SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) – HSHS St. John’s hospital in Springfield announced Wednesday they are launching a substance abuse treatment and recovery program with the help of the Gateway Foundation.

Their substance treatment program includes an addiction counselor trained to place patients in the right program, as well as a staff member with life experience with addiction.

“My role is to see the patient, assess them and screen them for substance abuse and make a recommendation.” Sarah Glessner, a Gateway Foundation engagement specialist staffed at St. John’s. “In some cases, I can provide brief education on how their substance use is affecting their medical condition. For more severe issues, I refer patients to treatment facilities or residential programs and help get that referral before they leave the hospital.”

The new substance abuse program is in response to a growing problem hospital officials have encountered. 

“We have seen a tremendous increase in substance use across our Illinois ministries,” Kimberly Luz, HSHS Illinois director of community outreach, said. “This partnership allows us to engage with our patients presenting with substance use disorder and connect them with critical care in a timely manner.”

The substance abuse treatment program is available at the Springfield hospital as well as every other HSHS hospital in Illinois.