Rapid City clinic using Medical Assisted Treatment to quell opioid abuse

The Early evening news on KOTA Territory TV
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 7:18 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Moriah Suhr went in for a knee surgery when she was 18 years old.

She never could have imagined the journey it would take her on.

“I knew what addiction was, but I didn’t know what withdrawals were, what dependency was.,” Suhr said. After about six months after being prescribed opiates, I decided that I didn’t need these anymore. The ended up taking me off, which is what I requested, I then realized what withdrawals were.”

Moriah turned to street drugs, and eventually to meth.

Once her addiction came between her and her family, she decided to get help using Medical Assisted Treatment, Or MAT.

Project Recovery administers MAT to addiction victims in the Black Hills area.

Troy Thompson provides controlled amounts of Suboxone, and other medications to treat Opioid dependence.

“They’re aimed at targeting the cravings and the withdrawal symptoms with the aim to get them to at least take one thing off their plate while they focus on some of the other aspects like continuing to find recovery.”

Shelbi Thompson heads up the social work aspect of Project Recovery’s operation, and helps patients with clothing, potential employment, and other necessities.

She says some of those who recover even come back, to help people in similar situations.

“There are so many stories of the lives that are changed. All you have to do is talk to any of the peer supports, and they’ll tell you stories about when they were using, and you look at them now, it’s almost crazy to think that someone would have told them that, ‘you’ll never be anything and you should be in jail forever.’ To see their lives now, it’s incredible.”

On her journey, Moriah became one of those peer supports, and is now the assistant manager of the facility.

She says she’s found purpose in helping people who are in similar situations.

“It’s okay to say, ‘I’m struggling, and I can’t do this on my own.’ They need extra guidance to help get them off opiates.”

Shelbi Thompson says since they’ve opened, they’ve assembled a broad coalition of community supporters in their quest to bring addiction numbers down.

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