• Mon. Sep 28th, 2020

Dear Editor:

Christine Patel. Photo provided

The other day I was jolted out of my Corona imposed isolation by a mom reaching out to me about her son.  I did not know this woman, yet she reached out to me in desperation. Her son suffers from a substance abuse disorder and is currently homeless.  I get calls like this several times a week, sometimes from people I know, and other times from strangers. These calls are not totally out of left field for me.  Until early this year, I was the supervising attorney for the Public Defender Office in charge of a team of attorneys who represent clients in our Hamilton County Drug Court.   I know a lot about available treatment resources in our community.  People know that and call me for help. 

In the midst of this pandemic, I have good news.  Those among us who are in desperate need of drug treatment services are still able to get those services with the same consistency as earlier in the year, before a beast named Corona started dominating our thoughts and many of our actions.  Contacts at the Center for Addiction Treatment (CAT), catsober.org, (513 381-6672) and Beckett Springs (beckettsprings.com (513 942-5000) tell me that detox (CAT) and inpatient services are as available to clients as prior to COVID-19.  The only additional admissions requirements are a temperature check and a few questions regarding cough and other symptoms.  Both places are committed to providing services at the same level as prior to the virus. They assure me that behind the scenes, their staffs are implementing additional protocols to make sure clients are in a safe environment, while minimizing impact on the treatment experience. Usually beds at each facility are available same day. Visits from family are suspended, but both places are being creative with technology to keep clients connected with their loved ones.  From the Talbert House website (talberthouse.org) it appears that all of the inpatient services continue with limited visitation, including the Engagement Center, where clients can go to be assisted with detox issues.   

My friends in outpatient treatment tell me that services continue on a remote basis and they are pleased with how smoothly the transition went from in-person to online groups and counseling appointments. Outpatient programs are still admitting new clients, sometimes without need for the client to come to the facility even for an assessment appointment. Medically Assisted Treatment—MAT–clients are still being accepted at CAT, but due to medical protocols and drug testing requirements, in person visits, while fewer, remain necessary for drug testing and other state mandated medical requirements.  I’m told that the same is true at outpatient facilities such as Brightview and Covedale.  AA meetings are still going on, with many of them happening remotely. aacincinnati.org has information on meetings both in person, as well as those conducted online. 

With job losses, stay at home issues, isolation and other stressors affecting so many of us, it is critical that those in need of drug treatment services, seek them.  Even during this time of global pandemic, no one needs to go without vital treatment services that remain readily available in our community.  I encourage everyone in need of recovery resources to reach out to some of the contacts listed above.  If you don’t feel you have the technology to make it work, please send me an email at patel4judge@gmail.com, and I will put you in touch with someone who can help.

 

Christine Patel, Esq.

Attorney

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