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UnityPlace aims to help narrow gaps in addiction treatment services

Toby Talbot
This 2013 file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt.

During National Addiction Treatment Week, Peoria’s UnityPlace is stressing the need for people battling substance abuse to seek professional assistance.

A surgeon general's report finds that nearly 21 million Americans suffer from substance abuse, but only 1 in 10 receive treatment.

Amy Daum, the program manager at UnityPlace’s New Leaf recovery center, says it's critical for individuals with drug or alcohol dependency to realize they need help.

“It can be very difficult to admit that you're even at a point that you need that assessment, that things have gotten out of control, and ‘I can't get this under control no matter what,’” said Daum. “I always remind my staff like we're asking them to come in and have strangers tell them how to live their life. So it can take a lot of vulnerability on the part of the client.

Alcohol Treatment
Cliff Owen
This 2014 file photo shows alcohol bottles, their contents replaced with colored water, on a shelf in the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism's research alcohol bar in Bethesda, Md.

“When we're talking addiction treatment, we're talking lifestyle change – friends, maybe family, maybe where you live, maybe where you work. I think for some clients, the most difficult part that prevents people from getting into treatment is that social aspect of it.”

Following Recovery Month in September, Addiction Treatment Week highlights a growing need to connect individuals with recovery options and resources.

“This week is dedicated to recognizing that there is a gap between clients that seek services and the ability to provide those services, for whatever reason,” said Daum. “It helps us kind of hone toward that cause, look at what we're currently doing and how we can improve services.”

UnityPlace has 120 addiction professionals providing detox, residential, inpatient, outpatient, and medical-assisted recovery treatment options. Daum said UnityPlace offers recovery programs for a range of dependencies, from alcoholism and drug abuse to behavioral addictions such as gambling, sex, eating, and even internet gaming.

“We have a program for just about anybody that comes to seek treatment for whatever type of addiction it is that they have. We can recommend which facility it is they need to go to so they can have someone that's licensed providing their services,” she said.

Daum said the initial step for someone seeking care is to undergo an assessment to determine if the patient does have a substance abuse problem, how severe it is, and what type of treatment is necessary.

“Addiction treatment is kind of a scary concept if you're just starting to think that this is what I need,” she said. “It's like, ‘Well, what does that entail? What does that mean for me?’ You can go and get assessed and we can explain that to you. It doesn't have to be as scary as it looks on the face of it.”

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