Public health officials are scurrying to gain a foothold on the opioid addiction crisis. The U.S. Surgeon General estimates 2.1 million Americans struggle with an opioid abuse disorder, creating a crush on treatment centers. Anne Constantino, president and CEO of Horizon Health Services, acknowledges the immensity of the challenge. She also sounds a hopeful note. "I see people getting better every day. I know the treatment works."
A recent article in POLITICO placed a spotlight on the shortage of residential drug treatment centers in some parts of the country. In West Virginia, a state with one of the highest rates of deaths due to overdoses, there is an alarming shortage of beds available for treatment. New York State may be ahead of the national curve.
Constantino says agencies work together in searching for treatment opportunities.
"We just continue to work the list and with the patient about what their choices are and what they are willing to do. It may not be where they want to go, but there is availability in other parts of the state."
According to the Surgeon General, only one in 10 people with a substance abuse disorder receives treatment. While some individuals don't seek treatment, others struggle to find appropriate care. Constantino believes state regulations work to assure those seeking help are finding proper treatment.
"New York State now has a kind of buyer beware campaign. There are treatment brokers who are coming into New York State trying to get New York State people to private pay and it looks like fancy facilities but are really no more than motels with pools."
According to Constantino, another 50 residential treatment beds will be available in the region in the coming months. Horizon Health is using a state grant to open a 25-bed, women-only, residential treatment unit on October 1st.