The Hope House, a social detox program for men operated by the Miami County Recovery Council, has opened its doors near downtown Troy.

The program for up to five men at any one time welcomed its first resident Jan. 18, said Thom Grim, MCRC executive director.

Grim said the program is the direct result of the year old county Heroin Coalition with representatives of Miami County law enforcement/legal system; health, mental health and substance abuse programs; faith-based organizations; and individuals

A coalition medical committee that reviewed services available primarily in outpatient settings and the service gaps began looking for more options for people trying to deal with heroin addiction and opioid addiction.

“We were struggling to feel like we were making a dent in it. The hospitals don’t admit for medical detox for opiate withdrawal and in the outpatient setting people highly motivated to get off it were getting sick between appointment and over weekends,” Grim said. “They’d come back in and they’d used again.”

The Hope House program is for five to 10 days with the participant receiving help getting through withdrawal with assistance of the professional staff. The participant cannot leave the house unless accompanied by staff.

The program is staffed 24/7 with a peer recovery specialist, who has a working knowledge of addiction and recovery. “They can help guide people, support people and encourage people as they make these changes,” Grim said.

There also are nursing visits in the mornings and evening.

Program participants are asked to commit to immersion in the program with no cell phones, cars or visitors. Participants receive periodic drug screens and are asked to commit to following treatment recommendations after the detox program to help with a stable, long-term recovery.

The first program participant arrived on a Wednesday and left before completing the program on Saturday which, Grim said, “is going to happen.” Another participant checked in a couple of days later and continued in the program earlier this week after six days.

The house is simply furnished with a small staff office, kitchen, bathroom/laundry room, living room and two bedrooms.

The program initially is being funded by dollars from the Tri-County Board of Recovery and Mental Health Services along with grants from the Stouder Memorial Foundation, the Troy Foundation and Trivista Business Group.

Once a house was located for the program, volunteers helped with its preparation including repairs by the Ginghamsburg carpentry ministry and painting by volunteers from the Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church, Koinos Christian Fellowship, Upper Room Worship Center and Doug Powell. Community partners for the project are St. Patrick Church, Miami County Family Abuse Shelter and Upper Valley Medical Center.

Fundraising for the Hope House continues as is planning for a similar house for women, said Steven Justice, a Troy lawyer and facilitator of the Heroin Coalition.

Noting that statistics show the addiction issues are split almost 50-50 between men and women, he added, “We need to have a place for women as well.”

While researching approaches for the Hope House program, Grim visited a program in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Among The Hope House goals is putting people in a safe, structured environment that decreases their chances of using.

“When they go in there, they realize it is a program with outpatient counseling at MCRC, and then getting on Vivitrol and starting to get their life back in a recovery program for the long haul,” Grim said. “It is the first chapter in a continuum of care.”

The program also is using the Bridge device, a relatively new device that attaches to the ear and signal to parts of the brain associated with withdrawal symptoms to block symptoms. “It doesn’t eliminate the symptoms but brings them way down,” Grim said.

The devices that can be used with only one patient cost around $600 and, though approved by the FDA, have not yet received Medicaid approval, he said.

Justice said the Hope House is one of several efforts initiated by the coalition during the past year as part of a multi-prong attack. Among others have been a Hope Over Heroin Community event last summer and the Quick Response Team in Troy whose members follow up with individuals who have overdosed on heroin and were revived by first responders to see if they want to enter treatment/counseling.