MENDOCINO Co., 10/13/21 — Mendocino County has one of the highest rates of drug overdose rates in the state, and to help people who are struggling with opioid use, the Mendocino Coast Clinics offers a “medication-assisted treatment” (MAT) program as part of their patient services. Last month, the clinic was awarded a five year federal grant of $2.5 million to continue and expand this program. “With its award, MCC will be able to double the capacity of its current MAT program,” the announcement states.
The Mendocino Voice talked to program director Lin Taylor about the MAT program this summer — you can read more about the program in our article here. We’ve also included a list of harm reduction resources available in the county for people who might need help, below.
Here’s the announcement from the clinics:
Fort Bragg, CA – On September 7, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded Mendocino Coast Clinics (MCC) a five-year grant of $2.5 million ($525,000 per year) to support and grow its Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) program, part of MCC’s comprehensive treatment program for those who suffer from opiate use disorder.
Mendocino County has the second highest drug overdose death rate of all California counties. In just the past five years, county drug overdose death rates have almost doubled. Currently, Mendocino County’s overdose death rate is more than double the State rate and almost double the U.S. rate. Unfortunately for North Coast residents, the increase in overdoses has been reflected locally.
MCC is the only health center on the Mendocino Coast that provides a multi-faceted suboxone program to treat people suffering from opiate use disorder. The program includes the use of FDA-approved medications, counseling, screening and assessment, case management, recovery support services, and telehealth services within a fully integrated primary care/behavioral health model. MCC Executive Director Lucresha Renteria said, “The MAT program is free of charge and has already made a difference in so many of our patients’ lives.” not.”
MCC applied for the competitive SAMHSA grant in hopes of reducing illicit opioid use in its service area. With its award, MCC will be able to double the capacity of its current MAT program. The project will be led by Lin Taylor, Ph.D., MCC’s case manager for substance use disorder. Taylor has experience in MAT counseling and in supporting individuals in recovery.
Taylor said, “We provide counseling and other services in a welcoming, confidential, and nonjudgmental atmosphere. We have group meetings on Thursdays at 5:00 pm and newcomers are always welcome! Just come to the west entrance of the clinic, the first driveway on your left as you pass the blue County buildings on South Street. No appointment needed.”
With the SAMSHA grant funding, MCC plans to expand its program by hiring additional staff members such as licensed therapists, nurses, and case managers, as well as opening a new, dedicated MAT clinic location. MCC will also do more targeted outreach to community partners and at-risk populations.
Funding alone will not enable MCC to find qualified staff. One indicator of how difficult it is to recruit qualified professionals is the fact that Fort Bragg is a mental health professional shortage area, as defined by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). However, Renteria says she and her team are willing to consider creative staffing solutions, possibly including HRSA National Health Service Corps members and/or partnerships with universities that offer healthcare training programs.
“We’re so pleased to have been awarded this funding. The need is great and now we’ll be better equipped to rise to the challenge,” Renteria said.Press release from MCC