DELBARTON, W.Va. – According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, addiction is a “complex disease of the brain and body that involves compulsive use of one or more substances,” despite the likelihood of serious health and social consequences.
Addiction interrupts sections of the brain that are responsible for reward, motivation, memory, and judgment. It damages various body systems as well as families, relationships, workplaces, and communities, and the statistics of those involved are appalling.
Findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) show that while more than 700,000 Americans receive alcoholism treatment every day, there are roughly 79,000 deaths that can be traced back to excessive alcohol use each year in the United States; likewise, in 2013, the CDCP reported 9.4 percent of persons 12 years of age and older have been involved in illicit drug use in the past month.
In response to the magnitude of the problem, Logan Mingo Area Mental Health (LMAMH) CEO Donna J. Cooke announced the opening of their Anchor Point facility—a 28-day short-term residential treatment program for men—located on a beautifully landscaped campus near Delbarton, W. Va.
Recently, Ms. Cooke, Brad Barnett, M.Ed., program manager, and others gathered to discuss the new treatment facilities and range of services that are now available, and their vision for this new endeavor.
“The Anchor Point treatment program is a 28-day short-term residential program with twelve beds, for males only. It is an intensive services program for treatment of substance abuse and related disorders,” Barnett explained.
“The work being done—or insight gained—in a treatment program is simply building the foundation to a commitment to recovery. It is lifelong process,” he said, explaining that an addiction treatment program in a structured environment will be the beginning of a brand-new way of life for many who walk through Anchor Point’s doors—a fresh start.
On the state level, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin recently addressed the problem: “Drug abuse in our state is a pervasive problem with tragic consequences. It shatters families and erodes our communities.” The state now has the highest drug overdose mortality rate in the country, with 28.9 per 100,000 people suffering drug overdose fatalities according to a new report, Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Stop the Epidemic. The total of drug overdose deaths—a majority of which are from prescription drugs—in the Mountain State increased by 605 percent since 1999, when the rate was 4.1 per 100,000. Numbers are reported even higher in the southern part of the state, with substance abuse and alcoholism being described as in epidemic proportions. Drug overdoses kill more state citizens each year than car accidents—in fact, they are now the leading cause of accidental deaths in West Virginia.
“The substance use or the behavior is often a symptom of an underlying problem,” Barnett said. “Our goal here is to get to the bottom of whatever that problem is that leads to the drug of alcohol issue.”
Travis Tomblin, a supportive counselor and case manager, added that a prime example might be the addicted individual who has been incarcerated for three years. He will obviously be drug and alcohol free for the duration of his sentence. However, once he is released from imprisonment, the behavior—drug and/or alcohol abuse—returns. This, according to Tomblin, is due to the underlying issue that is not being addressed.
The good news is that there is hope. “We find that once the underlying issue is dealt with, the drug dependency oftentimes works itself out,” he added.
During their stay, Anchor Point residents are provided a staff of treatment professionals on duty. The campus includes several modern and well-equipped buildings, including administration offices with a record room, individual and group counseling suites, and kitchen area. There is also a large, handsomely styled living quarters for residents—surrounded by a privacy fence—with a large commons/activity room with fireplace, bedrooms, and bathroom facilities. Several out-buildings are used for supply storage and lawn equipment, as well.
“Anchor Point accepted their first consumer in February, and with that, we believe a new day has dawned for southern West Virginia,” Ms. Cooke stated. She added that Logan Mingo Area Mental Health is pleased to offer this type of intensive treatment center for individuals who are suffering from drug and alcohol abuse.
“We are grateful for the support of Governor Tomblin and the Governor’s Initiative on Substance Abuse. Due to this support, our longtime dream for a residential and outpatient treatment facility is now a reality,” Ms. Cooke said. “We intend to serve up to 140 individuals a year through the Anchor Point program, and many others can be treated through RISE, our outpatient substance abuse treatment program.”
Barnett explained that, although the facility will accept consumers from across the state, the goal is to have an impact here in Mingo and Logan Counties. Consumers who are accepted into the program receive around-the-clock clinical services during their stay.
“At the same time that Anchor Point is taking place, RISE outpatient treatment is happening simultaneously,” Barnett added. “We have master’s level clinicians, a clerical staff, and a full behavioral health team on duty for both programs.”
Outpatient counseling is provided through the RISE program for individuals in the region; and it will also be possible, due to RISE, for Anchor Point residents to seemlessly continue treatment upon release from the 28-day program. Also, transportation service is available for all clinical programs at all LMAMH centers.
“Our goal is to provide desperately needed substance abuse treatment right here at home, in Logan and Mingo Counties. It all begins with referrals to the program, or an individual can also come to our facility for pre-test evaluation, and eventually an intake,” Barnett said. “Our desire is to also be a part of removing the stigma that exists with substance abuse treatment.”
“We believe we are starting something very special here; and we know that through the Anchor Point and RISE programs, treatment can be effective, and individuals do recover,” Ms. Cooke said.
For additional information concerning the Anchor Point or RISE program, contact Bradley Barnett, M.Ed. at (304) 475-3366, or email: [email protected] Logan Mingo Area Mental Health is now on Facebook, as well.