East Tennessee wellness center using new device to fight opioid epidemic

(Courtesy: WATE)

FARRAGUT, Tenn. (WATE) – There’s a new device helping fight the opioid epidemic, and the results are already being seen in East Tennessee.

It’s called The Bridge, and a facility in Farragut, the Goodman Center, is the only one in Tennessee to have it.

The device looks like a hearing aid, but it serves a different purpose. It is a pain-free detox for people hooked on opioids.

“For many people, that is the first yet most important step. They just don’t want to go through the pain,” said Lewis Frazer, CEO of the Goodman Center.

The Bridge has four electrical leads that plug into a battery pack. It’s placed on the ear to emit electrical impulses. The device takes away the pain of withdrawal.

There’s a scoring system for opioid withdrawal called COWS. It goes from one to 40. Frazer said most patients come in the 20 to 30 range.

“They can come to our office, have this device installed and by the time they leave one hour later, they will be two or less,” he said.

Patients keep the device on for about five days and then go on the vivitrol program, a monthly injection to help people stay off the drugs. This facility has helped roughly 10 people. Frazer said none take opioids anymore.

“People you know just sit and ask how has this not been on the market for years,” he said.

The Goodman Center has only been offering The Bridge for two months. It’s the only facility in Tennessee to have it. Over 100 facilities across the country use the device. The Goodman Center emphasizes it’s not a cure but a tool to help people on their road to recovery.

“It’s the total package to get someone to a healthy lifestyle,” Frazer said.

Right now, it is not covered by insurance. The device costs $1,500. The Bridge is FDA approved for pain but Innovative Health Solutions has asked the FDA for approval of opioid withdrawal symptoms. That will allow them to get insurance coverage.