CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WCHS/WVAH) — The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department has entered into a partnership for the possibility of offering medication-assisted treatment at Cabin Creek’s Sunnyside Clinic.
Kanawha County commissioners and Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin both expressed concerns over what they described as a lack of communication about the plan.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) combines behavioral therapy and medications to treat substance use disorders, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Three medications commonly used to treat opioid addiction are methadone, naltrexone and buprenorphine.
A news release from the health department said Cabin Creek Health Systems and the health department would provide primary care services at the clinic, which is located at the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department.
The medication-assisted treatment services will not be offered until county and city officials and stakeholders are comfortable with providing the service, the release said.
The health department ended its needle exchange program last year after receiving numerous complaints and concerns over the concept.
Meetings will be scheduled between Cabin Creek Health Systems, the health department and stakeholders.
“It is important for the citizens of Kanawha County to fully understand and be educated on what the program entails, have the ability to ask questions and to also have the backing of leadership at both the state and local levels,” the release said.
According to a news release from the Kanawha County Commission, Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper has asked the president of the Kanawha-Charleston Board of Health for more information on the MAT plan.
“I believe the discussion regarding a medication-assisted treatment program should have occurred in a public meeting with ample notice to the public. This program, through Cabin Creek Health Systems was approved by the former director without a vote of the Board. The press release issued by the Health Department was in complete response to my inquiry into their proposal of this new program. Ample scrutiny of this program is required due to the Health Department’s track record with prior proposals,” Carper said in the letter to the Kanawha-Charleston Board of Health.
Goodwin also issued a statement about the proposal.
"Much like the members of the Kanawha County Commission, I too have concerns about the transparency and lack of communication with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department.," Goodwin said in a statment. "The mission and vision of the mayor’s office is to provide public safety and public health resources to all members of our community. Their input is a critical and valuable part of that mission. I look forward to working with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, along with the Kanawha County Commission, to ensure a more transparent process moving forward.”