A recently established long-term addiction treatment facility in Greene County, the only one of its kind in the region, is already looking to expand.
“We were full within two weeks,” said Holly Martin, chief operating officer for Greenbriar Treatment Center.
Greenebriar opened up the long-term alcohol and drug addiction inpatient treatment center on the fourth floor of WHS-Greene Hospital in Waynesburg in November. Since then, they’ve treated about 89 patients from across the Southwestern Pennsylvania region.
The 12-step program is between 90 and 100 days, depending on the individual’s needs. Greenbriar has multiple locations in Southwestern Pennsylvania, with 28-day programs and outpatient treatment, but they saw a need for long-term care, since “recovery requires daily maintenance,” according to the staff.
“You aren’t going to change long-term use patterns in a couple weeks,” said Toni Harris, the program supervisor. “This program is for those patients who needed something more structured. They want to do it, they just can’t and need more time.”
The program also treats pregnant woman who struggle with addiction, Martin said, which is uncommon in this region.
“In the past, they’ve had to send them across the state for an inpatient treatment because most places won’t treat pregnant women who are on any type of Subutex program,” she said.
They have 27 male and female patients in the program now, with 14 rooms and two beds in each. The patients are not allowed to leave the building while in the program, though they are not locked inside. They could leave if they chose, but they’d be considered discharged from the program. They aren’t allowed to have cellphones or use the internet.
“They have everything they need here,” Martin said.
They have access to medical treatment if needed, phone calls and family visits, a fitness room and an outdoor recreation space with basketball, volleyball and cornhole.
Martin said about 80 to 90 percent of their patients have successfully completed the program. Those who were discharged from the program either left on their own or were asked to leave the program by administrators for lack of participation or “unsafe behavior.”
Martin said the need is so great that they’re already planning to open up the fifth floor of the hospital building for 16 additional beds this fall. She said they have about 10 people on a waiting list.
Patients, who must be at least 18 years old, are referred to the program through court orders, hospitals or other short-term programs that weren’t successful for them.
“No one ever walks willingly into recovery,” said Jim Mullooly, a duel diagnoses therapist with Greenbriar.
He said that addiction often brings people to their “rock bottom.” He said that can mean ending up in handcuffs and losing their freedom, but many times that can mean losing their friendships, the trust of their family members or the custody of their children.
“Our people do things in their addiction that they never dreamed of doing,” Martin said. “They lose their support systems.”
The referred patient will go through a series of physical and psychological assessments and evaluations, according to Bob Hogan, the social services director. They are assigned to a therapist who will help determine their care plan – group and personal therapy sessions, outside meetings and other necessary life skills sessions.
Martin said that since many of their patients also have mental health conditions, much of the program consists of therapy. Another aspect of it is teaching their patients how to cope with life, especially those who come from unhealthy home environments with families or friends who use drugs.
“It’s all about learning to cope with things the way they are in a healthy way instead of using,” said Peggy O’Neill, director of clinical services for Greenbriar.
Harris said a big part of that is teaching their patients about setting firm boundaries and abiding by them.
“We try to make it black and white for people because they don’t always do well with gray areas,” she said.
Once patients complete the program and are ready to leave, they are set up with an outpatient treatment plan, to continue on their recovery path, Hogan said.
“It’s extremely common for them to use immediately after they leave here,” he said. “That’s why everybody has a continued treatment plan when they leave here. We don’t want to lose them.”
For information about Greenbriar’s treatment programs or to make a referral, contact a representative at 1-800-637-4673.