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About 10 Percent of Those Who Need Help Get Opioid Treatment

KNOXVILLE - The opioid epidemic has left treatment clinics in East Tennessee with not enough beds to adequately treat all the patients that need help.

According to the Helen Ross McNabb Center, only about 10 percent of those who need treatment for opioid addiction receive the help they need.

"Our capacity in our community and in our state to serve the needs is well below what the needs are," said Hilde Phipps, director of Adult Addiction Services at Helen Ross McNabb Center. "We have literally hundreds of people who are waiting for the services that we provide."

While detox treatment is easier to get into, residential rehab is far harder to come by.

"What we'd like to do is after the detox stay be able to put a person right into a residential bed.

Unfortunately, there are not enough of those beds," said Phipps. "While people are waiting, typically the disease progresses, which means it just gets worse and worse over time."

Daniel Bonovich knows the pain of addiction all too well. His daughter Rebecca has battled drug addiction for the past decade.

He says she was recently admitted into a treatment facility near Crossville but released last week because the center was too crowded.

"Addiction is a very, very hard thing to deal with if you don't have help," said Bonovich. "I was relived, it was great that she finally found a place that was going to help her. And then come to find out a week or so later that it wasn't supposed to be."

Every day that an addict is not in treatment, the disease gets worse.

Bonovich hopes his daughter can get the help she needs before it's too late.

"If she goes out there and she starts using again, she might be alright for a while but if she continues to do it, I know where it's going to lead. It's going to lead to her death," said Bonovich. "I don't want to have to bury my daughter."

The Helen Ross McNabb Center is growing to be able to treat more people by adding more beds and expanding outpatient services.

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