|Devlac Hall helping Ohio women escape addictions|
|Written by KAREN NADLER COTA Sentinel Lifestyles Editor|
|Friday, 25 October 2013 10:50|
Devlac Hall opened its doors to the public last Friday, inviting others to share in the joy of a 20-year record of aiding area women trying to escape substance addictions.
The Bowling Green-based residential rehabilitation program operated by Behavioral Connections of Wood County is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary.
"We opened our doors in 1993 thanks to a residential grant by ODADAS (Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services) to serve rural women in Ohio," explained Devlac's director, Barb Lahman. In the years since, Devlac has provided services to 1,454 women from counties all over the state.
"We were at Nazareth Hall (near Grand Rapids) the first two years; then we moved here," she said of the facility at 1033 Devlac Grove, off West Gyspy Lane Road.
On average, the program serves about 80 chemically dependent and dually diagnosed women per year. Included in that number are out-of-county rural women as well as Wood County women and their children.
"Women of childbearing age, pregnant women, and women with dependent children seeking sobriety need access to evidence-based programs that provide a link to ongoing treatment with social supports," Lahman pointed out.
"Addiction places these women and their children or unborn children at high risk for a wide variety of other illnesses brought on by poor living and health habits, or because of the toxic effects of drugs themselves."
During last week's open house, the public was able to tour the facility and meet the staff. Several women who are alumnae of the program spoke about their experience at Devlac. Tracy Plouck, director of Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services, was also on the program.
Devlac services are seven days a week and the average woman's stay is 10 weeks. During that time, chemical dependency, mental health and trauma issues are addressed through group and individual counseling, case management, parenting and family programming. A medical doctor and nursing staff provide medical services onsite, including prenatal care.
There are 12 women in residence right now.
The most recent census has been "much higher" than in the past. "There's been the opiate epidemic lately," Lahman said, offering a likely explanation for the uptick.
But right now, heroin addiction is an even bigger problem.
"They've closed down a lot of the doctors who were prescribing pills," the so-called pill mills which were especially endemic in southeast Ohio. Heroin seems to be filling the void, unfortunately. "Heroin is cheaper and easier to get."
Devlac is making a real difference in Ohio's epidemic, Lahman said.
"Of the women who stayed in here and who finished the program, we check with them after a year and 72 percent were still clean and sober after a year," Lahman said, citing this past year's statistics.
Numbers from 2012 alone reveal the cost-effective impact Devlac Hall has had. According to Lahman:
• For every drug-free baby born, Devlac saves the community $150,000 per child for the first year of care. Three Devlac residents had drug-free babies born shortly after discharge.
• For every child living with their mother and kept out of the child welfare system, Devlac saves the community $28,000 per child, per year. A total of 13 children lived with their Devlac mother. Savings: $364,000.
• For every woman in treatment versus incarcerated, Devlac Hall saves the criminal justice system $25,000 per woman. All told, 18 Devlac women were kept out of prison.
• Every time a woman uses a health clinic or other healthcare services instead of an emergency room, Devlac saves the healthcare system $800 per visit. During the year, 16 women were provided clinic visits versus visiting the ER. Savings: $12,800.
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