Stepping up to help


Jackson County United Way is taking steps to help address drug addiction and substance abuse in the community.

Through a partnership with Christopher and Associates Evaluation and Counseling in Seymour, JCUW plans to pay 70 percent of the costs of counseling and treatment for residents who are battling the effects of drugs.

The funding will come from a $28,247 Work2Gether grant from the Indiana Association of United Ways, which is supported by the Lilly Endowment.

“We are very appreciative of this grant that will allow those with financial barriers to access appropriate treatment,” Dr. Jill Christopher said. “We realize the great need for quality substance abuse treatment in our community.”

Although it’s not enough to make a huge impact on drug use overall in the county, officials said they hope the drug treatment services will change the lives of at least 20 people.

“It is a step in the right direction,” Christopher said. “Our goal is to change the family and community dynamic by changing a few individuals at a time.”

Clients who are approved for the program will be required to pay 30 percent of the program’s fee. The cost can vary depending on the length of treatment needed and amount of drug screens needed.

“Treatment is typically less expensive than their drug use,” Christopher said. “We want individuals to be invested in their treatment and actively participate which includes a financial commitment.”

The IOP program includes small group therapy and deals with relapse prevention, managing urges and cravings, understanding addiction, steps to recovery, educating families and dealing with depression, anxiety, anger, stress and other causes of drug use.

Tonja Couch, JCUW executive director, said increased local donations to United Way in 2014 and 2015 helped provide local matching dollars to secure the grant.

It was decided to use the money to address an issue having a negative impact on families and the community, Couch said.

United Way’s mission is to assess community needs, secure resources and strategically invest those resources to create measurable, lasting change in the areas of education, health and financial stability for all of Jackson County.

“When we asked our partners what issues we should tackle with this grant money, the top answer was develop support for individuals and families facing drug addiction,” Couch said.

Other recent local efforts to combat the drug problem in Jackson County include the new drug court and Todd’s Place Transitional Housing and Detox Facility, which was supposed to open last year in Seymour but has since run into funding and other issues.

Originally, the United Way grant was going to fund a program that would have supported pregnant mothers and their children until age 2. But the sustainability and ongoing cost of that program led JCUW to look for another way to help individuals and families in the community.

Christopher said she has seen success in the last few months through Christopher and Associates’ intensive outpatient treatment program, having graduated five clients.

One client called the program “a blessing.”

“It’s made me have a new approach in life,” the patient said. “It has taught me so many new ways to cope with high-risk situations and get positive and motivating feedback in a small group setting. I definitely know I have gained a great network of people that are here to support me if any concerns may arise in my recovery.”

After getting out of jail, another client went through the program and has now been sober for a little more than a year.

Couch said desired outcomes for the IOP program include making treatment readily available, keeping patients in the program until they graduate, having community-based supports in place, assessing and meeting individual needs and educating on substance abuse, recovery and relapse.

“We know access to addiction treatment will be the first hand up to a better life,” she said. “We are excited to provide this supportive environment, while not providing a hand out.”

Anyone interested in finding out how to access United Way grant funding for drug addiction and substance abuse treatment should call Christopher and Associates at 812-523-0386.

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