There’s hope for Rio Ranchoans who may be hooked on opioids and other substances to finally get help, right in their backyard.

Dr. Brian Dawson, Chief Medical Officer with Ideal Option addiction treatment. (Courtesy photo)

They’ll now be able to step foot into Ideal Option, which opened a new Rio Rancho location Monday.

Ideal Option, which provides out-patient addiction treatment, arrived in New Mexico during the COVID-19 pandemic, first establishing locations in Albuquerque, Farmington and Las Cruces.

The Rio Rancho location’s at 111 NM 528, Suite 108, in the same shopping center as Starbucks and GoTime Fitness. The clinic’s open 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Ideal Option primarily focuses on providing medications like Suboxone and coordinating with behavioral health organizations to arrange counseling services.

“Essentially, we go where there seems to be a need… Some (states) seem to be lacking some of those extensive resources, so we tend to go to states that we know there’s enough of a population in need,” Ideal Option Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Dawson said, adding Medicaid patients are prioritized.

According to the National Institutes of Health website, researchers observed an increase in substance abuse from the outset of the pandemic. Positive drug screens for substances like fentanyl, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine increased. The likely factors NIH attributed the increase include pandemic-related stress and social isolation.

When it comes to the Rio Rancho area, Dawson said Ideal Option saw a big increase in people using fentanyl in the form of pressed pills and counterfeit pills, as well as meth.

“(Fentanyl) seems to be the primary opioid that’s now flooding the markets in Rio Rancho and throughout New Mexico,” Dawson said. “It’s often times much easier to transport, but it’s much more deadly. So, it’s creating a lot more problems.”

Ideal Option’s methods for treatments depend on the substance.

For fentanyl and any other opioid, Ideal Option provides Suboxone. For meth, the facility provides certain anti-depressants to help people abstain. It also provides medication for those going through alcohol withdrawal.

“We really do a thorough assessment when people come in on what substances they’re using. Then we can tailor their medications to provide the best treatment,” Dawson said.

Ideal Option’s providers are trained to incorporate counseling for patients during their medication visits. For those who may need more extensive counseling, Dawson said they would be referred to behavioral health partners in the area.

“Patients that engage in that counseling and out-patient treatment are more likely to be retained in treatment, stay in treatment longer and be more successful long term,” Dawson said.

Although Ideal Option doesn’t provide overnight in-patient treatment, Dawson said staff spends an hour or two with a patient to get them stabilized. Then they write medication prescriptions to help with the withdrawal process.

But it doesn’t end there.

“We’ll see people at least weekly, sometimes more frequently in the early periods when they’re unstable. We do regular drug testing so that patients know what drugs have been in their system and what they’re taking,” Dawson said, adding testing’s typically done every visit. “We want to make sure that our patients are safe and that they’re aware of what drugs that they’re using, and we’re aware of the best ways to treat the substances that they’re being exposed to.”

Ideal Option, an addiction treatment center, opened a Rio Rancho location on Monday, April 25, 2022. (Courtesy photo)