Opi­oid ad­dic­tion treat­ment ser­vices are now avail­able close to home in north­west Ge­or­gia

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - By Me­lanie Dal­las LPC

Opi­oid use dis­or­ders are se­ri­ous con­di­tions that can neg­a­tively im­pact an in­di­vid­ual’s job, family and health. Many times opi­oid use dis­or­ders are fa­tal. Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional In­sti­tute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), more than 47,000 Amer­i­cans died from opi­oid over­doses in 2017 – more than 130 ev­ery day. The Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices re­ports that in 2018 there were more deaths from drug over­dose than mo­tor ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents across all ages.

Closer to home, in the last six years heroin deaths have in­creased 3844 per­cent in what is now called the heroin tri­an­gle of Ful­ton, Cobb, Gwin­nett and Dekalb coun­ties in metropoli­tan At­lanta. Such shock­ing death rates have led au­thor­i­ties de­clare opi­oids an epi­demic in the U.S.

NIDA de­fines opi­oids as drugs that in­clude the il­le­gal drug heroin, syn­thetic opi­oids such as fen­tanyl, and pain-re­lief med­i­ca­tions avail­able legally by pre­scrip­tion such as oxy­codone, hy­drocodone, codeine, mor­phine and oth­ers. All types of opi­oids are ad­dic­tive and all have the po­ten­tial to cause over­dose or death.

Although short-term use of opi­oids pre­scribed by a doc­tor is gen­er­ally safe, the longer some­one uses opi­oids, the higher the risk for ad­dic­tion. Stud­ies have shown that many peo­ple who be­come ad­dicted first used opi­oids legally (i.e. with a pre­scrip­tion) and even­tu­ally be­gan us­ing higher doses or in some cases switch­ing to heroin.

How­ever, as is the case with any sub­stance use dis­or­der, re­cov­ery from opi­oid ad­dic­tion is pos­si­ble. High­land Rivers Health of­fers a va­ri­ety of ev­i­dence-based ser­vices and sup­ports that can help ease the symp­toms of with­drawal, man­age le­git­i­mate pain con­di­tions, and help in­di­vid­u­als tran­si­tion to liv­ing with­out opi­oids.

I write about these not to ad­ver­tise our ser­vices, but to as­sure our com­mu­ni­ties that opi­oid treat­ment and re­cov­ery ser­vices are avail­able lo­cally, and es­pe­cially for in­di­vid­u­als who are unin­sured or have Med­i­caid or Medi­care. High­land Rivers pro­vides a con­tin­uum of opi­oid treat­ment and re­cov­ery ser­vices that in­clude:

De­tox­i­fi­ca­tion: High­land Rivers op­er­ates three cri­sis sta­bi­liza­tion units (CSUs) that pro­vide short-term acute de­tox­i­fi­ca­tion and psy­chi­atric sta­bi­liza­tion. The CSUs serve adults 18 and over who are in cri­sis due to sub­stance use; se­vere and per­sis­tent men­tal ill­ness; or co-oc­cur­ring men­tal health and sub­stance-re­lated dis­or­ders. Fol­low­ing de­tox­i­fi­ca­tion and sta­bi­liza­tion, in­di­vid­u­als are re­ferred to treat­ment ser­vices most ap­pro­pri­ate for their needs.

In­ten­sive out­pa­tient ser­vices: Struc­tured as a three-phase pro­gram, the Sub­stance Abuse In­ten­sive Out­pa­tient Pro­gram (SAIOP) ranges from 13 to 26 weeks and in­cludes be­hav­ioral ther­apy and 12-step treat­ment ser­vices, and helps par­tic­i­pants learn to man­age life is­sues and day-to-day liv­ing with­out us­ing mood- or mind-al­ter­ing sub­stances.

Res­i­den­tial treat­ment: High­land Rivers op­er­ates two res­i­den­tial sub­stance use treat­ment and re­cov­ery pro­grams, the Women’s Out­reach pro­gram in Rome, and the High­land Re­cov­ery Cen­ter men’s pro­gram in Jasper. Both pro­grams are ap­prox­i­mately six months and avail­able to res­i­dents in the coun­ties served by High­land Rivers. The pro­grams pro­vide coun­sel­ing, ed­u­ca­tion, em­ploy­ment as­sis­tance, tran­si­tion plan­ning, after-care ser­vices and more to help in­di­vid­u­als achieve and main­tain a life in re­cov­ery.

Med­i­ca­tion: Be­cause some med­i­ca­tions have been shown to ben­e­fit in­di­vid­u­als in re­cov­er­ing from opi­oid ad­dic­tion, High­land Rivers may pre­scribe Subu­tex, Subox­one or Viv­it­rol when clin­i­cally ap­pro­pri­ate as part of the in­di­vid­ual’s re­cov­ery plan. In­di­vid­u­als re­ceiv­ing med­i­ca­tion are re­quired to par­tic­i­pate in out­pa­tient ser­vices as well as ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams about the med­i­ca­tions.

Com­mu­nity-based ser­vices: Ad­dic­tive Dis­ease Sup­port Ser­vices (ADSS) are medium-in­ten­sity ser­vices that pro­mote longterm re­cov­ery for peo­ple with ad­dic­tive dis­ease and other sub­stance use dis­or­ders. Staff are com­mu­nity-based and can meet with an in­di­vid­ual in his or her home, or lo­ca­tions in the com­mu­nity.

Be­cause opi­oids can be deadly, if you are con­cerned about your or a loved one’s use of the drugs, take ac­tion now. To learn more about opi­oid treat­ment and re­cov­ery ser­vices or to sched­ule an ap­point­ment, call High­land Rivers Health toll-free at (800) 729-5700. If you need detox ser­vices after hours or on week­ends and are not yet en­rolled in High­land Rivers ser­vices, call the Ge­or­gia Cri­sis and Ac­cess Line at (800) 715-4225.

Me­lanie Dal­las is a li­censed pro­fes­sional coun­selor and CEO of High­land Rivers Health, which pro­vides treat­ment and re­cov­ery ser­vices for in­di­vid­u­als with men­tal ill­ness, sub­stance use dis­or­ders, and in­tel­lec­tual and de­vel­op­men­tal dis­abil­i­ties in

a 12-county re­gion of north­west Ge­or­gia that in­cludes Bar­tow, Chero­kee, Floyd, Fan­nin, Gilmer, Gor­don, Har­al­son, Mur­ray, Pauld­ing, Pick­ens, Polk and Whit­field coun­ties.

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