A new way of treating opioid addiction

Print Article

Tony Fantozzi, a physician’s assistant at the Northwest Community Health Center, speaks about Medically Assisted Therapy at a Libby Community Roundtable, Thursday. (Luke Hollister/The Western News)

Doctor Daniel Nauts, a Montana Primary Care Center Associate, gave a presentation about a new way of treating opioid addiction and about the state of fentanyl use in Montana at a Libby Community Roundtable, Thursday.

The rest of the country has seen a dramatic increase in overdoses due to synthetics, he said. About 70 percent of overdoses in the eastern United States are related to fentanyl.

“This is the calm before the storm,” he said. For Montana, “it’s only a matter of time.”

But Nauts said to be wary of statistics because they can dehumanize people, and opioid addictions cut across all socioeconomic groups. Rural areas have higher overdose rates.

Medically Assisted Therapy combines counseling with behavioral therapy to combat opioid abuse.

Tony Fantozzi, a physician’s assistant at the Northwest Community Health Center, said he has around 16 patients going through MAT.

The service includes counseling with a mental health professional, work with a clinical pharmacist and involvement from a behavioral health specialist, as well as a case manager, he said. There are always four-to-five people involved with patients.

Everyone works together to help patients maintain the MAT treatment, he said. Healthcare workers see patients frequently during the process.

“That first month is crucial,” he said. “If they’re going to relapse, they generally do [it] within the first month.

Part of MAT involves the narcotic pain reliever buprenorphine.

It is the only medicine, aside from methadone, that keeps people with opioid use disorder from withdrawing, he said.

Buprenorphine has a “ceiling effect,” he said. It keeps them maintained at a baseline level without requiring higher and higher doses.

Unlike other opioids, a patient cannot accidentally overdose with buprenorphine, he said. “It’s real good stuff,” and within minutes can lessen withdrawal symptoms.

“[MAT is] not perfect but it’s the best we got and we’re saving lives,” he said.

Mary Nelson, with Northwest CHC, said there is a variety of ages addicted to opioids.

It is “so cool” to be working with the MAT service, she said. People are wanting to do this and they appreciate help, she said.

Print Article

Read More Front Page Slider

CWD concentrated in urban deer population, wildlife officials say

January 17, 2020 at 10:02 am | Western News The bad news reported Jan. 13 by a wildlife official about the comparatively high prevalence of chronic wasting disease among deer within Libby’s urban environs offered one flickering hint of a silve...


Read More

Zoning board reviews plans for business districts

January 17, 2020 at 10:02 am | Western News Libby’s newly appointed zoning commissioners tweaked twin proposals for controversial business improvement districts within city limits Jan. 14, but not without reservations. The plans would create...


Read More

Libby Loggers defeat Eureka, Lady Loggers fall to Lady Lions

January 17, 2020 at 9:47 am | Western News Caden Williams and Keith Johnson each scored 15 points to help the Libby Loggers defeat the Eureka Lions 51-39 in nonconference basketball at Lincoln County High School on Jan. 14. The win brings th...


Read More

Davis receives deferred sentence for attempted theft

January 14, 2020 at 11:12 am | Western News A Kalispell woman arrested after her boyfriend admitted their roles in a self-storage theft ring received a deferred, three-year sentence in Lincoln County District Court on Jan. 6. Lyann Renee Dav...


Read More

Contact Us

(406) 293-4124
311 California Ave.
Libby, MT 59923

©2020 The Western News Terms of Use Privacy Policy