At its core, recovery is about being involved – at the front lines of prevention and building long-term relationships with communities and individuals. To guide people on their path to recovery takes dedication to a broad view of the challenges that our communities face as a whole, coupled with the detailed focus of serving individuals affected by these issues.
“We receive referrals from community sectors such as DSS, probation, and/or self-referrals. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., we do walk-ins for assessments,” said Marilyn Cromer, prevention specialist at Gateway Counseling Center. “If someone shows up and needs an assessment, they will be seen. We do our best not to turn anyone away.”
It’s this kind of balance that makes organizations such as Gateway Counseling Center so successful – putting patients first but constantly striving to make our communities greater in the process.
“Education is a huge part of the process, but we want to make sure people are being seen and heard as well,” said Cromer.
Her prevention department knows that recovery is a long-term process. One way that addiction can be prevented is through intervention and education. For that reason, Gateway provides prevention services that focus on helping individuals, groups and the community to reduce the risk of developing problems associated with alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Health fairs, speaking engagements and participation in the Laurens County Prevention Coalition all focus on implementing prevention services to increase awareness and educate the community.
The Laurens County Prevention Coalition participated in the National Prescription Take Back Day on April 27.
“This year was the most successful one ever,” Cromer said, referring to an initiative started to recover unused medication. “According to our state office, South Carolina collected 11,825 pounds of medication. That was the greatest amount collected since the take back initiative began in the state of South Carolina.”
Participation in the National Prescription Take Back Day is part of the work the Laurens County Coalition and the prevention department are doing with the opioid crisis in South Carolina. Gateway Counseling Center also is partnering with Clear Skye Treatment Center, which provides medication-assisted treatment to opioid-dependent clients.
The problems with addiction and recovery tend to reverberate through families and communities as a whole, which is why places like Gateway Counseling Center also aid in crisis intervention, which ranges from someone thinking of harming themselves to recognizing they need some help with their personal battle. Family members can even reach out if their family member is in a crisis situation. Pregnant and intravenous drug users get first priority, although Cromer said people with mental health issues and possible parole or probation violators get priority attention as well.
“We really do try to see everyone. While that’s not always possible, we keep the same hours for walk-ins every week and have staff in place, ready in case of a crisis situation,” Cromer pointed out.
Many patients are able to seek assistance with treatment services and Gateway Counseling Center receives state and federal tax dollars that may assist in paying for some of these services. The client works with the financial department to establish payment and interest-free arrangements. Gateway accepts Medicaid, most major health insurance policies and other third-party coverage from referral agencies, with necessary documentation.
Those on the journey to recovery can often feel ignored and isolated, burdened by shame and a sense that they don’t have any options. Places such as Gateway Counseling Center are there to help. If you or a loved one is facing a personal battle with addiction, call 864-833-6500 or visit www.gatewaycounseling.org.
By James Carter