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UMMC Grenada offers first-time inpatient substance abuse detox program

Published on Monday, July 30, 2018

By: Ruth Cummins

For some Mississippians, taking the first steps to recovery from drug or alcohol addiction can hinge not just on a desire to be substance-free, but on the availability of medical help to make it through withdrawal.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center Grenada is providing inpatient drug and alcohol detox treatment for Impact Healthcare Management’s One-Eighty addiction program. Impact provides administrative and staffing services to participating hospitals nationwide and makes referrals for after-care services following a patient’s hospital discharge.

UMMC Grenada’s participation is limited to inpatient detox lasting an average three days for patients who call a toll-free number to speak to an Impact representative, who will screen them for qualifying medical criteria, said James Caldwell, UMMC Grenada’s chief nursing officer.


“This is designed for people who voluntarily want to get off drugs or alcohol,” and is not for a court commitment or lockdown arrangement, Caldwell said.

Patients coming to UMMC Grenada’s Emergency Department who are in acute drug or alcohol withdrawal will always be treated for their medical needs, Caldwell said, but they won’t be admitted from there to the detox program upon request. They must follow Impact’s procedure, including receiving an evaluation, after calling a toll-free hotline.

Based on bed availability, UMMC Grenada will admit patients who meet Impact’s medical criteria. Impact will coordinate with the hospital to schedule admissions, and specially trained nurses and a physician will monitor patients in a safe, controlled environment as they withdraw from the addictive substance.

Although they’re free to walk away from inpatient treatment, enrolled patients voluntarily seek help in clearing their body of drugs and alcohol, which for some can produce unpleasant physical and mental changes as the level of the substance drops.

“Your body has chemically adapted to having those substances, and now you’re taking them away,” Caldwell said. That can lead to side effects such as rapid or irregular heartbeat, agitation, seizures or nausea, which will be treated by caregivers as the need arises.

At the end of detox, the patient is discharged and Impact staff members take over care for their next phase of treatment, which includes referring them to after-care support in their community that could include outpatient rehabilitation and counseling.

UMMC’s Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior offers such outpatient addiction services at its Jackson Medical Mall clinic near the main UMMC campus in Jackson. Highly trained psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, licensed therapists and nurse practitioners counsel patients on lifestyle changes that can help free them from substance abuse addictions, and they offer treatment for stressors including anxiety and depression, said Dr. Mark Ladner, professor of psychiatry and director of the outpatient psychiatry program.

Mark Ladner

“Access to inpatient detox services in our state has been shrinking in recent years,” Ladner said. “This is a much-needed service.”

Follow-up care is a critical step, Caldwell said.

“Your medical window of danger is over in three days, but you can’t get off opioids in three days,” Caldwell said.

“You have to fix the addiction to fix the problem. Detox alone will not fix the addiction. Limiting prescriptions for those addicted to drugs will not fix the addiction.”

Impact is offering the One-Eighty program in Grenada not because residents of the city and region have an especially acute problem with drug and alcohol addiction, but because the problem is so widespread, Caldwell said.

“Mississippi is the No. 1 opioid prescriber in the country per capita,” he said. “We have an opioid problem in Mississippi.”

Contact One-Eighty’s Grenada program at 662-227-7180. UMMC’s Behavioral Health Specialty Clinic is located at the Jackson Medical Mall. For an appointment, call 601-984-6925 or 601-984-5836. Or, visit umc.edu/psych