St. Luke’s expands addiction recovery services

Cris Collingwood//March 9, 2022

St. Luke’s expands addiction recovery services

Cris Collingwood//March 9, 2022

SHARE offices at Sacred Heart Campus in Allentown PHOTO/PROVIDED –

St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN), expanding on its merger with Penn Foundation, has opened SHARE at its Sacred Heart Campus in Allentown for people seeking help with addiction. 

SHARE stands for St. Luke’s University Health Network Addiction Recovery Engagement. 

“The new SHARE Program in Allentown is a true blessing for the city of Allentown and surrounding areas,” said Amie Allanson-Dundon, network director, Clinical Therapy Services and psychotherapist at SLUHN. “St. Luke’s Sacred Heart Campus is invested in the health and wellness of our community and it’s families.”  

The program includes Medical Assisted Therapy (MAT), which provides medications that can help people by preventing withdrawal and reducing cravings. 

“It is a program that combines the expertise of our medical toxicologists and psychiatrists, who also are board-certified in addiction medicine, along with licensed psychotherapists certified in advanced alcohol and drug counseling, Certified Recovery Specialists (CRS), and substance use disorder case managers working together to guide people on their recovery journey,” said Dr. Robert Cannon who specializes in medical toxicology and addiction medicine at SLUHN.  

Nearly 21 million Americans struggle with addiction, yet only one in 10 receive treatment for it, Dr. Cannon said. “Drug overdoses have more than tripled since 1990. Last year, we saw more drug overdose deaths in the United States than any other year in recorded history.”  

The number of opioid deaths has increased since the pandemic as people have reported turning to substance abuse as a way of coping with stress or emotions related to COVID-19, said Dr. Gibson George, Addiction Psychiatrist and medical director at St. Luke’s Penn Foundation. 

The opening of the SHARE office in Suite 404 at 451 Chew Street is a follow-up to SLUHN’s merger with Penn Foundation in July 2021.  

St. Luke’s Penn Foundation, headquartered in Sellersville, Bucks County, is a nonprofit, community-based behavioral health provider with 25 behavioral health and substance use treatment programs that service about 20,000 individuals annually. 

 “Penn Foundation has been providing MAT for quite some time and that experience is valuable in getting the program started in Allentown,” said George. 

The Allentown SHARE office is staffed by the staffs of SLUHN’s Psychiatric Associates and St. Luke’s Toxicology Group. The office is open Monday to Friday with a team of certified recovery specialists, physicians, addiction counselors, and case managers on site. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD). “So, patients with either OUD or AUD diagnoses are most commonly treated with MAT,” George said. 

“The toxicology background is an advantage when treating patients who present with an overdose,” George said. “We have a medical detox unit at Sacred Heart campus for patients with medical comorbidities of substance abuse such as delirium tremens (the rapid onset of confusion usually caused by withdrawal), pregnancy, and other complications like hepatitis.”