One of the greatest things about recovery is getting to see growth and change around me. I was recently chatting with a friend about new advancements in drug addiction treatment and she mentioned a news article she read about an innovative new approach at a hospital in Canada. The hospital, St. Michael’s, has developed a harm reduction treatment technique that helps manage their drug abuse cases in a one-on-one way that has been very effective for its clients.
The program offers clients services including individual therapy, help with budgeting and money management, finding a doctor, searching for housing all the while understanding the individual needs of each patient. In my practice and through the teachings of others, I have found that I am most effective when I treat each individual with loving kindness and also understand the strengths of each person so that I can best help them.
The client centered approach of the Canadian hospital has the goal of reducing hospital visits by frequent users and will save on administration cost while creating greater benefits to the community and to drug addicts in the area. The intensive case management approach will help stop people from falling through the cracks and reduce visits to jails, institutions, hospitals, and the shelter system. This approach similar to the collaborative treatment approach empowers users to make better decisions for themselves, instead of being scolded or beaten down by the system. The increased access to a primary care physician as well as to mental health professionals had a drastic and positive effect on clients in the program.
This model took place in urban Toronto and could potentially be a great model for other cities and urban areas. In some cities, such as San Francisco the cost on the services system for hospitals, jails and institutions of the most frequent users is staggering, in some cases costing over $1 million a year, just for one person. Getting these individuals off the streets and into housing situations and jobs that suit their strengths would benefit not only them, but those around them. Further, leading by example and becoming empowered, many individuals who find hope in sobriety and recovery are able to pass on what they learn to others.
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Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.