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There is Hope, Help for Those With Substance Use Disorders

From Dr. Stephen Moenning, an Addiction Medicine Physician with Lee Health’s Lee Physician Group

September is National Recovery Month, an observance held every September to educate people that substance abuse treatment and mental health services can enable those suffering from addiction to live healthy and rewarding lives.

Substance use disorders affect people without regard to economic circumstance, education, race, geography, IQ or any other factors. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic, and the additional stressors it has brought to many of us, we’re seeing more and more people struggling with substance use disorders. The two most common conditions we treat are opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder.

At Lee Health, we are taking the necessary steps to respond to substance use disorders in our community. We want to try to change the projection and expectation of our patients and anyone struggling with addiction so they realize there is help available to them – and hope.

In 2019, we opened the Addiction Medicine Behavioral Health Center. Since its inception, we’ve 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 for those who want to recover while continuing their activities of daily living. Treatment options include medication-assisted treatment (MAT), individual therapy and group therapy.

We are continuing to grow these much-needed services with additional providers who specialize in addiction medicine.

Some of the other steps we’re taking include providing education for clinicians and sponsoring several doctors to take 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.

In terms of sheer numbers, every person who reads this likely knows someone affected, either directly or indirectly, by a substance use disorder. One of the greatest problems with substance use disorders is that feeling of helplessness.

We don’t want anyone to go through that. We want to give people hope to restore their lives and their families.

For people who don’t think they’re ready for treatment, I advise them to think about how it affects their family. They can restore relationships that have been broken for years. We want to keep our community – our family and friends – alive and well. That’s why we’re here.

Visit www.leehealth.org for more information about substance use disorder treatment options.