Duane Dean pic

Intake Specialist/Counselor Johnathon Prince reviews the treatment process with a new patient at Duane Dean Behavioral Health Center.

Following up on the recent Daily Journal story regarding drug overdose fatalities in Kankakee County, here is information on what two organizations in particular are doing to educate, save lives and treat substance use disorder for the longterm.

The Kankakee County Health Department has done a great job of educating residents and first responders on the benefits of Narcan/Naloxone administered to someone who is overdosing on opioids within minutes of their overdose. However, gone untreated, if the person with substance use disorder does not seek treatment to eliminate their habit, their risk for overdosing and dying from drug use grows.

Due to the recent shelter in place order mandated by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, patients are afforded the opportunity of coming to Duane Dean Behavioral Health Center less frequently in order to minimize the flow of traffic (only two patients in the clinic practicing social distance and wearing a face mask). Duane Dean Behavioral Health Center has remained opened throughout the pandemic to provide essential services to those who suffer from drug or alcohol addiction.

The populations who are already serviced at Duane Dean Behavioral Health Center are allowed to come on alternative days due to having a history of compliance to reduce the flow of traffic to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Duane Dean Behavioral Health Center has policies and procedures set in forth should a patient report signs and/or symptoms him or herself or been in contact with someone who has been exposed to COVID-19.

“Unfortunately, like all other businesses and health care providers, since the coronavirus quarantine took place, we have seen a decrease in patients seeking Medically Assisted Treatment (M.A.T.),” John Prince, M.A., C.A.D.C. Intake Specialist/Counselor at Duane Dean, said.

“This is concerning to our staff members for people out there struggling — not only with loss of jobs and freedom to go about their daily lives, but those who resort to drugs or alcohol as a way to mask the trauma and struggles they are experiencing.”

Duane Dean has a “no waiting list policy” to assist anyone who requires M.A.T. The three-step procedure for treatment is quite simple:

1. Patients report to Duane Dean with questions, the patient is provided an opportunity to speak with qualified staff (master level, SUPR: Substance Use Prevention and Recovery credential staff).

2. If the information warrants a drug and alcohol assessment, patients are instructed to get lab work performed to make sure patients qualify for Medically Assisted Treatment.

3. The patients are then scheduled for a two-hour assessment in an individual session to assess the appropriate level of care per American Society of Addiction Medicine criteria. The patient is then scheduled to see one of their staff physicians for admission to begin the program, if needed, an individual mental health assessment by a staff mental health counselor, along with monthly individual counseling and group counseling when appropriate, is also part of treatment.

Prescribed medication at Duane Dean is methadone (a full opiate agonist which keeps individuals from craving opiates or feeling the effects), which has been prescribed in M.A.T. for nearly 50 years with the best success rate. Duane Dean also offers Suboxone or Vivitrol in the physician’s offices as an alternatively prescribed medication.

“Through increased efficiencies and the development of numerous community partnerships established over the past two years, our organization has seen a significant increase in patients served,” Director of Community Relations and Business Development Bill Barnes said.

“Yet, we know that according to national data we are only seeing 20 to 25 percent of the people who are dealing with substance use disorder daily. Unfortunately, like drug abuse itself, there are still people out there who have negative opinions towards methadone. However, statistics and success stories show that as a physician-prescribed treatment drug, along with counseling and support groups, methadone and treatment work.”

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