Addiction treatment center opening in southern IW

Published 1:29 pm Wednesday, February 8, 2017

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

An addiction treatment center is coming to the long vacant Airway Shopping Center in Carrsville.

The Affinity Healthcare Group plans to open an outpatient opioid treatment center this spring, said Affinity President Ron Martin.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The health care group already has a clinic that has been operating in Newport News for the past year.

Martin said the building’s zoning already allowed for a medical use so it didn’t need to get approval from Isle of Wight County officials, such as the Board of Supervisors. The facility, however, is heavily regulated by various federal agencies, such as the Department of Health and Human Services and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, Martin said. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Affinity Healthcare Group is listed on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website as offering an opioid treatment program. SAMHSA is an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services.

The clinic sees patients referred by a physician, hospital or drug court and is a way to prevent the use of jail for treating addiction, Martin said.

“A lot of these people are like you, like me,” Martin said.

“If someone doesn’t get treatment, they hit heroin,” he said, adding that patients include police officers, mothers and fathers, business executives, former cancer patients and children of prominent members of the community.

In recent years, the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office and the Smithfield Police have reported an increase in the number of heroin cases, many involving those formerly prescribed pain medication.

Opioids include pain medications such as codeine, OxyContin, Fentanyl, Percoset, Vicodin and morphine.

Martin referred to guidance published last year by the Centers for Disease Control about prescribing opioids for chronic pain. The guidance includes considerations for tapering patients off opioids and recommends medication-assisted treatment for those with a use disorder.

Martin gave a few examples of patients who were on opioids for extended periods of time and then were taken off by their doctor. Physically addicted, the patient could end up seeking heroin as a replacement, but the clinic offers other treatment options with, detoxification, counseling and medications, such as methadone and suboxone, said Martin, who is also a nurse.

Another type of patient is one who is psychologically dependent and also has to be supervised during withdrawal and then monitored for up to 18 months to give the brain a chance to heal, said Martin, referring to the brain functions that change during an opioid addiction.

Methadone and suboxone work by reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Affinity does not run an inpatient clinic, rather, patients come each day for counseling and medication, which allows them to keep their lives and families intact, Martin said.

The clinic employs medical staff and certified counselors, according to the company’s website.

For more information about Affinity Healthcare Group, visit  {/mprestriction}