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Lee Health is Committed to Treating and Preventing Substance Use Disorders in Our Community

From the Desk of Dr. Antonucci

September is National Recovery Month

September is National Recovery Month, which was established to increase awareness and understanding of mental health and substance use disorders while also encouraging individuals in need of treatment and recovery services to seek help. Substance use disorders affect people without regard to economic circumstance, education, race, geography, IQ or any other factor. It can affect anyone and everyone, but as the 2021 theme reminds us, “Recovery is for Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community.”

At Lee Health, the two most common conditions we treat are opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder. Supported by our Strategic Council for Substance Use Disorder & Recovery, a multidisciplinary team that provides treatment, support and education, Lee Health has a growing commitment to treat and prevent substance use disorders in our community. We are working to change the projection and expectation of our patients and anyone struggling with addiction – helping them realize help, and hope, are available to them.

In 2019, Lee Health opened the Addiction Medicine Behavioral Health Center, and in the time since, we have treated more than 4,000 patients. The center offers outpatient services for those who are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms, are motivated to stop using and who want to recover while continuing their activities of daily living. Treatment options include medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and individual and group therapy. We continue to grow these much-needed services with additional providers who specialize in addiction medicine.

We provide education for clinicians and sponsored several doctors to complete advanced courses that allow them to treat patients with opioid use disorders. We also participate in a state-wide program that improves identification, care and support for pregnant women with opioid use disorders.

Through our website – www.LeeHealth.org/our-services/addiction-medicine – we have created a space to share our commitment to comprehensive care options, education and support. The webpage also features blog posts that explore topics such as important things to know about drug addiction, how to help an alcoholic and more posts related to mental health and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our Lee Health addiction medicine team works tirelessly to educate our health system and our community about the realities of addiction. They are committed to removing the stigma often associated with substance use because they know that is critical to improving access to care. We want to celebrate and honor, this month and during months throughout the year, the strong, resilient and proud recovery community and the committed and exceptional health care providers, families, friends and support systems who help make recovery from addiction possible.