The Red River Treatment Center in Pineville held a ribbon cutting for their newly remodeled facility Thursday. ABC News Joel Massey has more on how the center and the staff are helping those struggling with addiction.
David Dunlap is a counselor at Red River Treatment Center. He loves his job because he sees clients come in at their worst and leave with hope for the future. He has been clean personally for 8 years from an addiction to pain pills.
“So when I see them come in the door I think about myself and to see them come in the door beat up, and to see that lightbulb go off in their lives, and their life start changing it’s a very gratifying feeling,” David said.
The center held a ribbon cutting celebrating the remodeling of the facility which can house 96 clients.
Administrator Scott Shaheen says the mission of Red River is to help people with substance abuse and their mental health. He gave me a tour of the new digs.
Shaheen says most of the time clients stay for a 28 day detox and then go to outpatient counseling.
“A lot of our clients when they come in they are homeless so we have to work with halfway houses sobriety houses, to help get them somewhere. A lot of the places they go to will get them professions.
The Louisiana delegation in the state legislature was there to give support including Rhonda Butler who represents Southern Rapides and Evangeline Parishes.
District 38 Rep. Rhonda Butler said, “For us it feels like a pandemic. When it comes to the drug issues we’re having. I’m ready for our young people to be back in our workforce.”
District 27 Rep. Mike Johnson said, “We know there’s a tremendous need and they’re so many problems and people are suffering in their families and communities. Based not on bad people but on mental health issues.”
District 26 Rep, Ed Larvadain, III said, “As a member of Health and Welfare this is the monster that’s creating a lot of confusion all around the state. We’ve got to put money in mental health. Along with mental health comes addiction, comes with women sexual violence comes with a whole lot of stuff.”
Pineville Mayor Rich Dupree said, “Having the resources on what is now the largest residential facility in Louisiana can offer is a big plus for us.”
Dr. Joan Brunson is an addictionologist and has 30 years’ experience at Red River. She shared some staggering statistics: Opioid deaths in the US have gone from 21,089 in 2010 to 80,411 in 2022 and the numbers continue to rise. Rapides Parish has seen 29 deaths this year so 29 purple flags were passed out.
Brunson said, “Everybody that works here believes in what they do and we know that we are saving lives.”
David has this message for those dealing with addiction.
“It doesn’t matter what you did or how bad you went down the ladder that there is hope that your life can change.”