Women struggling with addiction will soon have a new treatment option in Janesville.
In January, HealthNet of Rock County plans to open a new medication-assisted treatment program for women at its 113 S. Franklin St. location in Janesville.
HealthNet CEO Ian Hedges said discussion about starting the program has been underway for about two years. Members of the community began talking in 2020 about what types of programs like this were lacking in Janesville.
One idea that came up was a gender-based addiction program. He said there’s not currently a program specifically tailored for women and their path to recovery.
The program being launched in January will be able to treat up to 25 women at a time with medication and counseling.
“The treatment portion is definitely something that is not responded to in this county in a gender responsive way; women have unique challenges to addiction that are unaddressed and gender related trauma is certainly one of those,” Hedges said. “I think women are also more afraid of revealing that there is a substance issue because of worry of how that will affect custody of their children.”
Hedges said one of the last steps as the program prepares to launch, being certified by medicaid and HMOs, is pending He said supplemental funding will fill the gaps while they are waiting for reimbursement based services. He said there is also talk of using volunteers for some aspects of the program.
“The volunteers would get a background check and screened,” he said. “This will help to make sure if mothers have to bring their children here that they have someone to watch their children while they are in treatment, because that is the biggest barrier to care.”
Kristin Austin, director of the behavioral health clinic at HealthNet, said the treatment will be for individuals who struggle with opiate and alcohol addiction, helping them to deal with stress, cravings and triggers that are a part of the recovery process. The program will also be able to prescribe medication to help them recover from addiction in a safe, non-lethal way.
Austin said the program will offer phase-based recovery in which individuals would start out participating in twice-weekly group meetings. That would phase down as they progressed in treatment. There would also be individual counseling.
“The groups will focus on coping, relapse, focusing on how to rebuild their lives and focusing on those things that continue to impede recovery,” Austin said. “In those individual sessions we would focus on more individual intimate concerns that they may have that they might not feel as comfortable sharing in-group and there would be a focus on mental health because that is a component of substance abuse.”
Austin said medications would “block the receptors and allow the individual to stop struggling with urges and cravings, it makes them unable to get high and allows them to have a substitute of sorts, that’s not going to harm them.”
“Opiates and alcohol are the main addictions identified in Rock County but it’s not to say we can’t talk about other substances,” Austin also noted.
She said many individuals struggle with mental health issues and addiction can stem from that.
Austin said the program will also be able to respond to crisis situations by increasing treatments, meeting with individuals more often and by identifying the triggers that led to the crisis.
“We are also able to, depending on how serious the crisis is, link them to specific services such as the county if they have additional support like residential treatment or detoxing,” she said.
For more information visit HealthNet of Rock County’s website, healthnet-rock.org