Rocking Horse debuts drug treatment area at Springfield clinic

Don Warner, from Oesterlen Services for Youth, tours the new Substance Use Disorder treatment area at the Rocking Horse Center Wednesday during an open house. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

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Don Warner, from Oesterlen Services for Youth, tours the new Substance Use Disorder treatment area at the Rocking Horse Center Wednesday during an open house. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Rocking Horse Community Health Center debuted its new Substance Use Disorder treatment area on Wednesday.

The area is part of a nearly $300,000 renovation project at the center.

The area, which was previously part of the center’s lobby, consists of two treatment rooms and two office spaces, one of which can double as a counseling room and is part of a a nearly $300,000 renovation project at the center.

The health center, which is located at 651 S. Limestone Street, will use the extra square footage to expand its Substance Use Disorder treatment program. The program, which currently oversees between 50-75 patients, is designed to assist patients who suffer from “the disease of addiction or struggle with substance use and or abuse,” according to Rocking Horse’s website.

The program was started about three years ago, at the height of the opioid epidemic.

“Over the last 10 or 15 years, heroin, fentanyl, carfentanyl have really been on the increase,” said Rocking Horse’s Director of Behavioral Health Robert Fitzwater. “We have (I-70) going basically through Springfield to the south of us and 75 right there so you have that corridor, and what happens is we have a lot of drugs circulate along 75 and 70 — and a lot of those drugs end up in Clark County.”

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Rocking Horse’s Chief Medical Director Dr. Yamini Teegala said the treatment program will use the increase in space to give patients a calm and private place to get therapy.

In the past, counselors were looking for any extra space they could find to provide therapy to patients.

“We really wanted to create a very, very state of the art, clean space and environment,” Teegala said. “Some of the best testimonies we get are from our patients who say that I would not be able to do what I could do here.”

The two office spaces will be used for case managers and peer support specialists who work in the treatment program.

“These rooms are not going to be utilized just for treatment, they’re going to be rooms where patients can talk and their social work can spend some time, do some case management, talk to their families if need be,” Teegala said.

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Karen Murphy, a social worker at Rocking Horse, said the Substance Use Disorder treatment program has needed to expand for some time. At the time of its inception, the program had just one half-time social worker, Murphy, who it was sharing with McKinley Hall.

“We needed so many services for people who were struggling with the disease of addiction,” Murphy said.

The rooms will continue to help patients make a smooth transition to any other service they might need outside of the Substance Use Disorder treatment program, like primary care or dental visits.

“We can treat the medical, the behavioral, we can treat whatever other support services they may need,” Murphy said.

Caseworkers started to see patients in the program’s new space last Friday.

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