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Dena Hampton thought she had kicked her opioid use disorder for good. She was clean and sober for eight years and living the life of a “soccer mom” in Castle Rock. Then her mother died – and in her pain, she turned to pills again for relief. But this time, she knew she had to get well so she could be there for her family.

Her quest to kick her habit for good led her to Columbia River Mental Health Services’ NorthStar treatment clinic. Its same-day medication model, with wrap-around services designed to meet every individual’s recovery needs, proved to be the right choice for Dena.

She had her first appointment in May 2017, “and I’ve been clean ever since.” She was prescribed methadone that same day, without having to be sober or meet any other criteria or standards that many people living with a substance use disorder must meet in other treatment settings.

The methadone destroyed her craving for opioids. “Methadone gave me back an ability to focus on the rest of my life, not just ‘Where will my next dose [of opioids] come from?’ It has no side effects [for me].”

Methadone is often confused with addictive mood-altering drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, fentanyl, and crack. It is a synthetic opioid. Its effect on people abusing substances is to eliminate opioid withdrawals, reduce cravings, and block the euphoric effect of illicit opiates like heroin and fentanyl.

A New Day

Once on methadone, Dena said, she lost her craving for painkillers. She was then free to focus on other aspects of treatment at NorthStar.

NorthStar creates customized outpatient recovery plans for its clients, with individual and group therapy available along with the medication. NorthStar even works with an employment agency to help people find jobs, often a key component to one’s recovery.

Dena was so grateful to NorthStar’s treatment team that she volunteered to tell her story to the public. At Columbia River Mental Health’s Spring Gala in May, she was featured in a video about NorthStar’s treatment model. She credited NorthStar’s same-day methadone policy with immediately getting her life back on track.

Her goal today is to stick with her recovery plan set in motion at NorthStar, and “be there for my family–fully present.” With NorthStar to support her, Dena is confident her family’s future will be filled with joy and love rather than the ravages of opioid use disorder.

If you’re interested in receiving treatment for an opioid use disorder, you can walk in today or make an appointment.

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