New unit focuses on addiction recovery
In the 15132, the opioid epidemic has hit the small town of McKeesport, PA with a grim slow toll of almost 100 deaths over the last decade while bringing uncounted misery.
Just south of Pittsburgh on the Monongahela River, McKeesport has seen its population shrink from 50,000 to under 20,000 as steel work disappeared and running drugs became a viable alternative.
Now, a new unit at UPMC McKeesport is hoping to stem the tide of opioid addiction by offering integrated treatment directly on site, so that if patients show up in the ER after an overdose, they can immediately enter treatment.
As reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, overdose patients can go from any emergency room to the McKeesport unit, where they will get four or five days of detoxification and then two to three weeks of rehabilitation on the bright, third-floor wing. After discharge, they’ll be enrolled into outpatient programs, with medically assisted treatment where appropriate.
“Let’s open our arms, give them hope, get them into an environment where they feel safe,” said Sen. James Brewster, D-McKeesport. Users “should not have to go into prison with people who sold them the poison, knowing that they could die.”
“Being in an underserved community in an area with a significant alcohol and drug problem, this is a hotspot for it,” said Dr. Matt Harinstein, vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer for the hospital.
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To read more about how the town of McKeesport, PA is taking addiction treatment to the next level, please visit the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.