Drug addiction and overdoses continue to take lives and destroy families.
The opioid crisis has taken its toll here and across the state, but communities are not giving up.
Centerstone, a local not-for-profit health care organization providing mental health and substance abuse treatment, education and support in Indiana and several other states, is bringing a new resource to Jackson County.
By developing and implementing a mobile opioid crisis response team here, the agency wants to meet people where they are and help them get where they want and need to be, said Amanda Grella, program manager for the opioid crisis response team at Centerstone of Indiana.
The team is responsible for engaging community members, including law enforcement, health care workers and clergymen, to make referrals for anyone who has experienced a drug overdose and has been administered the opioid overdose reversal medication naloxone, commercially known as Narcan.
Once the referral is made, Centerstone then provides recovery coaches and community-based access to services to support recovery.
Recovery coaches are people who guide and support a person in recovery to help prevent relapses. Oftentimes, they are former drug and alcohol users who are now clean and sober but truly understand how hard recovery can be.
Staff take an active role to provide counseling, coaching, sponsorship and connection to recovering addicts. Recovery coaches can help clients find transportation to treatment and work with them to get proper insurance coverage to help pay for addiction treatment services.
“These recovery coaches talk to the clients to figure out where a person is and where they want to be on their recovery journey and works with them to get there,” Grella said.
Contact is to be made with the clients within 24 to 72 hours of their overdose to reach people when they are most vulnerable and receptive to help.
Once they are willing to accept that help, Centerstone sets up a meeting between the client and one of its therapists. There also is a nurse practitioner on staff that can help with medication-assisted treatment if appropriate and recommended.
Funded through the 21st Century Cures Act, Centerstone’s opioid crisis response team also serves Bartholomew, Brown, Jennings, Lawrence, Morgan and Monroe counties.
Centerstone provides its communities with materials about substance abuse and recovery and access to its 24-hour hotline and other ways for people to reach out for help.
On Tuesday, the team will lead an informational meeting at 5:30 p.m. at the Jackson County Public Library, 303 W. Second St., Seymour. The meeting is geared toward friends and family of those suffering from drug addiction.
“Not only do we want to reach out to those living with addiction, we want to engage and support their family members,” Grella said. “We’ll be teaching basic information on substance abuse disorders, how opioids affect our brains and the difference between enabling and empowering.”
It may not be a police officer or someone from the hospital making a call to Centerstone for help, Grella said.
“It may be grandma calling because she’s worried about her grandson and wants to get him help,” she said. “We will take a referral anywhere we can from anyone in the community.”
Originally, Jackson County was not included in the response team’s coverage area but was added during the grant renewal period.
“There was previously overlap of services in another county and we wanted to serve as many communities as possible and get the most bang for the buck so we decided to bring our services to Jackson County,” Grella said. “We’re hoping for good turnout and participation in Jackson County because we are aware that the opioid use is rampant here.”
According to data from Indiana’s NextLevel Recovery initiative, Jackson County had 90 opioid prescriptions per 100 people in 2016, higher than the state average of 84.
Grella said Centerstone is not stepping in to take over for the Jackson County Drug-Free Council and Jackson County United Way’s United Against Drugs initiative but is working with those groups to make an impact and bring more people to recovery.
“Jackson County is poised and ready to take action, so it’s the perfect time for us to partner with local stakeholders and help,” she said.