Southwest Virginia Community Health System’s New Day Recovery substance abuse program is celebrating their three year anniversary and an expansion that will accommodate more patients.
The celebration, in conjunction with National Recovery Month, will begin on Monday, September 30, 2019 and last through Tuesday, October 1, 2019. On Monday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Outreach and Enrollment specialists will be available to assist in signing up qualified people within the community for Medicaid expansion and have giveaways available. On Tuesday, beginning at 5:30 p.m., New Day Recovery patients are encouraged to invite their families and friends to Family Night, which will explain the program in depth. Light refreshments will be served during this time.
The center will celebrate their successes and accomplishments over the past three years with all their current patients and providers at their offices in Saltville, Virginia.
“For 3 years now, New Day Recovery has been honored to serve the people in our communities who suffer from the chronic illness of addiction. I would like to congratulate our staff on their hard work and perseverance despite the stigma of addiction and medication assisted treatment. Patients regularly tell me how much our staff care and support them through the difficult process of recovery. Over these past 3 years, we have been fortunate to establish a good working relationship with area courts, sheriff’s department and other community services who know how dedicated we are to counseling, treatment, and medication diversion control. New Day Recovery can currently treat up to 100 patients at a time and maintains a waiting list of people wanting to get in. Because we want as many people as possible to have access to care, we are in the process of expanding our services to other parts of our catchment area. More people die from drug overdoses than car crashes and Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems is in the business of helping people manage their chronic health illnesses – and that includes drug addiction,” Marcy Rosenbaum, LCSW, CSAC, behavior health and New Day Recovery’s director, said.
Three years ago, before opening their doors, New Day Recovery was hit with backlash from community members and officials. One of these voices was Smyth County Sheriff, B.C. “Chip” Shuler. Since then, Shuler has seen the positive coming from this program and changed his stance in support of the program.
Shuler said, “I was very skeptical when I first heard about a “suboxone clinic” coming to Saltville. I thought that it would bring drug addicts from surrounding counties or even states to our area and add to our already growing drug problem in Smyth County. I was invited to meet with the New Day Recovery staff and listen to their program; New Day is so much more than just another “suboxone clinic.” After getting an understanding of how their program works and especially now, seeing how effective the program is, I believe that New Day should be the model of a successful treatment program. We are all working together to make a positive impact on our drug addiction recovery in Smyth County.”
New Day Recovery is a team-based program that is dedicated to providing high quality treatment services to help with the illness of substance abuse, specifically opioids. The staff, who consists of professionals who are qualified and trained in the treatment of addiction, is committed to caring and promoting dignity and self-respect in and for each and every patient, and provide the opportunity to obtain treatment and embrace recovery with the least amount of disruption in everyday life. Each treatment is personalized from intake to discharge, to assure that the patient receives necessary medical and counseling attention. As a result, the patient can continue to receive support from the community and from their family.
Since the program’s opening on July 8, 2016, the program has had more than 583 referrals and more than 251 patients to enter the program proving the courage of the staff to overcome and face the negative adversities presented. Currently, the program is serving 94 patients and in the process of admitting more from the wait list. The staff came together to provide services to a need that was being underserved in Southwest Virginia where opioid addiction is running rampant.
“A substance use disorder is a chronic medical illness in the brain that hijacks the dopamine system and takes control over areas of the brain that are critical to judgment, decision making, and behavior control. These resulting behaviors hurt families, relationships, employment, and spirituality which makes it even harder for a person to heal from their chronic illness. The treatment need is complicated by the fact that about half the people with a substance use disorder also have a mental illness, so when we help people recovery their lives back, medication assisted treatment is important, but only a part of our treatment approach. We mostly use buprenorphine and naloxone combination medication to help reduce cravings, prevent withdrawal, and reduce opportunity for abuse of the medication. The medication helps our patients participate in intensive group and individual counseling. We provide the whole person care that our patients deserve: medication, behavioral health counseling for substance abuse and mental illness, referral for physical health concerns, and care management to assist with community resources for employment, housing and other psychosocial needs,” Rosenbaum said.
At New Day Recovery, addiction is viewed as the medical illness that it is. Like every chronic illness, addiction is impacted by family genetics, biology, and living environment. In order to combat the addiction, there has to be input from all medical areas of primary care with integrated behavioral health counseling, which is a new perspective for this method of treatment. Changing the behaviors of the patient will impact their whole life. One of the main reasons for offering primary-care office-based treatment services is the limited amount of substance abuse services available in the area and to increase people’s access to local and affordable care. This type of treatment is one of the pioneering programs in the state of Virginia. New Day Recovery was one of only 2 office based opioid treatment programs offered in a Virginia Federally Qualified Healthcare Center (FQHC) and is now helping the Department of Medical Assistance Services train other FQHCs to provide the same service across the state.
The program is broken down into a recovery stage system to reflect the treatment needs of the patient’s illness. At the beginning recovery stage, they will need the maximum amount of support and New Day Recovery requires a minimum of weekly group and monthly individual counseling. New Day Recovery recently added a stimulant treatment group to help support patients who are battling methamphetamine addiction. As the illness improves, the amount of treatment decreases. In the final stages of treatment, patients work with their integrated treatment team to plan for how to keep their illness from relapsing and how to live in recovery from addiction.
Of the 94 current New Day Recovery patients, 46 have been a minimum of three months without abusing drugs, and 20 are now in the final stages of the program. Others are in the beginning stages of recovery and pushing through with the help of the New Day Recovery team. One patient has even said, “For the first time while seeking help in bettering myself/situation, people have supported me, believed in me, stuck with me, not given up on me, and truly cared about me!”
“With staff support, patients of New Day Recovery work hard to take their lives back from their chronic illness of substance use disorder and hopefully also begin the healing in their families,” Rosenbaum said.