Friday, August 28, 2009

"Veggie Volunteer" Wanted to Start a Community Garden

Do you love to garden? Do you grow prize-winning produce? Want to teach people in recovery for drug addiction to “grow their own?”

Brandywine Counseling seeks a volunteer to help start a community garden. Our clients can tend to it with your instruction and monitoring, and take home the produce for their consumption. Gardening can be therapeutic for someone who is new to recovery. It can help them rediscover a normal lifestyle while doing an activity they can enjoy and feel proud of.

Fun project for someone who can give a few hours during the week to start up the garden, and ongoing assistance as needed. Crunchy hippies welcome.

Desired skills: Gardening experience, and enjoy working with people. Apply here!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tobacco Addiction: Tolerable, or Treatable?

Should drug treatment programs be helping patients quit smoking? Historically, we look the other way. We see cigarette smoking as less of a health risk, and more difficult to quit, than illegal drugs and alcohol.

But some in the addictions field now say we should be doing more to help patients who want to quit. They point to the recent NIDA report, “Tobacco Addiction,” which summarizes the health risks and consequences of smoking, as well as medicinal and behavioral treatment options. Studies also show smoking can be a relapse trigger for drinking.

What do you think? Is a change in attitude needed? Is tobacco addiction tolerable, or is it treatable?

Should drug treatment programs address smoking?
Yes, it’s a health risk, just like other drugs.
No, let them smoke if they’re giving up other drugs.
Free polls from

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Prison Ignored Pleas for Help from Inmate in Heroin Withdrawal

An inmate in Pittsburgh died unnecessarily after prison staff failed to treat his symptoms of withdrawal from heroin, according to this article.

"The inmates continuously told the nurses that Mr. Kardos needed medical assistance. Mr. Kardos was ridiculed and laughed at by the nursing staff and Defendant Nurse Mark Knapic stated, 'He'll live. He's not going to die,' " the suit said.

In one form he filled out, Mr. Kardos wrote: "I need to see a nurse asap. I'm recovering from dope sickness. I'm vomiting up everything I've put in my stomach. I have a very bad headache. I can't stand without starting to black out. I really need something for these problems, asap. Please see me and give me something soon."

Still, the lawsuit states, Mr. Kardos received no treatment.

This is outrageous if it happened as described. Hopefully it would not happen in Delaware, where an estimated 500 people a year enter prisons in withdrawal from opiates.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Recovery is Vertical

This is a cool article about recovering addicts working on a farm as part of their treatment program. My favorite part was this quote:

“Regardless of the outcome... the idea that they’re doing something, and it’s self-supporting, keeping them clean longer, and being good for the community as a whole, and that they’re earning their keep as opposed to being treated as though they’re horizontal patients somewhere in a hospital. These are very good, exciting features.”

Good for them! Farming is certainly something you can't do as a "horizontal patient," and thanks to programs like this, people are able to pull themselves up from addiction and "get vertical" again. Would you like to see a program like this in Delaware? What other activities do you think would be a therapeutic addiction to traditional treatment?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Our New Shortcut:

We all know there are no shortcuts to recovery, but now there's a shortcut to find BCI online. Just type in So for all of you whose fingers got tired typing out, use the shorthand! Of course, the full domain name still works, too, so now you have two ways to find us.

You can also email our staff by their first initial and last name.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Join Us September 26 for a Roller Derby Exhibition, Barbeque, and Speaker Jam!

BCI's Recovery Month 2009 calendar is filling up!

In New Castle County, we invite you to join us Saturday, September 26 to celebrate recovery. We are planning a Roller Derby Exhibition, Barbeque, and Speaker Jam at the 2713 Lancaster Avenue site from 1 PM to 5 PM. This will be an indoor and outdoor event, with food, family, fellowship, and fun! You will have the chance to Find a Sponsor. And, the Wilmington City Ruff Rollers will be on hand to provide the entertainment. This is not to be missed! We are in need of donations of food for the barbeque or supermarket gift cards. If you can help, please email us.

Also, don’t forget our downstate Recovery Month event, the Sober Softball Tournament, Sept 18, 2009 at Sports at the Beach in Georgetown. Call Krystal for more info at 302-856-4700.

Lastly, to cap off our Recovery Month celebration, the BCI NSAFE Program is once again putting together a team for the Delaware AIDS Walk on September 27. You can sign up to walk with our team or support them with a donation at Team NSAFE's Page. The program will get back 40% of all donations they collect. Each year they use the money they earn to provide the Thanksgiving meal for the BCI clients. Let's help our team reach their goal. Thank you!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Homelessness in Delaware: Stats Tell Only Part of the Story

This is the time of year when we reapply for funding for our homeless program. Part of my job is to update the numbers we cite to demonstrate the need for our services. Delaware has a number of organizations that do excellent work and compile a ton of data; however, I must admit it’s a tedious task to pore over statistics, comparing last year’s stats with this year’s. It’s easy to forget that behind the percentages and bar graphs are real people with real stories. And I think many of us in Delaware are unaware of either the stats or the stories.

So perhaps by sharing some of both with you, I can make my work a little less dry by encouraging you to learn more about Delaware’s homeless problem. Find out what you can do to help by contacting BCI, supporting our work with a donation, or visiting another of the Web sites below.

First the stats:

  • How many people are homeless in Delaware? 1,479, according to the Homeless Planning Council’s most recent point-in-time count. Their survey also indicated that 31% of Delaware’s homeless experience chronic substance abuse and 34% experience mental illness.

  • How many people live below poverty level in Delaware? 10.3%, according to the 2007 U.S. census. In Sussex County, it is 9.7%. In past years, Sussex was above the state average, so it is interesting to see it go down. I would be interested to know what the reason for this could be.

  • How much does it cost to rent a two-bedroom apartment in Delaware? $923 is the Fair Market Rent, the monthly cost of rent and utilities. The Housing Wage is the hourly wage someone must earn to afford this rent without spending more than 30% of their income. Currently, Delaware’s Housing Wage is $17.75 an hour, which equates to more than 2 minimum wage jobs working 40 hours per week year-round. These numbers are from the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s publication called “Out of Reach.”
Now the stories:

I recently discovered the video blog Invisible People through the Non-Profit List of Change. Each post is an interview with a homeless person, filmed in cities all across the country. I urge you to check it out to hear what daily life is like for them, in their own words. Here’s an example.

Tracy and her children from on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Volunteer Project: Marketing Genius

Do you design eye-catching brochures? Can you take pre-written content and come up with a polished publication appropriate for the target audience? Are you passionate about addiction and mental health treatment, recovery, and HIV/AIDS prevention?

Brandywine Counseling seeks a volunteer to update our organizational brochure describing all our programs. Work closely with our staff to formulate a concept, design with the target audience in mind, and come up with a final product that inspires and informs. Great project for someone who can give a few hours during the week on a one-time or ongoing basis. “Virtual” volunteers who want to correspond by email/phone accepted.

Desired skills: Marketing/communications knowledge, specifically in creating print brochures.

Apply for this project

Monday, August 10, 2009

Volunteer Spotlight: Josh Ellow, Alpha Program Intern

Hello! My name is Josh Ellow and I have been volunteering at the Alpha Program since January.
Back in 2005 I crossed paths with Mark Lanyon, the Site Director of the Alpha Program. In talking with Mark, I learned about BCI and its goal to aid those in recovery. Four years later I decided to expand on this brief introduction, as I needed to find an internship site. Accordingly, I hopped on BCI’s website. Needless to say I was impressed with what I found because I have been dedicated to BCI ever since.

As mentioned above, I chose to volunteer so that I could gain hands-on experience to compliment my schooling. Presently I am a graduate student at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While my degree is in Clinical and Counseling Psychology, I chose to concentrate on addiction studies. Because of this specialization, BCI was a great choice as it offers individual, group, psychiatric, and family counseling.

After beginning my internship in January, I have had the opportunity to gain practical experience in countless areas. My favorite task would have to be group counseling. The Alpha program offers various groups including Addiction Education, Relapse Prevention, and Life Skills. Also, a Recovery Bound Group is offered on Saturdays, which allows clients who work during the week to acquire their needed group time. I have been assisting with this specific group since I first started. Over time, I have helped clients through education, counsel, and conversation while developing a solid therapeutic relationship with many. Because of the varying themes, each group tends to evolve in a different manner. Consequently, my ability to facilitate these sessions has grown immensely.

Additionally, BCI has taught me the importance of interdependence among staff. In other words, I have learned that some things are difficult to do alone; and sometimes one must look to others for assistance. Within the Alpha building there are over a dozen professionals, all with different specializations, working together for the good of the client. This has been a novel and welcomed approach from the previous individual counseling I have done.

Looking back on all that I have done and all the people I have worked with, I am extremely thankful for my experience at BCI. Because of my dedication to the weekend Recovery Bound groups, I have been hired to take over two of these groups per month. As a part-time employee at Alpha, and a dedicated behaviorist to adolescents, I know I am gaining skills to aid my career as a counselor specializing in addictions.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hip To Be Checked!

Yesterday, BCI hosted an HIV testing event in partnership with the Wilmington City Ruff Rollers, Delaware's first all women's flat track roller derby league. "Hip To Be Checked" offered free, confidential HIV testing all day long at the Lancaster Avenue site. 56 people got tested and received a Wawa gift card!

Great work outreach team, and thanks to the Ruff Rollers for helping us get the word out about the importance of learning your status.