Rushford answers the call in Avon

November 22, 2016

As part of its ongoing effort to tackle the epidemic in heroin and opioid abuse across Connecticut, Rushford officially announced the opening of its new outpatient adult treatment center in Avon on Monday, telling members of the media that no community is immune to the crisis.


At the same time, Rushford officials and a former drug abuser said there is hope for anyone who has been impacted by the scourge of addiction.


“The message we want to convey is that this is a chronic disease like any other, and can be effectively managed through prevention, early detection and evidence-based treatment,” said J. Craig Allen, MD, Rushford’s medical director, who welcomed the media to the new location at 35 Tower Lane in Avon.


Dr. Allen pointed to last week’s report by the U.S. Surgeon General concluding that substance use disorders are not emblematic of any personal or moral failure, but instead are symptoms of a chronic disease. He said the findings point to the need for effective treatment to be made available in all communities, large and small, rich and poor.


Patricia Rehmer, president of the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network (BHN), which includes Rushford, said Rushford and other entities within the BHN will continue to expand access to treatment as a way to meet the crisis head on. She said Connecticut is on track to see more than 800 overdose-related deaths this year, a state record.


The impact of the crisis was brought home by comments from Daryl McGraw, a former drug user and prison inmate who went on to seek treatment and now is an associate director for the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services with two masters degrees. He said he is encouraged to see the public gradually overcoming longtime misperceptions and discriminatory attitudes toward those with addiction or mental health issues.


“I wish there had been treatment centers like this in my community when I was going through my issues,” he said. “It’s good to see people beginning to understand this problem, but we need to do more.”