Rotary hears about a ‘New Vision’ offered at hospital

Published 4:34 pm Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Beginning April 2, a new program for treating drug and alcohol addiction will be offered at Memorial Hospital and Manor through a company called ‘New Vision’.

The company has offered services at locations across the U.S. since 1992 and has treated over 400,000 patients.

Amanda Schuknecht, regional operations manager, came to Rotary with Lori Eubanks, chief nursing administrator at MHM, to explain how the system works.

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It is voluntary detox program that offers medical stabilization and withdrawal for persons addicted to alcohol and/or drugs.

It begins with the patient initiating the contact by calling 229-243-3385, and going for a confidential assessment and prescreening before being admitted to the hospital for a confidential three-day stay where they can manage serious withdrawal symptoms under the care of nurses and doctors.

Once the patient completes the stay, they are given appropriate discharge plans for continuing outpatient support.

Schuknecht cited figures to explain the need for a program such as New Vision, indicating that in people aged 50 to 64, substance abuse has doubled in the last few years, as has the number of people using heroin.

The drug use rate more than tripled for adults 55 to 59. In 2012, 52.1 percent of Americans (135.5 million people) reported drinking alcohol, and of the 4.1 million people who reported having their first drink in 2012, more than 80 percent were under the age of 21.

She continued to speak of the prescription drug abuse epidemic, saying approximately 50 Americans die every day from a prescription drug overdose.

Oxycontin and other prescribed Opiates are the easy way for prescription drug abusers to get high.

Increasingly, prescription drug abusers turn to heroin. One in 15 people who use prescription pain relievers for non-medical purposes will try heroin within 10 years.

Another interesting and important fact is that 70 percent of people who abused prescription pain relievers got them from friends and relatives, while only about 5 percent got them from a drug dealer or over the Internet.

Schuknecht also listed some physical warning signs of drug abuse: bloodshot eyes, pupils that are smaller or larger than normal, nosebleeds, deterioration in personal grooming or physical appearance, shakes or tremors, incoherent or slurred speech. Some behavioral signs to watch for are: skipping or showing up late and leaving early from work or school, decreased performance at work or school, loss of interest in hobbies, sports or exercise, complaints from co-workers etc., unusual need for money, borrowing or stealing; and the list goes on.

New Vision and MHM accept appropriate adults (age 18 and above) who are experiencing acute withdrawal symptoms. Besides working with MHM, the company works in cooperation with many community agencies, such as Drug Court, local psychiatrists, employers, community mental health workers, and local physicians.