The 55-bed Maryhaven Addiction Stabilization Center (MASC) on Columbus’ South Side sits at ground zero for the opiate crisis in Franklin County.
As opiate overdoses continued to skyrocket, Shawn Holt had been Maryhaven’s President and CEO for only months. Working closely with the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County (ADAMH) and other partners on the front lines of the crisis, they came up with an idea to create an innovative new treatment option for clients battling opiate addiction.
Maryhaven was already leasing building space at 1430 South High Street, primarily to treat clients on an outpatient basis. “We took a look around and said, we can turn this into at least a 50-bed facility,” Shawn said.
The partners worked together to create MASC, a center that provides immediate stabilization to those who overdose—helping cut down on the strain the crisis is putting on hospital emergency rooms, and offering an opportunity for access to care and treatment right away.
“Some of these folks would be dead today if it weren’t for the center because of how rampant the crisis is and how prone people are to re-overdosing.”
— ANDREW MOSS, MARYHAVEN
ADAMH reached out to others who could benefit from a stabilization center specifically designed to give clients who overdose an option other than going to the emergency room. Those partners included representatives from hospital systems and area addiction support providers, as well as the City of Columbus, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, and the Columbus Divisions of Police and Fire.
“The really nice thing was the ADAMH board served as the convener,” Shawn said. “They brought together everyone they thought would touch this program. By the time it opened, everyone was on board and knew what was going on.”
In January 2018, MASC opened its doors.
“I think the biggest success to date has been the collaboration with the community partners, and how much investment those partners have had,” said Andrew Moss, Director of Stabilization Services for Maryhaven. “That’s what’s groundbreaking about this.”
The Columbus Foundation awarded a grant of $150,000 to support the new center, thanks to funds raised during a Critical Need Alert at the end of 2016 created to support the needs of the community as it faces the opiate crisis. The Ingram-White Castle Foundation, a Supporting Foundation of The Columbus Foundation, also awarded a grant for $23,575 to support the effort.
“Maryhaven’s role of serving the community through this center is greatly appreciated and much needed,” said Dan Sharpe, Vice President for Community Research and Grants Management at The Columbus Foundation. “The center fills a gap within the prevention and treatment continuum—and serves individuals, families, and the community at a critical juncture for addiction and recovery.”
The decision as to whether someone is brought directly to MASC as opposed to the emergency room following an overdose is both symptom- and condition- based, Andrew explained. If they have an uncomplicated overdose, they can come directly to the center. Some clients need to be observed in a hospital setting to make sure they are stable first. At the end of the day, it’s the client’s choice whether to seek treatment at MASC or be treated and released from an emergency room—at which time, many unfortunately will return to the cycle of addiction.
“We’re willing to walk through that decision-making piece with the client,” Andrew said. “Sometimes they come and they’re on the fence and not really sure if this is for them. We offer so many different options. You aren’t signing up for 30 days of treatment. You’re signing up for whatever works best for you.”
Andrew developed the program keeping in mind that each patient is unique, and what works for some may not work for others. “We thought it was important to have different levels of care,” he said. “We wanted, in terms of medical care, to have the flexibility to be patient- centered. This is a more responsive protocol than I’ve seen before.”
The Addiction Stabilization Center has three specific levels:
- Admission and Triage (4–23 hours / 5 beds available)
- Detoxification Treatment (3–7 days / 20 beds available)
- Long-term Residential Services (14+ days / 30 beds available)
“We have offered hundreds of people a different option than what they had,” Shawn said.
For now, that option remains focused on hope for the future.
“There’s a growing energy around the Addiction Stabilization Center. Now that people see it and it’s real, people want to get even more engaged than they were before. It’s momentous,” Andrew said.