State approves license for opioid treatment program in Knox County

The state of Indiana has approved two licenses for the Hamilton Center to open an opioid treatment center in Knox County

Posted: Jan. 23, 2019 5:44 PM

KNOX COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Natasha Newcomb was a social worker for ten years. In that time she had first-hand experience with the opioid fight.

Newcomb says, "When we use the word epidemic, which is often used in the state and nation level, that is not an understatement of what we're dealing with."

Newcomb says for years the problem has been getting the issue into the public's eye.

Newcomb explains, "Opioid use disorder I think for a long time has been one of those things that have been out of sight out of mind. Because of the stigma associated with substance use."

The state of Indiana has pushed for more treatment programs in recent years. Hamilton center officials saw the need to bring a program into Knox County.

Hamilton Center CEO Mel Burks says, "There was maybe like twenty leaders from that county who came to the meeting that we asked them to attend and we talked about it and we let them know what we were prepared to do. And they supported it."

That support helped get the Hamilton Center an approved license from the state. That approval means the Hamilton Center can get to work.

Burks says, "There are about 18 individuals on each team. And what they're doing is putting together a plan, step by step, what do we need to do."

Services will be similar to the program available in Vigo County. That includes using methadone to assist in treatment.

A location for the program has not yet been announced. However, the Hamilton Center hopes to have it up and running by the end of 2019.

Burks says, "Once those plans have been put together. Then we are going to accelerate those plans."

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