Drug rehabilitation center sees rise in heroin patients

Heroin addiction is on the rise in Western Ohio.

Just ask Chuck Honigford, Director of Clinical Services at the Western Ohio Regional Treatment and Habilitation Center, or WORTH.

Honigford said he has seen an increase in the number of residents who are sent to their facility who are addicted to heroin and need help overcoming their addiction.

“In talking to residents, it seems like it’s been a pretty significant increase in this area,” he said. “I think it’s become more readily available and is relatively inexpensive, especially for people who have started out on other opiates like pain pills. Pills aren’t as available or have become too expensive, so a lot of times they’ll switch over to heroin because it’s easier to get and cheaper to buy.”

While injecting heroin with a needle is still the most common way to use the drug, addicts are also snorting and smoking it.

The withdrawal from heroin can be significant, Honigford said, and getting an addict to function without the drug is often a difficult task.

At the WORTH Center, residents who are treated are all sent by court order, and have been incarcerated prior to coming to the center. They are also treated for withdrawal symptoms prior to stepping foot in the facility.

“By the time they come to us, they’ve already been through all that,” Honigford said. “What we do is work on their addiction by finding out what heroin does for them and finding ways to resolve those issues. A lot of our work is based on cognitive behavior. We look at the way they think about things— their thought processes, and helping them change how they think about their issues.”

The WORTH Center services nine counties in Western Ohio, including Auglaize County. There are currently 93 residents living there, most of whom are in their 20s and 30s. A good number of those people are heroin addicts, Honigford said.

Honigford said there are three phases in treating their addiction: orientation, transitional and conditional. During the orientation phase, residents learn about the center’s rules and are assessed based on their medical and mental health.

The transitional phase is where the bulk of the treatment occurs, Honigford said. Most of it is group therapy, and various programs have been put into place to help with their chemical dependency, education and job readiness for when they leave. They are also each assigned a case manager and are given a treatment plan.

For the full story, see the Saturday, Jan. 11 edition of the Wapakoneta Daily News.