Earlier this month a few of us attended a Lunch ‘n’ Learn event at CASAColumbia with Maia Szalavitz, a neuroscience journalist who covers health, science and public policy. She discussed the theme of her book, Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids(Riverhead, 2006), an exposé of the “tough love” business.
The talk prompted us to revisit and share what we at The Partnership at Drugfree.org know about boot camps and wilderness programs for troubled and/or addicted teens.
First, it is important to note that boot camps and wilderness programs are not included among the levels of care defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Although you may have heard success stories or read about the benefits of boot camps, we strongly suggest you look very carefully into any boot camp or wilderness program before sending your teen for substance abuse treatment.
According to a government report, these programs are not subjected to federal oversight, and there have been thousands of reports of neglect and abuse at privately owned and operated boot camps and wilderness programs for troubled youth.
>>READ MORE at Intervene.drugfree.org
Recent studies indicate we can’t get much worse.
It’s been more than a decade since the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released “A Provider’s Introduction to Substance Abuse Treatment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Individuals,” which recommended, “A commitment should be made at every level of the program, from the board of directors to the direct line staff, to design and deliver services in a manner sensitive to the needs of LGBT individuals” (p. 123).[i] A 2009 study offers evidence as to the continued importance of this recommendation: 180 lesbian, gay, and bisexual participants were asked about their past substance abuse treatment experiences (both inpatient and outpatient), including overall satisfaction with their experiences, ability to be open about their sexuality in the program, and the amount of support they received from staff. The author concluded that “LGBT specialized treatment was the only program treatment factor that was a statistically significant predictor of current abstinence” (p. 190).[ii]
How available is specialized treatment for LGBTs? A 2007 study presents a chilling snapshot. The researchers made telephone contact with 854 substance abuse treatment agencies promoting themselves as having specialized programs for LGBTs in the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services. Each facility was presented with the same question: ““Hi, I am calling because your agency is listed in the SAMHSA directory as one that provides special programs or groups for gays and lesbians, and I am interested specifically in what those programs are. Could you tell me more about them?” (p. 166)[iii]
· Although all 854 agencies had indicated they provided LGBT-specific services, at the time of the phone contact 605 (70.8%) acknowledged no specialized programs existed.
· Sixteen of the agencies (1.9%) reported they had offered those services in the past but no longer did so.
· 79 (9.3%) programs described themselves as “non-discriminating” (sample response: “We offer the same thing we offer straight people. . . we don’t discriminate.”) and 34 (4%) as “accepting” (sample response: “We don’t have special services for gays and lesbians, we just allow them in our groups.”).
· Only 62 (7.3%) of agencies indicated specialized LGBT programming and almost half were in New York and California.
Government Publishes Guide on Drug Abuse Treatment
By Join Together Staff | January 23, 2012 | Leave a comment | Filed in Addiction, Drugs, Government & Treatment
NIDA guide 1-23-12
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has published a free guide to choosing a drug abuse treatment program. “Seeking Drug Abuse Treatment: Know What to Ask” recommends questions that individuals and families who are struggling with addiction should ask to help them make an informed choice.
“Treatment options can vary considerably, and families often don’t know where to begin,” NIDA Director Nora Volkow said in a news release. “This booklet highlights the treatment components that research has shown are critical for success, to help people make an informed choice during a very stressful time.”
Many recent scientific advances have changed addiction treatment, but not all treatment centers have kept up with these changes, according to the Los Angeles Times. The guide recommends asking the following questions:
• Does the program use treatments backed by scientific evidence?
• Does the program tailor treatment to the needs of each patient?
• Does the program adapt treatment as patients’ needs change?
• Is the duration of treatment sufficient?
• How do 12-step or similar recovery programs fit into drug addiction treatment?
The guide provides information on medications, evidence-based behavior therapies, the realities of relapse, and the role of community-level support.
By Join Together Staff | January 4, 2012 | Leave a comment | Filed in Alcohol, Drugs, Prevention & Youth
Programs that target multiple areas of young people’s lives, including family, peers, community and school, may help prevent drug use and risky sexual behavior, according to a new study. Successful programs often last for several years, according to Reuters. The study found programs that addressed just one area were generally less effective in preventing risky behaviors.
The study assessed 13 programs designed to prevent drug use and risky sexual behavior, and found many have not been successful.
Those programs that produced improvements included one that involved a school curriculum that included parent support, an HIV-reduction program that involved parent monitoring, and an elementary school program that taught family bonding skills.
Youth who participated in these programs reported less drug use, heavy drinking and smoking in young adulthood compared with peers who were not involved in the programs. The researchers said starting school and community interventions in the preteen years may be most effective in preventing drug and alcohol use.
The findings are published in the journal Addiction.
Email from a recent inpatient graduate to one of the staff:
Hey Mama G its my first day on the outs and its alittle scary! i miss you alot im starting up in school tomorrow and i have my first NA meeting tonight im anxious but excited at the same time!
im taking the days step by step! its helping alot i have no urges but i just wanted to say hi oh and im gunna attache 2 photos one is me and my friend doped out of our minds and then the other is of the clean and sober me i took it just a couple hours ago! i didnt know how awful i looked then and that picture was about a month before i entered club daybreak! but you should print them out cause…… i wanted to show you guys what you did to me! especially you mama G you made life there alot easier! i love and miss you alot!!
<3 <3 LOVE and CARE (clean and sober) <3
Inpatient Admissions Supervisor Jaime Petersonmadea visit to youth outpatient providers in the Tri-Cities last week.
Jaime had a delightful meeting with Gary, Kathy, Clinical Supervisor Jaimeand the staff atSomerset Counseling. She reports the discussion was helpful in terms of getting feedback and clarifying the referral process. She came back with a better idea of treatment at Somerset which will help the inpatient counselors and making referrals into outpatient treatment.
At Advocates for Wellness in Kennewick she met with the adolescent counselor Amy E. who began working at Advocates in April. Amy learned about the Daybreak inpatient programs and the referral process and explained a little about her program.
At First Step She met with Penny and Lynsey and learned how the budget cuts have affected the programs in the area. She learned about the SMART Recovery model they are using and discussed how this may be helpful to teens in Spokane area as well. Penny expressed the need for cognitive based learning in adolescents and how she is pleased with the DBT model Daybreak uses stating it seems to be helping her clients when they return. She asked for material to be able to learn and follow along with what they report they have learned at Daybreak.
Jim Mason made time to meet with her at Recovery Pointe and filled her in about their work in Richland and their branc h office in Walla Walla. Jaime described the Daybreak programs and discussed how to get a client into treatment.
She was sorry that Knowledge Counseling in Pasco was closed but will mail Bobby packets of information. Maybe next time.
She reports that it was a pleasant and successful visit….. that she learned a lot and can say it really makes a difference to have a face to face contact.
“This week a former client stopped by with his dad. Since he was at Daybreak in 2009 he has graduated from high school and earned a college scholarship. Life has not been entirely smooth sailing, but his dad wanted us to know that we could count him among our successes. This got me thinking about the thousands of lives that Daybreak has touched. I’m so proud to be a part of Daybreak and the work that we do. While it is sometimes sad or frustrating, it is also incredibly rewarding!”
~Allison Metzler (Assistant Director, Daybreak in Spokane, WA)
I grew up in Encinitas and San Diego, and I started using drugs and alcohol, mostly hard drugs, when I was about 12 years old. I got into it pretty quickly, and it wasn’t long before I was arrested for possession, assault and battery, and vandalism. The drug use was definitely motivating all of the other stuff. Then one morning I just went on some kind of rampage at my house—I destroyed a lot of stuff, and I don’t even remember doing it because I was so high.
My mom called the cops, and they put me on juvenile probation for a year. But of course I violated my probation; I had a dirty drug test. I was still using cocaine and heroin, my drugs of choice—both the upper and the downer. When I failed that drug test on probation, it was my rock bottom. I thought, “This is it, I’m going away for a long time.” I just didn’t know where I would have to go. At that moment my whole world kind of stopped.
Join Together: You have done quite a bit of research on drug use among 12 to 17 year olds. Why do you believe it is important to focus on that age group when it comes to Rx abuse?
Carol: Substance use disproportionately starts between the ages of 12 to 25. When we look at National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) data, about 75 percent of the new users of prescription pain killers are under the age of 25 and about 38 percent are under the age of 18. Adolescents are prescribed controlled medications and yet, are not taught about the risk associated with their use – including the risks associated with diversion. Thus, the highest risk groups for nonmedical use of controlled medications are young adults, followed by adolescents.