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Perspectives on Pain & Addiction

The Opioid and Chronic Pain Response Program (OCPRP), supported by the Boulder Community Health Foundation and City of Boulder Health Equity Fund, exists to address barriers to care for those seeking relief from Opioid Use Disorder and/or chronic pain. The program works to address opioid addiction and its underlying causes by connecting individuals to substance abuse treatment, as well as provide education and support around ALTO-alternative to opioid therapies, to manage chronic pain to avoid a potential addictive disorder.

What this looks like in practice is service navigation, and possible financial support, for adults that are:

  • Uninsured
  • Underinsured
  • Undocumented
  • Experiencing homelessness

The OCPRP is housed in the Center for Mind Body Medicine at the Della Cava Family Medical Pavilion at the Foothills Medical Campus. Working with specialist Dr. Brad Fanestil allows the OCPRP to collaborate on supporting patients with chronic pain, including some that have been prescribed powerful pain killers for years. Dr. Fanestil is taking a neurological approach to pain management while working in tandem with in-house alternative practitioners which consist of acupuncture, massage and reiki, to allow patients an introduction to different tools to manage their pain.

OCPRP staff have connected with, and are building relationships, with BCH Primary Care Providers (PCPs), Emergency Department (ED) staff and over 30 community agencies to share resources and create a vertical referral process. Some of our strongest partnerships exist with Boulder County Public Health, The Denver Recovery Group West and Behavioral Health Group. The inception of this program has coincided with a select group of PCPs obtaining their DEA X-waiver credential, which allows these providers to prescribe Suboxone, often referred to as Medication Assisted Treatment or MAT, in a primary care setting, as well the Foothills ED starting Suboxone inductions for those that meet withdrawal criteria.

OCPRP staff has helped facilitated multiple successful Suboxone inductions at the Foothills ED for individuals referred from Public Health. After the induction phase, the OCPRP Patient Navigator worked with these individuals to engage in treatment at one of the outpatient treatment centers. While most patients are appropriate for an outpatient setting, some require a higher level of care in the form of residential treatment and subsequent step-down care following an inpatient stay. OCPRP staff can assist participants with navigation of the residential treatment options available to them in Boulder County, and beyond, and which facility may be the best fit for them.

Through the generous funding from the City of Boulder and The BCH Foundation, the OCPRP has money to provide scholarships to connect participants with an appropriate intervention. Scholarships can help cover:

  • Unmanageable costs such as office visit copays
  • Suboxone or other forms of MAT for opioid use disorder
  • Alternative pain management therapies
  • Behavioral health interventions
  • Outpatient treatment
  • And other barriers being identified by the client

Participants only need to meet simple eligibility criteria and OCPRP can begin to close these gaps in care.

The OCPRP began taking referrals in May of this year. To date the program has received over 95 referrals; 13 people have connected to outpatient treatment, one to residential services, and 14 to ALTO therapies. The overall goal of the OCPRP is to alleviate health inequity and normalize alternative treatment modalities in health care settings. The individuals that have accessed the program now have additional tools in their toolbox to address opioid disorders and chronic pain.

The OCPRP hopes to grow and continue to meet the needs of marginalized and stigmatized populations. Future visions for the program include: bringing ALTO to the inpatient setting and expanding the focus of treatment to other substance use disorders.

Contact the OCPRP Today

Please call Shelby Souther, Patient Navigator at 303-415-8659 for more information or referrals. You can also learn more about the program by reaching out to Amanda Wroblewski, Program Coordinator, at 303-415-4291.