“Hello, this is Juan Blea calling to refer a client. Can you please call me back to set up a time to do a screening?”
I must’ve said that fifteen times this week. Guess how many calls back I received? None. Zero. Zippo. Nada. People need help and there’s only so much I can do on my own. What’s frustrating isn’t the fact that there are so few centers that provide quality substance abuse treatment, it’s the fact that I don’t even receive a call back from the very few centers that do. Even if they can’t see a client do to the overwhelming people that need treatment, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that intake coordinators call me back to tell me that they are simply too busy.
What’s even more frustrating is that, while we all know that substance abuse is a huge problem that impacts our communities on so may levels; yet, very few people actually want to engage the issue and do something. For example, the evidence is beginning to mount that Naloxone (Narcan) is effective as a medicine to treat both opiate addiction and alcohol addiction. But, docs aren’t prescribing for either. I don’t get it. I also don’t understand why a state like New Mexico is overwhelmed by opiate overdoses (at a rate 2.7 times the national average, according to the latest data from the NM Department of Health), yet there are maybe five doctors who will prescribe suboxone and those that do are seeing the maximum number of patients.
I’ve talked to a few docs and they really don’t want either the added heat from the feds or the pressures that opiate abusers present. Still doesn’t explain the huge lack of interest from the medical community to get involved in the fight against substance abuse.
I can’t describe the number of times I’ve explained and written about having resources available for those contemplating recovery. But, imagine the frustration for clients when there are no resources available. Worse, imagine how they feel when they’re awaiting a call from a facility and don’t hear anything back from anyone. I really do understand that the demand for treatment resources, whether inpatient or intensive outpatient, is much higher than the supply of resources available, but damn, CALL BACK. Let me know there isn’t room. Share with me some insight as to potential timeframes. let me know SOMETHING so that I don’t keep my clients in the dark!
My clients often need more support than I alone can provide. twelve-step programs aren’t for everyone and the research literature is showing that pharmacological intervention is effective in treating opiate and alchol addiction. Yet, who cares what the research suggest IF THERE’S NO ONE WILLING TO GET INVOLVED?! I have every reason to hold hope that insidious diseases like addiction, depression, and anxiety can be overcome. But, we need to come together as a community and share resources and contacts. And, IF you work for a facility or agency, please be professional and return phone calls. There’s no excuse: We’re all busy. Call me back, please…someone’s life probably depends on what you have to say…