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North Star update

Workers atop Fayette Regional Health System on Monday putplastic wrap on the wall of a third-floor expansion that will be part of the new North Star adult detox center.

By BOB HANSEN - bhansen@newsexaminer.com

When Fayette Regional Health System opens its North Star Adult Detox center later this month, it will be the only one like it in Indiana.

It’s so innovative that the state is still writing the standards and regulations for it, according to Katrina Norris, its director.

It is attracting positive attention for Connersville, said Randy White, the hospital’s president and chief executive officer.

Norris and White spoke about the new program Monday with the Connersville Rotary Club. The adult detox center is being housed on the hospital’s third floor. Construction is scheduled for completion in the next few weeks; an open house is being planned for June 28.

Norris said a question that has come up is why the hospital is doing this program here. It’s because Connersville has been at the epicenter of a drug abuse problem in Indiana and because no one else is doing this kind of program.

“We want Connersville to be known for something positive,” she said.

North Star adult detox will be a program for adults who want to come off of drug addiction. It will include a five- to eight-day stay in the unit, away from all outside influences.

Fayette Regional has had a program for young people for 25 years, Norris said, but nothing similar for adults. The adolescent detox program at Fayette Regional Health Care Pavilion has 12 beds for people aged 6 to 17. The average stay is three to five days. The adolescent substance abuse program has eight beds where males from 12-18 years old stay an average of four months.

The hospital knows how to be successful with young people, Norris said, but, in many instances, when they leave, they go back to a family where drug abuse occurs and fall back into the same addictions.

It’s important for her and the community to try to help put families back together, she said. The adult detox program will clean harmful substances out of people but can’t address longer term treatment for the altered brains caused by addictions, Norris said. The hospital works with local long-term recovery programs, such as Hope House, but much more of that kind of program is needed. 

White said Fayette Regional’s new program also will be creating new jobs for highly skilled people, some of whom are already moving here from some distance. Norris said the North Star Recovery program staff now numbers 35.

White said it’s been amazing to him to see the wide variety of people who have become addicted to drugs after medications had been legally prescribed. People in all walks of life are affected, he said.