Pain pill abuse becoming latest addiction battle for Well Center

By Ryne Turke on August 11, 2016 at 1:03pm

Does Morgan County’s drug treatment facility have the tools to assist individuals battling opioid addiction?

The question is being raised less than a week after 31-year-old Luke Kennedy was pronounced dead from a suspected drug overdose.

Darla Clanton is the medical services coordinator for the Wells Center in Jacksonville. Clanton says opioid abuse, which includes pain pills like Vicodin, OxyContin and Morphin, is becoming a major problem in Morgan County and the surrounding area.

“That’s one of the biggest problems we see, which starts with the pain pills and, a lot of times, goes to the heroin use. A lot of people think it runs in people that are lower level drug addicts, but we see it with people in all walks of life,” says Clanton.

“It is hard to deal with pain: back pain, neck pain and arm pain. A lot of the doctors don’t realize how addicting this medication is. They work well because they block the pain sensors in a persons body, but they are highly addictive.”

Clanton explains what services the Wells Center provides for opioid addicts.

“When someone calls us for help we do an intake over the phone. We gather medical and mental health information on the individual. We bring them in for an assessment and then the assessment counselor decides if they need to come in-house to us. Opioids almost always come in-house for treatment. They can also go on an outpatient basis. It depends on how long they have been on the use and what they are using and how much.”

Clanton says there are “no magic cures”, but she has seen success stories through this treatment.

The mission of the Wells Center is to treat as many individuals as possible, but Clanton says a reduced budget has left the treatment facility with limited options.

“We try to take as many as we can, assess them, get them in here and get them under treatment. We’ve had to cut down on staff. We’ve had to really watch our funding and where our budget is spent.  It is really disheartening because our phone rings constantly. I would say 100 to 150 calls a day of people needing help. We can only take so many with the services we can offer. It is a growing problem. We have people calling from other states trying to come here for treatment.”

The treatments run between 21-30 days, but can last longer under the approval of a counselor.

For more information about opioid abuse treatment, contact The Wells Center at 247-4018.