July 25, 2017

Help and Hope for Drug and Alcohol Addiction in Inter-City

You don’t have to hit rock-bottom. There is help for you now.
(816) 361-5900 FirstCall KC 24 Hour Confidential Crisis Hotline

If you or someone you care about has a problem with drugs or alcohol, write down or preferably memorize this phone number: (816) 361-5900. This is the number for First Call, a CONFIDENTIAL 24-hour crisis hotline that is answered by trained professionals who know the exact resources in our area that are ready to help anyone struggling with substance abuse issues.

People who have pulled themselves out of a drug or alcohol addiction will often tell you that they wish they’d done it sooner and that even while they were addicted they often had a strong desire to quit. “I hated myself. I could see the damage I was doing to my life and my family, but there didn’t seem to be any way out. “

The motivation to break an addiction has got to be strong -- it often takes a life-changing event to make a substance abuser turn their life around. “When they’ve OD’d or nearly OD’d or a friend has, or they’ve had a bad experience, right then they’re motivated. After they feel better they might not be, so it’s really important to have people think about that right then when they need help,” said Stacy Daniels Young, a clinical psychologist who serves as the director of COMBAT. COMBAT provides funding for dozens of agencies in Jackson County that are devoted to helping people break free from addiction.


People with private health insurance have many more options for getting treatment than people without it. Lack of insurance need not be a barrier for getting help and treatment, though. In the Inter-City area there are several agencies ready to help people who may think they have no options.

Comprehensive Mental Health Services (CMHS) is at the forefront of providing not only addiction treatment but basic services to help people struggling with addiction and other mental health issues get on their feet. Helping people get on Medicaid is an important service they provide. According to Julie Pratt, Vice President of Operations at CMHS, “A lot of our consumers don’t have Medicaid. That’s one of the things that we try to help them with when they come in the door are some of those basic needs, like
making sure they have a Social Security card, a drivers license, if they qualify for Medicaid we help them go and apply for that.”

Jenny Duncan, the CMHS Director of Addiction Services added, “You can’t address whatever substance abuse or whatever problems you’re dealing with if you’re worrying about ‘Where am I going to get food?’ and ‘I don’t have anywhere to live,’ so you have to start with the basics. So we’re doing more than just addressing a substance use issue. You can’t focus on those kinds of things when you have so many other things going on.”

CMHS takes pride in their many success stories. Indeed many of their volunteers and employees were once clients. “We have some that actually start the program,
Gateway. They’ll graduate successfully and then we want them to have a year clean, and then they’ll come back and work for us. They’re employees. They’re mental health techs in our Gateway program. They’re giving what they’ve lived to the current clients that are in the house right now -- ‘I've been there. It can happen. You can do this and you can get through this,’ so we do, we employ people,” said Duncan, and Pratt added, “And they’re the best employees. We’ve had some wonderful success stories.”

It’s because of this success that as of July 1, CMHS began offering the services of a federal program designed to medically assist people who are addicted to heroin and other opioids by distributing the drug Buprenorphine (brand name Suboxone), an alternative to the traditional treatment of Methadone. “They’ll
come in and get a quick screening done and immediately see the doctor.” Missouri is one of only eight states participating in this program, and Comprehensive
Mental Health was chosen because of its proven record of providing successful treatment to people struggling with addiction and mental health issues.

Although the opioid crisis is raging around the country, we were told by representatives from Comprehensive and several other agencies that methamphetamine
continues to be the most widely abused drug that people are seeking treatment for.


For women in relationships where addiction is an issue, whether they are users or their partners are or both, Hope House can help to break the cycle of abuse
that often comes from being in dangerous relationships. Hope House has a 24-hour hotline at (816) 461- HOPE (461-4673). Janet Howard of Hope House tells us,
“Hope House is an Emergency Shelter for victims of domestic violence, this includes physical abuse but also encompasses emotional, sexual, financial and
psychological abuse,” many of which are typical in relationships where substance abuse is an issue.

“Each victim who comes to Hope House is screened by phone to see if they meet our criteria. If the victim meets the criteria then they are given further instructions, if they do not meet our criteria then further resources are provided.” A woman can’t come into Hope House if she is under the influence
at the time of admission. “If they are under the influence then sobriety would be the first need before entering our services.”

Once entering Hope House there are a great many services provided to women and children to help them start a new life free from abuse and addiction. “We are State Certified Substance Abuse Program Level 3. We provide groups and individual therapy for the victims through our shelter services.

Typically victims come into shelter for safety concerns, (fear of abuser, abusers family, or homeless due to domestic violence). Upon completion of the shelter program victims are then placed in our Outreach Program for further therapy, support, or services.”


Several of the agencies we spoke with in researching this article were singing the praises of a resource in our area that has been invaluable in helping people who were once prisoners of addiction to break free and stay clean: Maywood Baptist Church, located at 10505 E Winner Rd. in Englewood. A spokesman tells us, “Maywood Baptist has Wednesday night groups which are very good and generally speaking most of the people in those classes are in recovery. They also have a
Narcotic Anonymous program at Maywood Baptist which meets several times a week. The best thing I can say about Maywood is that there are so many people
in recovery there and so many success stories so if you are looking to get sober it’s a great place to start and stay as well.

So many stories of Victory there. If you’re looking for recovery stick around Maywood Baptist Church.”

No comments: