Continuing its commitment to addressing the opioid epidemic, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) will open two new Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) in Houma and Bogalusa, bringing the overall number of Louisiana OTPs to 12. The evidence-based behavioral health treatment facilities will increase access to treatment services for 400 to 1,200 individuals per month.
LDH’s Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) has selected Behavioral Health Group to operate the new facilities following a competitive open call for applications and an exhaustive review of provider qualifications. OTPs are authorized to dispense methadone as part of a clinically-monitored Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD), considered the gold standard for treatment of opioid use disorder.
The facilities are expected to open in June. They are located at:
1812 Prospect Blvd., Houma (Region 3: South-Central Louisiana)
412 Ave. B, Bogalusa (Region 9: Florida Parishes)
“The opioid epidemic has plagued Louisiana with incalculable losses for too many years, not only in the lives of those we have lost, but also the fractured relationships with family and friends,” said LDH Secretary Dr. Courtney N. Phillips. “About one quarter of Louisiana residents receiving Medication for Opioid Use Disorder live beyond a 35-mile radius from an Opioid Treatment Provider. This expansion of treatment services is one of three goals LDH has identified in our commitment to improving access to substance use disorder treatment and the quality of care as part of our Fiscal Year 2022 Business Plan.”
“We know opioid overdose death rates are escalating rapidly and impacting our friends, loved ones, family and community like never before in Louisiana and across the nation. The death rate in Washington Parish alone is devastating,” said State Rep. Malinda White, I-Bogalusa. “We know that access to treatment services is imperative if we want to reduce mortality rates in Louisiana. Opening two new Opioid Treatment Programs in the hardest-hit areas of the state will certainly help curtail Louisiana’s overdose death rate by offering an opportunity for persons suffering from substance use disorders to get the help they need, when they need it.”
There has been a steady increase in the number of fatal overdoses involving opioids in Louisiana. According to the most recent data from the Louisiana Opioid Data and Surveillance System (LODSS), which collects data certified by coroners, opioid-involved deaths increased by 67%, from 588 in 2019 to 982 in 2020. From 2012 to 2020, opioid-involved deaths increased 514%.
Over the past year, LDH identified a significant need to expand OTPs in regions that have experienced severe challenges throughout the opioid epidemic. LDH chose the new OTP locations predicated on areas most in need, based on data collected from LODSS.
LODSS was made possible through a partnership between the LDH Office of Public Health, Bureau of Health Informatics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
“The South Central Louisiana Human Services Authority (SCLHSA) along with the Louisiana Department of Health – Office of Behavioral Health understand that opioid addiction is a complex medical issue and are dedicated to providing effective evidence-based treatment options for opioid addiction,” SCLHSA Executive Director Lisa Schilling said. “SCLHSA is proud to welcome Behavioral Health Group to Region 3 in Houma to dispense methadone as part of a clinically-monitored Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD). This program will be a perfect complement to our Office Based Opioid Treatment (OBOT) Programs located at all four of the SCLHSA clinics located in Houma, LaPlace, Morgan City and Raceland.”