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As the state and nation continue to grapple with the scourge of opioids, a Kentucky business is trying in-home drug treatment to help people fight their addictions.

Renew Recovery recently announced that it has teamed up with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky to offer the service, with the help of partners, such as St. Matthews Community Pharmacy.

“We’re rolling this out in the Louisville area first,” said Dr. Jeff Reynolds, an Anthem medical director.

“We want to roll this out across the state over time,” he said. “How quickly, I can’t really tell you yet. But we plan on doing it relatively quickly once we know how well it goes in Louisville.”

As part of the pilot project, participants will receive treatment in their homes for one to two months, then transition to an outpatient model, lasting up to two years, according to a news release.

Portrait of Amanda Newton of Renew Recovery
Amanda Newton, chief operating officer for Renew Recovery

“We’re meeting people where they are instead of them meeting (us) where we are,” said Amanda Newton, chief operating officer of Renew Recovery. “Treatment can sometimes look like a one-size-fits-all, and we need more individualized tailored treatment.”

When necessary, participants will receive medication-assisted treatment, such as Vivitrol shots. They also will have access to a care team consisting of various professionals, such as a psychiatrist and a recovery coach.

There also will be a telehealth component, and a local company called BehaVR will provide virtual-reality technology, with educational and motivational content, to help participants reduce stress, control their emotions and stay on the path to recovery, Newton said.

“It’s another tool in our tool bag that’s really exciting,” she said.

The recovery coach will work with family members to try to make sure they’re getting their needs met as well, Newton said.

The program is a covered benefit for eligible Anthem members, but copayments and deductibles may apply. Specific rates, including those for non-Anthem members, weren’t released.

Kentucky officials recently announced a decline in drug overdose deaths in the state, but there are still many people battling with addictions.

“We’re aware that we’re particularly hard hit” in Kentucky by substance use disorders, Reynolds said. “… We have a lot of people that aren’t seeking treatment and we really think this care model will be a powerful new way to sort of turn that tide.”

Program participants may be addicted to an opioid or another type of drug, such as methamphetamine, or they may use multiple substances. Interested persons will be screened to see if they’re right for the program.

Among those Newton hopes to attract are professionals, such as professors, doctors or lawyers, who sometimes end up “falling through the cracks,” avoiding treatment because of the stigma associated with it, she said.

The program also is aimed at individuals who are reluctant to enter a facility for 30 to 90 days to work on their addictions.

“Most people who are working and have families, they can’t do that,” Newton said, so they wind up spiraling out of control, sometimes losing their jobs, their families and their homes.

“Our treatment model has to kind of shift in order to make sure we’re not losing these people,” she said.

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Darla Carter
Darla Carter is a hometown girl who recently joined the staff of Insider Louisville to mostly cover health. She previously served as a longtime health and fitness writer for The Courier-Journal, where she also worked for the Metro, Neighborhoods and Features departments. Prior to that, the award-winning journalist wrote for newspapers elsewhere in Kentucky and Tennessee, covering a range of topics, from education to courts. She's a graduate of Western Kentucky University, where she studied journalism and philosophy, and is the proud mom of two young children.