Fw: News.Youth

Bruce D. Burleson (anvil@quik.com)
Tue, 28 Apr 1998 21:31:46 -0400

Forwarded from Smart Recovery email list.

> From: Becky Dornon <becky@INAME.COM>
> Subject: News.Youth
> Date: Tuesday, April 28, 1998 7:34 PM
>                Treatment options are limited for younger addicts
>                  (Fort Worth Star-Telegram; 04/26/98)
>    After five years of addiction, Jennifer K. was living on the streets
> sustaining herself on Snickers candy bars and the heroin she pumped
through the
> veins in her bony arms. The 22-year-old Colleyville woman had lost 45 of
> 120 pounds and had even been hospitalized for two days after she
overdosed and
> stopped breathing.
>    Within a week, she had begun shooting heroin into her veins again.
>    She was a heartbeat from death, pushing her father into a frantic
search to
> get her back into treatment. Chuck K. canvassed area drug treatment
centers and
> hospitals. Dead ends. In desperation, he started calling throughout Texas
> the country. All the while, he knew that time was running out.
>    "It was a scary, gut-wrenching, hurtful thing," he said. "I lost 30
> I could not sleep. Whenever the telephone rang, I cringed."
>    He found an inpatient, 30-day detoxification program in Hunt. Jennifer
> refused to enter - but then she was busted on drug paraphernalia charges
> faced the choice of jail or rehabilitation. After the month of rehab, she
> transferred to a private residential center in California.
>    Her father hopes that this time she can escape heroin's curse. He
> there is no certainty.
>    "It's now up to her. I've done all I can," Chuck said.
>    Today's teen-age and 20-something users may be the most difficult
> addicts to save. They are more intensely addicted to heroin than the
> junkies of the past, but treatment options have been sharply reduced
> Texas. Even when treatment exists, young users are the least motivated to
> clean.
>    "Kids feel invulnerable because they haven't had 15 years of negative
> consequences from heroin use," said David Helton, director of case
> for the Tarrant Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. "We don't see them
> they are in a lot of trouble. They are dragged in kicking and screaming
> their parents, or sent to us by the juvenile justice system."
>    The young addicts need extended treatment away from their
> environments and ongoing support, studies show. But what most will get in
> Metroplex are only short bursts of treatment - unless they can pay $8,000
> $10,000 and more out of pocket.
>    Treatment options are limited for adult heroin addicts, scarce for
> adolescent heroin addicts - and nearly nonexistent for adolescent heroin
> addicts who don't have insurance or another way to pay.
>    "There is zero, nada, nothing for the greatest number of the
> There is no publicly funded inpatient chemically dependent treatment for
> adolescents in Tarrant County," said Bob Josch, director of addiction
> at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth. "If you don't have the
> to pay, there is nothing available."
>    With the area's dramatic increase in heroin deaths in the past two
> agencies are scrambling to stretch resources and create programs. But
> aren't sure that they can do it soon enough to save the wave of young
> addicts.
>    And, they say, there hasn't been a public clamor for the services.
>    "What I keep hearing from the politicians about drug abuse is, let's
> our kids, say no to drugs. But there seems to be a lot of talk, not
action. I
> don't see the money coming down for services," Helton said.
>    "We don't have kids beating down our doors or parents beating down
doors for
> services."
>    Too often, officials say, parents either are ashamed, aren't involved
> their children - or use drugs themselves.
>    "The demand for treatment from parents is not a loud voice in the
> said Eric Niedermayer, chief of addiction services for Tarrant County
> Health-Mental Retardation Services.
>    Only now, as addiction tears through communities, has the void hit
close to
> home.
>    "It is happening to a number of young people from all spectrums of
> People can no longer sit back, ignore it and say, `Those kids over
there,' "
> Tarrant County Commissioner Dionne Bagsby said. "Drugs are killing
> kids."
>    Tom Gillum took drastic action to try to save his teen-age son. When
> Daniel Gillum passed out one night last year, his father put him in an
> ambulance and sent him to Baylor/Richardson Medical Center for detox.
> that his son would skip out, he demanded that the hospital not release
>    "When a child is 17, they can write themselves out and say, `I want to
> out on my own,' " Tom Gillum said.
>    "I told them that if they let my child out and he hurt himself or hurt
> family, that I'd sue them."
>    The Allen teen-ager was kept at Baylor until he was fully detoxed.
Then his
> father gave him an ultimatum.
>    "I said, `Well, you've got the choice, commit yourself or we'll commit
> you,' " Tom Gillum said. "If he had not, I would have filed charges
against him
> for drug possession."
>    After a week at a state facility in Wichita Falls, James committed
> into a three-month rehab program at Homeward Bound, a public adult
> center in Dallas. At 18, he was the youngest addict enrolled in the
>    "They had one guy there who was 60 years old and had been there five
> Tom Gillum said.
>    James told others that he felt safe in rehab but was ready to come
> even though he was scared, said Jason Beck of Plano, a 22-year-old
>    James' sister, April Sennhauser, recalls the weeks after his February
> release.
>    "He got out of rehab and he was doing OK," said Sennhauser, 22, of
> "But you can't really compete against the drugs - getting that rush."
>    Eight days ago, the baby-faced teen died after shooting up at a
> home.
>    When the wave of young heroin users began showing up for treatment two
> ago, Stevie Hansen, acting director for addiction for Tarrant County
> Health-Mental Retardation Services in Fort Worth, knew that they would
> little help.
>    The agency's detox centers had programs only for people 18 and older,
> said. Without licensing and funding, the centers couldn't serve the
> addicts.
>    "We are trying to get more money to start an adolescent detox program.
> adolescents need to be detoxed. It's heartbreaking," Hansen said.
>    Lena Pope Home, a private nonprofit agency, once provided 24-hour
> residential drug treatment for indigent 13- to 17-year-olds. But the
> was shut down in 1995 because local and state funding sources kept
getting cut.
> It cost $232 per child per day to run a 13-week program for 40
adolescents, but
> the state offered to reimburse the home only $101 per child per day.
>    "If the funds were there, you would have treatment programs
available," said
> Ted Blevins, executive director.
>    Daytop Village, a program in Dallas and Palestine, is one of the few
> residential treatment centers for adolescents who have no insurance.
>    "There is almost no treatment in the state for adolescent substance
> said Brad Smith, assistant program director for Daytop Village. "At
times, we
> have a waiting list of three to four months."
>    Even for young addicts with insurance, area treatment options are
> Most insurance policies either exclude or severely restrict the length
> types of drug treatment.
>    Huguley Memorial Medical Center closed its adolescent programs in
> in December. All Saints Episcopal Hospital in Fort Worth closed its
> outpatient program in August. Harris Methodist-Springwood in Bedford
closed its
> 20-bed adolescent unit in 1996.
>    Santa Fe Adolescent Services in Fort Worth is the only publicly funded
> chemically dependent treatment center in Tarrant County for adolescents
> young as 12, but it doesn't provide residential care. Children are given
> intense daytime individual therapy and counseling on how to live with
> drug addictions.
>    Cook Children's Medical Center has an intensive outpatient programg as
> for treatment.
>    "It's not for the addict who is shooting every day," Josch said. "He
> going to relapse. I will not be able to keep him clean."
>    The Excel Center, a private treatment program in Fort Worth, has 10
> for outpatient day treatment and 15 for outpatient evening treatment.
> Behavioral Health System of Grapevine has 20 beds for adolescents who
> psychiatric or chemical dependency treatment. BHC Millwood Hospital in
> Arlington has 30 swing beds.
>    "It's very challenging when you can't get them into treatment
> said Charles Parks, assistant director of Tarrant Community Outreach in
> Arlington and a recovering heroin addict. "Sometimes, waiting for the
child to
> get into trouble and end up in juvenile detention is the only way to get
>    The situation isn't much better for addicts 18 and older.
>    For indigent users, the few existing counseling programs have
> waiting lists because of limited funding and space.
>    One notable exception is the nonprofit Cenikor Foundation Inc. in Fort
> Worth, which offers a three-year inpatient program for addicts 18 and
> Cost is not a barrier. Clients pay $25 for an interview and $100 for
> The more than $16,000 annual cost of care per person is covered through
> donations and fund-raisers.
>    But the addict must be completely detoxed before entering Cenikor.
>    In a structured 24-hour program, residents have curfews, must work,
> savings and obtain a high school equivalency diploma.
>    Many addicts refuse to apply for the program and commit for such a
> term, said Gloria Tudon, a recovering crack addict who graduated from the
> program and works as its public relations director.
>    "People who come here have already lost everything. It's therapeutic,
> confrontational and tough," Tudon said. "It's not people sitting on their
> behinds."
>    For adult users with insurance, only very short stays at the private
> treatment centers are covered.
>    "The length of average stay four years ago was 18 days. The length of
> today is five days," said Robin Biege, program director for psychiatry at
> Children's.
>    Controversy, the switch to managed care and changes in state
> drained money from residential treatment programs.
>    Insurers cut back sharply after a nationwide psychiatric hospital
scandal in
> the early 1990s, when it was revealed that some facilities paid a bounty
> insured patients and hospitalized them until their insurance was tapped
>    The change to managed care also reduced after-care programs and
> treatment specialists say.
>    The Texas Commission on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, which doles out
much of
> the state's federal grants for treatment, sharply cut funding after a
> investigation revealed that some treatment providers had improperly
billed the
> agency for millions of dollars. The state already had begun channeling
> treatment dollars for adult addicts in the criminal justice system, said
> Trayler, program director of Nexus Recovery Center in Dallas, a private
> nonprofit treatment center for indigent women.
>    Today, more money is spent on addicts within the Texas criminal
> system than on drug users who voluntarily enter programs, said Adam
> director of the nonprofit Red River Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse in
> Texarkana.
>    "I've been turned away because of money, case load," said Robert
> 47, a recovering Fort Worth heroin addict who has been in and out of
> since the early 1980s. "Sometimes the help just isn't there."
>    Kay, a Sansom Park mother, searched for three weeks to find a slot in
> treatment for her 16-year-old son before he was admitted to Santa Fe
> Services. He was smoking marijuana and feared that it would lead to
> drugs.
>    "You feel like banging your head against the wall, especially when a
kid is
> telling you, `Mother, I want to get into treatment,' " Kay said. "I hate
> think about what could have happened in those weeks. It should not have
> that long. There are not a lot of options."
>    The junkies who have broken free of their addictions in years past
> three things in common, researchers say.
>    They were disgusted with their lives and wanted out. They knew that
they had
> to break away.
>    They stayed in treatment an "adequate" amount of time - six months, a
> or more.
>    They had ongoing support.
>    "It's not magical," said Dwayne Simpson, director of the Institute of
> Behaviorial Research at Texas Christian University and a leading
> research scientist who is taking part in a national study of treatment.
>    An addict must want treatment before it is likely to be successful,
> according to the ongoing study, which is jointly researched and analyzed
by the
> University of California at Los Angeles and the National Institute on
> Abuse.
>    "How motivated, how ready they are for treatment when they come in is
> related to how well they engage in treatment," said Simpson, who has been
> studying treatment of drug addiction for three decades.
>    Most young people lack such motivation because they can't imagine what
> years of addiction will do to them. They dupe themselves into believing
> they can handle their addictions and mock the benefits of treatment,
> say.
>    Jennifer K. recalls standing over a friend who was overdosing as she
> shooting up.
>    The only emotion she remembers is anger that the overdose might bring
> police. "I was mad," she said, "because I didn't want to get in trouble."
>    Teens 16 and older cannot be forced into treatment against their will
> they end up in the juvenile justice system and are ordered into treatment
> the courts.
>    "Parents can bring their kids in, but if the kids don't want
treatment, we
> can't do anything," said Eric Apple, a spokesman for Charter Behavioral
> System in Grapevine.
>    That's why it's vital to respond when a young user says, "I'm ready, I
> help,' " said Richard Spence, manager of research and technology at the
> Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.
>    "People can get on a waiting list, but they don't bother," Spence
> "Drug addicts can't wait. There is a window of willingness to enter
>    "Adequate" treatment varies according to the individual's need,
> say. That's why screening is important before treatment, Simpson said.
>    Most teen-age addicts first need to be detoxed - taken completely off
> under medical supervision, as they experience the gut-wrenching effects
> withdrawal: cramps, fevers, shakes, racing pulse, aching bones and
>    Then, to help addicts change their behavior and stay off heroin, they
> intensive counseling and support groups.
>    Another key is getting the addicts away from the temptation of old
> relationships and places, counselors say.
>    Nick, a 20-year-old Richland High School graduate, was desperate to
> clean after three years of addiction. He entered four treatment programs
> Fort Worth and Dallas but dropped out of each and went back to using
>    "Every time I've ever said I was going to quit I've meant it," Nick
> "Then, I'd find myself going right back, and I would sit there and ask
> why."
>    Today, he is living at Addiction Treatment Centers Inc., a residential
> treatment center in Arkansas. His parents loaned him $1,000 to enter the
> program, and he plans to pay the rest of the cost, an additional $1,300,
> he gets out and begins working.
>    "There are obviously plenty of drugs here, too," he said. "But I don't
> to worry about running into people I know or seeing places I used to go
>    Communities as a whole will benefit if addicts can be saved through
> treatment, said Lois Chatham, associate director of TCU's Institute of
> Behavioral Research.
>    Research has shown that for every dollar spent on treatment, $4 to $7
> saved by keeping people off the streets, employed and out of the criminal
> justice system.
>    "Most studies show that if we don't pay for it now, we're really going
> pay for it down the pike," Simpson said.
>    Still, although research shows that diligent medical treatment works
> drug addictions, the public believes that jail is a better response,
> show.
>    "In this country, we believe that addiction is a sort of a sin. We're
> quick to criticize," Chatham said. "We hardly have a public consciousness
> public consensus on what addiction is about and how we go about solving
>    Treatment has to be sculpted to fit the problem, Simpson said. "Let's
> sure that we have an array of treatment and we keep services in place,"
> said.
>    But there must be a public outcry before the system changes.
>    "Not until they start dropping like flies do people start paying
> said Virginia Hoft, executive director of Santa Fe Adolescent Services.
"We the
> consumers haven't stood up and said loud enough, `If I'm paying for
> and my kid needs treatment, services need to be available.' "
>    The resistance to supporting treatment may be changing as middle-class
> families struggle to get heroin treatment for their children.
>    "The medically indigent population is growing. It is not just poor
> anymore," Hoft said.
>    "We are getting more calls from the suburbs from families that have
> exhausted their benefits or do not have coverage that is adequate to
> their kids."
>    Jennifer K. counts herself among the fortunate, because her father was
> to pay for her care after the family exhausted its insurance.
>    "My mom sent me some newspaper clipping of friends who had died. It
made me
> upset," she said by telephone from the Palm Springs center she re-entered
> a relapse. "I had a chance to change, and they didn't. I would probably
be dead
> or on the street if my dad had not gotten me into treatment."
>    Her father said the choice is clear.
>    "If addicts don't get treatment and continue to use, they die," Chuck
> "It's not negotiable, especially with heroin."
> Evaluating an inpatient treatment program
> Questions to ask:
>   What does the program do to screen or assess the patient?
>   Do they detox?
>   What is the staff-to-client ratio?
>   What are their credentials?
>   How long have they been in business?
>   How many of their staff members are recovering addicts?
>   Do they accept your insurance?
>   What is their success rate?
>   Are there resident physicians on staff?
>   Is it a lock-down facility?
>   What is the average length of stay in the program?
>   Where do the clients live?
>   Do they have an outpatient facility for transition?
>   What follow-up care do they provide?
> What to look for on a tour of the facility:
>   How does it look? How do the clients look?
>   Would you want to stay there?
>   Ask clients what they think of the place.
>   How did other clients get there?
>   How long have they been there?
>   What other facilities have they been in?
> Source: researchers and parents Susan Gill Vardon contributed to this
> Carol Lewis, (817) 685-3957 carollewisstar-telegram.com Marisa Taylor,
> 685-3819 marisataylorstar-telegram.com
> PHOTO(S): Olaf Growald;Susan Goldman
> (Copyright 1998)
>                     _____via IntellX_____
> {A5:FortWorthStarTelegram-0428.01934}   04/26/98