CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The White House and the Drug Enforcement Administration announced this morning that a new federal program would expand the use of mobile Methadone vans in areas hard hit by opioids. Methadone is a substance used to wean people off of heroin addiction, as well as other opioid abuse. The White House says these vans can reach a lot of people in need.
“Because we are going beyond the anchorage of opioid treatment programs, we’re actually able to use these vans to hit rural areas that are geographically harder to get to,” said Tom Coderre, Acting Asst. Secretary for Substance Abuse.
The vans can also be used in urban areas to get Methadone shots to people trying to get clean from heroin and other opioids. Some health care providers in the Appalachian Region want more assurances that workers in the vans won’t just be giving out shots.
“So I have concerns about lack of wrap-around services. You want to make sure people are getting connected to treatment, and testing and all of that. And definitely recovery services. So I would have a lot of questions about that,” said Dr. Angie Settle from Health Right West Virginia.
The call for more methadone vans comes as the united states has logged more than 92,000 overdose deaths in the past year. That’s the largest 12-month total ever recorded. So far, no one in West Virginia has applied to operate the mobile methadone clinic, but the process is literally in its infancy.
While the effort to expand mobile Methadone labs is a federal program, anyone that operates one, will have to comply with all state and local regulations.