By Sarrah Peters
Local students celebrated Red Ribbon Week from Oct. 23 to Oct. 31. Red Ribbon Week is a drug prevention campaign that began in 1985 after the death of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena. In addition to sporting red ribbons, local students participated in theme days to spread the word of drug prevention.
Riverview Regional Medical Center Service Coordinator Jennifer Riley visited schools to speak about drug prevention. Riley also wanted to highlight Riverview’s New Vision program with the community.
“Red Ribbon Week is all about the support of living a sober lifestyle,” said Riley.
New Vision is a Drug and Alcohol Medical Stabilization Service. Over the course of three to five days, clients can safely detox from alcohol and substance addiction, a safer alternative to trying to get through withdrawal symptoms on one’s own which can be deadly, according to Riley.
“Withdrawal at home is risky,” said Riley
Withdrawal can include tremors, nausea, vomiting and death. New Vision can step in hours after the last use to taper the substances safely out of people’s systems. According to Riley, this can help stop the “cycle of addiction,” where users take more substances to alleviate withdrawal symptoms.
“This is just the very beginning of sobriety,” said Riley.
Intake into New Vision involves sharing the medical and addiction history. After the three to five-day stabilization service, New Vision will follow through with aftercare, formulating treatment that meets each patients’ needs, whether that is inpatient with a rehabilitative service or outpatient. This offers what Riley calls a “recovery road map.”
The program now offers Vivitrol injections, which can prevent cravings and block the effects of alcohol and opiates for 28 days, though Riley says it serves best for alcohol.
New Vision is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., but Riley says that the program will work around clients who cannot make it in during those hours.
New Vision does not require a physician’s referral; patients can self-refer. Riley encourages anyone suffering from substance abuse or their loved ones’ to call in for more information about the program.
For more information, call 256-543-5467.
New Vision has been helping patients for 25 years and has had its service at Riverview for 10 years. The New Vision program at Riverview is currently expanding to offer more services to locals suffering from substance abuse.
“This is a problem that affects the entire family and community,” said Riley. “We need the community on-board to have a community solution, and that means having the knowledge and resources to offer help to those who need it.”