as told to Kaitlyn Scoville
“When I think of the word addict, it can mean addiction to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, food, gambling, over-exercising — anything, really. Anything that you do that’s excessive and not in moderation. If a patient comes through the door of their own will and they’re seeking treatment for addiction or withdrawal from opioids, we just start with the basics: we get their history, what’s going on, what their resources are, what type of treatment they would like and what community resources we have available and go from there. We have had people dropped off by the emergency room doors where they’ve been rolled out of cars and left there. You bring them in and treat them the same as everyone else. Depending on what they need, those patients might need Narcan to reverse the sedation that was caused by the narcotics. Once they’re safely awake, we look into what treatment they want to do. Addiction is a disease. Everyone deserves to be treated as an individual, and as a person, regardless of the choices they’ve made. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor. It affects everyone of every class and every group. Everyone deserves to be treated fairly, humanely and with respect. You can always come to the ER for help. Nobody’s going to judge you, nobody’s going to be upset for any reason. If you need help and you need resources, we’ll help you.”
Robin Kobilic has been a nurse for 22 years and is the manager of the emergency room at Ascension NE Wisconsin, Mercy Campus in Oshkosh, Wis.