Skip to main content.

Take the First Step to Treat Opiate Addiction

Posted August 20, 2019 by Jaimie McKinnon, Vice President, Summa Health Behavioral Health Institute

First Step Blog

With the opiate crisis in the United States growing annually, it has become essential for community organizations and those on the front lines to make resources for recovery easily accessible. Too often, those affected end up in an emergency room where providers administer a quick fix, hand over an informational pamphlet and send them on their way.

When you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, it can be difficult to know where to turn for help. Online resources can be overwhelming, and insurance and waiting lists can be frustrating.

Healthy changes are well within reach and admitting that you need help and seeking treatment is a major step forward in the journey toward recovery. When you or a loved one commit to getting help for addiction, there is no time to wait – assistance is needed fast.

This is why you should contact the First Step addiction program at Summa’s Akron or Barberton Campus Emergency Department. This program, a partnership with the United Way of Summit County and other community agencies, begins addiction treatment right there in the emergency room, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In that first visit, symptoms are treated, and cravings are eased, but it doesn’t stop there. Before you are discharged, next treatment steps are put into place to start you on a journey toward recovery.

We understand that opiate addiction treatment is more than just stopping the cravings. It’s about treating not just the physical addiction, but also the mental and behavioral addiction to avoid relapse.

Our treatment plan includes:

Medical Treatment

Our ED is one of the few in the state administering medication-assisted treatment through buprenorphine. With it, we can provide withdrawal suppression to people in crisis – people who may never otherwise seek medical care.

Care Coordination

Thanks to the support of United Way, we have a full-time addiction care coordinator available from 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., soon changing to 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. The care coordinator can quickly assess a patient’s current needs and connect them with appropriate providers and facilities while still in the emergency room.

Recovery Coach Connection

This program also offers on-call “peer recovery coaches.”These supporters help a person cope with problems and encourage them to do things that improve their health and outlook on life. The PRS has lived through similar challenges allowing them to share their experience, provide non-judgmental support and bring encouragement and hope for positive outcomes. Peer support provides patients with:

  • Practical advice about managing their addiction.
  • Safe and judgement-free emotional and social support.
  • Help to better cope with the illness or other stressors.
  • A sense that what they may be feeling is normal (or expected) and insight about what may lie ahead.

Service Coordination

When someone attends their first appointment after the ER visit, they gain access to a service coordinator whose job it is to address all of a patient’s needs outside of treatment, including childcare, food stability, housing and transportation. By removing barriers to staying in recovery, service coordination helps patients stay motivated and engaged in their treatment plan.

If you or a loved one is ready to start the First Step Addiction Treatment Program, visit the Summa Barberton Campus Emergency Department at 155 5th St NE, Barberton, OH 44203 or the Summa Akron Campus Emergency Department. Our doors are always open. 


Options to Request an Appointment

If your situation is an emergency, call 911.