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South Dakota Urban Indian Health combats opioid crisis

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Last year, South Dakota Urban Indian Health introduced a new recovery program for people struggling with opioid addiction. The organization is now expanding to reach more people.

“When we think about addressing opioids, we know that it’s an epidemic,” Char Green, Project Manager, said.

South Dakota Urban Indian Health began its MAT program towards the end of 2021.

The goal is to move people towards recovery.

“MAT or M-A-T services is Medication Assisted Treatments. What this is really for is to help with people who have an opioid addiction,” Jill Pitz, Family Nurse Practitioner.

“Our MAT services is a collaboration between our medical, behavioral health and our cultural health. We’re obviously targeting our urban native population but it (MAT) is open to all of our patients ” Green said.

A team will talk with the patient and then prescribe medications to wean them off of opioids.

“The whole focus is really helping them come off the opioids in a safe manner without going into full and complete withdrawal and then helping them control the cravings and the impulse to use.” Pitz said.

MAT patients will also meet with counselors and cultural nurses for a holistic approach to recovery.

“You’re not just going, ‘Okay, I’m going to fix this one thing. I’m going to prescribe a medication to you and then you’re out the door.’ We can look at you from all different angles because we’re treating the whole person that’s really what holistic care is, is looking at the whole person,” Pitz said.

“We are very honored that we are able to have the MAT program so that we can best serve the need that is here,” Green said.

Urban Health would like to expand the MAT program to include a peer recovery coach program.

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