S.T.E.P.S has grand opening

Published 9:03 am Monday, November 6, 2017

Recovery center aims to get people off drugs, alcohol

On Wednesday, the S.T.E.P.S Recovery Center had its grand opening after two months of being in operation in Ironton.

“Our goal is looking to get them completely off controlled substances,” said Dr. Nicholas Landry, who runs the center and has another one in Gallipolis. “We have dozens and dozens of people in Gallia and Jackson counties that we have done this with, over the years.”

S.T.E.P.S. stands for Structured Treatment Empowering Promoting Sobriety.

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Landry said he opened up an Ironton center because of so many people driving from Lawrence County to use their services.

But after a few months, the clients had used up their Medicaid stipend for travel and in many cases ended up relapsing.

“So, we would get people sobered up for two, three, five, six, eight months and then they can’t sustain their transportation. Then they relapse and they’ve wasted taxpayer money as well as they have relapsed,” he said, adding that it takes about eight months to get through withdrawal.

The center is certified to provide addiction management services by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. The Gallipolis office of S.T.E.P.S Recovery Center has been open for 18 years.

Landry said the S.T.E.P.S Recovery Center is going to establish a “bar of accountability with which people are going to get sober and drug free from various addictions.”

Landry is also seeing people as their primary care doctor, since a lot of physicians won’t see people who are addicts.

“So we see a lot of grossly unmanaged diabetes, hypertension, basic medical diseases,” he said. He also helps treat some mental health issues, although the most difficult cases are sent to psychiatrists. “The whole package has enabled us to get people quite well.”

They do both one-on-one addiction counseling as well as group counseling and peer-to-peer counseling.

“That is quite strengthening, because people learn from their peers who are more advanced in successful addiction management or who are weaning off medication,” Landry said. “The clients can get that vision directly from people who have been where they are.”

One of the center’s main goals is to get them off all drugs, including drugs used to treat addicts like Suboxone, Vititrol, or Buprenorphine.

“It has become public opinion in the medical field that maybe (addiction) is a disease that requires constant medical maintenance,” Landry said. “I completely disbelieve that because we have proven that to other the end of the spectrum.”

He said that people with psychiatric issues may need medicine their whole lives, but anybody else who is well-managed by a doctor and willing to put the time in, “can certainly be drug free.”