LewisGale Hospital Pulaski launches program to combat substance abuse

The program runs from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday

PULASKI, Va. – Opioid overdose deaths are on the climb. The most recent data shows four Virginians die per day from an opioid overdose.

But a hospital in Pulaski launched a new program to crack down on the taboo subject of substance abuse.

In just one year, Virginia saw a 17% spike in opioid overdose deaths, according to the state health department.

Behavioral Health Program Director Leigh Gathings said in Pulaski, meth and opiates are the two most widely used substances. But to get ahead of addictions, LewisGale Hospital in Pulaski launched a new program to help save lives.

“I do notice younger folks are more willing to say, ‘Hey, I need help because we are getting taught that in school,’” she said. “Our families are saying, ‘Hey, it’s okay to say what you need.’ And with substance abuse in our community, we all know someone who is suffering.”

In just one month, five patients joined the program and one graduated.

“So, it was very powerful for our staff member and me personally to see someone accomplish their goal,” Gathings said.

The patients receive nine hours of group therapy a week to learn tools on how to manage stress and focus on mental health development. LewisGale Hospital Pulaski CEO Sean Pressman said the goal is to prepare them for a lifestyle beyond the hospital bed.

“The last thing we want is patients coming back to us again and again and again,” he said. “We want to bridge that divide and put people on a successful path towards recovery long term.”

The program offers breakfast and lunch at every therapy session.

The time of the sessions is based on the town’s public bus schedule to help patients avoid transportation issues.

If you are interested in participating in the program, call 540-440-4420.

The program runs from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Recommended Videos