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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.  If you want to be a part of one solution to help the veteran who is sitting in jail and other women like her then please read over the fold.  

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, 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 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 or contact us at  

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Comment Preferences

  •  Why not? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gramofsam1, tardis10, chimene

    Why don't we just let them have their painkillers.  

    I KNOW what the consequences are, mental and physical.  I just don't agree that the "cure" (denying addicts access or "addiction treatment" or throwing miserable, desperate addicts in prison) is any better than the "ill".  

    The statistics make it clear that addiction treatment really doesn't work very well.    The recidivism rate is VERY high for meth.  My alcoholic parent was in addiction treatment many times.   She died an alcoholic.  

    Yes, some people make it through, but the numbers tell us we should not count on that outcome.  We need to have another plan, to figure out how to proceed when an addict REMAINS an addict.   Denying them the substance they are addicted to simply makes them frantic and desperate, and does not solve the problem.  It just creates other, often nastier, problems.  

    It's like this whole nation is in denial, believing that addiciton will just go away, if we say, "I believe in faries" three times in a row, or check into the latest high dollar addiction treatment facility.   Those addiction centers make tons of money so there are forces at work to convince you they are maaagiiiic.   For most people, unfortunately, addiction is a chronic disorder that will be with them throughout their lives.  Denial ain't just a river.

    A mother would be home with her kids, if we didn't these stupid laws.  Hydrocodone is better than meth any day of the week.   Eventually, the addict will become unable to cope, but why hasten the process?  The mother and kids had more time left, if she just could have gotten her meds.  

    Of course, sending a mother of three over to Iraq to get shot up and addicted to pain meds is another problem.   And, what moral authority has the right to decide she doesn't need pain meds, anyway?   Until you walk in her shoes, you don't know.   Having a child with a chronic pain disorder has helped me to see exactly how little doctors know about the subject.   They think they know.   Their medical schools gave them a nice little paragraph and a certificate on their wall  But, those healthy little marathon running doctors are horribly dismissive, arrogant, totally clueless and frequently cruel and insensitive when faced with a person who is struggling with terrible chronic pain.     Most of them couldn't find their ass with both hands and a map.  They can't bear to say those horrible words -- "I don't know"  and "I'm not sure I can help you."  Failure is really hard for over-achievers like people who made it through med school, to cope with.  They just can't deal with saying, "I can't", so they make the problem worse.    They truly believe, in their delusional world, that they can cure an addict by just taking away their painkillers.

    Sometimes, I think doctors are more delusional than their patients.

    •  Wet shelters (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10, Gorette

      Wet Shelters are more or less hospice care for the terminally addicted.  They are using them in Washington State.  I think Minnesota may have some as well. Yet more information

      Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

      by tikkun on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 10:11:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hi (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Yes the shelters you mention are for the terminally addicted in essence they are being allowed to slowly die. This brings up a whole other topic for discussion. Are these shelters of benefit or are they sending a message of hopelessness? Of course it comes back to what the first poster brought up the idea of choice. But does an individual truly have a choice if their brain is so damaged by a chemical that they can no longer make healthy choices for themselves?

    •  Evidence Based Studies (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Thanks for your response. You bring up a number of points. First of all this is not about whether drugs are legal or not.  Because alcohol is a legal drug and is just as lethal as many street drugs if not more. This is about the illness of addiction and the mental health disorders that often accompany addiction. The centers that you are talking about that make tons of money are usually for profit and I'm sure do their part in helping to save lives as well. Ours is non profit. Evidence based studies show that when an individual attends a 28 day program and then transitions to an extended care facility that also addresses any co-occurring disorders as well for an additional three months to nine months and then engages in outpatient therapy with the support of a twelve step based model and the support for recovery of family members their chances of staying in recovery are over 95% in the first year alone. Just because cancer is difficult to treat does that mean we shouldn't try, just because diabetes is difficult to treat do we give up? It's true many people with the illness of addiction don't make it but many do with treatment and support. And we want to be there for those individuals. They deserve a shot at a quality of life too. Nobody says when they're a kid that they want to grow up to be an addict or an alcoholic. Please help us to offer hope not fatalism. Also you may want to consider a diary as your comment length could warrant one and may stimulate additional discussion on this important topic.

      •  Having read both this and above comment, (0+ / 0-)

        it's clear how almost impossible it is and how much anger accompanies the whole situation at times.

        To me, it's that year in residence that seems to be worth trying. After all, it's a whole life we are talking about. And as you said, if it were cancer and difficult, we'd still try if we could.

        My niece's soon to be ex-husband is now in alcohol treatment for 60 or maybe 90 days if he decides to. We all worry this will not be enough after half his live, as he started at age 17. If he could stay in a residence where he was monitored for a year perhpas he'd change enough to make it on his own. He's a wonderful, caring, professional person and father to two wonderful kids. How great if he did actually become dry. Worth it! For sure!

        Thanks for what you do in your non-profit. If I had any money I'd support it.

        "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

        by Gorette on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 12:52:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you for your comments and (0+ / 0-)

          support please pass on to as many people as you can and remember all giving levels are welcome even $1.00 :-) Good luck to your family member his chances would increase with more treatment but if he doesn't have any additional co-occurring mental health disorders and utilizes the skills and tools he is learning in addition to getting the support of individuals in a twelve step group and attends some outpatient therapy and has the support of people who love him (support is different than enabling) he should be able to manage his illness and create an new design for living.  

  •  Treatment possiblities? (0+ / 0-)

    The VA in Seattle has a women's Trauma and Recovery Center to deal with co-occuring addiction and trauma.  I'm not sure if it's inpatient, outpatient or a combo of both.

    Here's a link, if interested:

    •  Hi (0+ / 0-)

      Thank you for providing this resource link. And yes it is an outpatient program. We plan to network with our Veterans Health Center here in Fort Collins, Colorado also to have our counselors available to women veterans and we also plan to open our doors for residential treatment for our are women's veterans, once again evidence based studies support the model we are working to create. Please pass our information on to as many people as you can.

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