Pulliam Trust sponsors support for addicts

March 2, 2009
The recovery experts at Fairbanks Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center view alcohol and drug addiction as a chronic disease that requires long-term management to prevent relapse.

That's why last year they launched a recovery management program, employing coaches who help clients transition from the 30-day detox to a new lifestyle that keeps addictions in check.

The program will last at least two years because of a $200,000 grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust. Fairbanks CEO Helene Cross hopes that by the time the grant runs out, she can convince insurance companies to invest in recovery management, as they do chronic diseases like diabetes.

"If you invest in disease management," Cross said, "You'll spend less money on relapse."

One reason the Pulliam trust supported Fairbanks' new venture, Cross said, is the treatment center's partnership with Indiana Wesleyan University. The college, which offers a master's degree in addiction counseling, is designing a study to measure the results of Fairbanks' one-year program.

"They found it was unique," Cross said. "They loved the collaboration with the university. They appreciated the fact that we were evaluating it."

Fairbanks hired three recovery coaches, each of whom will work with one of three client groups: one for men, one for women and another for teens.

Robin Parsons, director of adult services, said the transition to sobriety can be especially difficult for teens going back to school and its all-encompassing social life.

"This coach plays a very crucial role in teaching them how to have fun socially without drugs and alcohol, how to readapt to their community," Parsons said.

The coaches may guide clients toward long-term support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Parsons said the coaches can also help clients deal with ancillary problems. "Maybe they're going through a divorce."

Fairbanks is trying to address the mind, body and spirit with support groups, yoga classes and Reiki therapy. Cross said the program was designed around recent research on recovery management.

"If you keep people connected minimally for a year after going through formal treatment," Cross said, "their recovery really soars."


Know of a gift that IBJ should feature? Contact Kathleen McLaughlin at kmclaughlin@ibj.com.
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