St. Louis area drug recovery center tries to break mold of “spin and rinse” detox

FOX Files

ST. LOUIS– There’s another hidden casualty of the pandemic that a group of people are trying to combat.  It involves people struggling with their mental health and reliance on drugs and alcohol.  The people behind a new program say we’re making a mistake in our traditional drug recovery programs. 

Sana Lake in Dittmer, Mo. may be the only place in the St. Louis region where you can get more than a three-day drug detox.

We met two men about to complete the program who are from different worlds, yet they now have the same outlook.

Tim Sokol said, “I believe we will be both be successful.”

And Eric Harris who said, “For once I feel real good about my chances.”

Harris spent 24 years in prison for a drug related offense.  He says he’s never heard of this kind of help. He added, “I come from Los Angeles and recovery centers are in the neighborhood.”

This type of long-term program is unusual here too according to co-founder Chad Sabora. He says detox programs have always been three days. 

He said, “We referred to it back then as a spin and rinse because all that affectively happened was our risk for overdose was increased while at the same time none of the core issues were addressed.” 

Sabora says the science does not back a short detox. He says he’s tested the most prevalent street drugs available today, which are various forms of lab made fentanyl, and found they’re much longer lasting.

Sabora said, “Pharmaceutical grade fentanyl is short acting, and within 48 hours it’s out of your system. What we’re finding from these (street level) analogues is they’ll stay in your system up to 11 days which prolongs the time someone needs a medical detox to make sure they’re physically healthy for the next step.”

Sana Lake’s detox is longer than most, starting in a facility that looks a lot like a hospital. Clinical director Stacy Glenn said, “We’re really looking at 7 to 10 days of detox to really get their body healing so that they’re ready to move to that next stage.”

That next level is next door for another approximately 20 days.

Glenn said, “We’re going to do whatever it takes to keep them here as long as they need to be here to make sure they have a safe detox. It would be over 200 miles to get to any place like this.”

Sokol added, “I think one of the biggest things that I’ve really gained out of here is actually listening to stories from my peers and learning the struggles that they’ve been though.”

Harris said, “Internalizing what the program is all about and – that’s understanding who Eric is – be honest with Eric and sometimes Eric isn’t feeling all right, sometimes I don’t feel good – and that’s ok, but what I don’t have to do is pick up and use again in order to feel good.”

Harris became choked up when we asked him what would happen if the program did not exist. He said, “I don’t even want to – I don’t even want to say if this wasn’t here, because I can’t you know. I’m just grateful that it is here. That’s all I can say.”

You can contact Sana Lake Recover at 314-208-2857 or by visiting the Sana Lake website

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