I have been writing about just this type of situation here on dKos for the past few days. Here is a quote from the HuffPost this morning.
“As HuffPost's senior military correspondent, David Wood (who won a Pulitzer last spring for his Beyond the Battlefield series) has relentlessly put the spotlight on the sacrifices and struggles of America's veterans. His story in this week's issue of Huffington puts a spotlight on the true cost of the wars. "Among the grim repercussions of a decade of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan -- the dead, the battle-injured, the wreckage, the wasted billions -- is this: while most soldiers return from war and resume a somewhat normal life, many do not," he writes. Many return to face other demons: drug addiction, alcohol abuse or reckless behavior that can lead to fractured families or trouble with the law. The result is what one expert calls "an epidemic": the estimated 223,000 veterans who are in prison -- most of them veterans of Vietnam, but increasingly from Iraq and Afghanistan. David introduces us to 32-year-old Jamie Beavers, who has served two Iraq tours and suffered from PTSD and pill addiction. In February, when he was arrested and spent time in jail, his wife and daughters fled, leaving him to grapple with wounds that go beyond the physical. "It's hard," Beavers says. "I'm just trying to get back into things." (Huffington, p. 1, 2012)”As a nonprofit Asbury House is working to address this issue with women veterans, with help, please read over the fold as to what we have experienced and what we are trying to do about it. And how we need a little help to do it.
I received a call recently from a woman who had given up her home, her job and the day to day life as she knew it to move to another state with her family in order to take care of sister’s three young children so that they could stay near their mother who was in jail for the possession of drugs. So what does that have to do with us? Well that woman sitting in jail right this moment is a veteran who served us in the Iraq war. During her tour of duty she was shot in the eye and as a result was blinded, she was prescribed pain killers for her injury and then became addicted to them, they stopped prescribing the drugs she became addicted to and she then found them on the streets in the form of meth and well now you know the rest of the story. They called me for help because there are no extended care treatment centers for women in their area, in fact there aren't any extended care treatment facilities in most areas of the nation, and where there are programs they are too short in length, they don’t treat co-occurring disorders, like post- traumatic stress disorders and they are cost prohibitive.
They heard about the non-profit program we are working to create and it gave them hope. However I had to tell her that we are still trying to raise funds to create our first facility of the kind that could help her sister. The judicial system would work to get her into a treatment program, but how can they when there is no such place for her to go? For some reason it has again become politically fashionable for veterans to risk their lives for us and for us to pretend that they are not there
Asbury House formed as a nonprofit in Fort Collins, Colorado on December 14, of 2011 and it has been slowly but steadily growing ever since. We formed because there is a paucity of extended care residential treatment programs based on recovery for women, including women veterans that are affordable and that deal not only with substance addiction/abuse but also with the co-occurring mental health disorders that often accompany the illness of addiction.
Studies have shown several things that you may be interested in. They have shown that women are more likely to enter into lifesaving addiction treatment programs if they are also receiving mental health treatment, home and work roles are taken into consideration, family needs are being met and where there is an emphasis on regaining and increasing physical health. Studies have also shown that addiction recovery treatment is most successful when during the first year of recovery an individual remains in voluntary residential treatment with aftercare from three to nine months.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has recently declared an epidemic in the rates of addiction to prescription pain killers and of those addicted, most are women. In fact 40% of all people addicted including alcohol addiction in America are women. The social costs of this current epidemic increases exponentially when women find that they have exhausted their prescriptions due to reaching the limits of obtaining prescriptions through doctor shopping and the resulting cessation of pain killer prescriptions by health care professionals they then move on to riskier and increasingly dangerous methods of obtaining these painkilling drugs in many cases becoming addicted to available street drugs which put not only them at risk but also their families and their communities. This type of scenario is particularly prevalent among returning women veterans who are also suffering from the emotional scars of war in the form of post-traumatic stress syndrome and from the physical injuries that necessitated initial prescriptions for pain medications. As you have read I have personally spoken with, worked with and received calls from female veterans and their desperate family members who fit just such scenarios.
The infrastructure within the Veterans Administration and within the active services is not in place to manage the increase of substance addiction and mental health issues faced by returning women veterans. In fact the culture of the military is still working to come to terms with how to change the culture to accommodate an increased awareness around the proper treatment of substance addiction and mental health issues. We’ve all read the stories of overcrowding and the challenging service delivery structure involved in substance addiction and mental health treatment faced by all our veterans let alone the growing ranks of women veterans. As a result the civilian sector is working to become more proactively involved and this is one of the treatment areas that Asbury House is working to address. In fact we hope to inspire similar much needed programs around the country.
In order to provide the services we must purchase a facility that will house our first voluntary extend care residential treatment program. And this is what we are currently in the process of doing. Our goal is to raise the down payment to purchase the facility where we currently offer outpatient services. To help us do this our community crowd-sourced funding organization, Community Funded at www.communityfunded.com, has approved our funding project for their grassroots website.
To donate to our project and have the opportunity to receive gifts and gift certificates (known as giftbacks) for your donations from Asbury House and/or our project hero’s or to make a simple donation go to www.communityfunded.com do a search for asbury house and follow the online instructions, you will be asked to register but they make it as pain free as possible and remember it’s for a worthy cause. Even if you don’t donate to us, you may find another project you wish to donate to, you may learn something about crowd funding, you may be inspired to start your own project, and you may be inspired to spread the word! Of course I hope that you will donate to us, every dollar counts! And I hope that you will spread the word as we only have sixty days to raise the funds on the site. Your donation will ultimately have an impact on the lives of women who will come to us for help. All levels of support our welcome. If you would like to read more about us you can also go to www.asburyhouse.org or contact us at email@example.com. If you would rather donate with a credit card or paypal you can go to our website at www.asburyhouse.org Thank you!
Sat Oct 06, 2012 at 4:27 PM PT: Update: Please donate to Asbury House at www.communityfunded.com There has been interest in the press lately with the substance addictions, mental health disorders and sexual assaults that have plagued our veterans.This is facility with a program that will offer hope and help to women including women veterans.