DENVER (CBS4)– Denver Health Medical Center is taking a new approach to treat people struggling with opioid abuse. The new Center for Addiction Medicine will help more patients transition from addiction to recovery.
The idea is simple: if people struggling with addiction don’t have access to resources they won’t get help. So now if a patient comes into Denver Health for any reason and is addicted they will have the opportunity to get help right away. It’s a program that is desperately needed.
“The opioid epidemic still exists,” said Lisa Gawenus the co-lead of Denver Health’s Center for Addiction Medicine.
Gawenus said that just because we as a society are now aware our friends and neighbors might be struggling with opioid addiction, doesn’t mean we are fixing the problem.
Britni Edmunds had struggled with addiction and she also says society isn’t doing enough.
“I believe that society as a whole has kind of brushed off anyone with an addiction,” said Edmunds. “we kind of thrust them aside and let them do for themselves and that’s the wrong approach.”
On Friday, marchers came together at Denver Health to remember the people they lost to addiction and call for more resources for an often stigmatized group.
Edmunds said the biggest thing that helped her turn her life around was access to treatment, “Denver Health accepted me, started treating me the first day and four years later I haven’t looked back.”
The Center for Addiction Medicine connects all of Denver Health’s treatment areas to give people like Edmunds’ immediate access to the rehab tools and resources they need to beat addiction no matter what they are in the hospital for. If they are offered and get help right away they have a higher chance of getting better.
“If I ask you to wait several hours or several days before you can access care, that motivation might be gone,” said Gawenus.
Edmunds said if it wasn’t for the help she received she may still be addicted today, and says that if you know someone who is struggling with addiction the best thing you can do is talk to them about treatment.
“Encourage them to seek help at a facility near them where they are comfortable,” she said.