Union County receives grant money for treating meth addiction
People in Blairsville, Georgia are asking, "How can a counselor help? What good will it do? Is there any hope for meth users?"
Kim Waters-Rose, of New Hope Counseling, recently introduced the Matrix Model to the local advisory board. She advised that people Google it for more information.
The Matrix Model is an outpatient treatment approach for individuals with cocaine and meth use disorders. The Matrix Model was developed during the 1980's in response to an overwhelming demand for stimulant abuse treatment services.
The goal has been to provide a framework within which stimulant abusers can cease drug use, learn about issues critical to addiction and relapse, receive direction and support from a trained therapist, and become familiar with self-help programs. The Matrix Model is a federally recognized model. It's a proven effective protocol that has been used in the treatment of over 2,500 methamphetamine addicts.
The program includes education for family members affected by the addiction. It also requires that the therapists use a combination of skills simultaneously. Therapists must be teacher and coach. The therapist fosters a positive, encouraging relationship with the patient and then uses that relationship to reinforce positive behavior change. The interaction between the therapist and the patient is realistic and direct but not confrontational or parental.
Treatment options include individual sessions, family educational groups, early recovery skills groups, relapse prevention groups, conjoint sessions, urine tests, 12 step programs, relapse analysis, and social support groups.
The treatment process stresses that staying drug and alcohol free does not depend on strength. People maintain abstinence by being smart. The key to not using is to keep far away from relapse situations. Smart people stay sober by avoiding triggers for as long as possible. "Be Smart, Not Strong!" seems to be a much better motto than "Say no to drugs!"
Many issues are confronted in addiction treatment. Boredom, depression, money issues, stressful job situations, and health issues are just a few. Waters-Rose says, "Meth users must change play-mates and play-grounds."
Overcoming meth addiction is not easy, but there is hope. With professional treatment strategy, support from loved ones, and lots of prayer, our community can pull itself out of this "made under the kitchen sink" drug mess that threatens us all.
New Hope Counseling in Blairsville, Georgia
The Union County New Hope Counseling Community Advisory Board held their first meeting on November 15, 2005 in the Grand Jury Room of the Union County Courthouse.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the role of the Advisory Board, to elect officers, to learn more about New Hope Counseling's treatment methods, and to learn about the effects of methamphetamine on rural communities.
The role of the Advisory Board is an informal one. The members will use their expertise and experience to offer advice to the Board of Directors. The Advisory Board serves as a vehicle for two way communication between the project and the local community in which it operates.
They will review long and short term goals, plan future fund-raising projects, provide guidance for setting objectives, and help create realistic time tables. The Advisory Board will hold quarterly meetings.
Members were selected because of the role they play in the community. Debra Parsons, from the Department of Labor, and Larry Culpepper, Director of Campus Operations at North Georgia Technical College, graciously accepted the responsibility to Co-Chair the Advisory Board. Peri Owenby, from Union County Mental Health, accepted the office of Secretary.
Other members of the Advisory Board include Union County Commissioner Lamar Paris (Ex-Officio Member), Judge David E. Barrett from the Enotah Judicial Circuit of Georgia, Mary Kimsey Acting Director, from Union County DFCS, County Nurse Manager Leslie Hughes, from Union County Health Department, Assistant County Attorney Diana Reif from the community at large, Reverend Eddie Herring from First United Methodist Church, County Liaison Consultant Elizabeth Patton (Ex-Officio Member), and Kim Waters-Rose (Ex-Officio Member) of New Hope Counseling.
The Advisory Board will work closely with the Blairsville community to help see that the $1,500,000 in grant money is used wisely. (This is an informal board designed to give advice.)
Kim Waters-Rose is Project Coordinator. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor with many years of experience in the treatment of cocaine and meth addiction. Waters-Rose presented a slide show to the Advisory Board. She introduced the Matrix Model, an outpatient treatment approach for individuals with cocaine and meth use disorders.
The presentation covered many topics including an overview of meth, it's effects on the central nervous system, and treatment options. The goal of the program is to treat 300 people in the next three years. Waters-Rose says, "This grant money is for Union County , but if other folks are desperate for treatment, we won't turn them away."
Patients will come from all walks of life. Many will be court ordered. Some will come from hospitals and others will be walk-ins.
Waters-Rose added, "A major part of overcoming meth addiction is changing playgrounds and playmates." Treatment will include relapse prevention, motivational interviewing, psychological education, family therapy, and a twelve-step program involvement period. There will be group sessions, individual sessions, and continuing care. Patients will be assisted in vocational training, and will receive medical attention.
Waters-Rose talked about confidentiality issues. "Identity of the clients must not be disclosed under any circumstances."
The facility will be located in a section of the old nursing home on Hospital Street (which is currently undergoing complete renovation) in Blairsville, Georgia. The treatment program is scheduled to begin on December 15, 2005.
Advisory Board says "Treatment is Available" at New Hope in Blairsville, Georgia
Union County 's New Hope Center Community Advisory Board recently held its second quarter meeting at 41 Hospital Street in Blairsville, Georgia. Many things were on the agenda including a report by Tom Watkins of New Hope Counseling.
The informal report stated that the goal of having the MATIX model in place by March 2006 is on course. Eleven clients have been referred and have been afforded treatment. The core staff is in place. Troy Beaver has been contracted to serve in a full-time position. Additionally, Jonathan Grizzle has been contracted to serve on a part-time basis. Other potential employees are in the process of negotiations for the positions of therapist and clerical support.
The report also stated that a target of 82 clients is the goal by the end of the first year. There has been a slow start but the pace of referrals is increasing.
Watkins' report admitted that phone service and staffing issues have caused some complaints. However, corrective actions have been put in place.
Due to the amount of coverage in the media, the community has many preconceived notions about the treatment center. People should note that the MATRIX model is not a quick fix. It is an intensive outpatient program designed to operate from a baseline of nine hours of treatment per week ranging from 17 to 52 weeks. The report also explains, "Treatment will only receive a portion of the funds incorporated into the grant. The greater portion of funds is for services delivered by the local government and community service-based agencies. Building a program of this nature requires time and dedication ...hopefully; a continued collective effort by all parties involved will result in a quality program meeting the needs of clients and families who have associated with methamphetamines."
Kim Waters-Rose was present at the meeting. She told about attending a recent training and orientation session in Washington , D.C. Waters-Rose said that meth is getting a lot of attention in the nation's capitol. She told about various start-up challenges and gave examples of success stories from other programs around the nation.
Korrine Canas, from the University of Miami , spoke next. She told about collecting data and keeping track of results. There is a process in place that tracks how well the models are being followed. Canas explained the forms and satisfaction surveys. These data analysis reports are sent in to the Washington , D.C. offices.
Board member Judge Barrett requested a system that would report results based on referral sources. Canas, and everyone on the Board agreed that such a system should be implemented and is certainly possible in the near future.
Watkins added, "Our main goal right now is to get the people that need help in here for treatment. There are lots of ways to help meth addicts."
Troy Beavers was on hand to answer questions about day-to-day operations. He said that meth addicts are not looking for treatment...they're looking for more meth. This fact is sad but true.
Beavers went on to explain that most of the clients are mandated from the court system, although a few are volunteer walk-ins. The main thing is that they show up. Walk-in clients need to see results so that they will want to stay in treatment. Some people do come in and say, "Help, I have a problem!" These are the ones that are ready for a change in their life and respond best to treatment.
The number one challenge is to get addicts to the clinic. The next challenge is to keep them in treatment for as long as it takes to make a difference. One interesting fact is that the visual centers of a meth addict's brain work fairly well. This means that visual stimuli like movies can be used as an effective teaching tool. (That's why there is a big screen TV in Blairsville's New Hope Center .)
Union County Commissioner Lamar Paris attended the meeting. He noted that in at least 50% of cases that the District Attorney sees, drugs are related. Lamar Paris added that most other State and Federal agencies are seeing a rise in drug related problems and this causes a negative impact on individual communities.
Kim Water-Rose, and the New Hope staff, are available for speaking engagements. They are willing to attend your next meeting and give an informative Power point (slide show) presentation. She says, "Just let me know."