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Business Observer Friday, May 24, 2019 4 months ago

Group starts intensive outpatient program for addiction, opioid recovery

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Sarasota Addiction Specialists has started group sessions to help treat people with addictions of all kinds.

One way to attack the exploding opioid crisis? Treat it like an unmet business need. 

That's the strategy at Sarasota Addiction Specialists, which recently started to offer intensive outpatient treatment in the area. Kimberly Benson, clinical director and supervisor at SAS, says the for-profit organization will provide programs that will allow people struggling with substance abuse to attend group sessions to help with their addictions while still continuing to go to work, school or fulfill other responsibilities. 

While several nonprofits treat addictions, few groups like SAS target middle class to upper-middle class addicts, SAS officials believe, which has created a gap in services. “It’s about meeting the needs of the community,” says Director of Support Services David Forestier.

Sarasota Addiction Specialists also wanted to move to a group setting to facilitate addicts identifying with each other, says Cole Young, director of operations. Groups will be no larger than nine people, allowing for personalized attention, he says, and for clients to reap the benefits of healing together.

The groups will help treat people with addictions of all kinds — not just opioids.

Before starting to offer the services, SAS had to get an intensive outpatient treatment license from the Florida Department of Children and Families, an investment of time and money. It also faced another challenge — the team had to wait until it got the license to start marketing the services.

The team plans to network with judges and treatment facilities to spread the word about the programs. And if the Sarasota Addiction Specialists’ program grows enough, Forestier says they will add another therapist.

In addition to the problem of addiction itself, there’s another aspect of substance abuse the firm sees, he says. “People don’t treat until they’re in the corner.” They wait until they’ve lost a job, are getting a divorce or are facing courtroom implications. “They’re not showing up here until things are really bad,” Forestier says. “We’re trying to change that.”

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