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CPH announces intensive outpatient addiction program


POTSDAM — Canton-Potsdam Hospital will launch an intensive outpatient program Monday for St. Lawrence County residents with drug and alcohol addictions.

The program is designed for patients whose addictions are too severe for normal outpatient care, but not serious enough to require a full inpatient rehabilitation program.

Patients will work with social workers and a substance-abuse counselor at three 3-hour sessions every week for six weeks at CPH’s Norwood office.

The program was created for people who may have a busy, stable home life, but who still need the intensive care provided by a rehab program.

“It’s important because it’s a community service for those who might be busy moms and dads who are holding down a job … who can’t come in for that care,” said Adam Bullock, director of Chemical Dependency and Rehabilitation Services at CPH.

The program will be able to handle about 10 patients at a time, and Mr. Bullock said he expects it to be full regularly. The program will include individual and group sessions. The hospital expects the cost to be covered by health plans for those who have them.

An estimated 20,000 people, or 17.9 percent of the population, in St. Lawrence County are addicted to drugs or alcohol and have not been treated, Mr. Bullock said.

People will be able to enroll in the program themselves, or be referred by their primary care doctor or case manager. Patients also will be referred by the court, or transfer in from CPH’s existing inpatient rehab program.

Patients will go through six weeks of curriculum to learn to think about why they depend on drugs or alcohol, and to consider the reasoning behind their life choices.

“Let’s break down your actions and look at what you’ve done,” Mr. Bullock said.

Even the best rehab programs are prone to frequent failure. Between 40 to 60 percent of addicts relapse after treatment, according to statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Because of CPH’s network of services for those suffering from addiction, it will be easier to find the right program for new patients and keep track of them once they leave, according to Mr. Bullock. If a patient is homeless, or has an unstable home life, the hospital will not enroll them in the new program; instead, it will send them to the existing inpatient facility.

Those in the program also will be monitored for undiagnosed psychiatric diseases and disorders, like depression, that sometimes accompany drug and alcohol addictions.

The new program is just one step in what Mr. Bullock said is an ongoing effort to raise awareness of drug addiction and increase treatment options for those affected.

“People are dying every day, and we really need to get the word out that it’s a treatable disease,” he said.

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