“I feel like so many doors are opening for me now. All because of HealthPoint and suboxone.”
Sandra* used to feel trapped.
After 15 years in an abusive relationship, things managed to get worse when her partner introduced her to heroin and left her stranded by the side of the road. She spent two years alone, living in a van, enduring the ravages of addiction and the harsh reality of life on the street.
She couldn’t stand it anymore, and began the grueling process of quitting heroin cold-turkey.
In the grip of withdrawal, Sandra sought help at the Mobile Medical Van in Tukwila. It was there, she says, that her life changed.
“The nurse said to me, ‘I see something in you. I want to give you suboxone today to help you with your withdrawal, and then I’m going to make you an appointment at HealthPoint.’”
Sandra had never heard of suboxone before that day, and she realized it had the potential to change her life. She quickly made her way to HealthPoint’s walk-in suboxone clinic to continue her treatment.
Finding ‘normal’ again with suboxone
Suboxone reduces the urge to use and treats withdrawal symptoms for people with opioid use disorder. Suboxone helps people feel normal again, so they can begin to stabilize their lives and break free from the cycle of active addiction.
Patients receive a prescription for suboxone and pick it up at a pharmacy. At the start of treatment, patients check in weekly with their health care provider, which can be reduced to monthly as patients progress in their recovery.
Suboxone can be a lifesaving tool that enables people to focus on building the support structures and relationships they need to move forward in their recovery.
Full circle care
Sandra’s eyes brighten as she describes her first visit to HealthPoint.
“The compassion, care, and non-judgement that HealthPoint gives me means so much,” she says through tears.
Sandra was regularly prescribed suboxone at HealthPoint, which helped her to stop using heroin. She began meeting with Jim, a Behavioral Health Consultant, which lead to the second transformative event in her life: finding a safe place to live.
“Jim pulled strings to get me a bed at a sober living home,” Sandra explains. “They were able to arrange for me to live there rent free for a time while I got stable. The staff at HealthPoint even gave me the toiletries and things I needed to move in.”
Sandra formed a bond with Lina, HealthPoint’s Connection Desk supervisor, who provides hands-on assistance for patients navigating complex situations. Lina guided Sandra through the steps needed to get back on solid ground: getting an ID, clothing, applying for financial assistance to pay for her housing and food, and job training.
“At HealthPoint, I’m getting ‘full circle care’. They take care of me as a whole person. Lina and Jim help me with my housing, food, and getting a job. I get my suboxone, behavioral health care, dental care, and now I’m even getting preventive care I never thought I’d get—like mammograms!” Sandra laughs. “When I go to HealthPoint, every single person treats me with respect, knows my name, and will drop everything to help me.”
Becoming a champion for others
“I feel proud to be on suboxone. It’s what’s helping me get through. I want others who are using to know it’s an option. There is hope, and people who will not judge you. You have a chance, and you can do this.”
Sandra spends a lot of time talking to the people she knows that use and are living homeless. She tells them about HealthPoint’s walk-in suboxone clinics, and how her life has changed for the better. "If I can help even one person get clean, I have to do it, because people were there to me when I needed it.”
Now, by sharing her story, Sandra is a champion for others who struggle with addiction. She knows her journey is going to be a long one, but she feels like she is finally living again, and is full of goals for her future.
And it’s the simple, day-to-day things that remind her how far she’s come.
“There’s so much living I want to do,” Sandra says thoughtfully. “I love being near the water, watching people and the birds. Some days I take my suboxone, go to the park and just sit by the water and feel grateful that I’m able to enjoy my life again.”
Need help overcoming opioid use disorder? Visit a HealthPoint suboxone walk-in clinic.
HealthPoint offers walk-in suboxone treatment clinics at many locations in King County. No appointment is needed. You can receive an assessment and prescription for suboxone the same day, and referral for care and counseling. No insurance is needed, and no one will be turned away due to inability to pay.
*Name changed for privacy