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Friday, January 27

Fighting Alcohol and Drug Addiction Together

The use and addiction of heroin, alcohol, opioids and other drugs are on a rise in the United States.  Specifically in Flint, Michigan there have been a large amount of addiction reported, as well as mortality from overdose.  Stopping any kind of addiction is no easy feat because the brain literally adjusts to the euphoria and makes your body crave the reward over and over again.  There are programs set in place for people who are ready to quit the majority of addictions that are known.  Programs such as Alcohol Anonymous for Alcoholics, long-term residential treatment, individualized drug counseling, 12 step programs and other self help groups.  These programs have all shown to be helpful with the aid of medical management for withdrawal symptoms, spiritual guidance and strong will from the individual.

In Flint, Michigan there is a unique approach to helping former and current addicts start and complete a road of recovery at the Genesee Community Health Center.  The Genesee Community Health Center is one of only two Federally Qualified Health Centers in Flint.  Their mission is to provide high quality healthcare services and programs in an integrated, patient-centered environment with a priority focus on homeless and public housing residents.  They offer a multitude of services from preventive health screenings, well-child visits and physicals to chronic disease management and mental health and substance abuse services.  They always leave room for walk-ins everyday and are right down the street from Hurley Hospital in case of emergencies.  They have a mobile clinic and do community outreach at a local mission every week.

I have the pleasure of working with the Genesee Community Health Center and my mission is to learn as much as possible about the clinic, how it functions and of course see patients.  The GCHC has medical management such as suboxone and vivitrol and comfort medications as part of their substance abuse services.  Their approach to the counseling and psychosocial support that is necessary for a successful recovery program is what I have found to be one of the most unique I have encountered.  They have staff who are “Recovery Leaders” who have all at some time in their lives had an addiction to a drug or substance and have chosen to give back by helping others on their road to quitting their addiction. As a recovery leader you not only show support, but you offer a ride to a recovery meeting, give advice, take clients for coffee, support the family members of the person going through the addiction, whatever is necessary to really reach out and help that person get through this hard time and successfully start or continue recovery.  During an open conversation with some of the recovery leaders, I had the honor of hearing their background stories and I learned that they love what they do. They come to work everyday with a full heart, ready to help and also feel that this helps them continue their road to recovery because they can lean on each other when they’re having a bad day.  One recovery leader mentioned that she actively seeks patients and goes into “drug homes” and “sketchy neighborhoods” because she is so passionate about stopping the cycle of addiction and showing that help is there if you need it.

There are possibly other substance abuse programs with a similar approach or maybe the same approach that I have not encountered. I have encountered this approach and I feel I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t share what they are doing in Flint to make a difference in fighting addiction.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Samantha, this information is very useful for individuals in need.