Drug treatment clinic to open today in Harrington

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Gov. Jack Markell speaks at the site of Connects in Harrington back in August. The facility is fully constructed and ready for patients starting today. (Delaware State News file photo)

HARRINGTON — A new withdrawal management clinic, which is operated for the Department of Health and Social Services by Connections Community Support Programs, Inc., will see its first clients starting today.

Connections’ new facility is at 9 East St. in the Spartan Center Shopping Center in Harrington. To access services, call 786-7800. Connections provides medication-assisted treatment for people suffering from opioid dependence at its facilities in Millsboro, Dover, Smyrna and Newark.
Connections’ new clinic will join DHSS’ other withdrawal management clinic, NET Kirkwood Detoxification Center, in New Castle County. Both clinics will match withdrawal services to an individual’s needs rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach, a news release said.

Both programs will have 16 beds for clinically managed and medically monitored detoxification; 12 23-hour slots to allow for stabilization and observation of an individual who might not need a medically or clinically monitored withdrawal program; and ambulatory withdrawal management services, which can serve 30 to 100 individuals for 30 days in an intensive outpatient setting. The cost of these additional services is estimated to be $1.7 million in the Fiscal Year 2016 budget.

Gov. Jack Markell, who spoke at the Connections construction site in August, said the new clinic’s opening affirms the state’s commitment to build treatment capacity.

“The addiction epidemic in our state is creating a tremendous demand for treatment services,” he said.

“With the epidemic growing rapidly, too many people ready for treatment have been turned away because the public system has lacked capacity. This opening marks a vital step in increasing the state’s ability to treat people in need.”

Michael Barbieri, director of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, which oversees public treatment and recovery services, said the Connections clinic is important to families impacted by addiction.

“For the people of Kent and Sussex counties, the new withdrawal management clinic will bring critical services to the community,” he said.

“Thanks to the $4.45 million in new funding approved by the General Assembly and the governor, we expect additional treatment and recovery services to be in place statewide in the coming months.”

Kent, Sussex needs

In 2014, there were 185 suspected overdose deaths in the state, or about one every other day, with Delaware ranked 10th nationwide for overdose deaths. Through July 2015, the Medical Examiner’s Office reported 110 suspected overdose deaths. In 2014, almost 10,000 Delaware adults sought public treatment, with about one-third indicating heroin as their primary drug at the time of admission.

“We’re happy to be able to provide this facility for residents of Kent and Sussex counties who need it,” Connections President and CEO Cathy McKay said.

“People suffering from addiction to alcohol or other drugs deserve a professionally run medical treatment facility at which they can begin their journeys into recovery.”

Mr. Barbieri said the next services expected to open in mid-December are residential treatment services, with 47 beds to be moved from a deteriorating building in Delaware City to a remodeled building at the Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill in Smyrna. DSAMH also expects to add these treatment and recovery services in the next few months:

• Expand the capacity of residential treatment programs throughout the state. This will be done by reconfiguring the existing program at Delaware City, transferring it to the Prickett Building at the Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill, and opening three 16-bed units across the state.

Two of those 16-bed units will be in Kent County and will open by the end of this year or early next year, Barbieri said. The third 16-bed unit will open in April 2016 in New Castle County. When the changes are completed, the number of residential treatment beds is expected to increase from 78 to 95.

(Total in new state spending will be $800,000.)

• Double the number of residential treatment beds for young people age 18 to 25 who are beginning their recoveries from addiction to heroin or other opiates from 16 to 32. Mr. Barbieri said a new residential treatment facility in Ellendale is expected to open in January, and will join a current facility in New Castle County, both of which will be operated by Gaudenzia. (Total in new state spending will be $1.15 million.)

• Double the number of sober living residential beds statewide from 60 to 120, allowing more individuals who are in the early stages of recovery to live in housing that is safe and free from alcohol and drugs, and that includes a treatment component. Many of these residential beds are expected to come online in early 2016, Mr. Barbieri said. (Total in new state spending will be $935,000.)

• Start-up costs for residential treatment programs. (One-time total in new state spending will be $815,000.)

To learn more about treatment, recovery and prevention services and supports in Delaware, go to DHSS’ website: www.HelpIsHereDE.com

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