Pubdate: Sun, 29 May 2005
Source: Messenger-Inquirer (KY)
Copyright: 2005 Messenger-Inquirer
Author: David Blackburn and Ryan Garrett, Messenger-Inquirer
Bookmark: (Treatment)


Addicts Can Turn to Several Local Agencies

By 1993, Brenda Oldham was at a point where "everything in my life

She was in an abusive relationship that forced her to deal with her
abusive childhood.

She had turned to crack cocaine for solace 11 years earlier after
learning two relatives had been abused.

When she later tried to get away from crack, the social drinker since
18 went from "cute" umbrella drinks, to shots of gin, to drinking from
the bottle.

After she was evicted during a three-day crack-and-alcohol binge and
her then-teenage daughters left her, Oldham went to a hospital for

On her third day in detoxification, she attended her first 12-step
recovery meeting and has been going ever since.

Oldham, 53, who learned she was a third-generation alcoholic, lived a
pattern that is typical of substance abusers.

Substance abuse rarely has one cause, involves one drug or is confined
to one generation. And kicking a drug addiction usually takes several

To a desperate addict, lost in the loneliness of addiction, help often
seems nonexistent. But there are nearly a dozen agencies that provide
substance abuse prevention, treatment and/or recovery services in
Owensboro and Daviess County.

Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous and its offshoot, Narcotics Anonymous, offer
peer-to-peer group and individual counseling through spiritual-based,
12-step recovery programs.

Members enter either on their own, by court order or by referrals from
other agencies.

The goal is to help them learn to stay sober or clean one day at a

The local AA district has 52 regularly scheduled meetings each week.
There are about 20 weekly NA meetings.

Members are not told what to do but are offered suggestions to look at
what brought them to the present and to strengthen themselves to plan
for a future.

The 12 steps are broadly written so addicts can move through them at a
pace comfortable to them and their sponsors. There is no hierarchy in
meetings, and no one is more important regardless of how long he or
she's been clean or sober, according to those who've participated in
the program.

Lighthouse Recovery Inc.

Lighthouse Recovery Inc. is a residential recovery program for adults
that can house 49 people at four sites -- two homes for women at 518
E. Fifth St. and 514 Bolivar St. and two for men at 322 and 324 Clay

Men comprise about two-thirds of the 130 participants with Lighthouse
on a given day, said director Sandy Rich, one of five staff members.

Participants come from referrals from churches, the court system, the
Department for Community Based Services and the state Probation and
Parole office.

Of the approximately 300 interviews done each year, about 200 people
are chosen and must sign a participation agreement that lasts one to
two years, Rich said.

They get a drug/alcohol assessment by an off-site licensed
professional to form a "plan of action," she said.

They are required to attend daily AA and/or NA meetings and weekly
group drug/alcohol education meetings. They are assigned one of the 25
volunteer mentors, Rich said.

Boulware Mission Inc.

Boulware Mission Inc. operates a faith-based homeless shelter for
about 35 men, women and children at 731 Hall St. and provides
substance abuse treatment through personnel who ran a similar program
at Owensboro Medical Health System until August. Boulware is planning
to move to a larger facility on Benita Avenue.

More than 90 percent of Boulware's clients have alcohol or drug
problems, Executive Director Rosemary Lawson said. "Substance abuse
treatment is basically intense Alcoholics Anonymous," she said. "It's
an accountability environment, it's an educational

Potential residents are assessed by a case manger, with whom they meet
at least twice a week. All residents assist in maintenance, chores and
food preparation.

The agency does not serve anyone with a violent or sexual criminal
history, and it tries to refer anyone outside its criteria to
appropriate agencies, Lawson said.

A typical stay is 90 to 120 days, said Linda Roberts, administrative
assistant. Boulware encourages residents to "stay longer, grow
stronger," so they can learn new behavior in a safe environment where
it can be practiced, she said.

Staff members help residents become financially independent and
provide educational and computer classes, Lawson said. The agency's
GED program has offered credit through the Kentucky Community and
Technical College System since January 2004.

Lifeboat Inc.

Lifeboat Inc. is a relatively new agency that is waiting to see what
happens with two other local substance abuse agencies before deciding
how it will operate.

The agency expects to operate Boulware's Hall Street site as a
nonmedical, all-male detoxification facility after Boulware moves.

"We figure it would just be unbelievable if we had 14 beds full," said
Russ Lewis, spokesman and board member for Lifeboat. Once visitors
sober up and reach their "moment of lucidity" when they decide they
want to change their lives, Lifeboat will refer them to 12-step
programs elsewhere or to homeless shelters if they need a place to

The agency's future depends on Boulware's move to Benita Avenue and
Lighthouse Recovery's attempt to lure a "Recovery Kentucky" homeless
shelter and substance abuse treatment facility to Owensboro. Lifeboat
is not dependent upon either agency, but may operate in an overflow
capacity for either, Lewis said.


Owensboro Area Shelter, Information and Services Inc. is a
spouse-abuse shelter for women and their children that also provides
residential substance abuse treatment.

OASIS has a 42-day, licensed in-patient program in which women get
individual, group and family counseling as part of a structured
40-hour week that introduces various models of help.

The week also includes attending AA or NA meetings in the community or
at the facility.

OASIS averages about 500 women and children a year, Executive Director
Becky Hagan said. About 80 percent of the women get treatment, she

RiverValley Behavioral Health

RiverValley Behavioral Health at 1100 Walnut St. offers three levels
of treatment with 16 licensed therapists and is staffed around the

An outpatient service includes regular visits for people of any age
and thrice-weekly work with convicted female felons at a halfway house
on Carlton Drive.

The Intensive Outpatient Program is for adults and includes
twice-daily meetings three times a week.

A longer-term, off-site outpatient program offers residential
treatment in leased apartments.

RonSonlyn Clark, RiverValley's substance abuse director, conducts a
state program that emphasizes prevention and treatment for pregnant

RiverValley also works with three men's and two women's groups through
the local drug courts. A juvenile group is slated to start in early
June, she said.

About 500 people in the seven-county Green River Area Development
District get substance abuse treatment through RiverValley, Clark said.

Lighthouse Counseling Services Inc.

Henderson-based Lighthouse Counseling Services Inc. contracts with
Family Chiropractic Center to use its 3180 W. Parrish Ave. site for
outpatient chemical-dependency group meetings.

The private agency uses four licensed therapists to provide two levels
of individual and group services for adolescents and adults.

Regular outpatient service is for those who abuse, but are not
dependent on, drugs.

Patients meet for group therapy weekly and individual or family
counseling as needed for 12 weeks, then go through 12 weeks of after-care.

Intensive outpatient service is for those with some drug

Patients go through group therapy two to three times a week for 24
weeks, followed by 24 weeks of after care. Family and individual
counseling also is done as needed.

Access to the agency is by appointment only, which allows the agency
to set up an assessment and pre-treatment, said therapist supervisor
Janet Messer.

GOALS at the Daviess County Detention Center

The Daviess County Detention Center provides substance abuse treatment
for about 25 inmates who "are very serious about wanting to change
their lives," said Jailer David Osborne.

Most inmates participate in GED, AA/NA and Lifeskills programs, said
Osborne, who estimates about 80 percent of his inmates are doing time
on drug-related charges.

Goebel Offenders' Addiction Life Solutions participants, who are
selected through a voluntary interview process and can't have violent
or sexual criminal histories, undergo a more thorough treatment
process and are housed in a separate building at the detention center.
Although they participate in the regular programs, they are involved
in several additional activities that keep them busy at least eight
hours a day.

After the regular schedule wraps up at 4 p.m., there is usually
another structured activity four nights a week. Participants must work
on obtaining a GED if they are not high school graduates, said program
director Donna Nolan.

GOALS adds anger management and relapse prevention plans specifically
designed for each participant to AA's recovery dynamics. Nolan is also
preparing to add a financial planning program.

Daviess County Drug Court

Daviess County Drug Court has provided substance abuse treatment for
158 nonviolent offenders with substance abuse problems -- including 55
current enrollees -- since August 2000.

The goal is to treat substance abusers, reduce crime and reduce repeat
offenses, said treatment coordinator Lora McCarty. So far, fewer than
10 percent have found their way back to the court system, she said.

The three phases of Drug Court last between one and two years,
becoming less restrictive along the way. In phase one, participants
face random drug screening three to four times a week, counseling,
weekly meetings with Daviess Circuit Judge Tom Castlen and nightly
homework assignments.

They are also required to work full time, or part time if they are in
school, obtain a GED, have their residence approved by the court and
begin repaying any court costs, restitution or child support.

"Our goal for doing this is to make them self-sufficient, give them a
sense of self and maintain a drug-free lifestyle," McCarty said.

Later phases involve fewer drug tests and court appearances. The
program not only treats substance abuse, it helps participants learn
coping and problem-solving skills, McCarty said. An after-care phase
lasts at least six months.

Community Solutions for Substance Abuse

Community Solutions for Substance Abuse does not provide services, but
is a nonprofit coalition of about 30 court, government, law
enforcement, school and church groups and more than 100 people.

The agency formed in 2001 to identify the degree of substance abuse in
the community and gaps in services, and help develop a strategy for
filling those gaps and educating the community.

Community Solutions, at 2530 New Hartford Road, Suite 205, works with
various agencies that provide substance abuse services.

Its efforts include writing grants for agencies, conducting drug
prevention/treatment fairs, working with drug courts and jail
treatment programs and providing substance abuse training.

It also sponsors alcohol-free school events and helped get
prevention/treatment curriculum in schools.

RiverValley Behavioral Health Regional Prevention Center

The Regional Prevention Center at 1100 Walnut St. works with state and
local efforts and organizations in seven counties to help prevent drug
abuse and provide early intervention.

The organizations include schools, colleges and universities, health
departments, tobacco control programs and health care professionals,
said Senior Director Gary Hall. 
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