More Good News About Overcoming Substance Use Disorder
Bad news is easy to come by. Far too easy. Especially when it comes to overcoming Substance Use Disorder. But good news is out there. In fact, it’s coming from all four corners of the country. And we’re determined to dig it up and share it every chance we get.
We call it Good News Friday. And it’s become a great way to both end the work week and begin the weekend. The weekly round-up also provides yet another great reason to keep a hopeful smile!
Make that a few great reasons. And while this week’s good news items are coming in from Massachusetts and Wisconsin, we’re sure their abundant hope will echo from sea to shining sea.
Overcoming Substance Use Disorder in Massachusetts
Okay, so statewide initiatives are nothing new. But what about initiatives that will drive a person anywhere in the state? Those have got to be new. Or at least rare. Whatever the case, they’re certainly ambitious. Welcome too. Not to mention a veritable blessing to those who need the lifesaving lift.
And lifesaving lifts are exactly what’s provided by the great good folks at Wheels of Hope. That’s right. Wheels of Hope will make sure every Merrimack Valley resident gets to addiction treatment on time and in one piece. They only require that a) the facility is located in Massachusetts, and b) the resident has a reserved bed.
Lifts don’t get much more lifesaving than that.
According to WHAV, Wheels of Hope is a collaboration between community-based Merrimack Valley Project, Lowell-based Lucos Transportation and nonprofit Health Resources in Action. The program’s paid for with grants from the Massachusetts HEALing Communities Study and the Combating Opioid Overdose through Community-level Intervention Initiative, as well as a legislative amendment championed by state Sens. Ed Kennedy and Diana DiZoglio.
A great good endeavor of course demands to be in great good hands and here Wheels of Hope is also expertly covered. The resourceful folks at Health Resources in Action happen to be the same folks who run the Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline, as well as a bevy of national addiction-fighting initiatives, so there’s little chance of ride-seekers getting lost in some proverbial shuffle. Furthermore, Wheels of Hope drivers are all trained to deal with substance use disorder issues, including overdose management, and every car is equipped with naloxone (Narcan®). Lucos Transportation is also strictly adhering to all COVID-19 safety protocols. That includes equipping all cars with hand sanitizer and masks, and thorough cleanings between each ride.
Overcoming Substance Use Disorder in Wisconsin
The great good folks at ThedaCare are significantly expanding their Substance Use Disorder services in the Shawano and Waupaca communities. The program’s called simply the “Expansion of Rural Behavioral Health.” And it’s being backed by a three-year, $890,000 Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Rural Health Network Development Program Grant.
It’s a welcome development. Especially for those in what’s generally an overlooked segment of the community. Project Director Heather Pagel even told the Waushara Argus as much.
“The project’s purpose is to focus on unmet behavioral health needs, particularly in ThedaCare’s rural Wisconsin service area,” she said. “We plan to expand access, advance coordination and improve the quality of services. And in so doing, strengthen the overall health of our rural communities.”
One key aspect of the program will be the addition of two full-time Substance Use Disorder Clinicians in the Shawano and Waupaca Behavioral Health offices. Prior to this addition, treatment-seekers would have to travel to Fox Valley. Making treatment more convenient will undoubtedly encourage even more treatment participation.
ThedaCare is also adding two Behavioral Health Collaboration Managers to both office rosters. This will enable the seamless integration of both the primary and behavioral aspects in every patient’s treatment plan. It will also train and/or familiarize primary care providers in the use of Medication-Assisted Treatment, which many addiction treatment experts consider the Gold Standard in opioid use disorder treatment.
“There are many benefits to bringing these services together,” explained Pagel. “Offering mental health and substance use disorder treatments in primary care is convenient for patients and can reduce the stigma associated with treatment. It also builds on existing provider-patient relationships, continuing those trusted relationships that are critical for behavioral health success.”
ThedaCare’s Community History
ThedaCare’s collaborative mindset also includes community partnerings with the Shawano County Department of Human Services, Family Health La Clinica and the Menominee Tribal Clinic. The teamings are not only essential to the program’s success, they’re crucial to community perception and participation. It also illustrates ThedaCare’s continued willingness to serve the entire community.
Then again, ThedaCare does have a long and storied history of providing quality community healthcare. In fact, its history stretches back well over a hundred years. Even the company’s name is indelibly tied to the community, as well as to healthcare. The company’s namesake, Theda Clark Peters, was a community activist who died from childbirth complications in 1903. Theda’s father was philanthropist Charles B. Clark, co-founder of the Kimberly-Clark personal care conglomeration. And after her death, the family built the Theda Clark Medical Center in her honor. The hospital is now called the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center–Neenah and continues to take great care of the community. That includes transporting trauma patients on its high-flying Theda Star.
Considering the Neenah hospital is just one of seven in ThedaCare’s ever-expanding community health system and the company’s 6,800 some-odd employees makes it the third largest health care employer in Wisconsin and, well, it’s hard not to be confident in the company’s potential. Add that aforementioned longevity and the due and diligent commitment to community and, well, it’s hard not to believe they’ll do well with something as perilous as overcoming Substance Use Disorder. In other words, if anybody’s got a better than above-average chance at beating the odds it’s ThedaCare.
Healing Properties Applauds
Healing Properties applauds Wheels of Hope and ThedaCare for bringing such great good hope to those who are overcoming Substance Use Disorder. Access to services has long prevented people from receiving addiction treatment. Your expansion efforts will be a boon to many of those heretofore left out of options. We’d also like to salute all the other above-mentioned stakeholders. We know recovery doesn’t happen in a bubble. We also know that most worthy programs don’t even get off the ground without worthy partnerships. It’s incredibly encouraging to see so many worthy concerns step up and get behind such worthy efforts.
How about you and yours? Are you in need of some worthy help? Are you in a region not covered by the above? It doesn’t matter. Help is available wherever you may be. In fact, it’s not more available than ever. Really. All you’ve gotta do is call. It truly is that simple. Ten digits and you’re in. Whaddya say? Wanna make your own day?
(Image by Yeexin Richelle / Shutterstock)