MVCS to expand addiction treatment services

On Tuesday, May 22, Martha’s Vineyard Community Services (MVCS) will broaden its continuum of care for addiction treatment with the opening of the Island Intervention Center and Suboxone Clinic.

The Island Intervention Center will provide urgent care, interventions, assessments, and immediate access to services for both mental health and substance use disorders. The center will be a resource for people who need a high level of care, but may not need hospitalization.

The new facility will enable MVCS to expand medical-assisted treatment with experienced addiction specialists who can prescribe Suboxone and Vivitrol, to be administered in conjunction with the New Paths Intensive Outpatient Program and recovery coaching.
Suboxone, or buprenorphine, stops opioid cravings in people with substance use disorder (SUD) by blocking the opioid receptors in nerve cells.

At last year’s “Destigmatizing Addiction” forum at MVRHS, Department of Public Health commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel strongly endorsed the efficacy of Suboxone in treating SUD, provided it is supported by appropriate therapies.

“It’s really good news that this clinic is opening; there are people that need more intensive treatment than they can get in a private office,” Dr. Charles Silberstein, psychiatrist and substance abuse specialist at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and MVCS, told The Times. Dr. Silberstein and New Paths program director and clinical nurse specialist Janet Constantino will be on staff at the new facility. “People in recovery will have a team behind them that will teach techniques to maintain their sobriety,” he said. “Janet Constantino has been working in addiction psychiatry for many years; she did some of the early work on Suboxone at Yale.”

Addressing the controversial nature of Suboxone in the recovery community, Dr. Silberstein wrote in an email to The Times, “Suboxone and methadone are regarded by the World Health Organization as the most effective methods for reducing overdoses, deaths, and health problems related to opioid abuse. Despite popular lore to the contrary, buprenorphine does not get most people high, and people who are on long-term treatment are as stable and sober and responsible as the best of us.”

The Island Intervention Center was funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health.

The ribbon cutting will be at the MVCS campus, Building C, at noon on May 22.