State Grant Helps Start Drug Treatment for Youth!

State Grant Helps Start Drug Treatment for Youth!
Posted by FoM on January 06, 1999 at 05:29:41 PT

FORT WORTHA father whose daughter died of a heroin overdose last year told Tarrant County commissioners yesterday that a $1 million state grant for a countywide youth drug treatment program will save children's lives. 
The Texas Alcohol and Substance Abuse Commission grant will provide initial funding for a 16-bed live-in drug- treatment facility, counseling, case management and outpatient care, county officials said."With every single bed you provide, you are saving the life of a child," said Tommy Taylor, a Hurst-Euless-Bedford school board member and a teacher at O.D. Wyatt High School in Fort Worth.His daughter, Kristin, 19, died of a drug overdose in October. Taylor sold his business and his house, he said, but eventually ran out of money to pay for rehabilitation before his daughter died. It was hard for him to understand drug use and the problems associated with it until it hit home, with his daughter, he told the commissioners."These are not problem kids. These are kids with problems," said Taylor, who lives in Hurst. "Don't think too small. We have a tremendous problem out there."Commissioner Glen Whitley, who has worked to make the Adolescent Recovery Project a reality, yesterday called it a "public-private partnership to integrate all services under one roof for a smooth transition between the various phases of care."Although the grant money is enough to start the project, it is not enough to provide all the services to the young people who need them, said Jennifer Gilley, executive director of Challenge Inc., the nonprofit social service agency that will oversee the new treatment program.The project is seeking donations from individuals, businesses, churches and cities, Gilley said. It does not have a building, and Gilley asked jokingly if the commissioners know anyone with a building to donate.Even without a building, the Tarrant Council on Alcoholism and Abuse is expected to soon begin intervention assessments of clients, Gilley said. After live-in treatment, Santa Fe Adolescent Services would provide day treatment and have an on-site school. Family Service would provide counseling and group sessions, she said."We hope to have the program fully operational by April," Gilley said.The program will offer "wrap-around" services to allow clients to enter treatment at the needed level, Gilley said. If there are too many people for a phase of the program, the needs of the adolescents and their families "will be met at some level" until they can get the most appropriate care, she said.Eric Niedermayer, chief of mental health and addiction programs for Tarrant County Mental Health-Mental Retardation Services, said there are so few drug-treatment beds in Tarrant County available to adolescents that parents are forced to send their children out of state for treatment."There really isn't anything local, and this program will be available to anyone, with insurance or not," he said.Heroin has had a deadly impact on North Texas in the past two years, with more than two dozen area residents having died while using the drug. In addition to Tarrant County deaths, fatalities involving heroin use have occurred in Denton, Plano, Allen and Lake Dallas. In most cases, a potent form of the drug, black tar heroin, has been used.The region has been declared a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, which will combine local, state and federal resources to improve intelligence-gathering and to coordinate drug investigations.The Adolescent Recovery Project, providing all its services in one building, "will save years in getting help" and save lives, Taylor said.Neil Strassman, (817) 390-7657
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