Pandemic can’t stop 150 from completing drug treatment

by | Aug 3, 2022 | Behavioral Health

Coping with substance use disorder (SUD) is difficult in the best of times. The pandemic made it even more challenging for people struggling with addiction.

“The social isolation imposed by the pandemic was especially hard on our clients. They experienced increased depression and higher levels of anxiety. We saw more relapses,” Celeste Lakey said.

Celeste is a supervisor for our SUD program in Klamath Falls. She has worked as a Certified Drug Alcohol Counselor for more than a dozen years. Three of those years have been with LCS Northwest.

Klamath Falls SUD team: Standing (left to right): Ellen Hamilton, Ginger Marsh and Ron Hicks. Sitting (left to right): Melissa Anderson, Celeste Lakey and Krysta Robinson.

The SUD team turned to telehealth in order to continue serving their patients. Besides individual counseling sessions, they offered group sessions that focused on early recovery and relapse prevention. They updated their curriculum to emphasize motivation.

Many of the clients didn’t care for telehealth treatment. They missed in-person sessions with their counselors and peer support. Celeste noted that the staff missed it as well. They felt detached from their clients.

In spite of these challenges, the team helped people manage their addictions and reclaim their lives. More than 150 people successfully completed their treatment during the pandemic, including this person: 

A woman with a history of treatment attempts and relapses, returned for outpatient assistance. She received both mental health counseling and SUD treatment, and was also connected with case management services. 

She learned to self-regulate, have difficult conversations, and advocate for herself. The client has taken ownership of her struggles and has reclaimed her confidence. Her children have been returned to her care and she was preparing to move into an apartment when she was successfully discharged. 

Klamath Falls fully reopened its office in April 2022. The SUD team is now offering in-person sessions and welcoming new clients. In June, they will hold their first graduation ceremony for outpatient graduates since the pandemic started.

The SUD team has a new energy too. Two longtime counselors departed and two new counselors-in-training have joined the team.

“Our diverse backgrounds, unique experiences and skills make us a solid team.” Celeste said. “It’s exciting to be with this team.”