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Friday, May 25, 2012

Recovery Includes Giving Back

Living (Judy Collins album)
Living (Judy Collins album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One of the really beautiful parts of recovery is being of service to the community, giving back so that others can learn about recovery from addiction. Giving back might include volunteering with veterans' organization, or working with families who are struggling to get back on their feet. It might mean taking on a weekly or daily task at one's Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting. It could mean writing a book about your own recovery - sharing your story. It could mean performing at a benefit concert. In recovery it is often referred to as sharing your experience, faith and hope.

So it was, this past week when singer/songstress Judy Collins was the keynote speaker at an event at the Father Martin Ashley Center honoring Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack. Judy told her story of recovery, according to the Baltimore Sun article,
"Collins hasn't had a drink since that spring 24 years ago [1988], and now the woman with the voice like a crystal bell uses that voice to talk about her recovery and to urge others to seek treatment...Alcoholism is a family disease, of course. Collins inherited it from her father and passed it on to her son, who took his life in 1992 at the age of 33 when he relapsed after seven years of sobriety. Collins is now an advocate for suicide prevention as well. She had tried to take her own life as a teen, and the booze made her suicidal, too. But she was always too drunk to form a plan."

Here is an ABC News Video featuring Father Beck interviewing Judy Collins. She talks about alcoholism, depression, her spirituality. Judy continues to be of service in the recovery community, her most recent memoir is "Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music"

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Drug Treatment Can Impact Crime Rates

Seal of the United States Office of National D...
Seal of the United States Office of National Drug Control Policy, a part of the Executive Office of the President. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Each year the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy issues its drug monitoring report. Three keys items were highlighted in this year's report:
  • Illegal drugs play a central role in criminal acts reinforcing the view that drugs are a public health issue and if treated as so, the crime rate could be reduced
  • Cocaine use has declined since 2003, which may have resulted from public education campaigns
  • Since 1979 the rate of overall drug use in the U.S. has declined by about 30%
While this is all positive news, still there are other startling statistics. For example, according to the Reuters article: "on average 71 percent of men arrested in 10 U.S. metropolitan areas last year tested positive for an illegal substance at the time they were taken into custody." 

Government officials are now working on a strategy to break the cycle of drugs and crime by promoting substance abuse treatment as opposed to jail for nonviolent offenders.  Promoting this strategy would dovetail with the 2600+ drug courts that currently operate in the United States.

Dr. Redonna Chandler of the National Institute on Drug Abuse reminds us "5 million of an estimated 7 million American who line under criminal justice supervision would benefit from drug treatment intervention. But only 7.6 percent actually receive treatment."
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Friday, May 11, 2012

Recovery and Relapse - Don't Give Up

photo of Josh Hamilton playing.                                     (Photo credit: Wikipedia)If you are a regular reader of our blog, you might remember almost two years ago we featured Josh Hamilton. It was 2010 and Josh had just been named the American League's Most Valuable Player. It was an exciting time for Josh. He was in recovery, he was sober and he was happy to talk about his relationship with God. His story was inspirational for many.

But as many people in recovery know, relapse can happen. And it did for Josh. Twice since 2010 Josh has relapsed, but as he says today: "My recovery is an everyday process." This past week, Josh made baseball news again by being the 16th person in major league baseball history to hit four home runs in one game! Simply amazing...

Here's Josh being interviewed on ABC's Good Morning America.

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Breaking the Cycle

Teenagers and young adults across the country are at the greatest risk of being influenced by drugs and alcohol and are even more susceptible to addiction. Those who enter treatment these days are younger and younger than in the past which is indicative of the fact that we need to monitor our children’s influences more than we have in the past.

Please take the time to read the thoughts of Susan Richardson, the National Executive Director for Reclaiming Futures:

”Almost two million American youth need treatment for alcohol and other drug use or abuse. But only 1 in 20 will receive treatment.

Research shows that teens with substance abuse problems are more likely to break the law, behave violently or drop out of school. In fact, 4 out of 5 young people in the juvenile justice system commit crimes while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Young people need to be held accountable when they break the law. Unless they receive treatment for a substance abuse problem that helped them get in trouble in the first place, they will often find themselves back in juvenile court again and again.

That’s where Reclaiming Futures comes in. By connecting juvenile courts with treatment providers and community members, we help teens overcome drugs, alcohol and crime.
We accomplish this by creating teams of juvenile court judges, probation officers, substance abuse treatment professionals and community members. Using an evidence-based six-step model, the team works together to ensure that teens get the treatment and services they need, while tracking their progress and identifying service gaps.

So how does the model work?

Step 1: Initial Screening: As soon as possible after being referred to the juvenile justice system, youth are screened for possible substance abuse problems.

Step 2: Initial Assessment: Teens with possible substance abuse problems are assessed using a reputable tool to measure their use of alcohol and other drugs, individual and family risks, needs and strengths. This allows the team to measure the severity of the problem, which informs the treatment plan.

Step 3: Service Coordination: The team designs and coordinates an intervention plan that is family driven, spans agency boundaries and draws upon community-based resources.
Step 4: Initiation: Treatment begins.

Step 5: Engagement: The team engages both the teens and their families and follows up with them during treatment.

Step 6: Transition: Teens transition out of agency-based treatment services. The team makes sure that kids and their families have community resources and support in place, in order to lower the risk of relapse and recidivism.

It’s essential for the family and community to be involved throughout the process because almost every young person who appears in juvenile court eventually returns home. In order to stay drug and crime free, teens need positive mentors and caring adults in their lives. They also need help with completing school and finding a job, which is why Step 6 is so important – troubled young people need help transitioning from the juvenile system to a happy and productive adult life.

We’re not the only ones who understand the importance of connecting teens with quality treatment and care. The Obama Administration’s 2012 National Drug Control Strategy prioritizes treatment and coordinated care to people struggling with addiction. As part of the Strategy, we are working with the Administration to spread our model throughout the United States to improve treatment for youth involved with the juvenile justice system. We believe we are a solution for the entire nation.”
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