WNPR

Expanding the Reach of Addiction Treatment in Connecticut Towns

Mar 23, 2016

Hartford HealthCare has opened a new addiction treatment center in Cheshire as part of an effort to battle opioid addiction in as many communities as possible. 

The new facility is just a block or two from the high school, the community center, and some ballparks. And it's meant for everyday people, wherever they are.

"We want to be in the major cities, as well, but I think that we felt like we did need to get out into the suburbs," said Pat Rehmer, president of Hartford HealthCare's behavioral health network. She's also the state's former commissioner of mental health and addiction services.

"Nobody's immune anymore," Rehmer said. "Literally every single day now, I'm getting a call about some young adult that has overdosed. I can't think of a friend or a family member who hasn't lost a nephew, a child. I mean, it's really astonishing to me. And I've been doing this for 30 years."

Rehmer said her goal is to make treatment for prescription opioids and heroin addiction more available. This program in Cheshire offers medication assisted treatment -- using drugs like Suboxone to help quiet the cravings of the disease. It also offers group and individual therapy. Its services are available after working hours, to allow people who have jobs to continue working while they seek treatment.

Rehmer said that Hartford HealthCare has or is planning similar treatment sites in Hartford, New Britain, Avon, Southington, and Meriden. And, if other towns are any measure, it won't take long to max out.

"The Glastonbury program is constantly stretching to accommodate as many people as we can," she said.  "It's really performing at about 500 percent above what we budgeted for capacity. 500 percent. That tells you what the need is like."

The Cheshire program is just three weeks old and can serve up to 100 patients. So far, it has just three.