I’m aware they are not taking any Med-Cal for patients prescriptions and they have to go to Fortuna to receive their medicine. Is that still going to be the case?

    • RRHC has a program set up for patients to have their medication delivered to RRHC from cloneys and Limas pharmacy. But this is for Redwood Rural patients. Although I know SHCHD has just recently started doing the same program for their patients. But to answer your question, Yes keiths pharmacy is still not taking many insurances, some private, most medicare part d plans and partnership.

  • I hope funding for this program is not bieng taken from the dental and medical clinics. Addiction is definitely a growth industry so I can see why they are expanding in this area. I don’t know if it’s necessarily wise to taylor society to the needs of people who make poor personal choices, but it’s done all the time & maybe that’s reality for a somewhat decadent United States. On the bright side, mandi and robin look like pure souls who just want to help, so good luck to them.. not to be a “positive peter”, but any growth industry is a good one I venture to speculate

  • Thank you Tina, Mandi and everyone at RRHC who made this happen.

  • FED THE EFF UP!!

    I think for people who truly want help it’s a great thing for THEM… And YES there is a problem with opioid addiction in the USA period, BUT OMFG seriously,what about people who aren’t addicts and can NO LONGER get the medication they need desperately (just to be able to function normally & support their families & enjoy a somewhat decent quality of life etc;) yet due to lazy or brain dead doctors,over prescribing to liars and junkies for DECADES, people who have actual medical issues and/or conditions are now & forevermore totally SCREWED & we have no good OR legal options!! So what options do we have…to end up like the junkies?!? (At least we would get treated like human beings!😂) I as a TRUE chronic pain sufferer am one of these people who are really, REALLY angry& sick and tired of “addicts” getting treated with more compassion and understanding than someone like myself who has actual SEVERE pain&proof of the conditions that cause it. I didn’t choose to have these medical conditions. I didn’t do this to myself, yet I have been bullied by doctors, talked down to and in general treated like a drug seeking scumbag& sent home to be in TRUE AGONY NOT “DOPE SICK” when the scumbag who steals from good hard working people like my husband and myself so they can get a Fucking”fix”is in the next treatment room being talked to in a soothing voice, petted and coddled& treated with kid gloves& told it’s okay we’ll help you it’ll all be alright honey…WTF is wrong with THAT picture!!!! It is WRONG that people who chose that as their poison/vice/lifestyle, whatever you want to call it gets free treatment and treated with dignity& respect meanwhile there are chronic pain sufferers committing suicide because they can not get the medication they need to have a decent quality of life and support their families!!! It’s so sickening and cruel,insensitive and wrong& won’t change anytime soon. I’m stepping off my soapbox now& exiting stage left!! Have a good day everyone!

    • Suboxone, or buprenorphine, is also an excellent pain med. veterinarians are using it (safer) and it’s the number one med for pain in Europe. If you want improvements in pain control, suboxone might help. Ask for butrans or bunavail for chronic pain, or call open door

    • In a time of over prescribing your situation is one people rarely hear about, thanks for the insight. It’s easy to forget that there are people who are really in pain and are being effected by this also

  • To anyone who has or even thinks they might have a problem this is a great time to reach out and get the help you need. Fuck the fear, just do it, it’s amazing what life has to offer when you find a sober lifestyle.
    And to all the people that like to stigmatize addicts/addiction should check ‘their own house’ and stop being heartless a**holes.

    • Really? You want to trash those who thought from the beginning that being sober was a good thing? Addiction is itself the stigma and those seeking sobriety are busy removing it. More honor to them. But not to those still in love with their drugs.

    • You’re not Sober if you’re on Suboxone!!

  • Groba dude trustafarian osnt

    AA and NA meeting, just about now. Help yourself, get clean, stay clean.

    Hang in there!

  • Pplhatethetruth

    Redwoods Rural has over prescribed opioids for a very long time, they help create the need for the program they are now implementing. I have a family member who was prescribed to the point of being a zombie At RRHC. Guess what that shit does not stop real pain. After detoxing off that garbage his pain complaints are the same as when he was on it!

    • Ppltruth,

      Redwoods Rural is doing the same thing to a Hydesville friend of mine. Phentinol (sp?) patches. He can’t be without them. He was a truck driver, got into a crash -so, he does have constant back pain.

      It’s funny that the three guys i’ve offered a dropper-full of CBD/Hemp Oil, won’t consider it. They live in Humboldt!
      ____________________

      Opioid crisis? Closer to the root, we have serious greed and apathy issues.

      • Pplhatethetruth

        They don’t want it because it won’t get them high. And the person who commented about testing to make sure they are not selling them. They are selling a ton of pills a month but most of them hold back just enough to have it in their system.
        The market for pills in Humboldt is more lucrative than weed now.

  • My Two Cents..

    It is a great program and a great time to reach out if you need and want help and in the process if it lowers the crime/theft rate and violence, even better. Many good things could come from this program. With that said I have to agree with Canyon Oak and Fed the Eff up both on a few points as well as several other people who commented about their loved ones. I see both sides of this situation, I know (and love) many people who have been addicts or are addicts of one “thing” or another&having actual help available to them is amazing for so many reasons. On the flip side of the coin, I too suffer from Chronic pain and have personally been stigmatized and treated extremely poorly by Doctors&cannot get medication on a regular basis much less discuss my difficulty getting and keeping my pain under control &I cannot take most other medications they like people to take or try for pain. I have tried to take multiple alternate non opioid medications over a couple of decades with extremely unpleasant or intense and/or serious lasting side effects &some have even been permanent. Yet I can’t even get a referral to an actual Specialist for managing pain & that’s totally ridiculous not to mention just plain mean when I and my husband were looked in our eyes told we have done everything they asked & I have proof of my conditions but the doctor still had no intention of prescribing me literally the only thing that helps and doesn’t make me sicker OR “high” and they would refer me to a pain specialist and it never occurred despite “being the squeaky wheel” so I understand the anger effed up has. Because talk about cruel, you know I’m in pain, I’m suffering yet you won’t help despite having the ability to….wow, Just wow and even worse the natural pain relief alternative I was taking was totally rejected and even frowned upon, I received a lecture despite researching the subject at length before trying it!! But In my opinion NOBODY should ever be stigmatized or treated like shit for asking for help whether it be an addict or a chronic pain patient or sex addict OR a three eyed hunchback, or what have you. It’s extremely difficult to admit you need help no matter what it is you need help with, especially if it’s a “taboo” subject, but at the same time I agree that I personally have witnessed and experienced being talked down to &treated like less than a human being for (or despite idk which) being completely honest about the amount of pain I was in regarding my permanent chronic pain conditions or whatever the case was at the time (because I am also a complete Klutz Lmfao &have had many painful but hilarious accidents in my 40+years on this Earth)that have no doubt contributed to my pain issues, yet there’s this wonderful program for people who have made the choice to take drugs for recreation or “to get away” from their problems and forget their emotional pain or even an over prescribing doctor for an initial injury, whatever the circumstances were that began the unfortunate cycle of addiction and no where (openly anyways and especially not free) for people like me and so many tens of thousands of others like myself who have little to no quality of life anymore and that’s REALLY fucked up!!But..that’s Just my two cents!!

  • Divide by Zero

    When you’re making life miserable for everyone around you because you want to get high, you’re not sick, you’re an asshole. Stop with this it’s not your fault because you’re an addict crap. It is your fault. You made the conscious decision to ingest this stuff, and here you are burdening everyone with your selfish behavior. Have a friend in Arizona whose brother became seriously addicted to junk in Viet Nam. He, and a ranch hand, tied him to a tree and stayed with him around the clock through the initial withdrawal time and then to supervised work. The point, dropping in for a 10 minute pep-talk and a maintenance dose a few times a week doesn’t work. That was forty years ago and he’s still clean today. Draconian? You bet, but it worked because someone was willing to turn their life upside down because they really cared.

  • I feel blessed that my daughter has another chance at life. Peer pressure and bad decisions brought my daughter to a depraved life of unspeakable pain and regret. Most people on Heroin want to get better, but it is impossible when to stop using means becoming violently sick. Often their is no way out because the addict has burned all bridges with friends and family. Their is no threat of incarceration or losing ones children that is strong enough to stop one from using. I see jail as an important tool in recovery. It allows one to detox. Suboxone removes the cravings without getting high… And then the hard work of rebuilding ones life through counseling

  • Sounds like a winner plan. I wish you all the best of luck.

  • I’m happy to be sober.
    I’m happy to not be an addict.
    I pity those who are.
    More power getting clean and good luck.

  • I have taken subs before and that shit gets you high as fuck. So your just trading a street drug for a big.pharma produced drug at the end of the day the ceo and owners of the pharma company win. Hey people dont smoke heroin come take our strong drugs to get off the h. Then where will you be after treatment, its a revolving door but the big pharmacy companies love it cha ching cha ching cha ching. Ive seen people on subs and most just trade them for other drugs. Its not what you think it is just a bunch of tweaker addicts trying to support each other while living on the north coast in humboldt haha thats like trying to get a pig to stop rolling in his shit, or getting a bear to stop pooping in the woods, good luck with this treatment guarantee fail when you replace one drug with another. If you dont have the guts or the balls to get off and stay clean off all drugs then let em die, one less junky off the streets. Real talk sorry if you have a family member thats a junky, one day you wake up feeling sick and tired of feeling sick and tired then you do something, if you cant even manage that then you deserve to overdose period. I wish i owned suboxone companies making bank off these junkie tweakers and they still cant get it right repeat customers r good customers. The same people connected on bringing in illicit drugs r making bank off the legal ones too. America bitches. Americas drugs are bigger than the oil industry or darn close, that aint right. If you pay your taxes you support a bunch of tweaker crack head junkies, just look at this program. Yes even you drug hating Republicans r supporting these crackheads if you pay your taxes.

  • The real winner here as always is Reckitt Benckiser and if generics are finally available now the other pharmaceutical companies. A glass of poppy pod tea a day would be a thousand times better, and healthier. And illegal. Still neither address the addicted brain, if that’s the desire.

    *Unless quite particular with ones food habits, one’s terribly addicted to refined sugars, costing the nation far more in health care costs, and causing far more deaths than all the illicit drugs combined.
    *Unless one is driving a Tesla and living off solar one is terribly hooked on petroleum, which might not kill you, sure the cancer could, but will leave an uninhabitable ship for your grand/kids.

    Point is, we’re all in this shit/p together. You needn’t loose a loved one before realizing were all somewhere on the addiction spectrum.. we were founded on it: more. Were it not for our collective need for “more” (love money power sex work respect recognition clothes prozac pets or champagne) our economy would collapse tomorrow.

    “Don’t lend your hand to raise no flag….”

    The benefit to Suboxone (that doctors like) is it is hard to OD on, and one need not spend all day hustling funds and chasing it. Same could be said for any prescription, with one job responsibilities and life can be met (abuse aside), without script, it’s an all day hustle on the streets. Pain patients are learning this quick. Doctors these days are usually the last to know. As a partial agonist Suboxone often leaves the user feeling a little more connected to the “greater good”, dare I say: God Consciousness, than might actually be the case.. it binds to receptors so strong, and for so long, the daily dose builds and builds and builds.. it won’t kill you, but sooner or later it might kill every ambition relationship and project one has the wherewithal to generate…. it is a strange one and after years can be VERY hard to detox, much harder than heroin or ANY poppy derivative. At first it was approved for detox and was somewhat effective in the short term. Still, it’s no ibogaine.. The daily intake of Nalaxone aka Narcan makes it even stranger. Still gotta commend RRHC for doing SOMETHING. I’ve seen some dangerous potential there there re addiction. Dangerous.

    With that warning in mind, I hope many presently living second to second avail themselves the opportunity to slow down a bit, secure a prescription, and rewrite life’s script. I fucking love you.

  • Thanks you to the folks that are in support of rehabilitation! I am extremely saddened, however, to the level of ignorance to the others that have no idea how suboxone works as a treatment. Suboxone is a rather complex drug in that it contains both an opiate agonist and antagonist. This means yes, you can get partially “high” from the agonist effects but there is also a blocking mechanism that prevents you from feeling a full dose. So basically, your brain is receiving a full does so you don’t get withdrawals while your perception of the effects is less so its easier to become less dependent. This makes the weening process more manageable. Furthermore, you cannot snort it and you can’t take any real opiates for several days after because one dose blocks your receptors. Even a loose treatment makes it nearly impossible to get high off of heroine when you are on suboxone. It is nearly the perfect solution to getting off of heroine or any other opiates if you truly want to get off of them.

  • Thank you for all the efforts in helping these very sick and desperate people get well and healthy again life is a beautiful thing and should not be wasted away with chemical dependency.

  • There’s only one thing that’s going to solve the situation, let people that want to take drugs take their drugs. let them lock themselves up in their house and shoot heroin all day long if that’s what they want. The only thing that’s going to change it is if we stop supporting them. stop paying them a monthly stipend, quit paying their medical benefits, stopped providing them with food vouchers. These people will eventually come to the situation where they either need to stop using drugs or starve to death or die of a medical condition. It sounds heartless but it’s the only thing that’s going to work.

    This Is Why 70 years ago people could buy heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine at the local corner store. yet there wasn’t a huge epidemic of druggies and vagrants on the streets tearing apart the cities and towns. that and the people were allowed to police themselves and did not put up with that kind of behavior. Yet there were still tens of thousands of people taking these drugs and living a normal life because they realize that if they went down the slope to the point where they couldn’t take care of themselves no one else was going to do it for them!

  • Mendocino Mamma

    If patients who are prescribed meds were drug tested when they come for refills the addiction train would slow down GREATLY!!! Estimates are that up to 60% of patients on “medication pain management” do not take the mediation as ordered AND sell medication to others. If they take their medication as ordered it is no big deal. They test happily. The person who sells their medication will PROTEST LOUDLY!!! TRUE STORY! RECENTLY patient on pain patches tested NEGATIVE! When in clinic for refills, had a “patch” on that was filled with ALOE gel!!! Test your patients for compliance DOCS!!! Negative test NO FURTHER MEDS!!!

  • I didn’t realize we had so many armchair-keyboard addiction and pain management experts in the area.

  • Mendocino Mamma

    Seamus… I would definitely be very far from armchair. Being that I have worked in the medical profession for over 30 years, I’ve known many people that were addicts. Many people in pain, many people influenced by this. I’ve watched I don’t even know how many people go through treatment successfully for pain pill addiction. A lot of these people share their meds crush them up people that inject meth and heroin also will inject other substances when their preferred addiction is not available. The doctors really need to get ahold of this and start testing patients that are on pain therapy management to ensure that they are truly on the medications. Especially if you’re delivering triplicates with 90 or 120 pills Etc per refill. In fact I know of a local substance abuse counselor that got so many pills you would think they would have fallen over and actually was selling them to the very patients they were supposed to be helping. All in order to fund a Casino habit!!! Doctors NEED to test people that are supposed to be on therapeutic narcotic medications to ensure compliance!

    • sugar kills more than all the words above, higher health care costs too… so what’s this really all about? america IS addiction. prohibition=fail. doctor as probation officer sounds lovely though.

  • groba dude osnt trustafarian

    My advice, take the Subutex for 3-4 DAYS only, then cold turkey that shit and sweat out the next 3-4 days.

    Post secondary withdrawl is tough, buts beats the hell out of being hooked on Opiates.

    Staying clean takes the rest of your life, go to NA and hang in there!

    Do inpatient rehab if you can. It is worth the cost. St Helena Hospital has the best program.

    Me? Clean from pain meds over 7 years, never going back on that shit!

    • The best of luck to you. And to all those who recognize a bad road when they are on it and have the heart to struggle to get back.

    • i heard it closed (St Helena), wonder why it’s certainly a growth industry with this new nbc crisis on the air, employ a largely failed premise ensuring repeat customers galore.

      post secondary withdrawal??

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