Dedicated to reducing your dependency on opioids
Trying to manage an opioid addiction on your own can feel like a never-ending cycle of withdrawals, cravings, and relapse. And the truth is that quitting cold turkey without medical supervision can be dangerous, not to mention much less effective.
What if you didn’t have to take that journey alone? I’m Brock Wrinkles, a certified physician assistant (PA-C) who focuses on the medication-assisted treatment of opioid addiction. Using medications like Suboxone and Buprenex, I work with you to create an effective treatment plan that will prevent withdrawals and cravings to help you get back to living your life. Over time, many patients can reduce their dose in increments and eventually be able to stop taking the medication without having cravings.
Many patients I talk to feel like their addiction amounts to a personal failure, but approximately 25 percent of people prescribed opiates will become addicted to them. Addiction is not a personal failure, it’s a devastating disease. My goal is to walk by your side to overcome opioid addiction and reclaim your life.
My office is located within the Tuggle and Shelby Clinic in Hot Springs, Arkansas. I serve patients throughout Central Arkansas and from all across the state.
Featured in The Sentinel Record:
Opioid addiction clinic adds PA
by Cassidy Kendall | August 31, 2020 at 4:00 a.m.
Tuggle Clinic Medical Director Dr. Gene Shelby recently hired Physician Assistant Brock Wrinkles to accompany him on his practice's mission to help end the opioid addiction crisis statewide.
Wrinkles, a Jonesboro native, joined Shelby's 12-year practice five months ago after graduating from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, where he currently resides.
"I usually have about 50 to 60 patients from around Arkansas," Shelby said, "and Brock came on board about four or five months ago because I'm not taking any new patients, but one thing I've felt really strong about for a long time with the opioid crisis is the availability for treatment."
Bringing Wrinkles on board will assist in the shortage of providers in the state for an outpatient treatment using a medication called Suboxone to treat people with opioid dependency, he said.
Garland County has recently experienced an additional shortage in opioid addiction help with the closing of Quapaw House Inc., which increased the need for treatment in this area, Shelby said.
"This outpatient treatment ... has been around for about 15 years," he said. "When I first started using it and treating people with it, there were only a very few providers who did this in Arkansas. And over the past 10 years or so it's expanded some, but there's still sort of gaps because in order to prescribe this medicine you have to get a special certification for the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration)."
Shelby said Suboxone helps recovering opioid addicts with withdrawals and cravings.
"People who are dependent on opioids, if they try to go cold turkey, they have real bad withdrawal symptoms and then most people end up going back on them," he said. "What we're able to do with the treatment, is we get the people onto this prescribed medication, and it really does a good job of preventing the withdrawals and also preventing the cravings. ... Over a period of years, we try to reduce the dose so that they don't require the medicine, and don't go back on taking the opioids, but some people have to be committed for long-term treatment in order to get off the pain tablets."
He said there has been "and continues to be a lot of people who abuse these pain medicines, and there are people who use heroin, as well as other drugs, and this is a really successful treatment for people who are really motivated to work on their addiction. It's not a magic pill or anything, people who have substance abuse problems, this is something to help them, but we also really encourage people to get counseling or participate in 12-step programs. That's also an important part of the treatment program."
Wrinkles said roughly 25% of patients who are prescribed prescription opioids become addicted to them.
"You can kind of think about that number, and that's a vast amount of the population who can become dependent on these things," Wrinkles said. "I think (the opioid crisis) is definitely something that needs to be taken care of. Some of these people, they aren't abusing it because they want to ... some of these people are just trying to lead a normal life, and that's what the Suboxone allows them to do without having to go through all of the withdrawal symptoms."
Shelby noted most insurance providers cover the Suboxone medication.
"People who are dependent on pain medicine (need to be) open and honest with their physician about it, because there's good treatment for it, and I've seen this program really turn lives around," Shelby said. "I've had women who have had their kids taken away from them, and by getting on this and sticking to the program they've gotten their kids back, they've gotten jobs and were really able to move on with their lives. ... There are good treatments for it, but they have to reach out to get that treatment.
"I'd say a good portion of patients I have either have a family member or a close friend who has died of an overdose. It's a deadly disease, and in terms of disruption of life is one thing, but a lot of people are dying from this, so that makes it more important for people who have this disorder to get treatment."