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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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September 5, 2001     Feather River Bulletin
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September 5, 2001
 

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Health News :ion 'S By Victoria M e.alf said. The biggest hindrance Staff wntar is the fact that many individ- Drug and Alcohol use, uals fail to acknowledge they abuse, and addiction contin- have a problem and need ue to be among the nation's help. leading public health prob- The second bit of good lems, said Bob Minert, direc- news for Plumas County is tor of Plumas County Alcohol that the mandated programs; and Drug Program. Drug Court and Proposition Millions of Americans 36 appear to have sufficient struggle every day with their funding to meet the anticipat- own drug and alcohol prob- ed needs of our county, Min- Ictus. The toll these problems eft said. take on these individuals is The shortfall with any considerable, as they are at treatment program, includ- increased risk for very seri- ing mandated programs, is ous health problems, crimi- the realization that less than nal activity, automobile 40 percent of individuals suf- crashes, and lost productivity fering with addiction actual- in the workplace, ly enter the system and re- But individuals ~ith drug ceive help or seek help on and alcohol problems are not their own. the only casualties. Their "For those individuals who families, friends, communi- are able to receive treatment ties, and society as a whole for their drug or alcohol also suffer, Minert said. In problems, one irrefutable fact fact, we have these problems remains; the support of fami- right here in Plumas County. ly, friends, and the communi- Over 312 individuals were ty at large is a critical facet of provided drug and alcohol the overall recovery treatment related services by process," Minert said. the Plumas County Alcohol "Their role in timely inter- and Drug Program during vention, motivating the indi- the 2000 fiscal year. vidual with the problem to The good news for rest- seek helpand supporting that dents of Plumas County is person throughout his. or her that treatment from alcohol efforts to maintain sobriety and drug addiction is avail- cannot and should not be un- able and effective right here derestimated,"he said. at home locally. Regular alco- hol and drug treatment pro- Understanding addiction grams, the Drug Court pro- and the recovery process gram, the Proposition 36 pro- Although addiction to gram, and the DUI program, drugs or alcohol begins with run by qualified, accredited, a personal choice to use these and dedicated professionals substances, research shows are treatment strategies and that, for many, a physiologi- services that meet rigorous cally based dependence soon state standards, Minert said. sets in. Drug dependence pro- The Plumas County Alco- duces significant and lasting hol and Drug Program re- changes in brain chemistry cently received a three-year and fiction. license for outpatient thera- Most individuals who use py, meeting extremely severe illicit drugs or alcohol stop at state audit requirements, the experimental or recre- Most noteworthy are many ational stage. For a variety of recent successes with the complex reasons, which may Drug Court program as man- involve heredity, social or en: aged by our District Attor- vironmental factors, or other hey, he said. variables, some people's use The range of treatment and progresses to a more prob- recovery program options is lematic phase, or what is considerable; however, it is commonly called substance still not as comprehensive, abuse. Without appropriate available, or affordable, as it intervention, use may be- needs to be to ensure that come habitual and evolve in- everyone who needs effective to physical and psychological treatment will get it, M!pert dependency, or addiction.. Research has shown that long-term drug use results in significant changes i xbrain function that persist loi \af- ter the individual stops usiflg recovering individual to maintain sobriety and adhere to treatment and recovery program guidelines, progress in the process is being made. Family members and friends of individuals with drug and alcohol problems al- so experience a host of nega- tive physical, emotional, and spiritual repercussions. They too need ongoing support pro- grams and services to help them cope with addiction, un- derstand and deal with the recovery process, and sup- port their loved one's efforts to get well. Social I~nnt~s of drag end alcohol treatment l rms Treatment for drug and al- cohol addiction cuts drug use in hall reduces criminal ac- tivity up to 80 percent in- creases employment, decreas- es homelessness, improves I overall recovery process." drugs. These drug-induced changes in brain function may have behavioral conse- quences, including the com- pulsion to use .drugs despite adverse consequences. This compulsion is the defining characteristic of addiction. Alcoholism comprises a set of complex behaviors in which an individual becomes increasingly preoccupied with obtaining alcohol. These behaviors ultimately lead to a loss of control over con- sumption of the drug and to the development of tolerance, dependence, and impaired so- cial and occupational func- tion. Addiction is a chronic med- ical illness, much like type two diabetes mellitus and hy- pertension that can be treated. Of- ten it is the result of some combi- nation of ge- of netic heri- tability, per- Bob Minert sonal choice, and Drug and Alochol Program Director environmen- tal factors. In the past, drug depen- dence has been treated like an acute illness, one that can and should be cured virtually overnight. More often than not, this unrealistic expecta- tion is not met. However, when addiction is treated as the more long-term, chronic, relapsing illness it really is, success rates are comparable to those associated with treating other chronic health problems, such as hyperten- sion, diabetes, and asthma. Recovery from drug or al- cohol addiction is a process, one that by its very nature may include relapse. Occa- sional relapses during recov- ery are to be expected and are not an indication of failure by any means. For some indi- viduals, recovery is a more lengthy process than it is for others. So long as efforts are being made on the part of the physical and mental health, reduces medical costs, and reduces risky sexual behav- iors, according to Minert. The costs of untreated drug and alcohol addiction, is an overwhelming burden on the U.S. taxpayer. In any given year, $276 billion in lost pro- ductivity, law enforcement, health care. justice, welfare, and other programs and ser- vices. That is an annual cost of $1,050 for every man, women, and child in Ameri- ca. In contrast, it would cost about $45 per year per each American to provide the full continuum of services needed to effectively treat addictive disorders. Of course, the re- turn on investment in terms of restored lives is incalcula- ble. According to several con- servative estimates, every $1 invested in addiction treat- ment programs yields a re- turn of between $5 and $8 in reduced drug-related crime, criminal justice costs, and theft alone. When savings re- lated to health care are in- cluded, total savings can ex- ceed costs by a ratio of $12 to $1. Treatment also produces major savings to the individ- ual and society in the form of significant drops in interper- sonal conflicts, improve- ments in workplace produc- tivity, and reductions in drug-related accidents. Understanding effective drug addiction treatment Drug addiction treatment in Plumas County includes behavioral therapy such as counseling, cognitive thera- py, or psychotherapy, or any combination thereof, Minert explained. In order to be truly effec- tive, especially when treating at-risk or hard-toreach populations, our treatment pro- grams include a combination of culturally com- petent therapies and other ser- vices," he said. When devel- oping treatment plans, fac- tors that are considered in- clude: age, race, culture, lan- guage, sexual orientation, genderl pregnancy status, parental responsibilities, housing and employment, physical disability, the exis- tence of co-occurring mental illness, and any past history of physical and sexual abuse. Because drug and alcohol addiction is typically a chronic disorder character- ized by occasional relapses, short-term treatment is not successful. For many, treat- ment is a long- term process that involves multiple inter- ventions and attempts at ab- stinence. Role of family, friends, and the community in treatment and rocovory Successful treatment out- comes often depend upon re- taining the drug or alcohol enough to gain the fits of treatment. Whether or not stays in on a number of cluding: to change the degree of ed by family whether or not sure to stay in from the tem child protective s employers, "That's why and proposition 36 are so successful, are mandated to program long treatment to said. Community-based groups, most form of 12-step complement and effects cf I rnent by throughout the process. And in viduals, the are a vital part recovery ment process. Family and play critical roles ing individuals and alcohol treatment, stay Family therapy 1 important, lescents. "Additional available throu hol and Drug through local grams in each of communities, he Famfly friends who support strong " mental and ability to day at and overall health result. If you realize friend or family needs help, or just quire about our please ty Office at 283-6316. Assistance is private and easy Get, the DISH Network Digital Home Plan. 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