Seminole County in Florida, United States, has been hard-hit by the opioid epidemic. An innovative AdventHealth treatment center is offering a path out of addiction for patients struggling with substance abuse.
The Hope & Healing Center, located in Sanford, is part of a partnership between AdventHealth, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, Seminole County EMS/Fire Rescue, the Board of County Commissioners, and the Walmart store chain. Launched in 2019, the partnership seeks to transform the way people struggling with opioid addiction are treated by the health-care and criminal justice systems.
“This first-of-its-kind partnership is a unique opportunity for law enforcement and health care to address one of our state’s most pressing issues,” Seminole County sheriff Dennis Lemma said. “We realized we needed an innovative, wholistic approach to address this crisis, which is affecting so many of our neighbors.”
Like much of the U.S., Seminole County saw the opioid crisis exacerbated in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Sheriff’s Office, overdoses countywide increased by more than 50 percent from 2019 to 2020, growing from an average of 39 to 62 per month.
The Hope & Healing Center is currently offering intensive outpatient services, including individual and group counseling, substance-related and recovery-focused education, reflection and spiritual healing groups, and career assistance.
It is also housing 10 inpatient residents. Eventually, the facility will be able to accommodate 26 residents at a time for 30-day treatment programs. Patients will also be supported with services that address their educational, vocational, behavioral, and housing needs upon discharge from the center.
“We are transforming how we view and treat people with substance-use disorders,” said Tim Cook, CEO of AdventHealth Altamonte Springs in Altamonte Springs, Florida. “We need to see the whole person, not just the addiction. By providing a comprehensive network of services and support, our goal is to break the cycle of addiction and set our patients on the path to recovery and long-term success.”
In addition to the center, the partnership includes special training and education by the Sheriff's Office for Emergency Department staff at AdventHealth Altamonte Springs and dedicated substance abuse coordinators to navigate care for patients during and after their time in the hospital.
The Hope & Healing Center is funded in part by US$750,000 in grants from Walmart.
“Walmart is committed to fighting the opioid epidemic here in Seminole County and around the country,” Monesia Brown, director of public affairs and government relations for Walmart, said. “We are proud to work with our community partners and support this innovative approach.”