RiverValley launching residential substance use disorder treatment program for women

Graphic by Owensboro Times

RiverValley Behavioral Health is set to launch “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.” 

“We could not be more excited about this new facility because it will change many lives,” said RiverValley President & CEO Dr. Wanda Figueroa-Peralta. “The Amethyst Center will be a beacon of hope and a place for healing and empowerment.”

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 know that women, especially pregnant women and those with children, face greater barriers in obtaining appropriate substance treatment,” Figueroa-Peralta said. “Shame, fear, lack of social supports, pregnancy, and scarcity of services prevent many women from seeking help and when they do, programs do not have adequate length or supports due to funding limitations.”

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.  

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), women have life circumstances that call for a specialized treatment approach and longer lengths of stay in treatment. 

“Physical and sexual trauma and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is more common in drug-abusing women than in men seeking treatment,” Figueroa-Peralta said. “Research also shows that residential treatment for less than 90 days limits its effectiveness. Treatment lasting longer is recommended. Good outcomes are contingent to adequate treatment length and the use of an integrated approach.”

Figueroa-Peralta said The Amethyst Center will “help women and babies have a better, healthier life.” 

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 grant allows us to expand our treatment model so that the client can stay at the center, deliver her baby, bring her baby back to the center from the hospital, and continue to receive services,” said Dr. RonSonlyn Clark, RiverValley’s Sr. Director of Prevention and Substance Use Treatment Services stated. 

Clark said at that point, the sase management team will help women gain employment, obtain housing, and assist with transportation and child care needs. 

“By the time the child is 6 months old, the mother will be moved out of the center and into her new residence,” Clark said. “She will be able to take her child into a drug-free home and break the cycle of addiction for the next generation.” 

RiverValley Behavioral Health will hold a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for The Amethyst Center with program staff and community leaders at noon on March 8.

“The Amethyst Center is a welcome addition to our community and under the direction of Dr. Clark, I expect it to be extremely effective and first-class,” said Owensboro Mayor Tom Watson. “The need for the type of program that The Amethyst Center will provide is overwhelming and there is no  better way to describe this effort than the phrase ‘We are all in this together.’ We as a community welcome the opportunity to be a part of the solution and pray Godspeed to all those involved.” 

Figueroa-Peralta said the Center is able to open through the diligence of the RiverValley board and team members with the support of the Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities (KDBHDID), as well as county and city officials and community partners.

RiverValley Behavioral Health is a nonprofit organization specializing in the provision of mental and behavioral health services. It has been a regional healthcare provider, covering Daviess, Ohio, McLean, Hancock, Webster, Union and Henderson counties for more than 50 years. 

They currently host more than 20 programs that include in-patient and out-patient services for  families dealing with alcohol and drug addictions. For more information about these programs, contact 270-689-6879 or TDD-Hearing Impaired at 1-800-769-4920. 

For those in crisis with a non-medical emergency, call or text the RiverValley Crisis Line at 800-433-7291. 

Published on March 2, 2021