Oaks of Righteousness has partnered with Recovery Mobile Clinic to bring stability and hope to the fight against alcohol and substance addiction in Monroe County.
Jordana Latozas, Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and President of the Recovery Mobile Clinic (RMC), founded the company in February, 2020 and first brought it to Monroe as a mobile service that June.
A permanent clinic was established at the Oaks in January of this year. RMC mostly operates out of RVs and mobile homes, but Monroe is becoming the pilot program for a permanent location. It was primarily chosen based on an observed need for treatment.
“The goal is to make medical assisted treatment for alcohol and opioid abuse more accessible,” Latozas said.
“I am so excited for this program,” added Oaks Pastor Heather Boone. “I think this is going to be a game-changer for Monroe. Super excited that God opened this door.”
Contact between the clinic and Oaks of Righteousness was established about two years ago in the summer of 2020. Boone has advocated the need in the community, and that need has only increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“People have struggled throughout COVID, and they’ve turned to alcohol and drugs,” Boone said. “This is an opportunity for the people that feel lost.”
RMC provides the Vivitrol shot to patients seeking sobriety. Vivitrol, the generic name for Naltrexol, is a monthly injection treatment with a minimum of 12 doses. To fully benefit from the treatment, it is encouraging patients receive up to 18 doses.
The main focus of this non-addictive, opioid recovery model is to begin the battle against opioid and substance addictions. The shot’s goal is to block the patient’s craving.
“The point is to give the patient time to build stability in their life,” Latozas said.
She explained that substance abuse is usually the result of some other disease – such as depression, ADD, ADHD, social anxiety, etc. – so they’re not treating the addiction. Rather, they’re removing the coping mechanism so that the real issue can be identified.
Relatively side-effect free, other than some soreness at the injection site, the biggest hurdle for a patient is to adjust to the coping mechanism being gone. The first four months of treatment are typically the most difficult as a patient figures out what the root issues are that led them to addiction in the first place.
“The depression, for example, was always there,” Latozas said. “They’re just feeling it for the first time.”
Being able to form a partnership with the Oaks was the ideal situation for Latozas. Oaks already had a great foundation and outreach program, so it was the optimal spot for the partnership. She is excited that patients are able to come to one location and have access to multiple resources and programs.
“In Monroe, we’ve been able to administer 100 shots to about 30 individuals,” Latozas said.
Throughout Southeast Michigan, where the clinic travels, that number grows to 400 shots.
“If you think about it, that’s 400 months of sobriety, and 400 chances at a new life,” she said.
Latozas hopes to be able to form similar partnerships in other communities. She believes that working together with an organization that is already familiar and trusted by people will make them more open to accepting RMC as a reliable resource. She believes that the mobile clinic works because it has the capacity to move to where it’s needed most, and she envisions it growing as a valuable asset to many communities and medical professionals.
“My dream is to have a mobile clinic in all 48 lower states by the time I retire,” Latozas said.
She believes that the clinic could be the foundation for a nurse empowerment force, a group that goes out to the people and fights the opioid addiction that has affected the United States for so long.
Having a permanent location has increased the outreach of RMC, and they have administered many doses of Vivitrol at a growing rate since June of 2020.
“Now that we’re consistently here, we’re able to develop relationships,” said Melissa Manczek, a nurse practitioner and head of the Monroe Clinic that is operated from Oaks. “With addiction, gaining that trust is beneficial to recovery.”
Manczek said that she notices that many of the patients appreciate and find comfort in the faith aspect of recovery provided by being housed at the Oaks. She said patients often stop in to visit the clinic between doses, and that is one of the amazing benefits of having a permanent location. They’ve been able to prove to the community that they’re reliable.
The Recovery Mobile Clinic is open at Oaks of Righteousness every Monday and Wednesday from 10 am to 2 pm They are also there every other Tuesday at the same times. Operating throughout southeast Michigan, their locations and operating hours can always be found on their website: www.mobilerecoveryclinic.com.
RMC works to meet people where they are on their journey to recovery. They are able to accept Medicaid and most commercial insurance. They also work directly with the makers of Vivitrol to keep the co-pay down for patients.
“When someone makes the decision to get sober, they don’t sit on it,” Latozas said. “You have to be there and be ready. You have to meet them at their level.”
They organize fundraisers and accept donations to build a Patient Recovery Fund that assists patients without insurance. Latozas doesn’t think that lack of finances should ever stop someone from obtaining the chance at a new life, and states that all the money donated goes directly into the fund.
Vivitrol Lunch & Learn April 25
Recovery Mobile Clinic and the makers of Vivitrol are planning a Lunch & Learn on April 25 to discuss the benefits. A Vivitrol representative will discuss treatment plans, and who potential candidates.
Organizers say it is a great opportunity for community leaders and business owners to learn about the clinic and Vivitrol in general. The informational gathering will help local businesses and organizations through education. Community leaders interested in attending should email Melissa Manczek at email@example.com.
Pastor Heather Boone is excited about the partnership, and that RMC is permanently in the clinic two days a week.
“This is offering hope to our community,” she said.