Indian American psychiatrist helps establish addiction treatment facility in Oklahoma

Dr. Murali Krishna (Courtesy:

NEW YORK – Indian American psychiatrist Dr. Murali Krishna helped launch an addiction treatment facility at Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

Krishna launched the facility along with Commissioner Terri White, The Oklahoman editor Kelly Dyer Fry and Oklahoma attorney Reggie Whitten, who, according to a report, all met about six years ago to discuss the potential of such facility.

According to the publication, the four of them were hoping to eventually create something to help fight the opioid epidemic that was growing throughout the state, and decided to establish Arcadia Trails, which has already broken ground on Oct. 5 and is expected to open sometime in the spring of 2019, becoming a 40-bed facility for adults battling with substance abuse.

The group ended up raising about $23 million, over the last six years, from foundations and community members in Oklahoma, for this “world-class” treatment facility which will neighbor Integris Edmond, off of Interstate 35 in Oklahoma.

“Putting an addiction treatment facility on the same campus as a hospital sends a message that it’s just another type of medical problem,” Avilla Williams, president of Integris Health Edmond, said in an article, adding that Integris will run staffing and operations.

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,” Krishna, who also serves as the president and chief operating officer of Integris Mental Health, told NewsOK. “They feel like a square peg in a round hole.”

NewsOK reported that the program at Arcadia Trails will be designed around a 90-day stay, with one year of follow-up care: each patient will undergo an assessment to help develop a treatment plan which can include individual, group and family therapies; medications, if needed; and life skills to help the person cope after going home, also taking into account the person’s mental illness or any history of trauma.

Krishna said that there will be five phases of the program starting with evaluation, detox and education about the biological basis of addiction, 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.

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

Krishna is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

He serves on many professional and civic boards and committees and currently serves as the president of the Oklahoma State Board of Heath and is also 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.

Krishna is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry.

According to his website, Krishna and his family established the “Dr. R. Murali Krishna Family Eliminate the Stigma” Award in 2010 as a way to annually honor individuals 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.



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