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Center of Excellence in Addiction Services

Fulfilling the Promise: Building a Center of Excellence in Addiction Services

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy’s new report on addiction and the misuse and abuse of chemical substances (drugs and alcohol), highlights the enormous need for treatment and prevention programs across the nation. El Camino Hospital’s Addiction Services predate the surgeon general’s call for action. The Foundation’s Fulfilling the Promise fundraising initiative is seeking donations that will increase the hospital’s capacity to meet the spiraling need, and to do so regardless of patients’ ability to pay.

The facts are shocking. More people now use prescription opioids than tobacco. An estimated 20.8 million people in the United States live with a substance use disorder, 1.5 times the number of people who have all cancers combined. One in five Americans binge drink. These disorders cost the United States more than $420 billion per year in the form of health care costs, lost economic productivity, and resources expended by the criminal justice system.

Our community is not immune. From 2002 to 2012, Santa Clara County experienced a nearly 28 percent rise in binge drinking, the biggest increase of any California county. In 2014 the San Jose Mercury News reported that the use of illicit drugs has become part of Silicon Valley’s work culture, as growing numbers of working professionals with college degrees become addicted to over-prescribed opioid pain killers.

El Camino Hospital’s intensive outpatient, abstinence-based program is predicated on the understanding that addiction is a chronic disease of the brain, which is supported by the surgeon general’s report. Designed for adults who work or attend school during the day, it meets four evenings per week for eight weeks and tackles both the chemical dependency and the underlying psychological issues. It is run by a psychiatrist who specializes in addiction, and staffed by highly experienced therapists, who are pioneering the use of dialectical behavioral therapy as a treatment modality. The hospital also offers a Dual Diagnosis Program designed for patients who have an addiction that is co-occurring with a psychiatric disorder.

Gifts to Fulfilling the Promise will support the development of a true center of excellence in addiction services, including initial costs for expansion. They will ensure no one in need is turned away or discharged before ready because insurance will not cover the level of exemplary care El Camino Hospital provides. Looking further ahead, as the hospital continues to respond to emerging needs in the community, the behavioral health team will explore creating a day treatment outpatient program and opening a Suboxone clinic for opioid addiction. To make a contribution or learn more, please contact Senior Philanthropy Officer Lindsay Ehrman, lindsay.ehrman@elcaminohospital.org or 650-988-7849.

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