If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction, Addiction Outreach Clinic can help

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Addiction Outreach Clinic’s Medical Director Nicholas Atanasoff, DO, pictured here with Office Manager Alicia Oliveras, offers Suboxone-assisted treatment for opioid addiction with a single, convenient monthly visit. (Photography:Benjamin Margalit)

By Mitch Allen

After graduating medical school in Missouri and doing his residency in Psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati, Dr. Nicholas Atanasoff achieved his dream of becoming a practicing psychiatrist. Soon, however, the young physician noticed a horrible trend that would change the course of his career: the rising epidemic of heroin and pain medication addiction affecting Ohio and Pennsylvania.

“I saw more and more patients addicted to opioids and simply losing hope,” Dr. Atanasoff says. “And traditional treatment programs just weren’t working. We needed a more innovative and common-sense approach to treatment that would provide excellent care and still hold patients accountable.”

Most conventional insurance-based treatment programs force patients to come in for appointments several times each week, making it difficult to return to a normal life again.

“For many patients, it’s impossible to attend all of those appointments and remain employed,” Dr. Atanasoff explains. “Many treatment programs were telling patients, ‘What’s more important, your sobriety or your job?’ No one should be put in that kind of position.”

A Different Approach
So in 2007, Dr. Atanasoff founded Addiction Outreach Clinic, which now has seven locations throughout Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. The clinics are dedicated to helping patients overcome their addiction to opioids by offering medication-assisted treatment with Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) combined with counseling.

“Unlike traditional medication treatment for opioid addiction utilizing methadone, Suboxone is a partial opioid that does not get the patient high or put them at risk for a potentially fatal overdose,” he says.

“Instead, it attaches to the opioid receptors and partially blocks them to guard against the effects of a relapse and partially activates them, taking away cravings and withdrawal symptoms.”

According to Dr. Atanasoff, it is the withdrawal symptoms—not necessarily the high—that causes many people to remain addicted.

“Opioid withdrawal can make you feel like you have the worst flu of your life—muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and a lot more,” he explains. “No one wants to feel that way so they go on using to keep from getting sick even if the high they experience at that point, due to tolerance, is minimal or non-existent. But with Suboxone we can eliminate those cravings and withdrawal symptoms.”

One of Addiction Outreach Clinic’s biggest advantages for patients is fewer required appointments—as long as a patient remains stable.

“Instead of one to four appointments a week, patients are evaluated just once every 28 days,” says Dr. Atanasoff, who is a diplomat of the American Board of Addiction Medicine. “This flexibility means that our patients can be successful in recovery and maintain their career and family responsibilities, too.”

Addiction Outreach Clinic incorporates the use of Suboxone, a game-changing pharmaceutical that reduces cravings and withdrawal symptom

Although some physicians have complained that self-pay Suboxone clinics do not hold patients accountable enough, that’s not the case with Addiction Outreach Clinic where patients are required to:

  • attend medical appointments every 28 days (if stable)
  • participate in counseling every 28 days (weekly, in the event of a relapse, or if a patient requests more frequent sessions)
  • participate in random medication counts
  • agree to random, observed in-office urine drug screens and send-out confirmations

Low-Cost, High-Flexibility
Unfortunately, many patients find Addiction Outreach Clinic only after spending tens of thousands of dollars at an in-patient rehab center without success. Or they’ve tried insurance-based treatment programs only to be unable to remain compliant with all of the required appointments.

Instead, Dr. Atanasoff has developed a completely different, high-efficiency model. His clinics do not take medical insurance, yet they are able to offer their treatment program for just a few hundred dollars a month. The environment is service-oriented (so you’re not treated like a number) and the staff is supportive and non-judgmental.

“I haven’t seen anything work this well for addiction in nearly 20 years of practice,” Dr. Atanasoff says.

“You can see a significant reduction in cravings and withdrawal symptoms in the very first week. The fees are modest, considering what this treatment gives back to patients. In addition, a patient’s job and other obligations remain intact and fulfilled. Stable patients can see their clinician, have their counseling session, perform their urine drug screen, and, receive their prescription all in one office visit, just one time, every 28 days. Compared to the destructive life of opioid addiction, this a huge win.”

Addiction Outreach Clinic is located at 2736 North Ridge Rd. in Perry Township. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 440-306-3017 or visit AddictionOC.com. The clinic also has six other locations throughout Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.