Sen. Portman visits Loveland addiction recovery program to talk solutions to heroin epidemic

Posted at 7:33 PM, Jul 05, 2017

LOVELAND, Ohio -- Sen. Rob Portman visited the Adams Recovery Center for Women Wednesday to discuss the region’s opioid epidemic with those who have graduated from the program.

Heather Padgett, who once numbered among the center’s patients, said she arrived at Adams after a sports injury and subsequent prescription drug abuse led her to heroin. Now seven months sober, she shared her story with Portman, emphasizing the way Adams' unique methods had aided her recovery.

“The (program’s) patience, the understanding and the way that they made me look at myself (all helped)," she said.

Portman’s visit came just two weeks after he met with Hamilton County CoronerLakshmi Sammarco to discuss the community's year-over-year increase in overdose deaths. 

He said longer term recovery programs such as the one offered at Adams are imperative because fewer people relapse after completing those courses compared to short-term recovery efforts.

“Instead, people tend to be able to get back on their feet, and that’s exactly what we heard here today,” Portman said. "Treatment programs have to focus on what the core issue because, interestingly, it’s usually not the drug. In other words, people are trying to fill a hole for some other reason, and until you get down to that, they sometimes will leave treatment."

These programs might be more effective, but they are also more exclusive. Adams can only treat 30 patients at a time, leaving other women who struggle with addiction wait-listed. It takes between three and six months for one person to complete treatment there.

Portman said he believed more resources should be available to places like Adams.

"If they could have another 16 or 20 or 30 beds -- frankly, it would be less expensive for everybody to have a little larger facility they can spread some of the costs," he said.