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As we move closer to November and the presidential election we are being flooded by requests for money, and rightly so, because money in our culture equals power and you need a lot of it if you want to get things done.  Of course there are other things that are equally as important to a developed culture things like enduring values and a sense of tolerance and compassion. Because of the flurry of politics, the state of the economy and the overwhelming demand for funds related to political causes, some causes are being overshadowed, but we can’t ignore them and they need to be brought forth and blasted with a spot light.  One such cause is being addressed by Asbury House an extended care treatment facility for women, including women veterans  and they need help.

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.  I have personally spoken with, worked with and received calls from female veterans and their desperate family members who fit just such scenarios.  

This epidemic is not going to go away until we as a nation address it. The toll it is taking in terms of lives is staggering. I invite you to examine the numbers yourself at the CDC website. We need to address this issue or it will continue to wreck havoc on individuals, families and communities. This is not about fighting a war on drugs this is about saving lives, offering hope and rebuilding dreams.  Waiting for someone else to take care of the problem will not work, we need to take responsibility and we need to take action.  

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. If you would like to read more about us you can also go to www.asburyhouse.org or contact us at info@asburyhouse.org.  

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