COLORADO SPRINGS — While many industries have struggled to stay afloat during this tumultuous time, those in the recovery industry have had to expand their services to meet the demand.
AspenRidge Recovery has been around for five years now, and serves people with substance use or mental health issues. They are opening a new location on Monday, September 14, in Colorado Springs. This will be their second new location since the beginning of summer. They now have four physical locations in Colorado.
"The time is now. There are services there, but there's no shortage of need for it," said the Chief Operating Officer of AspenRidge Recovery, Kevin Werner.
AspenRidge Recovery actually planned on opening the two new locations at the start of the year before the pandemic. While the physical locations were delayed by the virus, they still launched their telehealth services, called REACH, in February. REACH is available for both intensive outpatient and outpatient treatment.
While COVID-19 has had negative impacts on recovery and treatment, it has also broken down barriers when it comes to telehealth. "Telehealth is the way of the future in terms of providing access to everyone... Frankly, the folks that want and need telehealth are really committed to it. And we've seen really great attendance rates just in the few months that we've been doing this, much higher than our in-person services, nearly 100% attendance," said Werner.
He said even though there may be a delay in the number of people seeking treatment at the moment, there are other indicators cuing them into the effects of the pandemic. For instance, he said they have been hearing that Denver has had one of their worst years ever in terms of overdose deaths.
Werner is also a veteran, having served in the army and was formerly stationed at Fort Carson. "I just wish I had known a little bit more about not just what is available on post and through the military, but also what is available in the community... My hope, my vision, is for this to be a mixture. A blend of civilian, of military, which is probably most likely going to be dependents, because on post they have their own services and they rarely refer out, and veterans," said Werner.
The lead clinician at their new location is Kellyanne Achramowicz, who comes from a military family. While AspenRidge Recovery is meant for anyone, she did say they will focus in on what the Colorado Springs community needs. "We're curtailing this program specifically to this population," said Achramowicz.
Achramowicz said they will provide intensive outpatient services in the Springs. That includes group therapy sessions, where they can have up to 12 patients in the room at one time, while still following public health guidelines.
"Ever since COVID-19 started, we have seen a 30% increase in those who are struggling with mental health issues and substance related issues... That's the one thing I love about our community, is we've stepped up in meeting that need," said Achramowicz.
Achramowicz said there are outpatient resources for lower level treatment already available in Colorado Springs, and of course, higher level ones like hospitalizations. She said their service falls somewhere in the middle. "We don't have too many that meet that intensive outpatient level, that in-between. There's not even a handful of us here, and we see that need. And I know that's a struggle at both levels, and trying to find someone that they can partner with in meeting that need. And that's what we're hoping to meet, by adding that additional resource," said Achramowicz.
She also said the three big substances that are abused in Colorado Springs are opioids, methamphetamine, and alcohol.
According to a study from The Omni Institute, which is based in Denver, 65% of respondents said telehealth therapy has been "helpful" or "extremely helpful." 95% reported they have not used drugs or alcohol in the past week. The report included data from 534 participants getting treatment at 14 facilities, and the survey was about the impacts of COVID-19 on addiction and recovery.
CLICK HERE to read the results of the survey.
If you need help now, call AspenRidge Recovery at (855)281-5588. You can also call Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255.
AspenRidge Recovery in Colorado Springs is currently enrolling new clients. They accept most major insurance policies, and offer other options for people who do not have insurance.
The new location can be found at 2860 South Circle Drive, Suite G30A.
September is also National Recovery Month, which is a time to spread awareness about the benefits of seeking help for substance use or mental health disorders.