Last updated: July 25. 2013 11:22AM - 381 Views

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Southern Ohio has been focused on attacking the epidemic of addiction to prescription drugs and heroin over the past several years. Since 2011, Governor John R. Kasich has made this battle a target of efforts by his administration. As a result, the Health Recovery Services (HRS) Southern Ohio Treatment Center will open in Jackson, Ohio, today. Jackson County, near the epicenter of this crisis of drug abuse, overdoses, and crime, is a logical location for the addiction treatment facility.

Jackson County Municipal Court Judge Mark Musick explained his support of the project, “The increase in Opioid use has had a significant impact on the criminal justice system, and I am afraid that if the trend continues, there will likely be disastrous consequences in Jackson County. Effective treatment needs to be a component of the response to the problem. While I have reservations about the use of some medications as a part of the treatment response, I am impressed that HRS has an excellent grasp of the issues related to medication use and has been conscientious about seeking input from local leaders in designing the project.”

Orman Hall, director of the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ODADAS), commented, “Health Recovery Services was chosen as the service provider after a competitive selection process. The agency and Executive Director Joe Gay, PhD, are acknowledged leaders in prevention, education, and treatment efforts related to alcohol and other drug addiction, and specifically medication-assisted treatment for opiate addiction.”

Funding for the new treatment center is coming from the Governor’s Office of Appalachia and ODADAS. The center will offer counseling and medication-assisted therapies as vital components of effective treatment. According to Dr. Gay, “The physical addiction is important but not the only component to be addressed for recovery. Other components include a drug using lifestyle, habits, attitudes, a loss of spiritual values, motivation, and effective means of problem solving. These, along with underlying psychological problems, have to be addressed through counseling, education, and training.” All of these components will be addressed through the new program.

“A program of this nature creates another treatment alternative for our residents that are struggling with an opiate addiction,” stated Ron Adkins, executive director of the Gallia-Jackson-Meigs Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services.

Adkins acknowledged the collaboration that has occurred to bring this project to the area and expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to pursue these funds. He also added, “We hope to build an employable workforce that can positively impact the local economy.”

Local advocate and businessman Larry Kidd, chair of the Jackson County Drug Task Force and president and CEO of Reliable Staffing Services, said, “Rehabilitation is a key component for fighting our local drug problem. We are so pleased that the Governor’s Office of Appalachia has helped facilitate a treatment center in Jackson. This is an important and vital step in combating the Opiate problem in our area.”

Over the past two years in Ohio, numerous illegitimate opiate prescribing operations, often termed “pill mills,” have been closed. Prevention measures have been a focus, with the organization of local coalitions, stepped up law enforcement, and education of the public and prescribers. Since treatment was particularly difficult to access in hard hit southern Ohio, enhanced addiction treatment options have been an additional goal.

Health Recovery Services has provided addiction treatment in southeast Ohio for the past 38 years, and now operates outpatient offices in six counties. The Medical Director of the new facility will be Peter Rogers M.D., a Board Certified Addiction Medicine specialist with more than 25 years of experience in Addiction Medicine.

The new facility will be located at 120 Twin Oaks Drive, in Jackson, and will open and begin assessing clients on April 2, 2013. Clients will be scheduled to begin medication when needed in the order they are assessed, so persons interested in receiving services are encouraged to call now for appointments, at (740) 286-5075, extension 217. Medication will not be dispensed until the applicable certifications are obtained from State and Federal agencies, probably in early to mid-April.

For more information and resources on prevention and treatment of addiction to prescription drugs and other opiates, visit www.dontgetmestartedohio.org or go to: http://goo.gl/KbEBa.

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