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Addiction, mental health clinic will open this fall in Columbia: 'It's treatment for co-occurring disorders'

Intelligencer Journal - 9/11/2017

A new outpatient clinic that will treat both addiction and mental health issues is opening in Columbia this fall, according to the director of Lancaster County's Drug and Alcohol Commission, Rick Kastner.

“It's treatment for co-occurring disorders,” Kastner said. “Someone could be an alcoholic with emotional issues or someone could have a mental health disorder and not have addiction issues. But the clinic will specialize in serving a person with a drug or alcohol addiction and a mental health need.”

Kastner said a clinic in the western part of the county was a priority for his office, to give potential clients in that area access to treatment.

The clinic was paid for through Medicaid expansion reinvestment funds, a program allowed by the state that allocates some funding for specific projects.

The clinic has been in the works for about three years, according to Kastner.

When it opens at 610 Poplar St., across from the former Columbia Community Hospital, the clinic will only be in temporary quarters.

The lease on the temporary site begins Sept. 1, according to Trish Young, vice president of outpatient services for Pennsylvania Counseling Services Inc., the treatment contractor that will run the clinic. The license to begin operating is expected in October.

“Meanwhile, we will be looking for a suitable building in Columbia to purchase,” Young said, noting the clinic will be the company's 14th, all located in the southcentral part of the state.

“In the work that we've done with individuals who are battling an addiction, there is often an interconnection with trauma and mental health and substance abuse,” Young said. “You don't always know what came first.”

“Having significant mental health issues makes you more at a risk for addiction,” she said. “We look at lifetime events, coexisting conditions - anything that can make getting into recovery and staying in recovery difficult.”

She said the outpatient clinic will also emphasize sleep and nutrition and help clients understand the relationship between wellness and stress management.

“We want to help people learn how to build a health recovery network,” Young said.

The clinic will treat all ages and people at all stages of recovery.

The clinic will accept both Medicaid and private insurance patients, but will not provide medication-assisted treatment at the site.

Credit: SUSAN BALDRIGE | Staff Writer


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