Posted by Sue Jones on Oct 22, 2018
Pictured (l to r): Becky Robbins, Dr. Betsy Kidder, Kia Briggs and President Katie Geise
 
Becky Robbins introduced the speakers for today: Kia Briggs Narraway, who earned a JCC Associates Degree and a Bachelor of Science from Empire State College with top honors in community human services, concentrating on mental health and addiction studies.
 
In 2006, Kia began volunteering at the Mental Health Association, MHA, located in the Gateway Center. She was hired as intake coordinator while providing individual advocacy for participants. Kia Became associate director in 2011 and Executive Director in 2015.
 
The MHA is a United Way partner organization and has increased services by over 70% MHA provides individual peer coaching by certified peer specialists; support groups, services navigation, linkages to treatment providers and a safe and accepting environment for those afflicted with substance use and mental health disorders.
 
Also speaking was Dr. Betsy Kidder, a Jamestown native who returned home to practice medicine and she also serves on the Advisory Board of the MHA.
 
Betsy is an internal medicine doctor practicing at the Chautauqua Center. Dr. Kidder is certified to prescribe medication assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction and works closely with Kia and others in the community to improve access to needed addiction treatment.
 
The Chautauqua Center (on 4th street across from the YMCA) – is a medical clinic that provides primary medical care, dental care, mental health care and addiction medicine treatment. They accept all insurances and help people without insurance to apply for insurance. A new facility for the Chautauqua Center is under construction at the site of the former Artone Building near Brooklyn Square.
 
Dr. Kidder received a Bachelor of Arts from Boston College. She earned a medical degree, a Master’s Degree in Public Health and a PhD in Public Policy and Health Policy from George Washington University.
Addiction changes the biology and brain chemistry. It works on dopamine in the brain; it hijacks or affects the emotional systems.
 
In Jamestown the major problems are methamphetamines (stimulant); heroin/opioids; and cocaine.
 
Over 2,000,000 opioid prescriptions are written annually. 350 people start taking drugs every day. Over 4,105 Emergency room visits a day are as a result of addiction overdoses. Less than half of the addicts get help.
 
Opioid, codeine, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, heroine, fentanyl and carfentanol are all addictive drugs. Addicts transition from prescription drugs to stronger drugs, which they can buy on the street.
There has been a change in the face of addicts – they used to be minority, inner city blacks and now addicts are every face. And there has been a huge increase in rural addiction.
 
Dr. Kidder recommended the book Dreamland by Sam Quinones to help the layman understand addiction.
 
Dr. Kidder treats with MAT – medically assisted treatment.
 
Narcan – Naloxone can be sprayed up the nose and revive the patient who has overdosed.
 
Vivitrol – Naltrexone can only be used if the addict has been off opioids for 10 days and is committed to not do drugs in the future.
 
Methadone helps to tame the roller coaster so there are fewer highs and lows.
 
Suboxone or buprenorphine is delivered in a sublingual strip and it eases the withdrawal and cravings. If the patient injects, there is no high. As the patient progresses, the strip can be cut down. Even these strips have a street value of $25 to $50 each. There is also a huge prison demand. Families sneak them in to inmates. An injectable form has been developed, so no there will be no street value.
 
There is a great importance of employment to recovery.
 
Vermont has a more open mind and is hiring those in treatment. It gives them a purpose, accountability, and responsibility. The MHA is a grantee and is trying to get people into good jobs that are run on a peer model. Peer coaches guide others through recovery and provide daily support, role models, life changes, which all work together.
 
Kia from the MHA at the Gateway Center said that the peer model really works and it takes a community to solve this problem.
 
Today was a most thought provoking presentation.