Meeting patients where they are
Substance abuse treatment center brings new approach to recovery medicine
When Steve Scorpion arrived at the Recovery Centers of America at Monroeville after a fentanyl overdose in April 2021, he didn’t know what to expect.
Scorpion had never really thought about going into detox or rehab. A drug user since he was a teenager, he had considered himself a recreational user. It didn’t stop him from being a star basketball player in high school and college before becoming a winning boys’ basketball head coach at Franklin Regional Senior High School.
All of that changed on April 29, 2021, when he overdosed while driving and crashed his car into a guardrail on Route 22 in Murrysville.
Scorpion ended up being brought back to life by Narcan, an opioid overdose treatment, and after feeling better at the hospital, overdosed again on fentanyl in a five-hour period and was ordered by his mother and fiancée to go into rehab.
“I had never been to treatment before rehab, never attempted to get help. I never thought I had a problem to need to go into rehab. I thought I could always stop on my own,” Scorpion recalled. “I had gone days, weeks, months without doing anything. I had always been able to stop, but I had never been able to completely stop because I had never really wanted to.”
That’s when Recovery Centers of America at Monroeville, which at the time had been open only a couple of months, came into Scorpion’s life. It’s where he went through detox and a 30-day residential inpatient rehabilitation stay. RCA, Scorpion said, helped save his life.
“The staff was awesome. They are very knowledgeable. A lot of them are in recovery themselves,” said Scorpion, whose sobriety date is May 1, 2021. “I found them to be extremely helpful. At that point, while I was there, I wanted to talk to others who had been in my shoes, who knew what I was going through and now were sober.”
RCA opened in February 2021 in Monroeville, the first local inpatient treatment facility of Conshohocken-based Recovery Centers of America, which has 16 locations in several states. It offers detoxing, inpatient treatment for drug and alcohol addiction with up to 138 beds, medication-assisted treatment and outpatient services, along with an active alumni association to help people in recovery stay well. While it’s new to the region, it joins the region’s inpatient and outpatient drug and alcohol treatment centers and is accepted by major insurance companies, either for inpatient or outpatient treatment.
One of RCA’s distinguishing features is that the building, program and people go out of their way to blast stereotypes. A walk around RCA dispels any preconceived notions about what drug and alcohol treatment is like: The facility looks like a hotel, with new and comfortable furnishings, food praised by the residents, and, most importantly, a warm and welcoming attitude.
And that’s by design, said Michael Ogden, CEO of RCA at Monroeville, and Dr. Scott Cook, its medical director and a well-known local physician. Ogden had been executive of another facility before deciding to run RCA in Monroeville, which is near where he grew up. And Cook, who is an internationally known speaker on substance abuse treatment, is a Pittsburgh-region native who has worked for Highmark Health and other health care organizations.
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