Addiction is a very real genetic disease. Someone who suffers from addiction can’t simply “turn it off”; assistance is required through AA meetings, therapy, medical intervention, or other means. And before all this can happen, a person has to admit that there is a problem and then seek help. Otherwise the cycle of recovery and relapse will continue.
Carmen Arlt is the Director of Chemical Dependency and Addictions at Porter-Starke Services and has been helping individuals who struggle with addiction for many years. In 2008, the Porter-Starke Recovery Center opened after a long series of steps were undertaken, and Arlt was a big part of the Recovery Center’s beginnings.
“There is a very bad drug problem in Porter County,” Arlt said. “The Porter County Substance Abuse Council recognized that we needed to do something.”
Certain qualifying factors needed to be met first. The state of Indiana required that a needs assessment, or a systematic set of procedures that is used to address a need. Causes behind the need are determined and then steps are taken to close the gap between the current state and the desired state. After a multi-year process, Porter-Starke was able to procure a specific license that allowed them to open the much needed Recovery Center.
At the Center, individuals who are 18 and older can get counseling services for dependents on opioid drugs like heroin, codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone and morphine; suboxone, as well as methadone maintenance treatment. The methadone that Porter-Starke administers is in liquid form and cannot be diverted, and it is given in monitored doses in a secure environment at the Recovery Center.
“This is the perfect environment for a Recovery Center,” Arlt said. “If we have an individual come in who has different mental health needs we can help them in different ways. There are many options and avenues that one can take to get on the right track at Porter-Starke.” But what exactly is methadone?
It’s an opiate agonist that, when given in proper doses, has a series of actions similar to morphine and other narcotic drugs. The drug is given in treatment programs to those suffering from opioid addiction. Very gradually they are weaned off of it to prevent withdrawal symptoms.
“You can’t wean people off of heroin, but you can do it with methadone. It takes a while, milligram by milligram,” Arlt said. “Some people are done with the program in six months, others take years to get through the treatment program. But when they do we also start to work on other things in our counseling services like getting jobs back, reconnecting with families, finding a home, and other things they lost because their addiction took over their lives.”
Currently, in Indiana there are 12 methadone clinics. These clinics serve 16,000 Indiana residents, so there is not a balance in the scales. More clinics are expected to open, so this need for treatment is ever-so-slowly being met.
If you have an opioid addiction and you need help call Porter-Starke Services Recovery Center at 219-476-4676.