November 2015 ASAC Action Newsletter

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Grant Funding to Enhance ASAC’s Treatment Programming

Medication Assisted Treatment

Housing Fund for Linn County LogoThe Area Substance Abuse Council was one of four Iowa substance abuse treatment providers to receive Iowa Department of Public Health grants to provide medication-assisted treatment. The purpose of the grant funding is to better treat those abusing prescription drugs and heroin. The $120,756 that ASAC will receive in the first year of the grant will be used to buy drugs to assist clients in the treatment process and to provide wrap-around recovery support services to improve access to and retention in treatment. It is a three year grant project.

The other three Iowa providers receiving medication assisted treatment grants are Jackson Recovery Center in Sioux City, United Community Services Inc. in Des Moines and Mercy Turning Point Treatment Center in Dubuque. The grants are designed to decrease substance abuse, expand and improve medication assisted treatment and increase the number of Iowans receiving medication-assisted treatment.

Housing Fund of Linn County

IDPH LogoThe Housing Fund for Linn County has awarded ASAC a $26,735 grant to address the heating, air conditioning and electrical issues in our Adult Residential housing units. The Adult Residential bedrooms are currently heated with hot water heat from a boiler system and there is no central air. The housing units are either too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter. The electrical wiring in the housing units is also problematic. There are very few outlets and the housing units all need to be rewired.

The renovations made possible with the support from the Housing Fund for Linn County will make the adult residential housing units more energy efficient and provide a more comfortable environment for people to recover from their addiction to alcohol or other drugs.

UNITE to Face Addiction Recovery Rally

It's Time (2)Through Access to Recovery (ATR) funding, the Iowa Department of Public Health offered stipends for 10 ATR providers to send a staff member, stakeholder or alumnus to UNITE to Face Addiction Recovery Rally in Washington, D.C. on October 4. Shirley Schneider, ASAC’s ATR Coordinator, attended the event that was estimated to have over 10,000 in attendance. The purpose of the rally was to let the nation know that addiction is preventable and treatable, and that people can and do get well.

Presentations were made throughout the day by notable speakers such as U.S. Surgeon General

Dr. Vivek Murthy, ONCDP Director Michael Botticelli, and former U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy, as well as comments by health experts such as Dr. Oz and musical performances by Steven Tyler, Joe Walsh and Sheryl Crow.

When asked what she thought about the rally, Shirley stated “I was inspired to see the number of people at the rally, identifying their recovery status on poster and t-shirts. It was also sobering to see the number of friends and family attending the rally with pictures of a loved one lost to addiction. The speakers renewed my desire to make a difference through substance abuse treatment and an interest in advocacy.”

Taking Charge of the Year

Lindsey Ungs, Certified Prevention Specialist

The Area Substance Abuse Council’s annual Take Charge conference was held this year on September 29th at the Kirkwood Training and Outreach Center.  ASAC Prevention Staff from Linn, Benton, and Jones County took the day to train over 130 high school students from Linn, Benton, and Jones Counties.  The students discussed topics such as marijuana, prescription drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. ASAC staff also offered trainings on different areas of the strategic prevention framework (assessing, capacity building, planning, and evaluating).

One of the highlights of the day was getting a chance to help the students plan their vision for their advocacy work in their community in the upcoming year. This included Prevention Staff meeting with groups and discussing what they hoped to accomplish in making changes in their community.  One Benton County school group said they hoped to lower the incidence rate of Good Conduct Policy Violations at their school. They stated that there have been several incidents so far this school year and when that happens, the entire student body is left to deal with the consequences.  These students are planning to do several activities this year to draw attention to the good conduct policy and the positives of following these rules. Some of the plans they made involve a red ribbon week campaign, posting messages around the school related to the conduct policy, and collecting statistics from the administration. Way to go students!

When asked for feedback on the conference, one student stated, “It really shows us as youth how involved and committed you all are to working and cooperating with us and inspiring us.”

The Linn, Benton, and Jones Prevention Staff would like to thank all the advisors and students for spending the day with us. We look forward to working with each of you this year.

2015 Take Charge Conference

Being Thankful for Recovery

From a former client who has sent flowers to ASAC every month since she successfully graduated treatment two years ago. The card that accompanied the plant ASAC received in October read: Two years of clean living. Thank you very much!

From a former client who has sent flowers to ASAC every month since she successfully graduated treatment two years ago. The card that accompanied the plant ASAC received in October read: Two years of clean living. Thank you very much!

Following are excerpts from two thank you letters ASAC recently received. Names and any descriptor language have been removed for confidentiality reasons.

From a wife of a former client:

Hello! Hope all is going well at the center. Just wanted to update you on how my husband is doing.

First I just want to say Thank-You from the bottom of my heart to you! You reached my husband when no one else has been able to and he has taken it in and uses what you taught him every day.

Again…THANK YOU for being the one to reach my husband and give back the man I love and have not seen in years.

From a former client:

Now and then…

I was sick, sick from detox and many other medical issues. I was mentally bankrupt, homeless, emotionally destroyed. I was scared and scarred.  . . . I had been spent the past ten years drinking like the alcoholic I knew I was. There was no question about it, I needed help. I was past rock bottom. I had found Hell…

Today I have to say, I am a very happy, sober person. I live a life that is filled with gratitude and joy. It is like I just want to go out and breathe. I read somewhere that life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away. They are everywhere for me. My children and grandchildren have been restored to me, a wretch who had never been there for them; they are in my life today. They call me Grandma …

I go to work and do the best that I am able and it seems to be enough. I have held down my jobs for two years. …

I would not be here today without the help of the people in that center.

Great American Smoke Out


Curt Wheeler, ASAC Prevention Specialist

The Great American Smoke Out (GASO) occurs on the third Thursday of November each year, making this year’s event on Thursday, November 19th.  GASO is a time when those who smoke pledge take a break from tobacco while those around them find ways to support them.  The hope is that many will make GASO their quit date and begin to enjoy the benefits of being a “former smoker.”

Everyone’s reason for quitting tobacco may be different, but all can benefit from improved health, more time with family and friends, more money in their pockets, and having a more positive influence on kids. Though many that have successfully quit widely report no regrets, it does take determination to create this new lifestyle. Having a plan, rounding up support, deciding whether medical assistance is needed and choosing a quit date will all help to increase the chances of success.

This year a GASO event will be held in Cedar Rapids on November 19 starting at 5:30 pm at St. Wenceslaus Church. The event will include 15 minute presentations to share up to date information and resources that may help people successfully quit tobacco or nicotine.  There is no cost to attend and the event is open to the public.  Round up a friend or two and come begin your journey or learn how you can support others on theirs!

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