Murali Krishna

Dr. Murali Krishna was among four Oklahomans who have worked to establish a center to help addiction-riddled adults in the state. The Arcadia Trails facility broke ground last month and is scheduled to open in early 2019. (drkrishna.com photo)

The brainchild of four individuals, including James L. Hall Center for Mind Body and Spirit at Integris Dr. Murali Krishna, to establish an addiction treatment facility has broken ground.

Krishna, an Indian American psychiatrist, along with Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Terri White, The Oklahoman editor Kelly Dyer Fry, and Oklahoma attorney Reggie Whitten, met about six years ago to discuss the potential of such facility, according to a NewsOK.com report.

The four were hoping to create something to help fight the opioid epidemic that was growing throughout the state, which led to the idea to create Arcadia Trails, which will become a 40-bed facility for adults battling substance abuse, the publication said.

The facility broke ground Oct. 5 and is scheduled to open sometime in the spring of 2019.

Over the last six years, the group has raised about $23 million from foundations and individual Oklahomans to build a “world-class” treatment facility so families won't have to send their loved ones out of state for treatment, Fry said in the report.

The facility will neighbor Integris Edmond, off Interstate 35, according to the report.

Putting an addiction treatment facility on the same campus as a hospital sends a message that it's just another type of medical problem, said Avilla Williams, president of Integris Health Edmond, in the article.

Integris will run staffing and operations.

Krishna said many people still believe addiction results from moral weakness. Some people have a genetic predisposition to addiction, and substances can more easily hijack their brains' reward system until they can't feel normal without the drug, he said.

“They feel like a square peg in a round hole,” Krishna, who also serves as the president and chief operating officer of Integris Mental Health, provider of adult and child/adolescent mental health services including inpatient, residential, outpatient and clinical settings, said in the report.

The program at Arcadia Trails will be designed around a 90-day stay, with one year of follow-up care, NewsOK reported.

Each patient will undergo an assessment to help develop a treatment plan, it said. The plan can include individual, group and family therapies; medications, if needed; and life skills to help the person cope after going home. It also needs to take into account whether the person has a mental illness or a history of trauma, it added.

There will be five phases of the program starting with evaluation, detox and education about the biological basis of addiction, the publication noted, citing Krishna.

Patients will then assess their strengths and challenges, learning coping and relationship skills, incorporating spirituality into life and planning ways to stay sober after discharge, it said.

Roughly 25 people, including physicians, nurses, psychologists, therapists and support staff, will be hired to run the facility.

Krishna, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, serves on many professional and civic boards and committees. He currently serves as president of the Oklahoma State Board of Heath and is the founding president/president emeritus of the Health Alliance for the Uninsured. He was the catalyst for getting key legislation that gives protection for all health professionals when they volunteer to help the poor and uninsured.

Additionally, the Indian American is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry.

Krishna and his family established the “Dr. R. Murali Krishna Family Eliminate the Stigma” Award in 2010 as a way to annually honor persons or organizations that have shown an outstanding contribution to the community by eliminating the stigma about mental illness and improving the lives of those affected by mental illness, according to his bio on his personal website.

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