This week, the state of Ohio has been observing a Week of Appreciation to Honor Heroes Fighting the Opioid Epidemic.
We at CleanSlate know a thing or two about the frontlines of Ohio’s opioid epidemic. CleanSlate operates three outpatient treatment centers for opioid and other substance addictions in Ohio; in Springfield, Lewis Center, and Columbus. A fourth Ohio center in Dayton is scheduled to open at the end of May.
But we don’t think of ourselves as heroes. Warriors for Hope, yes. But heroes?
That would be our patients.
Every day, we see some of the most vulnerable people in our population fighting back against the disease of addiction. We know that their outcomes are massively improved by receiving the integrated treatment that we offer, which includes medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and a continuum of care to overcome all obstacles to recovery.
And our patients do experience a wide range of obstacles.
Sometimes, they’re homeless.
Sometimes, they’re jobless.
Sometimes, their addiction has driven away family and friends.
Sometimes, they’re sick with other diseases.
Usually, they’re depressed and hopeless.
Many have considered or attempted suicide.
Many have survived overdoses.
Always, they face the harsh judgment that our society places on people with addiction.
So when CleanSlate employees at any of our 61 centers across the country see a patient walk through the door, we know how hard it was for them to take that step.
These patients are the heroes.
Patients like Jessica,* who was in jail for five months for drug-related charges and desperately wanted to go straight to a MAT program upon release from jail. But when she completed her sentence, Jessica faced numerous challenges to receive MAT help, experiencing resistance at every turn. Determined to avoid a relapse, Jessica finally found her way to CleanSlate and now continues to rebuild her life as she enjoys the sweet feeling of recovery.
Read Jessica's story: Just Out of Jail and Desperate to Avoid a Relapse: Jessica's Story
Patients like Peter, who was homeless and near death with endocarditis and West Nile Virus. Peter was hospitalized and then released to a rehab facility, where he was neglected and then summarily discharged without warning. A CleanSlate Certified Recovery Specialist helped Peter fight for his rights and achieve recovery amidst tremendous obstacles. Today, Peter has reclaimed his life and has hope for the future.
Read Peter's story: He Had a Heroin Addiction, West Nile Virus, and Endocarditis. The Healthcare System Failed Him; A Certified Recovery Specialist Empowered Him.
Patients like Louis, Yolanda, Jeremy, Tiffany, Kat, and Jake, who have helped start something that is rare and vitally needed: support groups for people with opioid addiction. Because the two most common addiction medications contain a small amount of opiates, people in MAT are sometimes stigmatized by the supporters of traditional addiction treatment organizations for a recovery path that isn’t abstinence-only. They're judged for “replacing one drug with another," and not even allowed to become full participants in AA and NA. But MAT support groups change that equation, and the bond created by our MAT Group patients is a testament to the power of community.
Read about the patients who have created a MAT Group in Worcester, Massachusetts: AA And NA Won’t Accept Them, So People In Medication-Assisted Treatment Are Starting Their Own Addiction Support Groups
Patients like Jonathan in S. Louisville, Kentucky, who was “high, crying, and begging for help” when he first reached out. After his first induction in late 2017, Jonathan became a great patient who has been in recovery for more than a year and has made gigantic strides in his life. Jonathan used to live in his parents’ basement. He's a single father to a young daughter; Jonathan’s parents had temporary custody of the little girl when he initially asked for help. Today, he has his own house where he pays the bills. And, most importantly, Jonathan was able to earn back custody of his daughter.
(Pictured: Jonathan, left, with his daughter and Bradley Helton of CleanSlate.)
Read Jonathan’s story: "Now I Can Buy Groceries!" What Insurance Coverage vs. Cash for Addiction Treatment Means to Patients
Ohioans in every community are fighting the opioid epidemic and reducing the number of overdose deaths. I tip my hat to all of them, many of whom we're working with closely at CleanSlate. Law enforcement, behavioral health providers, social services, medical providers, government officials - all of us are on the frontlines together.
But the people fighting this war the hardest are the ones who are battling the awful disease of addiction within their own bodies and minds. Every. single. day.
So this week and every week, in Ohio and throughout the country, we at CleanSlate salute our patients, heroes who deserve our utmost respect.
*All patient names have been changed to protect their privacy.
CleanSlate treats patients suffering from opioid or alcohol addiction with medications and a continuum of integrated care to support each individual's journey to recovery. If you or someone you love needs help, contact us at 833-505-HOPE, or visit our website at www.cleanslatecenters.com to find the center nearest you.
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