MARION — U.S. Reps. John Shimkus and Mike Bost, along with Illinois Rep. Dave Severin, toured Centerstone’s Medication Assisted Treatment facility in Marion on Friday morning.
The legislators were visiting to learn about the MAT facility and how Centerstone was using a $500,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Human Services/Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery (DHS/SUPR) to increase treatment resources for those with opioid use disorders throughout Southern Illinois.
The 7,000-square-foot facility opened in April and offers both medication and counseling for those suffering from substance abuse disorder.
“Addiction is not a 28-day fix, not a 30-day fix. It is a lifelong battle,” John Markley, Regional CEO of Centerstone, told the legislators.
Mona Miller, MAT Grant Coordinator for Centerstone, said you can help an addict get clean with medication, but it is important that you also give them tools to cope with the addiction.
“When they face challenges, they go back to what they know because we haven’t given them the tools they need,” Miller said.
She used people who are incarcerated as an example. They are really motivated to get clean and get out of jail, but once they get out of the jail, they face the same challenges they had before being arrested. In jail, counseling is often not available. They do not get the tools to cope.
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The program at Centerstone allows a patient to get both, giving him or her a better chance for success.
“It’s good to see they are not just treating them through medication, but restoring to wholeness through counseling,” said Shimkus, R-Collinsville.
Markley and Miller also talked about barriers to getting help for an addiction.
“Stigma is really a big thing, and showing grace is a big deal” Markley said.
“There is a lot of public misconception about methadone,” Miller said.
She often gets asked if that isn’t just trading one addiction for another.
“You are treating a chemical imbalance,” Miller continued.
“As congressmen, we are tasked with knowing a lot about a lot of things,” said Bost, R-Murphysboro. “It’s like looking at things from 30,000 feet.”
Shimkus added that everyone in the room understands the majority of people in Illinois live in the Chicago area. His job, however, is to make sure his constituents in central and Southern Illinois have access to the services they need.
Severin, R-Benton, is proud of the work Centerstone does, including the MAT facility. He served on the Centerstone board for 16 years. The H Group chose to partner with Centerstone, when it could have easily folded.
“They have been innovative rather than reactive. I was proud to serve with them and am proud to serve for them. They do a fantastic job,” Severin said.
Shimkus said substance abuse disorders affect everyone. He would encourage everyone to refer those they know who need help to Centerstone.
Centerstone provides mental health and substance abuse treatment, as well as education and support, to communities in Illinois, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. For more information, visit www.centerstone.org.
For information on Centerstone’s programs or an appointment, call 855-608-3560. Centerstone’s crisis hotline is 855-985-0911. Online lifeline chat is available 24 hours a day seven days a week under the contact us tab on the Center website.