Rise in overdose deaths spurs addiction services expansion in Dayton area

An area addiction and recovery facility, OneFifteen, is expanding its services and will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help those experiencing addiction have better access to services as more people are struggling with stress and isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The change is happening at a time when Montgomery County overdose deaths have increased during the pandemic.

Preliminary data indicates 37 people died from accidental overdoses in Montgomery County in March, compared to 20 the year prior, and seven people died so far in April.

“They are truly ticking upward and staying up and we’ve got to do something about that as a community,” said Helen Jones-Kelley, executive director of Montgomery County’s Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services (ADAMHS).

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The OneFifteen Outpatient Clinic at 257 Hopeland Street, was launched by Premier Health, Kettering Health Network and Google-affiliate Verily. The clinic announced that it has implemented a hotline, 937-535-5115, that will be answered 24/7 by a team of nurses and intake specialists.

This first point of contact will assess the immediate needs of the patient and connect them to the appropriate level of care.

OneFifteen is also offering a broad range of telehealth options to ensure those needing addiction services do not experience a gap in care while following social distancing guidelines.

Dr. Brian Merrill, the organization’s assistant medical director and the director of Community Psychiatry for Wright State, told the Dayton Daily News that the move to a 24/7 format will immensely help those battling addiction that are now dealing with the fear of the coronavirus.

“The volumes of people seeking treatment have been a little bit low the last couple of weeks as people have been staying home understandably,” Merrill explained. “I don’t think anything regarding being isolated in your home makes you less likely to use drugs. I am just hopeful that these online platforms will help us to treat people who aren’t seeking services in this COVID-19 environment.”

He added that traditionally, “there has never been a link that you can click on the internet and have a doctor visit with you and prescribe a medication for opioid disorder and we are very close to being able to do that in the next week or two. That is a pretty novel phenomenon.”

Merrill said the transition to telehealth is something the clinic is well prepared to do.

MORE: OneFifteen proposes $5M outpatient detox addition

“We were supposed to have a 24/7 crisis stabilization unit as of April 1 and we were supposed to open a residential treatment as of April 1, but at the beginning of March it looked like it was going to be a really bad idea to get groups of people, especially the residential piece to be cohorting groups of people,” he said. “But, we already had the staffed hired and people agreed to work here, so we transitioned to this having a nurse available 24/7 and very rapidly rolled out a telehealth platform so we could engage with people from their homes.”

Merrill told the DDN that a change in legislation governing telehealth will help people seeking treatment.

“There has been a really radical lifting of restrictions as far as they relate to the rules and laws that govern, and reimbursement frankly, for telehealth, and what can count as a telehealth visit,” he said. “During the state of emergency we have a lot of latitude on how we connect with patients and that is great because not everyone has a crisp Wifi, with an easy device to connect with.”

For those who do not have access to technology, OneFifteen has rooms available on its campus for patients to utilize for telehealth visits with providers. The goal is to remove barriers to quality care, according to Marti Taylor, 115 president and CEO.

“These are challenging times for all of us. Our promise is to keep our doors open, to provide hope and healing to those who are struggling with addiction,” Taylor said.

Jones-Kelley is glad to see the effort to reach those in need.

“People in recovery find comfort and healing in connection,” she said. “This is a difficult time and it’s imperative people have access to substance use disorder and mental health services.”

There is a local “warmline” operating during the pandemic for information on resources and for non-emergency support (unlike a hotline which is for emergencies). The Miami Valley Warmline is open Monday-Friday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. at 937-528-7777.

With the increase in the number of accidental overdoses, she said people need to reach out to people that might be struggling.

“Folks are being left alone. They are isolated. They are being found days later,” Jones-Kelley said.

Kaitlin Schroeder contributed to this report. 

How to contact

The OneFifteen Crisis Stabilization Unit is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to -3:30 p.m. It is located inside Kindred Hospital at 707 South Edwin C. Moses Blvd. Call ahead at 937-535-5115 to schedule an appointment.

OneFifteen has launched a new website, www.onefifteen.org, where those seeking treatment can find out how to access services.

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