Pubdate: Mon, 30 May 2005
Source: Messenger-Inquirer (KY)
Copyright: 2005 Messenger-Inquirer
Author: David Blackburn and Ryan Garrett, Messenger-Inquirer
Bookmark: (Treatment)
Bookmark: (Youth)


Treatment for Adolescents Hampered

Local providers have little trouble identifying the gaps in services
for substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery.

There's a need for more recovery, long-term residential treatment and
detoxification facilities.

Women need additional help as they try to get out of the two-fisted
grip of domestic violence and addiction.

Programs are needed that specifically address methamphetamine's deadly

And there's always a need for more funding.

But tackling these are just the short-term solutions, providers say.
If this region is ever to get its arms around its substance abuse
problem, more prevention and treatment programs must be available for
adolescents to keep them from becoming the next generation of drug

"Some of the treatment issues are a little different with
adolescents," said Janet Messer, a licensed professional clinical
counselor with Lighthouse Counseling Services Inc. in Henderson.

Those differences, and the lack of services available locally, are the
main reason Lighthouse Counseling Services Inc. started offering
outpatient help last fall for adolescents and adults in leased space
on West Parrish Avenue, Messer said.

Adolescents often are getting help because they are compelled by court
order instead of personal choice -- which often motivates adults -- so
they might not be committed, Messer said.

"We saw there was a need, especially in the Daviess County area, so we
thought we'd offer the services and see what would happen," she said.
Lighthouse Counseling is treating 10 to 20 adolescents, she said.

Cost is also an issue for youths -- and adults -- seeking treatment,
Messer said.

"There needs to be more resources for people who can't afford it,"
Messer said.

Adolescents should be able to do community service, for example, as a
way to pay for their court-ordered treatment, she said.

Although the community "is doing a good job in the schools with
prevention," help is particularly needed for youths 13 to 17, said
Brenda Jones with Owensboro Area Shelter, Information and Services

The nearest place for intensive help is Bowling Green, said Jones, the
associate executive director of OASIS, a domestic violence shelter for
women and their children that offers substance abuse treatment.

Also, she said, "We need more affordable day care so women can put
their children in a safe environment."

That and having more jobs suitable for women would help them make the
transition back into society -- financially, socially and vocationally
- -- said Becky Hagan, OASIS executive director.

For the past eight months, RonSonlyn Clark has worked to bring in
state and national trainers to teach schools, courts and therapists
how to work with teens and recognize substance abuse symptoms.

"I think we have a good variety of services in this town," said Clark,
director of substance abuse at RiverValley Behavioral Health.

"We don't see a duplication (of services) except where they're
needed," said Debbie Zuerner Johnson, executive director of Community
Solutions for Substance Abuse.

"There are more gaps than there are duplications," including a need
for more recovery and long-term residential treatment and
methamphetamine-specific programs, Zuerner Johnson said.

She and Sandy Rich, director of Lighthouse Recovery Inc., also cited a
need for nonmedical detoxification programs.

Those programs would provide food and a place to sleep in a safe,
monitored environment for people trying to stop abusing alcohol, hard
drugs and/or prescription medication, Rich said.

Nonmedical detox is one of the features of a $3.3 million homeless
shelter and substance abuse facility Lighthouse is looking to build as
part of Gov. Ernie Fletcher's "Recovery Kentucky" initiative.

The 100-bed facility would include a free clinic and peer-to-peer
mentoring during six-to nine-month stays for Lighthouse participants,
Rich said.

Sites on Kipling Drive near J.R. Miller Boulevard and near Veach and
Higdon roads are being considered, causing nearby residents to be
concerned about property values and children's safety.

Lighthouse has looked at grants and forgivable loans from the Kentucky
Housing Corp. for construction and operations, Section 8 housing, and
state Community Development Block Grants.

Lighthouse got $40,000 earlier this month from the Kentucky Housing
Corp. to upgrade its two women's houses and for a part-time resident
manager, Rich said.

The state Department of Corrections will pay the state inmate per diem
for Recovery Kentucky clients who are convicted state offenders.

"The need is there," Rich said. "Probably 85 percent (of people) in
jail are there because of drug-related things."

Boulware Mission Inc. has run into similar opposition as it plans to
move its residential substance abuse treatment services to a former
Passionist monastery on Benita Avenue.

The site would allow Boulware to serve about 90 residents and
eventually expand its services to nonresidents.

Boulware will spend $1.5 million to buy and renovate the building, and
hopes to raise $2 million with a capital campaign through December

To Lora McCarty, funding is the biggest gap. But programs such as the
Daviess County Drug Court help, McCarty said. She is the treatment
coordinator for the drug court.

A 2001 University of Kentucky Center on Drug and Alcohol Research
study found that for every dollar spent on drug court graduates, there
was an avoided cost savings between $2.11 and $3.56.

"I just know drug court works. I've seen some real changes in people's
lives," McCarty said. "To lead a drug-free life and reconnect with
family, it's just a positive, rewarding experience.

This is the second in a three-day series concerning agencies that deal
with substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery. Sunday's
story detailed what each agency in Daviess County offers. Tuesday's
report will look at what the future holds for these groups. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake