Residential substance use disorder treatment program for women to open next week

Graphic by Owensboro Times

RiverValley Behavioral Health has officially launched “The Amethyst Center” — a new residential substance use disorder treatment program for women. The center can house up to 16 women and 6 infants, offering up to a 9-month treatment model that includes obtaining employment and housing to help “break the cycle of addiction for the next generation.” 

The goal of the center is to help women recover from substance use disorder and to introduce them to a substance-free lifestyle through long-term supportive services. 

“We see this as creating a place for healing and empowerment of women who have particular needs,” said RiverValley President & CEO Dr. Wanda Figueroa-Peralta. “This program addresses needs not just in terms of gender but also the cultural responsibilities that are assumed that women must have as a mother.”

Figueroa-Peralta said they also want to make sure women know the center offers services with no judgement, saying that is often a big barrier for those who should seek help.

“We as a society are not doing a good job of helping women feel welcome when they see there are signs of abuse because there is so much shame involved in seeking treatment,” she said.

Services on-site at the center will include individual and group therapy, alcohol and drug education, life skills and parenting classes, and therapeutic activities such as yoga. Clients will also participate in self-help and recovery programs. 

The facility offers separate living accommodations, common living and dining areas, and group rooms for wellness and leisure activities.  

The funds from a $250,000 grant will allow RiverValley to house pregnant women and women with infants at The Amethyst Center beyond the traditional 30-day treatment model — instead offering a maximum of a 9-month treatment model in order to foster their recovery with intensive treatment and supports. 

The case management team will help women gain employment, obtain housing, and assist with transportation and child care needs. 

“They will be able to get out there on good footing and stop that cycle of addiction, break it before the next generation,” said Dr. RonSonlyn Clark, RiverValley’s Sr. Director of Prevention and Substance Use Treatment Services. “Those babies are going to be born drug-free and have the best possible start in life. That’s really what our goal here is.”

Clark said much thought was put into making sure the center provided a safe space for the women and infants.

“We spent a lot of time designing this space to be warm, friendly and open to get them in here into a safe environment, unlike what many of them have experienced in the past, so that they can already have their guard down and let us help them with the things that we know to do to help them,” Clark said. “It’s very important for them to feel special when they get here.”

Figueroa-Peralta said one of the benefits of long-term housing is that the women can develop relationships with one another, helping create lasting bonds of support. That, combined with the resources and connections provided by the center, can help create a road to recovery and safety.

“They have this as a place to anchor their recovery, but we want them to be equipped and be supported and have the relationships that will support them through the recovery,” she said.

Six women are slated to move in Sunday, and the center will begin accepting others next week.

For more information, call 270-689-6818 or 270-689-6738.

Published on March 9, 2021