PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (AP) — A new for-profit, cash-only drug clinic that uses medicine to treat painkiller addicts is raising concerns in a county known as an epicenter of Ohio’s prescription painkiller epidemic.
Kentucky-based SelfRefind opened the clinic this fall in Portsmouth in southern Ohio, its first in the state. Selfrefind also has 11 clinics in Kentucky and one in Tennessee.
The clinic provides prescriptions to Suboxone, a medication that treats addicts’ withdrawal symptoms and blocks brain receptors to counter the effect of craving for narcotics like heroin or oxycodone.
Critics say Suboxone clinics keep people on the drug too long without the extensive counseling needed to break an addiction. They also worry such clinics contribute to the illegal sale of Suboxone, which is rising in Ohio and around the country.
Company officials, aware of the community’s concerns, are taking extra steps to assure residents they are not a pill mill in disguise. SelfRefind has met with local business and health care leaders and with the state’s top addictions officials to explain their mission.