Fairview Range Blog

Breaking the Stigma of Opioid Addiction

Care Coordination for Opioid Use Disorder at Fairview Range

“Here at Fairview Range, we’re trying to create a recovery atmosphere that eliminates stigma around addiction.  We take a stance that opioid use disorder is a chronic disease.  We want the community to know that recovery is possible when addiction is treated as a disease and not as a moral failure.” – Danielle Jones, RN-BSN, CARN, Care Coordinator at Fairview Range.

For patients living with opioid use disorder, there’s no doubt that it’s a difficult condition to endure — especially without the support of family, friends, and their community. Often, the stigma surrounding this chronic disease deters many from seeking the help they need.

That’s why Danielle Jones, RN-BSN, CARN, Care Coordinator at Fairview Range, strives to ensure that patients who are suffering from opioid use disorder are getting the support and comfort they need, no matter where they are in their recovery journey.

“I am the Care Coordinator that works with this population,” explains Jones. “I am the patient’s first go-to person that they call when they’re ready or are wanting to get off opioids and/or heroin. When an individual calls, I complete a short telephone interview and schedule an appointment either that same day or the next – depending on the circumstances.  This allows for an increase in access to care – meeting that person where he/she is at. That first interaction is so crucial.  It all starts with being empathetic and compassionate and treating that individual with dignity and respect.  From that moment on, I get to be a part of that individual’s recovery journey.”

For many, the stigma surrounding opioid-use disorder is a misconception that it is a willful choice by people who are a part of a certain population. This often overshadows the disease for what it is — a chronic disease that can affect anyone at any point of their lives.

“A lot of people think that opioid use disorder is a moral failing.  This is not the case at all.  These individuals are not bad people wanting to become good; they are sick people trying to get well – a goal of all chronic diseases.”  

Because of the stigma that still surrounds opioid-use patients today, Jones also understands that many feel judged the moment they walk into a waiting room. However, she wants to assure them that they have a right as patients to seek the best care possible for their conditions.

“We want our patients to feel welcome, they are not going to be judged,” expresses Jones. “People with opioid use disorder sit in the same waiting room with all of the other patients who are coming to the clinic for medical care.  Our goal is to decrease stigma and help as many people as we can to make it more acceptable in the community and the organization.  From the front desk staff, to the lab staff, etc., all of our patients are treated with respect and compassion – regardless of their diagnosis.” 

Words Matter
When battling stigma, words matter. The words you use around those living with opioid addiction can have a large impact. Research tells us that people with addiction or psychiatric disorders frequently feel looked down upon in healthcare scenarios. This can cause them not to pursue treatment and is super detrimental to fighting their illness. 

How should I talk to someone with addiction tendencies? 

Patient-Centered Care
Each patient can expect a patient-centered approach to their treatment plan. Some patients may require different treatment than others. Fairview Range provides a variety of services including medication-assisted treatment, behavioral health therapy, social work support, and more. In addition, patients can get the medical attention they need for additional conditions that may have been left undiagnosed, such as hypertension, diabetes, pregnancy, Hepatitis C, and other conditions.  We also can provide referrals to higher levels of care when needed.

“Oftentimes there are many social determinants of health present – lack of insurance, transportation issues, housing issues, etc.  This is where our patient-centered team approach is so beneficial.  We have nurses, providers, social workers, counselors, and others that work together to achieve patient-centered goals.  We want to ensure that every person who is ready to try and make a difference in his/her life, has the necessary tools and support needed for his/her recovery journey.”

“It is so rewarding working in this role at Fairview Range – to see individuals progress through the recovery journey.  People are graduating college, getting jobs, getting their families back together, starting families, and so on. I always tell my patients too – be proud of yourself – you are the one doing the work. I am just here cheering you on from the sideline.” 

In addition, Fairview Range is partnering with community members to help break the stigma and provide patients with an opioid-use disorder with the support they need.  Some community resources that individuals are referred to are outpatient counseling, harm reduction programs, access to Narcan (naloxone), outpatient treatment programs, county programs, peer support specialists, and many more.  

Medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) has become the standard of care for individuals with opioid use disorder.  At Fairview Range, we have different medication options, such as Suboxone or Vivitrol for individuals interested in MOUD.

If you or a loved one is suffering from opioid-use disorder, Fairview Range can help.

Call 218-262-4881.


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