January 10, 2017

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center’s Rosary Hall featured on podcast

Orlando Howard, the manager of outpatient services at Rosary Hall at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, was interviewed by Cover 2, a foundation that helps support the mission to fight opiate addiction. You can listen to the full interview here. A recap of the interview is below.

The changing face of addiction: A generation falling victim to abuse 

In 2007, when Orlando Howard began working at Rosary Hall, the facility was a 13-bed detox unit. Today, Rosary Hall has more than 27 beds and has treated more than 60,000 people throughout their battles with addiction.

After losing his sister in 1986 and struggling with his own addiction for many years, Howard became joined the recovery field in 1992 in a nearby hospital’s detox unit. From there, he found St. Vincent Charity’s Rosary Hall, where he is currently the Manager of Outpatient Services. 

The faces of addiction have changed in the 10 years Howard has been at Rosary Hall and the admittance rate is steadily rising.

Twenty years ago, Howard recalls that Rosary Hall admitted five to seven opioid addicts a week. Now, that number has increased to five to seven daily.

The face of addiction has changed, according to Howard. “We’re seeing people who are younger and younger suffering from this disease—18 to 20 years of age—addicted to opiates. Fifty years ago, there were men and women from 40 to 60 years of age suffering from alcoholism in our detox units. The average age of someone in our detox unit now is 27 years old,” said Howard.

“I’ve talked to people who became involved with opiates as a result of a sports injury or surgery,” Howard said. “I remember talking to a family who lost their son to opioids as a result of a wisdom tooth surgery. That’s how he got started.”

In 2016, there have been 500 deaths in Cuyahoga County alone and 90 percent of the patients admitted at St. Vincent Charity’s Rosary Hall are treated for opioid addiction. 

At Rosary Hall, patients have access to two of the leading addiction medicine specialists in the region. Focusing on a 12-step abstinence-based program, Rosary Hall uses motivational interviewing—which is meeting the patient where they are to treat the individual. 

“If the patient is in the pre-contemplation stage, we meet them there, rather than waiting for them to become where we want them to be,” said Howard. “Each patient is given an individualized plan. And once they reach out for help, we believe that they should be put in a bed immediately,” said Howard.

“Their situation could be different if they aren’t treated immediately. Consequences of their use could be more severe. Once a patient says ‘I want help’ we move as quickly as possible.”

If given unlimited resources, Howard says he would invest in education and prevention—starting with children as young as seventh grade and invest in a holistic treatment facility. People that stay in treatment longer tend to have higher success rates for permanent recovery. Continuing treatment beyond inpatient detox gives someone the continued network they need that is critical to recovery. 

“Detox is not the answer. If you don’t follow it up with any kind of treatment, your chances are not good to stick to sobriety,” said Howard. “Treatment gives the brain time to heal. The recovering addict has the rare opportunity to live two lives.” 

About Rosary Hall

Rosary Hall at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, which is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, offers a continuum of care, capable of seamlessly transitioning patients through a process of inpatient medical withdrawal/detoxification to intensive outpatient rehabilitation and into community-based support networks. Regardless of where a patient enters the process, access to care is available 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.

About Us

From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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