The Kenmore Center in Chicago: Providing a Needed First Step in Recovery

An epic rate of heroin/opiate use is affecting Illinois residents, and the recently opened Medication Assisted Detox program at LSSI's Kenmore Center is an important first step in treatment.

The program, which also helps people with alcoholism, medically stabilizes clients and works with them to secure the next level of care that is vital in their recovery.

More importantly, it serves a critical need.

"There are over 40,000 people in Illinois that need substance abuse services and cannot access them," said Frank Harris, LCSW, CADC, and Program Director. "The people we serve usually are underrepresented, with very little resources. It's important to have a program like this where people are treated like human beings and not dismissed as 'drug addicts and drunks.' Substance abuse is no respecter of persons. Our clients are: mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, daughters, and sons."

The 16-bed Medicine Assisted Detox unit provides 24/7 nursing staffing, with care oversight by a physician. A typical stay is 3-5 days, depending on medical necessity. Clients are admitted 7 days a week between 8 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Patients are medically stabilized from alcohol and opiate intoxication and/or withdrawal, thus easing discomfort and potentially serious physical reactions. The prescribed medications also increase the chance that a patient will complete a detox episode. Master-level counselors provide group sessions, individual sessions, and case management for patients.

"Detox is absolutely the first step in recovery," Harris said. "It provides physical stability as well as a chance to begin to clear the mind. Once a person is physically stable and medically cleared, the usual recommendation is further treatment."

Further treatment can include residential rehabilitation, outpatient services, or extended aftercare services. These decisions are made collaboratively with patients based on past history. LSSI can provide the continuum of services at its various locations, or work with partner organizations throughout the state.

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