Early intervention and rehabilitation
By Chris Erickson
Although efforts to enforce and prosecute drug laws have been increasing with the flow of drugs into the state in the past few years, other efforts at containment have been gaining steam as well.
While not historically popular as ‘tough on crime’ attitudes that focus on more punitive efforts, officials throughout the state - and Mercer County - have been hoping to make a dent in drugs by expanding resources in efforts at early education, intervention and rehabilitation.
At Coal Country Community Health Center, Licensed Addiction Counselor Melissa Herman said expanded rehabilitative efforts could give those with addictions the help they needed. During assessments at the community health center, licensed addiction counselors assess for everything, not only substances such as alcohol or marijuana.
“The level of care, no matter what your drug of choice the placement in a program is going to be about the same,” Herman said. “So if someone is diagnosed with methamphetamine use, there are mild, moderate and severe categories.”
Those categories help assess the needs of the individual. If someone needs out-patient, in-patient or residential treatment the addiction counselors will be able to determine that need.
“What we’re seeing here is a mix of everything,” Herman added. “Right now we’re seeing more people regarding methamphetamine, which is hitting a peak again. Heroin is also something we’re also seeing. The level of care is going to be based on what drug someone is using, how much they’re using it and what their need is. If someone’s going to have withdrawals when you quit using, we’re going to get you someplace that can be monitored.”
The increased numbers of charges and caseloads from law enforcement concerning drug use has paralleled the number of patients coming into CCCHC for some type of help or referral.