EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was written in response to questions submitted by readers through Open Source, a platform where readers can ask the Richland Source Newsroom to investigate a question.
MANSFIELD – Drug addiction remains an urgent problem in Richland County. Fortunately, resources are available.
According to Richland County Opioid Council2,686 people received treatment in Richland County for a substance use disorder in fiscal year 2020 – 1,673 of these people received treatment for a substance use disorder opiates.
Joe Trolian has confirmed that between 2,500 and 3,000 people seek addiction services each year through the state-funded Richland County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board. These figures do not include people seeking help through privately funded agencies.
âThe drug addiction problem as a whole is still pretty big in Richland County,â said Trolian, executive director of the board.
Trolian noted that the abuse of substances like heroin and over-the-counter drugs has declined, but the use of fentanyl and fentanyl mixed with methamphetamines has increased.
A reader recently asked why Richland Source did not report the presence of the only Methadone Clinic in Richland County via our Open Source forum. Upon further investigation, we discovered that there are actually several facilities in Richland County that offer Drug Assisted Treatment (DAT) for opioid addiction.
MAT combines the use of FDA approved drugs with counseling and behavior therapy to treat substance use disorders. MAT is most often used to treat opioid dependence, but there are also drugs available to treat alcohol use disorders.
Common drugs for treating opioid dependence include methadone, naltrexone, and buprenorphine. Since these drugs are also opioids, patients do not experience withdrawal symptoms as they would during an abstinence-based detox approach.
But unlike other opioids, these drugs are designed to block pleasure receptors in the brain, making it harder to get high or enjoy using the drug.
Like abstinence-based recovery, the goal of MAT is to enable recovering people to lead normal, healthy lives.
Some recoverers use the MAT for a short transition period, others continue to benefit from it indefinitely. Trolian said MAT has helped many recovering people achieve stability in their personal and professional lives.
âMethadone is an older opioid treatment in school and it was designed as a long-term treatment. There have been people who have been on methadone treatment for 15 or 20 years, âhe noted. âIt’s no different if you or I are taking blood pressure medication.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states that the MAT has been found to be clinically effective and dramatically reduces the need for detoxification of inpatients. MAT has also been shown to improve patients’ ability to get and keep employment and to stay in treatment.
Richland County has many resources for those who prefer an abstinence-to-recovery approach, which involves therapy, behavioral health tools, and comprehensive substance abuse detoxification.
âIn Richland County, we support all paths to recovery. Everyone is different and we have to find what is best for them, âsaid Trolian.
To learn more about community resources for people in recovery, call the Richland County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board at 419-774-5811.