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Billings opioid treatment center welcomes federal rule that increases medication access

Posted at 5:59 PM, May 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-13 12:21:29-04

BILLINGS — Tuesday was National Fentanyl Awareness Day, a day meant to educate the public on the dangers of the drug. One Billings treatment center is celebrating a major win after the federal government rolled out new rules in how patients are treated.

Community Medical Services uses medications like methadone to care for patients struggling from addiction.

"I think the word just really needs to get spread around that we're here and that we are able to help and that there's still suffering addicts out there," said Community Medical Services case manager, Jamie Van Atta Saturday.

CMS Case Manager Jamie Van Atta

It's the first time in more than 20 years that the government has changed the rules and Community Medical Services will be directly affected by the update.

The regulations are aimed at increasing access to medications that treat opioid addiction, like methadone. Clinic doctors will have more flexibility to prescribe methadone in larger doses to new patients, as well as more freedom to prescribe patients with take home medication.

CMS Counselor P.J. Timmons

"We have a lot of clients that travel great distances to get here and a lot of clients that don't have the fuel, can't afford the fuel to come in daily. A lot of those restraints, being able to open up and allow more self dosing, will help," said Community Medical Services counselor, P.J. Timmons.

The organization has also launched a new app aimed at connecting clients, case managers, and counselors more closely throughout the recovery process. You can find out more information on Community Medical Services here.