New program helps opioid addicts get on the path to recovery

(Photo: Adaure Achumba)

BAYBORO, Pamlico County - After opening its doors two months ago, The New Beginnings Program uses counseling, subaxone and a once-a-month injection called Vivitrol to help addicts get clean, changing opioid addiction treatment in Pamlico County and its surrounding areas.

"Everybody hits their rock bottom, but how many times are you going to hit rock bottom before you want it and know you desperately want it?" Jeremy Bell said.

For Jeremy Bell, a recovering addict, rock bottom was living in a tent and losing his children.

"They used to look up to me like a hero and I guess for their dad to be a drug addict kinda disappoints them," Bell said.

That situation led him to the Hope Clinic, a non-profit, at Pamlico County's Health Department. He is part of the New Beginnings Program, which is now in its seventh week.

Getting counseling, and suboxone, helps lessen Bell's urges, but the program's key tool is a once-a-month injection called Vivitrol.

"It blocks all the opioid receptors in the brain so that whatever they want to get high on, be it heroin, street drugs, any opioid based drugs, if they have Vivitrol in them it's extended release and it lasts for 30 days," Sheri Rettew of the Hope Clinic in Bayboro said.

65 people have enrolled in the program so far.

"Right now, I'm going what they call hell week when you go to six to 10 days if you are being weaned off of suboxone," Bell said.

"Our goal is to help people live lives that are drug free, but while they are getting this chance to be on the Vivitrol shot we are helping them build the rest of their lives so that they would have a chance at life," Rettew said.

"I'm excited to be getting this Vivitrol, other than a big needle in my butt cheek," Bell said. "But, we drug addicts have done a lot worse to our bodies."

The demand for New Beginnings is pushing the current space in the health department capacity. They're now actively seeking a new location for the clinic as a result.

The operators of the program said they will need to raise $75,000 as soon as possible to keep the program going.

Officials with the Hope Clinic want to stress that there are no county funds being used for this program because it is a non-profit organization.

For more information on the program or how to donate, you can contact the Hope Clinic at (252) 745-5760.

If you or someone you know needs help, support group meetings are held every evening at 7 p.m. at 116 Main Street in Bayboro.

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