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NTC taking substance abuse recovery to the next level


The Homer City Council at its meeting Monday night heard a presentation about the Ninilchik Traditional Council’s Medical Assisted Treatment Program by Kathleen Totemoff.
    She talked about a lot of advances in opioid and alcohol treatment that NTC is offering. One of them is “SMART Recovery.”
    “This is a science-based alternative to the traditional 12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. SMART Recovery is a four-point program, which includes building and maintaining motivation, coping with urges, managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and living a balanced life,” Totemoff said. “I would like to take a moment to emphasize that both SMART Recovery and traditional 12 step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous do have proven effective track records and have very ardent supporters. And I'm not in any way claiming that one is better than the other. Our program simply wants to inform clients about their options so they can make that determination as to what will work best for them.”
    Totemoff talked about a self-led online program that’s available now.
    “So checkup and choices is a confidential self-led online program that has been clinically proven to help self-management and recovery training participants. So that's where the SMART acronym comes from,” she said. “This program offers two modes, abstinence, and reduced use. The abstinence modules are for both drugs and alcohol. Whereas the reduced use modules are available for those looking to curtail their alcohol consumption.”
    NTC is also embracing high-technology in the pursuit of recovery, including a wearable called “The Bridge.”
    “So addiction is a brain disease characterized by fundamental and long lasting changes in the brain. The Bridge device is worn behind the ear, similar to that of a hearing aid, sending electrical pulses to stimulate certain nerves in the brain. The bridge provides symptom relief from opioid withdrawal in as little as 10 to 20 minutes,” she said. “This device is so effective that 88% of patients who use the Bridge successfully transition into a medication assisted treatment.”
    She said detoxification is the single largest barrier to recovery. She showed a slide of how effective the Bridge device is in helping patients past it.
    “A mild score is between five and 12. Five days after this device is put in place, we are less than one. So that's very, very mild,” Totemoff said. “The bridge device is an absolute game changer in helping people get off of opiates and getting into treatment.”
    Councilmember Caroline Venuti asked Totemoff about NTC’s newest location in downtown Homer. Once again, she said it was about minimizing barriers to seeking recovery.
    “We got that office, I believe at the end of last year, around November, I believe,” Totemoff said. “It's in a really good location and it makes things a lot more convenient. We have the office here and in Ninilchik as well. So just to limit any kind of barriers for transportation, it's nice to have locations in both places.”
    You’ll be hearing more about Ninilchik Traditional Council’s Medical Assisted treatment Program in the future. Totemoff said a major announcement will be coming as soon as next week about its programs.