Amy Lindsey | GC News-GazetteJessica Embry, Medical Stabilization Director, spoke about the hospital's new Medical Stabilization Program for alcohol and substance abuse at the May Chamber of Commerce Luncheon.

Amy Lindsey | GC News-Gazette

Jessica Embry, Medical Stabilization Director, spoke about the hospital's new Medical Stabilization Program for alcohol and substance abuse at the May Chamber of Commerce Luncheon.

At the May Grayson County Chamber of Commerce Luncheon, which was sponsored by The Cecilian Bank to celebrate its 115th birthday and catered by Redneck Ranch Restaurant, Jessica Embry, Medical Stabilization Director, spoke about the hospital's new Medical Stabilization Program for alcohol and substance abuse.

According to Embry, the program provides medical care to treat the symptoms of withdrawal for alcohol and substance abuse.

She said it provides medical assisted withdrawal treatment with the average length of stay being three to five days.

In order for someone to qualify for this program, they must commit willingly, be experiencing physical symptoms of withdraw, cannot have a primary mental health diagnosis, meet scoring criteria and be 18 or older, according to Embry.

She said that the program accepts most types of health insurance.

After the initial stay, Embry said the patients are given specific discharge instructions to meet their needs and they are given a list of continuation rehabilitation services, such as AA/NA support groups and outpatient therapy resources.

According to Embry, this program helps the community in a variety of ways including reducing the accessibility to children, increasing qualified potential employees, positively impact the economy and creates a healthier community in general.

She said, "Currently 10.7 percent of Kentucky's budget is being used to address alcohol and substance abuse and studies has proven that every one dollar spent on treatment can save the nation up to seven dollars in benefits such as fewer medical costs, decreased crime, increased employment and less money spent on incarceration."

According to Embry, drug overdoses are more frequent than motor vehicle accident and Kentucky has the seventh highest rate of overdoses in the nation.

She said, "In 2016, there were 163 treated either in the ER or hospitalized at TLRMC for an overdose and Grayson County had 112 deaths in 2016 due to overdose."

Embry also noted that Kentucky is the only state that continues to have a decreasing life expectancy, the highest rate of children going into foster care and the highest Hepatitis C rates in the nation.

So far, according to Embry, the program has seen 21 patients since opening on Feb. 19, 2018, with an average age of 44-years-old.

She said the rates of substances used with those patients were: 45 percent alcohol, 35 percent opioids, 10 percent methamphetamine and 10 percent heroin.

According to TLRMC CEO Wayne Meriwether, alcohol is the worse thing to detox from because it can kill the person who is going through withdrawal.

In addition to Embry, two students from Grayson County High School spoke about the "Meals on the Bus" program.

Hannah Baxter and Kennedy Childress, who have performed over 200 hours of community service each since October, wanted to invited the community to volunteer their time to help with the third annual "Meals on the Bus" program.

According to these young ladies, this program offers free meals to children 18 and under and usually serves between 600-700 children.

Baxter said that children who lack adequate nutrition and mental exercise over the summer have declined academic performance during the new school year.

They said in addition to free meals, the children will be able to participate in activities to exercise their brains as well.

Additionally, Childress said that the children will be given weekend bags on Fridays for all three routes, since the buses only run Monday through Friday.

The kick-off event for "Meals on the Bus" will be held June 1 at 11:30 at the Fireman's Memorial Park.

For more information about "Meals on the Bus" or to volunteer, contact the Grayson County Board of Education.