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ECHN and Westside Care Center To Address Growing Epidemic of Substance Abuse



CONTACT: Nina Kruse – Vice President, Corporate Communications & Public Affairs
860.647.4767, nkruse@echn.org

MANCHESTER, CT — March 2, 2020

On Thursday, March 5, Eastern Connecticut Health Network (ECHN) and Westside Care Center will co-host their first-ever symposium to address the growing epidemic of substance abuse in local communities with a focus on opioid use disorders. The event will be held from 8:00 A.M. – 10:30 A.M. in the H. Louise Ruddell Auditorium at Manchester Memorial Hospital, located at 71 Haynes St., Manchester, CT.

The symposium features local providers and medical experts on substance abuse treatment as well as persons in recovery sharing their lived experience and highlighting peer supports. Representatives from the Manchester Police and Fire Departments will also participate.

In 2019, 1,200 people in Connecticut died from drug overdose, a nearly 20% increase from the prior year. The increase is primarily attributed to the continued rise in fentanyl deaths mixed with other drugs, including a muscle relaxant for horses.

“For a while, it looked like overdose deaths were leveling off but then we saw a skyrocketing escalation in fentanyl-related deaths,” said Ann Turkington, Director, Outpatient Behavioral Health & Emergency Crisis Services for ECHN. “The purpose of the symposium is to help us work together to better address this public health crisis.  We want to see how we can best use the existing resources in our community and keep up with effective new approaches to treatment and recovery.”

“Our goal is to focus on the extensive network of providers that offer addiction recovery support and treatment within our community so we can better collaborate to grow and improve our services. That’s really the driving force behind this,” said Kendra Toodle, Director of Social Services at the Westside Care Center. “This is the first symposium of its kind that we have co-hosted. We hope to make it an annual event.”

Guest speakers for the event and the topics of their presentations are:

  • Craig Allen, MD, Medical Director, Rushford Center and Vice President of Addiction Services, Hartford Healthcare: “Advancements in Recovery”
  • Joseph E. Podolski, DO, FAPA, Regional Vice President of Behavioral Health Services, Prospect Medical Systems and Chair of Psychiatry, Waterbury Hospital, and Ryan Doyle, DO, Addiction Psychiatrist, Waterbury Hospital: “Improving Hospital-Based Addiction Treatment and Medication-Assisted Therapy”
  • Sarah Howroyd, LCSW, Director of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Elevate Counseling Services and Co-Founder of HOPE Initiative: “Challenges of Navigating Addictions Services in the Community”
  • Cathy Bergen, CCAR Recovery Community Center Manager, and Jennifer Chadukiewicz, EDRC Program Manager: “Recovery Coaching in the Emergency Room and Peer support in the community.”

The guest speakers’ presentations will be followed by a question-and-answer session. The public is invited to the symposium. A networking event for symposium participants will immediately follow in Conference Rooms E and F adjacent to the auditorium. Coffee, tea and pastries will be served. To RSVP, please contact Kendra Toodle at ktoodle@westsidecarectr.com

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About ECHN

ECHN is a community healthcare system serving 19 towns in eastern Connecticut. Its network of affiliates includes Manchester Memorial Hospital, Rockville General Hospital, ECHN Medical Group, Women’s Center for Wellness, Visiting Nurse & Health Services of CT, Eastern Connecticut Cancer Institute, and more. Visit our website at www.echn.org for more detailed information about the health system.

About Westside Care Center

Westside Care Center, LLC is a 160 bed skilled nursing care center that specializes in short term rehabilitation, long term care, substance use treatment through the iRecovery program and memory care through Greater Hartford Memory Care Centers. To provide quality care to a diverse population with many challenging conditions and complexities, Westside employees a dedicated multidisciplinary team of nurses, therapists and allied health providers under the guidance of a physician medical director. The facility is part of the iCare Health Network and is nestled in a quiet suburban neighborhood setting in Manchester, Connecticut.