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New drug and alcohol abuse rehab center opens at Holy Cross Hospital

As opioid overdoses rise across the city, the Sinai Chicago Center for Addiction Treatment and Recovery at Holy Cross Hospital is accepting new patients.

Donnica Austin-Cathey, president of Holy Cross Hospital, speaks at a ribbon cutting ceremony for its new Center for Addiction Treatment and Recovery at Holy Cross Hospital. Wednesday, August 11, 2021. | Brian Rich/Sun-Times
Donnica Austin-Cathey, president of Holy Cross Hospital, talks about its new Center for Addiction Treatment and Recovery.
Brian Rich/Sun-Times

As the pandemic swept through the nation last year, the CDC reported rising stress and isolation led to an increase in substance abuse by some. Now, a new treatment center at Holy Cross hospital is helping Chicagoans on the Southwest Side overcome substance abuse disorders.

The Sinai Chicago Center for Addiction Treatment and Recovery at Holy Cross Hospital, 2701 W. 68th St., opened June 1 in partnership with US Healthvest. It has already treated over 85 patients, said the center’s program director Kara Moonan.

Holy Cross Hospital President Donnica Austin-Cathey said the hospital’s community health needs assessment found substance abuse was among the top five community health issues facing the neighborhoods it serves.

“The communities Sinai Chicago serves on Chicago’s Southwest and West sides are facing significantly higher levels of drug abuse and addiction than any other places in the city,” she said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday,

While the city’s annual opioid report won’t be released until later this week, the city has seen an increase in opioid abuse during COVID-19, said Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner for Chicago Department of Public Health.

“COVID-19 was not all just about COVID. Just between January and June of 2021, we’ve had more than 5,500 opioid-related ambulance responses across Chicago,” Arwady said. “Last year in 2020 we had more than 1,300 Chicagoans lose their lives from opioid overdoses.”

The new center will serve as an inpatient unit on the hospital’s fourth floor. Treatment starts with patients going through an acute medical detox under the supervision of nurses, doctors and psychiatrists.

Then, patients receive treatment from licensed social workers, licensed counselors, patient care technicians, and certified alcohol and drug counselors.

Moonan said most patients receive inpatient treatment for three to five days, but during that time each patient is treated individually rather than through group treatment.

Once patients leave inpatient care, they are set up with aftercare.

“With addictions, it’s really tough because there’s a lot of relapse,” Moonan said, “but I think providing them with an aftercare program and following up with them will really lead to successful outcomes.”

The center is accepting both walk-ins and appointments. Walk-ins should arrive at the emergency room. Both English and Spanish services are available.

Cheyanne M. Daniels is a staff reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times via Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster the paper’s coverage of communities on the South and West sides.