ARMOT program fights opioid epidemic in rural Pennsylvania


The Addiction Recovery Mobile Outreach Team (ARMOT) is actively reducing overdoses and overdose-related deaths from opioid use in rural areas of Pennsylvania.

ARMOT is federally funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration. It provides recovery support and case management to individuals with substance use disorder (SUD) and provides support and education to patients, loved ones, and rural hospital staff specifically in the counties of Clarion, Indiana and Armstrong.

“Our program has experienced success,” said Nicole Salvo, ARMOT’S program director at the drug and alcohol commission for all three counties. “[It] can be replicated in rural and urban communities through collaboration and a commitment to helping others start their recovery journeys.”

The program’s efforts have yielded positive results in Pennsylvania. In the first 18 months of its 3-year grant cycle, ARMOT produced 254 referrals to treatment centers. Its success is strengthened through “warm handoffs,” a referral practice in which health care practitioners provide a face-to-face introduction of a behavioral health specialist to a patient with substance dependence.

“This program has solidified our “warm handoff” program [and has] documented a 63.4 percent access rate to treatment when a recoveree met with a case manager for help getting into treatment and recovery compared to the national average of 10.8 percent access rate to drug and alcohol treatment,” she said.

Salvo says the program reaches its objectives by screening patients for SUDs at the hospital point of entry; referring patients with SUDs to the ARMOT program for drug and alcohol assessment and supportive services; increasing the number of SUD patients that are transferred from the hospital setting directly into drug and alcohol treatment; educating hospital staff on SUDs; reducing ER visits, hospitalizations and inpatient stays for patients; and assisting patients with SUDs so that they can bridge the gap between behavioral health and physical health services.

According to Salvo, two key factors have led ARMOT to success: the program works with medical providers, which has provided a collaborative opportunity to help those in need. Also, case managers and recovery specialists are specifically assigned to a recoveree, which provides long-term help throughout their rehabilitation with treatment, community services access and other needs.

“If those two key factors continue, I can see this program being successful long-term in our area, possibly in others as well,” she said. “We all together can break through the stigma that surrounds people living with addiction and in recovery so that more have access to help.”

Salvo believes addiction issues are… (conitnue reading)