Pubdate: Mon, 08 Sep 2003
Source: Times and Democrat, The (SC)
Contact:  2003, The Times and Democrat
Bookmark: (Treatment)



The William J. McCord Adolescent Treatment Facility and The Dawn Center, in
conjunction with the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration, are recognizing September as National Alcohol and Drug
Addiction Recovery Month and are calling for more treatment services to be
available for all those suffering with substance abuse problems, particularly

"Substance abuse among young people is a major concern. Not only does engaging
in substance use lend itself to other risky behaviors such as unprotected sex,
violence and other deviant behavior, it also disrupts the natural development
of the brain and the development of critical social skills and emotional
management skills," said Mike Dennis, director of the William J. McCord
Adolescent Treatment Facility. "The good news is that this type of problem can
be successfully treated. In fact, a national study of community-based treatment
programs for adolescents found that reported weekly marijuana use dropped by
more than half in the year following treatment."

Nationally, it is estimated that 76 percent of those in need of treatment for a
problem with illicit drugs did not seek or receive treatment. In South Carolina
it is estimated there are 41,000 young people between the ages of 12-20 who
have an identifiable substance abuse problem and thus are in need of treatment.
The majority of those never enter into treatment. To add to these concerns is
the fact that young people in South Carolina who need the most intensive level
of care, inpatient treatment, do not have it readily available. In fact, young
people needing inpatient treatment in South Carolina have to wait approximately
3-6 months to access the type of treatment they so desperately need.

"The problem is funding," Dennis said. "There are not enough treatment beds
available and not enough funds to construct more beds. This is not an issue of
budget cuts; it's never been sufficiently funded. The result is that these
young people do not get the care they need and end up going to juvenile justice
facilities that are ill-equipped to treat these issues."

He said it boils down to how the state spends its money.

"We can spend it on more prisons and operate under the theory that tougher
incarceration regulations will prevent chemically addicted people from
committing crimes or we can invest the money in sufficiently funding
science-based treatment," Dennis said.

According to a study conducted by Arthur Lurigio, "up to 75 percent of parolees
who leave prison without drug treatment resume drug use within three months of

"Compare that with data from The National Treatment Improvement Evaluation
Study that states 'substance abuse treatment cuts drug use in half, reduces
criminal activity up to 80 percent and reduces arrests up to 64 percent.' You
do the math. I think it's obvious where we should be spending our money,"
Dennis said.

During September, communities nationwide will join together to help people
recognize that substance abuse or addiction to drugs and alcohol is a treatable
disease and that treatment is as effective as it is for other chronic medical
conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, he said.

For more information about Recovery Month, log onto . For
more information about the William J. McCord Adolescent Treatment Facility,
call Mike Dennis at 803-534-2328 or log onto their website, . For more information about The Dawn Center, call Reuben
Ridgeway at 803-536-4900.
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