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Credo offers new youth alcohol, drug treatment program

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The new evidence-based adolescent treatment program at the Credo Community Center for the Treatment of Addictions has let more youths open up about their alcohol or substance addictions, according to vocational counselor Kristen M. Reed.

The program, Seven Challenges, has young adults write entries in a journal, giving them more opportunities to voice their addiction struggles.

“Having an outlet for kids where they can be heard improves the rapport,” Miss Reed said. “We might have a youth come in that’s resistant, but we break down those barriers. A lot of times with kids in the education arena, treatment or dealing with parents — these kids have choices.”

Although treatment plans may be individualized, each client still will participate in groups and/or other resources within the agency or through Seven Challenges. According to its website, Seven Challenges provides a framework for youths to help them think through their own decisions.

The program is based on opening up and talking honestly about alcohol or other drugs, talking about what participants like about alcohol or drugs, looking back to see if using them caused or could cause harm, reviewing responsibilities, thinking about where life seems to be headed, making thoughtful decisions about life and use of alcohol or other drugs and following through on decisions and mastering challenges.

The program is backed by independent published studies that demonstrate “the effectiveness of The Seven Challenges as a ‘co-occurring’ program that significantly decreases the substance use of adolescents and greatly improves their overall mental health status,” according to the website.

Before Seven Challenges was implemented this spring, Miss Reed said, treatment at the outpatient clinic, 595 W. Main St., was grouped topically for youths who were addicted to either alcohol or substances such as marijuana or opiates. The new program brings everything together, and also offers more training for staff.

“Clients are getting the best treatment possible,” Miss Reed said. “It’s not using scare tactics; rather a level of respect.”

In 2012, the agency served 42 adolescents.

Miss Reed said Seven Challenges clients will participate in the minimum recommended outpatient treatment time of 90 days, which is the same as other Credo outpatient programs. Miss Reed said youths who have participated in treatment for their alcohol or drug addictions have been as young as 12 and as old as 18. Youths that participate specifically in Seven Challenges could be as young as 10 or as old as 17, depending on the appropriateness of treatment plans, Miss Reed said. Credo also offers treatment options for adults, but that is something Miss Reed said she hopes Seven Challenges helps avoid.

“It’s really meeting a need in the community before their substance abuse goes into adulthood,” she said.

One option Credo has for families to better understand addiction and how family members also may receive help is the agency’s family support group. That meets from 5:15 to 6:45 p.m. on the second and fourth Monday of each month at the outpatient clinic.

Parents or guardians interested in learning more about Seven Challenges can attend a free information session on the program from 4 to 5:30 p.m. next Wednesday at the outpatient clinic. For more information, call Credo at 788-1530.

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