Communities across America are awakening to the problem of addiction. David Hill, founder of Chesapeake Treatment Services (CTS) and principle of Caulk Management, recently opened a new clinic in Easton dedicated to the recovery of individuals struggling with opioid addiction. It was the acceleration of the problem in Talbot County that made him pay attention and take action.
David, who had been a successful dentist, the founder of William Hill Manor and the chairman of Easton Bank and Trust Bank, is celebrating over 20 years in recovery from cocaine addiction. His own positive experience with rehabilitation at Father Martin’s Ashley contributed to his interest in helping others fight their addictions. He realized that the time was right in Talbot County, which is experiencing a dramatic increase in heroin use. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly half of young people who were surveyed in three recent studies reported abusing prescription opioids before starting to use heroin.
David comments, “In developing a treatment service, we wanted to create a service that is discernably different, where patients are treated with respect and dignity and where they can be successful in overcoming their addictions, whether from heroin or other opioids.”
Chad Hill, who works with his father at Caulk Management, then visited clinics in the region to see what was working and what wasn’t in the treatment of addiction to opioids. What David and Chad found was that structured Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) programs that included counseling and support, in addition to the medication component of methadone or Suboxone, were one of the safest and most effective treatment programs currently available to those who are addicted to opioid drugs. Methadone is a synthetic (manmade) opioid that binds to the opiate receptors in the brain. This binding process helps to eliminate physical withdrawal symptoms.
The words written on the clinic’s wall as you walk into the lobby at CTS: “Courage, Community and Compassion” reflect the clinic’s mission to provide daily contact and support for patients to help every patient break the cycle of addiction and to get on the pathway to sustained long-term recovery. Chad comments, “We want to provide empathy to our patients. We will never be too busy to lose sight of that.”
Lori Hester, a registered nurse with CTS, comments about a recent interaction with a patient being treated at the clinic. She shares first, however, how most patients who walk through the door the first time are full of shame, have low self-esteem and are defeated. She reflects, “I waited for a 30-year old male patient who was late for his dose of methadone one morning. As I was closing up the clinic, he arrived. I decided to re-open and to give him his dosage. He came back the next day and shared with me how special that was to him and how good it made him feel because most people didn’t care about him.”
According to Chad Hill, “It took over a year to put together our team – people who share our vision and treatment philosophy.” CTS currently has two nurses, two counselors, a physician, a nurse practitioner and a clinical supervisor. Our executive director, Jeff Dail, brings a wealth of human services and addictions experience to us. Chad adds, “There is a real synergy with our team.”
Mediated Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a model of treatment that will require the patient to come in daily. While every patient is different, the average duration of treatment is three years. CTS is open six days a week and is an option for anyone 18 years of age or older who has been using opioids for at least a year. Patients do not need an appointment and walk-ins are welcome. Upon registering and determining eligibility for treatment, the patient receives a medical evaluation and assessment by a nurse and a physician. The patient also receives a behavioral health assessment from a counselor who will help them map out their treatment plan. Random drug screening will be a part of the program.
Another important consideration for CTS is the efficiency in which it provides the daily service. Noting that patients come from all walks of life, or as David states, “from Yale to jail,” there is a need for the dosing service to work within a patient’s schedule. Chad explains, “We want to provide a 5 to 10 minute experience for the daily dosing so that patients can get back to their normal lives and be productive in their day. We open at 5:30 a.m.”
David adds, “As a person who is experiencing long term recovery, I know it works and wish this for all who are suffering from opioid addiction.”
Chesapeake Treatment Services is working with other providers in the community, including the Talbot County Health Department, Shore Health System, Mid Shore Mental Health Systems and the DRI-Dock Recovery and Wellness Center in Cambridge. CTS plans to provide education on addiction through its community outreach efforts. Chad remarks, “We are excited about how the community has embraced us.”
David comments, “This is by far the most interesting endeavor I have ever been involved with. It touches me in a profound way. CTS wants to impact the Mid Shore by helping to create healthier and safer communities for all of us. We realize we are not the total answer, but a part of the solution to this crisis.”
Chesapeake Treatment Services is located at 402 Marvel Court (off Idlewild Avenue) in Easton.