Opioids still common: no “Gray Death”
While no reports of “Gray Death,” have surfaced in Terrebonne or Lafourche yet, both parishes have suffered the effects of the opioid crisis.
Bridget Leche, a licensed Social Worker with Start Corporation, says while she hasn’t seen “Gray Death,” she has treated many cases of opioid addiction, these often starting from injuries.
“At some point in time they were involved in some accident or injury, or their family member had some type of injury and that got them hooked on pain pills,” said Leche. “And when the pain pills weren’t enough they moved to heroin.”
Leche didn’t have exact numbers, but said that from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. her schedule was booked with substance abuse assessments. Her work focuses on getting addicts off of drugs through medication assisted rehabilitation.
Her work is critical to this effort because she has to ensure the patients can be trusted not to abuse the medicine used in their treatment process. Suboxone and Vivitrol are two tools used for treatment.
Suboxone requires the patient to already be in the withdrawl state, and during this time the person is highly monitored. The patient does not receive a full prescription of the Suboxone to ensure that they do not abuse the treatment.
“Like if I’m sitting in group, and a client walks in and I know they have a limited income,” Leche said. “But they roll in with a roll of money – something is not right.”
The Start Corporation is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1984. It began with a focus on assisting the homeless populations and eventually branched out into mental and physical treatments. The main office can be located at: 420 Magnolia Street, Houma, LA 70360. It can be reached by phone at: (985) 879-3966.