MIAMI — The rising concern over the opioid epidemic that has gripped the nation has taken root in Miami, where an open house was held Monday, Aug. 12 for the new NEO Health & Wellness Center, which will specialize in treatment for addiction, and specifically, opioid addiction.

In 2017, more than 70,000 Americans died from drug overdoses and President Trump declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency on October 26, 2017. Congress then passed landmark legislation, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, in 2018 to provide resources to help combat the epidemic.

The NEO Health & Wellness Center has followed that lead and is attracting attention from other states, as what the center’s team believes will be the future of opioid addiction treatment.

By combining industry leading treatment and medications with a home-like atmosphere, the clinic may be on its way to becoming the bar for which other clinics like it will be measured.

“When you have centers like this that focus on helping people get immediate help, and you see a better response, you know you are onto something,” said Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-2), who attended the grand opening. “What continues to happen throughout the country is that the first person that tends to be called when someone is in distress is law enforcement. They show up and arrest the individual and take them to the emergency room. Hospitals in rural parts of the country are struggling to begin with. Then the police officer or deputy has to stay with the individual until he or she stabilizes and then they take them to jail.

“Most of our law enforcement agencies are short handed already. Then the individual goes to court and then gets released…and then we repeat. That’s the definition of insanity.”

The NEO Health & Wellness Center is a suboxone clinic and partner for the residents of Oklahoma in battling opioid addiction. Its team has almost five decades of combined experience in treating addiction and guiding patients along the path to wellness with their treatment protocol.

“I am excited to be in a community that is going to provide services to its addicted members,” said Dr. Ann Miller, Chief Development Officer and founder of Vizion Health, which includes the new NEO Health & Wellness Center and Willow Crest Hospital in Miami. “There are very few services like this in the area where so many friends and acquaintances have lost a child or children to addiction. We provide an alternative, including counseling for those with mental suffering, and very comprehensive services.”

Suboxone is a prescription medication that contains the active ingredients buprenorphine and naloxone that are used to treat individuals addicted to opioids, both prescription and illegal. Suboxone attaches to the same brain opioid receptors and blocks the receptors, which prevents the body from experiencing the opioid affects and minimizes the symptoms of withdrawal.

The center’s medical director, Dr. Marvin Jin, MD, FAPA, has been practicing psychiatry and treating patients of all ages in Green Country since 1984.

He completed his Fellowship and Residency at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and has been the Medical Director for various psychiatric facilities in the state of Oklahoma for over 30 years. In 2012, Jin became a Fellow with the American Psychiatric Association.

“This is one of the most exciting opportunities for me as a psychiatrist. Addiction is a problem nationwide where tens of thousands have died due to the opioid crisis,” he said.

“When they contacted me about being a part of this I agreed to give up part of my practice because I had to be a part of something this important. Over 20 million people suffer from addiction today and we want to provide a service that will help them in every area of the community and their lives.

“I believe this will become a major force for the individuals suffering with addiction issues and for the people that care for them. This is an incredible opportunity,” Jin said.

“With these centers, which were part of a test program put in place in 2012, we saw eight states receive grants and we were lucky enough to get one for our district,” Mullin said. “And we have seen great success. Behavioral health clinics, like the new NEO center, have dramatically improved access to community-based addiction care in Oklahoma and the seven other states with pilot programs. This will help physicians treat substance abuse disorders and mental health issues like a regular medical condition without the stigma.”

In addition to treating opioid addiction, the NEO center’s team members also have decades of experience in treating individuals of all ages who have at times struggled with issues related with mental health.

The compassion and understanding for those going through a difficult time, as well as the knowledge to understand how to safely treat these issues, is what could make the NEO center a clinic of choice for Oklahomans seeking to break the chains of addiction.

“I feel the opioid epidemic is an underserved segment of the behavioral health arena right now,” said Aaron Kneas, Chief Financial Officer of Vizion Health. “We have a great team here in Miami and they have passion about helping their constituents in the surrounding area and we are hoping to treat a lot of patients that need help in the community. It’s often not talked about…it’s still taboo. That’s unfortunate because I think that a lot of people who have substance abuse issues are looking for treatment and just don’t know how to go about getting it. Hopefully what we are doing here will make a difference.”