Heroin Users do have a Haven

SNHMC Opens Substance Misuse Intensive Outpatient Program

 

August 7, 2015

 

Staff photo by Doug Robinson  Michael Gallagher, director of Behavioral Health Services (left); Lori Magoon; and Philip W. Sullivan, MD, Inpatient Behavioral Health Services have teamed up to provide the Substance Misuse Intensive Outpatient Program at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center.

Staff photo by Doug Robinson Michael Gallagher, director of Behavioral Health Services (left); Lori Magoon; and Philip W. Sullivan, MD, Inpatient Behavioral Health Services have teamed up to provide the Substance Misuse Intensive Outpatient Program at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center.

by Doug Robinson

The police have been asking for it.

The fire department has been asking for it.

Legislators and U.S. senators have been asking for it.

And most importantly, as published by the HLN last week, those afflicted with addiction have been asking for someone to say, “I care.”

Stop the talking.  Stop the political cross aisle bantering, and just (as Nike would say) “Do it.”

Southern New Hampshire Medical Center has done it.

“Southern New Hampshire Medical Center’s Intensive Outpatient Program is designed for individuals struggling with substance misuse issues.  It allows patients to attend sessions and receive treatment while living in the comfort of their own home and continuing to work in the community.  By participating in the Intensive Outpatient Program patients are able to establish a foundation for life-long sobriety in a safe and supportive group environment where they can bring to use their newly developed recover skills,” writes Southern New Hampshire Medical Center.

Both inpatient and outpatient programs have been developed to afford patients to reach their goals of “abstinence, ability to sustain behavioral changes, eliminate drug-using lifestyle and replace it with treatment-related routines and drug-free activities, identify relapse triggers and develop relapse prevention strategies, identify personal problems and begin to resolve them, actively participate in healthful recreation and social activities, and continue treatment for other issues.”

In 2014, 321 people in NH lost their lives from their addiction to heroin.  Another 3,275 lives were saved from the use of the drug Narcan (7/17/2015 edition of the HLN).

As presented during the “Heroin in Hudson-A Community Discussion” held May 6 at Alvirne High School, NH heroin deaths outnumber NH motor vehicle deaths (138), prostate cancer deaths (130), and breast cancer deaths (170).

Year-to-date ambulance dispatch numbers from the Hudson Fire Department are trending to reflect an increase of last year.  The Hudson Police Department’s numbers state that 27 people have been arrested (through June 30) for heroin.

“This epidemic is creating a huge cost not only to the families of those addicted to heroin, but to the community, first responders, hospitals, insurance companies, as well as to those who have had a crime committed against them due to an addict’s need for money to buy heroin,” stated Hudson Police Chief, Jason Lavoie.

NH ranks number one in the nation for opioid abuse and 49th in the nation for the ability to give treatment to those who are addicted.  “NH has the ability to treat only 6 percent” was reported at the community discussion on May 6.

“Addiction is a lifelong struggle,” commented Michael Gallagher, director of Behavioral Health Services at Southern Medical Center.  “The old system of a 28 day recovery system needs to be changed.  We have a new way of thinking.  When those who are addicted join our program, we treat them like family.”

Philip W. Sullivan, MD, medical director of Inpatient Behavioral Health Services, stated, “We can roll patients back and forth between our two programs seamlessly.  Should a patient have a relapse once discharged, we are positioned to accept them back into the program easily.”

“We establish a foundation for life-long sobriety,” explained Dr. Sullivan.  “We will soon have 18 inpatient detoxification beds when we increase our census to accommodate our community’s needs.”

According to Senior Addictions Clinician and Program Manager Lori Magoon, “There is such a desperate need in Nashua, and Hudson is a major part of our service area.  Along with my co-worker, Jessie Cannon, we provide hospitals the opportunity to open more space in the emergency rooms.  We have specific training and education not only to evaluate, but to also partner with medical professionals on the correct course of treatment for those who are addicted.”

Dr. Sullivan stressed the importance of a support system.  “People do not know how to live sober,” stated Dr. Sullivan, MD.  “And they don’t know how become sober.  We treat every patient as family, and we help those addicted change their priorities.  We help them change their priorities from drugs to a foundation of life-long sobriety.  We care.”