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There is no worse feeling for a parent than feeling helpless. You've done all you can do for your child. If he turns to drugs or alcohol, you might try to intervene, but the problem only escalates and that feeling of helplessness sets in. Now what?

You don't want to hear about future plans or "funding issues." You just want help.

Addiction and substance abuse are emotionally traumatic. The ongoing drug issue facing the community is certainly in a heightened emotional state, and justifiably so. However, the best decisions are not often made when emotions run high. Sometimes we need to step back and calmly make the best decision.

Now is that time.

Chemical dependency and addiction is a complicated issue, both in its origin and its treatment. Underlying situational or emotional issues often lead to initial and continued drug and alcohol usage. Many drug treatment programs only treat substance abuse, leaving an integral aspect of the person's problem untreated.

With constant reminders of the prevalence of drug use in Porter County, Porter-Starke Services has reacted in the way we felt to be most appropriate for the community with the resources we have. When possible we have pooled resources and partnered with other community agencies to lead the charge.

Although Porter-Starke Services has been an expert in this field since its inception in the community in 1975, we have also teamed up with other experts.

In 2004, Porter-Starke Services and the Community Action Drug Coalition brought in Roosevelt University to identify and quantify the drug problem.

Roosevelt offered its recommended goals to reduce drug use and our community has accomplished many of them, including: Porter joined the DAWN network, which helps identify where substance abuse treatment is needed; local judges established a drug court; Porter-Starke Services now offers buprenorphrine treatment and lobbied to repeal the moratorium on opiate replacement treatment centers.

Despite these accomplishments, a significant problem remains. Roosevelt will soon release the results of its recent adolescent focus groups, which will help the community decide on additional prevention and treatment options.

Quite simply, we must offer the right treatment and do it well. Any investment in the treatment of this population must be examined and questioned.

Is it the best treatment option for our county?

What other treatment options are available?

Do we have enough knowledge to progress with a specific course of action?

Is it cost-effective?

Is there a continuum of treatment options?

Is it affordable?

Only after answering these questions can we proceed with the most logical treatment resources. We will then have a better answer to the emotions and complications surrounding this critical issue.

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