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Mobile Clinic Aids in Addiction Treatment in Rural ID

Eric Tegethoff l Producer of Public News Service

A mobile clinic is bringing drug treatment to rural Idaho.

The organization Ideal Option‘s first treatment clinic on wheels is in Rexburg. Ideal Option received a grant from the state to create the roving facility.

Kim Hill is the community outreach manager with the organization.

“It’s really geared at allowing people in those rural communities to access treatment who otherwise would not be able to have those services available to them,” said Hill. “Transportation is a huge barrier with the clientele that we serve.”

Ideal Option offers medication-based addiction treatment for opioids, alcohol and other substances.

They have more than 80 standalone clinics in eleven states, including ten in Idaho. The clinics are largely in rural towns, such as Idaho Falls, Lewiston and Sandpoint.

Hill said opioid use disorder treatment comes in five stages, and if patients make at least three visits, more than 80% stay in treatment long term. She added that treatment also reduces encounters with law enforcement.

“It’s allowing law enforcement to maybe deal with some bigger issues that they may see in the communities,” said Hill. “Same thing with the emergency rooms.”

Hill said getting the word out about their services is the biggest challenge in rural areas, so partnerships are crucial.

“We do the medication but we don’t do like the counseling aspect or some of those other services that they need,” said Hill. “And that’s why it’s really important for us to be involved in the communities and building those relationships with other organizations.”