Pubdate: Thu, 02 Oct 2003
Source: Kentucky Post (KY)
Copyright: 2003 Kentucky Post
Author: Shelly Whitehead


Teen Overdoses Spur Treatment

Drug-addicted teens now have a new option to help them get and stay sober 
in Northern Kentucky. St. Luke Hospitals on Wednesday opened an intensive 
outpatient adolescent chemical-dependency program in Florence exclusively 
for teens ages 14-17 who want to kick drug addiction.

The program is designed to treat addiction to any drug, but it was Northern 
Kentucky's recent wave of teen heroin and opiate overdose deaths last 
winter which first called attention to the need for more treatment options 
for high school-age youngsters. Last winter three teen-agers died in four 
months of suspected opiate overdoses in Northern Kentucky.

The tragedies launched a massive community effort to combat drug addiction 
in and around the area hardest hit -- Campbell County -- last year.

"Those are the things that really made us start looking," said the 
hospital's Behavioral Health Manager of Alcohol and Drug Programs Jo Ann 
Florence. "This offers counseling basically and a lot of education on the 
disease concept (of drug addiction) and how it affects them and their 

St. Luke already operates a drug treatment program for adults in Pendleton 
County. Following last winter's overdose deaths, though, many parents 
expressed the need for more treatment programs for young teens in Northern 

Florence said St. Luke's program is geared to treat up to 10 teens at a 
time. Patients must attend three-hour counseling and education sessions 
three days a week for eight weeks. The program does not offer methadone 
maintenance treatment or in-patient detoxification from drugs, Florence said.

Anyone interested in further information should call (859) 962-5384.
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