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by Jessica Pasley | Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, 9:30 AM
As Tennessee’s opioid epidemic escalates and the prevalence of opiate dependency in pregnancy continues to require additional resources, Vanderbilt will open another Drug Dependency Clinic at the Vanderbilt Center for Women’s Health at NorthCrest Medical Center in Springfield, Tennessee.
Set to open at the end of October, the new clinic will see about 30 patients initially, with expectations for steady growth.
Barry Grimm, D.O., assistant professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vanderbilt, will be the main provider for the expanded services at NorthCrest.
He hopes the additional site will lessen some of the patient volume at the Vanderbilt Center for Women’s Health One Hundred Oaks location.
“We draw a large number of patients from Clarksville and Southern Kentucky, so our new location is really going to be convenient for that group of patients who is traveling long distances to be seen at the One Hundred Oaks location,” Grimm said.
“There is such a great need for resources and services. These women often have nowhere to go. They need a good place to go for treatment while they are pregnant.”
Grimm, who will operate the half-day, once-a-week clinic with a social worker, first became interested in drug dependency in pregnancy as a resident working with Jessica Young, M.D., assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vanderbilt. Young has run the clinic since it opened in 2011.
Originally a once-a-week, half-day clinic, the Drug Dependency Clinic at One Hundred Oaks now operates three days a week to meet the increasing patient volume and sees about 200 patients. The appointment schedule is completely booked.
“We continue to see significant numbers of women of reproductive age who become pregnant while opiate dependent,” said Young. “I don’t think anyone expected the exponential growth and need initially, but as time has passed, it only makes sense that the problem hasn’t improved that much, because we really don’t have the infrastructure in many counties to treat addiction in this population.
“We are also seeing a change in the way women are getting drugs,” she said. “Initially we saw a lot of patients with prescription opioids, but now we are seeing more heroin and IV opioid which is obtained from the streets.”
Young and Grimm agree there continues to be a lack of addiction specialists to provide addiction treatment, and that opening the additional location is a step in the right direction.
“The Vanderbilt model is unique,” said Grimm. “We provide comprehensive care and really have the patient’s best interest in mind to help be a positive step along their journey.”
The clinic’s collaborative approach includes obstetrics, psychiatry, social work and group therapy.
“Opening this new clinic is meeting a growing need, one that is becoming too big for one program to handle,” Young said.
Jessica Pasley, (615) 322-4747
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