Cartersville Center seeks to continue aiding those battling addiction
by Matt Shinall
Jun 09, 2012 | 1791 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Laurie Weaver sometimes uses a stuffed animal to help explain addiction to clients. The Cartersville Center Inc. treats people with opiate addiction.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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With roots in Cartersville for nearly 20 years, Cartersville Center Inc. looks to continue their tradition of treating opiate addictions using a carefully monitored two-prong approach.

CCI is separated into two wings within its Stonewall Street clinic, one housing medical and the other counseling. Using these two methods in conjunction, the staff at CCI have been treating those with opiate addictions for the better part of two decades.

"This is an opiate treatment program that allows them to stabilize their lives and their thinking and their social circle, all of that -- their relationships, their jobs," said James Christ, licensed professional counselor and certified addiction counselor. "It's like a two-prong approach. We use medication because a lot of people can't go straight from an opiate addiction -- which has pretty intense three to five day withdrawals -- most people can't make it through that without help. So the medication just meets them where ever their dependence level is and allows us to put the physical symptoms to the side until we can get their life going, get them clean consistently, get them functioning in their relationships -- then we can address the physical addiction."

With six full-time counselors on staff, and just as many nurses in addition to an on-site physician, CCI treats with the prescription drugs Methadone and Suboxone. Although the clinic is not new to Bartow County, International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor Laurie Weaver wants to create a greater awareness for their mission and practices.

"We're trying to educate the public of what we do. We're a recovery center, we treat people with opiate addiction and we use Methadone and Suboxone to stabilize them so that they can lead productive lives," Weaver said. "Methadone is what we use to help them with the physical symptoms of withdrawals only. Counseling is the main ingredient that we concentrate on for the psychological portion of it."

The medication used in treatment of opiate addiction has attracted its fair share of criticism, another reason Christ and Weaver hope to educate those in the community. They warn the negative opinions of Methadone and Suboxone treatment are unwarranted. Christ explains the role of those medications, specifically Methadone as it is the most popular treatment option due to cost, by comparing the process to that of a diabetic's use of insulin.

"Mainly, we're using the medication instead of just straight abstinence for people that can't just quit. ... We agree with [the abstinence] approach but a lot of people need something in between and some people can't make it to abstinence, they need to stay on a medication such as Methadone long term," Christ said. "If you think of a diabetic, they're on insulin -- they're dependent on it. You wouldn't say they're addicted to it, you'd say they're dependent because their body is not able to produce as much as it needs to function.

"That's the case with the addict, the addict has gotten his level of opiates he requires so high his body cannot produce that level anymore."

CCI treats, on average, about 300 patients at any given time with many of those receiving treatments for life. At a cost of about $12 a day, the treatment administered at CCI often is affordable compared to what addicts regularly pay for illicit substances.

CCI is privately owned by parent company CRC Health Group, which acquired the Cartersville clinic in 1999. The clinic does, however, operate under the regulation of several boards and authorities. Counseling and drug screen requirements are imposed and medical staff monitor patients routinely for proper medication levels.

The facility is located at 218 Stonewall St. in Cartersville. Patient hours are from 5 to 11 a.m. to accommodate work and parenting schedules. For more information, call 770-386-1907.