GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — One in 10 veterans have been diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. And currently VA Medical Centers in Colorado do have outpatient and inpatient substance abuse treatment programs to help those people but none have a residential program.
“Given the fact that we don’t currently have a program that addresses substance use disorders in Colorado on the residential level, we often times have to refer people to out of state programs. But people with legal issues are often times not able to leave the state,” says Dr. Jordan Pekevski, who works for the VA Medical Center.
But the VA Medical Center is opening a new program called Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Residential Treatment Program, or SARRTP. Through this program, patients getting treatment for substance abuse will be able to stay at the VA Medical center and have access to critical care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without the intensity of an inpatient program.
“So it helps people with any substance abuse disorder. this can include alcohol use, it can include cocaine, methamphetamines, opioids, any substance abuse disorder,” says Dr. Pekevski.
Treatment includes everything from therapy to medical treatment. “We’re going to have psychiatrists, medical providers, psychologists, social workers, peer support specialists, vocational rehabilitation specialists, nursing staff, and a variety of different staff,” says Dr. Pekevski. But it goes beyond just treating substance abuse.
“It’s also here to use other services the VA offers like the HUD-VASH program that helps find housing for veterans who might be homeless or might be couch surfing,” says Kayla Holst, who works for the VA Medical Center. She says the program could be life changing, and possibly life saving. “It’s being able to access multiple resources at once while you’re trying to get back into society as a contributing citizen,” says Holst.
The VA Medical center is planning on having a grand opening for the program on Veterans day.