By Mark Powell
When Recovery Rolls Into Town
One day a few years ago, Amanda Cope had a realization: when the distance between a person in addiction and the treatment they need is reduced, chances for success increase. Then she took it a step further. How much better would treatment succeed if it came to the person in addiction?
That’s how Positive Recovery Solutions’s (PRS) mobile treatment clinic was born. It operates inside a typical travel trailer, the type used for family vacations. Inside Cope, a Registered Nurse and PRS COO, provides monthly injections of Vivitrol, a medication used for people recovering from opioid or alcohol addiction.
The mobile program started in July 2014. It now serves 28 Pennsylvania counties and provides treatment to up to 580 people each month.
“For some of our patients, the nearest treatment center was a three-or-four-hour drive away,” Cope explains. “Bringing treatment directly to them removes that obstacle.”
The results have been incredible. Cope reports 89% of PRS patients remain active on medication with no relapse for six to nine months. “For many reasons, it’s a no brainer. It’s easier for the patient and is less taxing on the provider. We work with many local behavioral health entities because it just makes sense.”
Stuart is one example of success. “He started very young,” Cope says. “He was prescribed prescription drugs at age 14, became IV drug user and quickly had a very long criminal history. By the time he was in his early 20s he realized he was going to end up dead if he didn’t get help.”
Fortunately, Stuart’s story has a happy ending. He was PRS’s very first patient. Not only did he address his addiction, but he’s now married with two children, just bought a house, and works as PRS’s logistical coordinator. In fact, a half dozen former patients now work for the organization. “He is the picture of recovery,” Cope says proudly. She understands that quite well because she’s in recovery herself.
Positive Recovery Solution’s impact keeps spreading. Its outreach grew to Ohio last year. This year, it will expand operations into Kentucky and Indiana. Positive Recovery Solutions has two mobile vans and set up clinics at various partner agencies throughout the state. They provide the Vivitrol injections and partner with local behavioral health providers in the communities to offer counseling. Their biggest referral source is patients themselves.
Positive Recovery Solutions truly is a pioneer in delivering treatment. “We’ve experienced growth because of the lack of providers,” Cope concludes. “There isn’t much competition for us because it can be taxing and requires a lot of man hours but the results are worth the effort.”
Positive Recovery Solutions was a featured award winner in the 2019 Innovation Now project of the Addiction Policy Forum.
J. Mark Powell is an author, former network journalist, and veteran communications expert.