Health system launching addiction treatment program


Dr. Sandra Dettmann. Courtesy Mercy Health

A health system in the region is launching a new program to treat individuals with drug dependency and alcoholism.

Mercy Health has hired Dr. Sandra Dettmann to lead the medication-assisted treatment program, based at the Heartside Health Center, 359 S. Division Ave. in downtown Grand Rapids.

This new program is a response to the ongoing opioid epidemic, Mercy Health said.

Through the program, medications are used to control the physical symptoms of withdrawal and drug cravings, Mercy Health said.

The medical portion is part of a larger program of recovery, including 12-step meetings, individual therapy and group therapy.

“MAT is currently the best treatment option available for those with opioid dependency and addiction, and should always be used in combination with psychosocial interventions,” Dettmann said.

"Patients can become chemically dependent on prescribed opioids they take as directed and aren't considered ‘addicted’ until they exhibit symptoms of addiction, such as lying, manipulating, stealing and committing crimes.

“However, those who are chemically dependent can still suffer the same withdrawal symptoms as someone withdrawing from heroin, making the MAT program useful for this transition.”

Board-certified in both addiction medicine and preventive medicine, Dettmann said she aims to “demystify and de-stigmatize the disease of addiction.”

“Radical acceptance of the people who are facing the diseases of drug dependency and addiction is needed to curb this terrible trend,” said Dettmann.

Dettmann has run a private medical practice specializing in addiction disease for the past several years and said she wants to make a larger impact on the health of the community by directly working for Mercy Health.

Those who need treatment may call (616) 685-3800.

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