Opiate Addicts Find Fewer Hospital-Run Detox Beds Available

Michigan is not alone in the decline of treatment and detox services:

Addicts who overdose on heroin or other opiates are likely to land first in a hospital emergency room, where doctors can often save them from brain damage or death.

For many of those who want to get clean, the next step is a hospital-run drug detoxification program. There, patients are physically and emotionally prepared to move into a long-term recovery program.

But with fewer detox beds available, some of Long Island’s hardest-core opiate addicts are finding it harder to take that crucial step. St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown shut its 12-bed unit in July 2005, and Southside Hospital in Bay Shore shut its 10-bed unit in April.

According to the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, these closures followed two others at Long Island hospitals in 2002 and 2003. All told, the number of beds reserved for the sickest addicts has dropped 69 percent in the last four years, from 81 beds in 2002 to just 25 in 2006.

Hat tip – New Recovery