MANSFIELD -- In one decade, the number of Richland County residents seeking help for drug addiction jumped by almost 4,000 people.
In that same 10-year period (2008-2018), the number of residents seeking help with opiate-specific addictions went up by 2,800.
As Richland County Mental Health & Recovery Services launches its annual Recovery Month observance in September, agency Executive Director Joe Trolian said that troubling rise in addiction numbers also reflects a positive.
"It's indicative of how bad the problem has gotten, but it's also indicative of the way this community has rallied to put services in place," Trolian told Richland County commissioners on Tuesday.
"In 2018, we lost 44 people to overdoses, but we treated 4,800," Trolian said. "That's very significant and something the community should be proud of. A single death is too many, but we are making sure we have the pieces in place to make sure we are able to serve the community."
Those services improve on Sept. 20 at 11 a.m. when New Beginnings Alcohol and Drug Treatment Services stages a ribbon cutting to mark the opening of a new detox center and new residential facility.
The New Beginnings campus is located at 703 Scholl Road, operated by Catalyst Life Services.
"We are very excited about the ribbon cutting for our new withdrawal management facility, as well as our new women's treatment facility," Trolian said. "It's the first detox facility Richland County has had local access to since Freedom Hall closed in 2004.
"It's going to greatly impact the work we've been doing in stemming the number of overdoses and the number of deaths and overdoses dealing with the opioid epidemic," Trolian said.
The long-time director said the agency is also proud of the variety of services available for area residents, especially to those seeking help with drug addiction.
"It isn't just one agency doing it a specific way," he said, citing some local treatments are faith-based while others focus on science/medication-assisted services and still others provide support services.
"It's nice being in a county where we don't have to embrace just one approach," Trolian said. "Most of the agencies we work with have same day or next-day services. People are not waiting in long lines to get care."