The OSU Center for Wellness and Recovery will begin making addiction treatment services available through telemedicine.
Executive Director Julie Croff said using telemedicine will help them offer addiction treatment outside of two existing clinics, which could have a big impact in rural areas.
"This is a really stigmatized disease. And so, if it allows individuals to engage in their treatment more consistently because they can do it via their smartphone, then that’s a really great tool that we should be offering, right?" Croff said.
The telemedicine initiative is part of a new agreement between OSU and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. The OSU Center for Wellness and Recovery's clinics are affiliated with the foundation.
Croff said used correctly, telemedicine can be the starting point for people suffering from addiction to pursue treatment.
"While they’re still engaged in their addiction, they’re doing it less, and it starts getting them ready and thinking about what treatment would look like for them," Croff said.
Croff said a telemedicine program can also fill gaps in support after people leave more intensive addiction treatment and offer help to their families.
"Your son or daughter is in active addiction, being able to talk to somebody who’s in the same place as you without talking about it again out loud in your community can be a helpful tool," Croff said.
The initiative adds another layer to OSU’s work to help respond to the opioid addiction crisis in Oklahoma.