Right services. Right time. Right place.
For many people with substance use disorder, medication-assisted treatment is the best path to recovery. But often, there are barriers to entry.
The Meds First program eliminates the barriers that wait times or extensive on-boarding processes can present. Those who are ready can get immediate help when they need it.
The program opens the door to recovery for those who are ready, at precisely the moment they are ready.
Big problems demand proven solutions.
During the first stage of this project, we are offering help to people who use the Tacoma Needle Exchange van in our parking lot.
When someone tells staff in the van they are ready for help, the staff member walks them to the Meds First office. After a warm handoff, the person receives a medical exam to confirm opioid use disorder and a prescription for suboxone is provided to initiate stabilization.
Just that quickly, recovery begins.
A case manager and navigator will help the person create a patient driven recovery path. They can help with:
- Insurance enrollment.
- …and more!
We give random urine tests to people in the program to make sure they are taking their buprenorphine. The presence of other drugs will not automatically disqualify patients.
Working together to change lives.
Meds First is a collaboration between the Health Department, Tacoma Needle Exchange, and local healthcare providers. It’s funded by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Washington State Healthcare Authority, the Seattle Foundation, and the Costco Foundation, The University of Washington will conduct a research study of our activities.
Right now, it is only available to people who use the needle exchange van. As we learn more and evolve, we might expand the program.
Eliminating barriers to treatment will reduce opioid poisoning deaths, hazardous drug use, and drug-related crime in Pierce County.