ZACH VANCE • APR 4, 2019 AT 3:15 PM
ReVIDA Recovery Centers provides medication-assisted treatment and behavioral health services to more than 2,000 patients in the Tri-Cities each month. Last fall, the company acquired and rebranded seven clinics in the Tri-Cities, formerly operated by Watauga Recovery Centers.
Morris, a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina, previously served as an opioid use disorder clinical treatment specialist for the North Carolina State Opioid Treatment Authority, which is responsible for overseeing all of the state’s 75 opioid treatment clinics. Prior to that, Morris worked for Acadia Healthcare as the director of Drug Enforcement Agency compliance.
Morris has three children, ages 14, 21 and 24. She is a certified nurse and substance abuse counselor.
The following are five questions Morris’ answered about her new role and opioid addiction recovery.
|Ideal getaway?||The Caribbean|
|Favorite desert?||Coconut Cake|
|Hobbies?||Concerts, spending time with my family, and reading|
|Dogs or cats?||A five-year-old terrier mix named Izzy|
• As ReVIDA’s director of quality compliance, what will be your responsibilities in this new role?
“In this role, I will direct the implementation of company policies and procedures to ensure compliance with laws and regulations as required for medication-assisted treatment. I will provide leadership and oversight of program policies, provide education, training, coordination of internal audit processes, update senior leadership, establish and maintain relationships with key regulatory officials, and provide consultative guidance.”
• What made you enter the field of opioid addiction treatment?
“As a nurse, I had worked in family practice and emergency medicine for about eight years. I was ready for a change and applied at a local substance abuse treatment facility. Within my first week of working in this program, I saw how medication-assisted treatment stabilizes individuals and helps them begin a life in recovery. I quickly developed a passion to serve those who are suffering from the disease of addiction.”
• In your opinion, what is the biggest misconception people have about medication-assisted therapy?
“Many people believe that medication-assisted treatment replaces one addiction with another. Physician-prescribed buprenorphine and methadone are not just ‘substituting’ one addiction for another. Medication-assisted therapy uses long-acting and safer medications to help calm the brain, prevent painful withdrawal, and start working toward their long-term recovery goals.
“We have 5 decades of research showing that medications like methadone or buprenorphine helps keep individuals healthier, reduces criminal activity, and helps prevent drug-related diseases like HIV/AIDs and Hepatitis. SAMHSA has a great resource for family and friends that addresses many misconceptions about MAT. It can be found here https://store.samhsa.gov/system/files/sma14-4442.pdf.”
• Federal, state and local governments are now working to solve the opioid addiction epidemic. What do you think is needed the most, if anything, to begin making real progress against opioid addiction?
“Addressing the opioid epidemic will take a multi-faceted approach that starts with making evidence-based treatments, like medication-assisted treatment, available to all communities across the nation. That accessibility must include: Expanding medication-assisted treatment and funding for individuals who are uninsured or underinsured. Funding must include parity in healthcare coverage and a robust workforce development plan.”
• Who has had the greatest influence on your career or life?
“Ed Ohlinger, ReVIDA COO, has been a strong influence in my career. He taught me about leadership and encouraged me to continue to grow throughout my career. I look forward to working with him at ReVIDA. My children are my biggest personal influences. They keep me grounded and inspire me to be a better person each day.”