September is National Recovery Month, and we congratulate the 23 million Americans who are recovering from substance abuse disorder.
While celebrate those in recover, “the majority of people aged 12 or older who needed substance use treatment in the United States do not receive treatment at a specialty facility,” according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA report).
Although Maysville does substance abuse treatment providers, they do not offer all the options needed. In order to cover the wide range of services necessary for the population, treatment providers need to work together with law enforcement, the justice system, schools, social workers, the health department, other service agencies and each other.
For example, “special services are necessary for women, adolescents and young adults (18 – 28),” said Lawrence A. Dunbar, MS, CAADC, CPS, PCGC, CODP II, Substance Abuse Counseling Program Coordinator at the University of St. Francis, Joliet, Illinois. “They have unique needs.”
In general, “compared with adults aged 26 or older, lower percentages of adolescents and young adults who needed substance use treatment received treatment at a specialty facility. Similarly, lower percentages of adolescents and young adults who were classified as needing substance use treatment felt that they needed treatment for their substance use than adults aged 26 or older” (SMHSA report).
“Family therapy is essential! The entire system of the affected person is thrown into chaos and they need help too,” said Dunbar. “12-Step services are essential for the patient in recovery AND their family.”
In addition, Dunbar said that treatment facilities should include:
- A Medical Director who is an Addictionologist, as licensed by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM),
- Medically Managed detox available using Medication Assisted Therapy of 4 to 5 days in many cases,
- Effective individually focused and culturally competent treatment with inpatient and outpatient options available,
- Longterm (a year at least) Continuing Care (Level 1) treatment to keep the patient focused on recovery.
Effective case management which offer wraparound services to address barriers to treatment and long term recovery are essential, according to Dunbar.
Those services include safe housing (including halfway houses), employment, transportation, child care, medical and mental health treatment and others.
“If you get a patient into recovery and then send them back to the sick environment they came from, you have very low chances of long-term recovery,” he said.
Dunbar also emphasized the need for Trauma Informed therapies available (SAMHSA trauma).
“Trauma and grief affect around 95% of our patients, if not all” he said. “Without addressing the trauma, you are only treating the symptoms and not the cause.”
Substance abuse treatment is complex and requires many approaches and strategies to be effective.
“This isn’t easy stuff!” he said. “But, keep in mind that we are dealing with our mothers, fathers, sons and daughters whom we love. We want to save lives. Not having these services will lower your chances of long-term recovery.”