SOUTH ABINGTON TOWNSHIP, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It takes many tools to combat the growing problem of substance use disorder.
Medication to help curb patients’ drug urges is just one part of the equation. Another is helping the patient recover more than just physically.
The staff at a local primary clinic that offers treatment for substance use disorder, believes it’s found a way to make that personal connection.
The process involves doing it through dozens of inspirational photos.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, there are probably even more words for the back story behind this photo: an empty water bottle inside a soup can in the snow.
It’s one of about 40 photos on display contributed by patients in recovery at The Wright Center for Community Health, near Clarks Summit.
Case Manager Carlie Kropp, also contributed to the display.
Her photograph from 2016 represents not only a time of family tragedy but also when she walked that walk of addiction and turned the corner toward recovery.
“When I walk down this hallway it just inspires me and makes me feel hopeful for our patients and I hope that shares hope with them,” said Kropp.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. William Dempsey believes the patient and staff photographs help promote healing from a disease that’s claimed an estimated 5,410 lives in Pennsylvania in the past 12 months.
“When somebody becomes addicted, the first thing they lose is their spiritual well-being. Then they lose their emotional and mental well-being and finally they’ll lose their physical well-being,” Dr. Dempsey explained.
Dr. Dempsey came up with the idea of the photo display after seeing something so striking while bike riding that he had to photograph it.
“In the background, you see the darkness of the forest. You know, that’s the darkness of addiction. And then you see the devastation in front of that that addiction caused and then this little pool with the water dripping, flowing into it I termed recovery begins,” explained Dr. Dempsey.
Dozens of photos on previously blank wall space are helping patients visualize their journey back from the depths of addiction.
“It’s just a really warm way to welcome our patients and let them know, like, we’re with them and we all stand together,” said Kropp.
The photo display at the Wright Center for Community Health’s Clarks Summit location began two months ago.
Staffers say there are 20 more photos just about ready to be added to the current collection.