December 12, 2017 — As the number of opioid users and the death toll from overdoses increases, 69-year-old Malvern Institute helps addicts and alcoholics get back on their feet.
Twenty-three-year old Chester County resident Adrian is an inpatient at the 7-acre facility, anchored by a renovated farmhouse. The full-care facility offers both detoxification and in-patient rehabilitation services.
“I want to do things differently,” said Adrian, an opioid user. “I lost hope in humanity and myself.”
He isn’t doing it alone.
“It comes when you work for it,” the six-time visitor to rehab said. “Malvern (Institute) can’t fix me. Malvern gives me the tools.
“You build relationships where you don’t have secrets.”
Ryan is 27 years old and lives in Warminster. The heroin user arrived at the facility on Thanksgiving.
“Everything I attempted in life, I failed,” Ryan said.
Ryan’s employer has been very understanding. Ryan was told to take a month off, with no questions asked, in a bid “to figure out” what he wants to do.
“They really take care of you,” Ryan proudly said about his employer. “They are even paying me.”
Ryan participates in about seven lectures and meetings each day. He is working on the 12-step program.
“It makes the day go by quicker,” he said.
Lisa Thompson, director of nursing, helps clients physically escape their addiction through detoxification, which often causes seizures and can be deadly.
“It starts with them walking through that door and saying I need help — admitting an addiction,” she said.
The time of 28 days of in-patient treatment is fading fast. Malvern fights insurance companies to get patients admitted for what is now typically an 18-day visit. Malvern’s five outpatient clinics — a cheaper option — often assist patients during a 90-day time period.
Marlo DelSordo, director of community relations, said that the length of stay often depends on insurance companies.
“Our job is to paint a picture of why the individual needs to be here,” Dave Lumpkin, executive director, said. “We’re constantly fighting – we are an adversary.
“Getting them in the door can be a little difficult.”
Morning meeting starts after breakfast.
Inspirational music is played, business is taken care of, including welcoming new members, and there is much support and boisterous clapping.
Those leaving the program often talk about their successes and impart what they learned.
“I had to find out my shortcomings and work on myself,” said one resident when leaving the program. “I had to get a sponsor.”
A staffer addressed the group.
“Right now, everyone in this room is a miracle,” said the staffer. “Sometimes you are tested not to show your weakness but your strength.”
Lumpkin said that the work is not finished when recovering addicts and alcoholics walk out the door.
Like marathon runners are often not capable of running just after surgery, clients have to keep working at it. Most need multiple visits to detox to make it stick.
He quoted an often heard refrain: “I don’t have any problem stopping use, but I have a real hard problem staying stopped.”
He said that part of the problem is that opioids serve a purpose and have therapeutic value.
“Opioids are designed to take the pain away — they work,” he said.
Founder C. Dudley Saul believed in the 12-step program and was one of AA’s earliest supporters.
In 1946, with Dr. C. Nelson Davis, he opened a clinic, the first private alcoholic treatment center in the U.S., at St. Luke’s Hospital in Philadelphia.
In 1948, Saul moved the clinic to Malvern and renamed it the Malvern Institute.
The company also operates a 170-bed, 43,000 square foot in-patient center in Willow Grove to compliment 80 beds at the 18,000 square foot Malvern campus.
The company employees 293 people, with five outpatient centers.
Read the full story at the Daily Local News.