GBHWC officially opens detoxification unit

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The Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday to officially open a detoxification unit in their main facility in Tamuning. (PNC photo)

Guam has a new facility dedicated to helping individuals who are struggling with addiction.

The Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday to officially open a detoxification unit in their main facility in Tamuning.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine 3.7 Withdrawal Management Unit, also known as New Beginnings, is an extended service from the center that will give proper treatment to island residents who want to detox from their drug and alcohol addictions.

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GBHWC’s Drug and Alcohol Branch Manager Athena Duenas spoke on the importance of the unit and how they were able to finally have it opened after years of delay.

“We have several people waiting in line who are just trying to hold it together until we can get this unit open. The process for coming in is you’ll have to go through an intake and registration process and you’ll be seen by our counselor to provide an ASAM which is the American Society of Addiction Medicine Assessment to whether you’re appropriate for our unit,” Duenas said.

She added: “I say that this is a long-awaited unit because we’ve been planning since 2015 so I’m just so honored to stand before you and say that we have gotten there.”

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero gave her remarks at the ceremony, echoing Duenas’ statements on the importance of having a proper unit dedicated to aiding those battling addiction.

“When Therese (Arriola) became director, one of the things I said was Therese, I know that as a nurse, one of the things we’re lacking is the detox unit and where do these people detox? They detox in ER and they detox at GMH who are not really the experts for drug addiction detox. That’s why, this unit, level 3.7 withdrawal management unit, does just that so we’ve come full circle now and now we have a complete continuum of care and service for our people who are suffering from a disease which is drug abuse and substance abuse,” the governor said.

The unit will provide medically monitored intensive inpatient services, withdrawal management for adults, and 24-hour nursing care with a physician’s availability for significant problems.

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