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chasing heroin

REACH Ahead of Addiction

evergreen logo newsEvergreen Treatment Services (ETS) has been ahead of the opioid addiction treatment curve for over 20 years with their REACH Program. This program focuses on serving the homeless and addicted with outreach and in-depth case management using a variety of harm-reduction approaches. The primary goal is to meet clients where they are in their recovery process, and ultimately  help them to achieve successful and healthy lives. An important part of REACH services is that they are not contingent upon a client’s sobriety or abstinence. This allows addicted participants the opportunity to keep fighting for their recovery even though they may have been overcome by their addiction during the process.

Sound familiar? The principles of the REACH program are much like that of the later established LEAD Program. With origins in King County, Washington the LEAD Program is privately funded by multiple sponsors and partners with ETS to help treat participants of the program. The Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Program is gaining clout and spreading to law enforcement agencies across the US. Instead of the cyclical process of addiction arrest, jail time, release, repeat –  officials are beginning to embrace the idea that treatment rather than mandatory jail time will produce the long-term recovery results that society should really be striving toward.

chasing heroinThe “addiction epidemic” as it has been rightfully named, has been front and center in the political realm as well. Presidential hopefuls are sharing their intended plans and President Obama announced that the 2017 budget will include $1.1 billion to combat opioid use disorders with expanded access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs. Nevertheless, there is still a segment of the American population that refuses to accept treatment facilities into their communities, mostly for lack of opioid treatment awareness.

This past week PBS aired a powerful 2 hour Frontline Documentary, Chasing Heroin. ETS was one of the facilities featured as the documentary followed a patient into treatment. This film follows the stories of multiple people from varied backgrounds, all fighting the same fight but at different points in their recovery. A core message was that addiction is a disease not a crime and should be treated as such. Those affected are most likely to achieve success when they choose to, not when they are forced to. One police officer, who is involved in the LEAD program said that she acts as more of a “case manager” when interacting with individuals suffering from addiction. Encouraging, uplifting and caring.

Chasing Heroin is enlightening and inspiring look into the state of addiction in the U.S.  It can be viewed online at PBS.org.

ETS - Evergreen Treatment Services

Partner Highlight- Evergreen Treatment Services (ETS) Supports Innovative Program

SMART Management, Inc. and SMART Software would like to recognize SMART’s partner Evergreen Treatment Services (ETS) for their contributions to the innovative Seattle based program Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, or LEAD.

evergreen logo news

The nation-wide increase in drug use has inspired treatment professionals and law enforcement officials to create new ways to combat the growth of this issue and to find more beneficial ways to dedicate funds that are historically filtered through the prison system. For those involved in drug use and associated criminal activities there is a typical cycle; drug use -> illegal activities to finance drug use -> arrest -> jail. Due to the persistent nature of addiction the process often repeats itself over and over. Addicts frequently return to the same behavior after prison.  An estimated 30-70k is spent detaining each individual for 1 year,  without a solution to the problem. (1)

Officials in Seattle have joined forces to make a real difference in a “traditional” process. Established in 2011, the LEAD Program has helped to address the cycle. Often when drug users are arrested, the threat of jail simply is not enough to stop the behavior. The LEAD Program gives offenders the choice between the detainment cycle and the opportunity to meet with a counselor for an assessment. After the assessment, they may be referred to the following; enrollment in a drug treatment program, housing assistance, and/or educational opportunities.  “…if the person chooses to take advantage of the LEAD program, the police calls the project lead at Evergreen Treatment Services (ETS) /REACH project.  An ETS staff member will bring the individual to the REACH office treatment center…” (2) The hope is that these individuals will spend their time in the program recovering from their addiction and setting new life goals. These positive results are already being seen amongst participants thus far.

Molly Carney, Executive Director at Evergreen Treatment Services said, “The LEAD program is a terrific example of innovative thinking that can happen when you get public officials, police, prosecuting and defense attorneys, case managers and university program evaluation experts around the same table and focused on solving a problem that required an entirely new solution.  By focusing on the intransigent common challenge and carefully developing the relationships between these entities, the LEAD Program has rightly earned national and international publicity with their early success.”

About Evergreen Treatment Services

“Evergreen Treatment Services is a private, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which has been delivering evidence-based addiction treatment services in Western Washington since 1973.  Since our founding, we have earned a nationwide reputation for excellence in our work.  Our interdisciplinary team of professionals includes clinicians with advanced degrees in medicine, psychiatry, nursing, psychology, social work, and counseling.

ETS uses a comprehensive approach to treatment which combines medication assisted treatment with wrap-around services such as counseling, mental health care, and case management services.” (3)

(1).  http://blog.seattlepi.com/insidebelltown/2011/10/13/drug-offenders-and-prostitutes-in-belltown-will-have-an-option-be-arrested-or-seek-help/

(2). http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/28/seattle-lead-program_n_5697660.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

(3). http://blog.seattlepi.com/insidebelltown/2011/10/13/drug-offenders-and-prostitutes-in-belltown-will-have-an-option-be-arrested-or-seek-help/

(4). http://kuow.org/post/how-seattle-helping-addicts-avoid-prison

(5).http://www.evergreentx.org/Pages/Home.aspx