Thursday, December 30, 2010

BCCS Is Closed for the New Year's Holiday

BCCS will close at 12:00 PM today, December 30, 2010, and we will be closed tomorrow, December 31, 2010, in celebration of the New Year's holiday.

We will reopen Monday, January 3.

We wish you a safe and happy holiday!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Education, Advocacy, Prevention, and Treatment

It’s hard to believe that 2010 is almost over and 2011 is just around the corner. Every year brings the promise of new beginnings, but this year ends with some big changes. 2011 will be the first full year we operate under the name Brandywine Counseling and Community Services, and we know it will be a good one.

Our new branding is designed to help you better understand who we are, what we do, and how you can utilize our services. By streamlining our services and programs into four simple and clearly defined areas of care, we have demystified our program menu.

The four areas of care at BCCS are: Education, Advocacy, Prevention, and Treatment. Every program we have now falls under one of these categories, and sometimes more than one.

Education means teaching clients the tools to recover from addiction and mental illness, and reduce their Hepatitis C (HCV) and HIV risk. We introduce life skills to new and expectant mothers, coach clients through job training exercises, and provide outreach and education to thousands of individuals each year who are not active in treatment. Education helps save lives, and each life saved touches other lives, families, and communities in the Delaware region.

Advocacy means “watching our clients’ back.” How do we do this? We do this by having case managers develop an individualized plan to prioritize our clients’ needs. We actively assist clients with:
  • Accessing eligibility for housing
  • Providing linkage to community services such as shelter, food, clothing and employment possibilities
  • Standing up for our clients’ rights with the courts, probation, or Division of Family Services
  • Helping clients navigate treatment options
BCCS ensures that our clients have all the support and guidance they need to break through the red tape that so often accompanies drug abuse and mental health issues. We have their back.

Prevention means giving people all the information and resources they need to recognize the signs of drug and alcohol abuse or mental health issues. Our scientifically-based interventions help individuals to recognize HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV) risk, learn their HIV and HCV status, and develop and manage their own reduction and prevention plan.

Treatment means addressing substance abuse and mental illness (behavioral health) directly, but also the side effects, such as family dysfunction and violence, child neglect and abuse, infant mortality, poverty, Hepatitis C (HCV) and HIV/AIDS and criminal activity. Our programs provide intervention and treatment through the use of medication, counseling, therapy and education. Appropriate aftercare referrals provide continuing support for recovery.

Please visit to learn more about the services and programs under our four areas of care, or stop by one of our locations to pick up a color-coded brochure.

Do you need a presentation for your community on one of these areas of care? The BCCS Prevention and Education Department will tailor any presentation to meet the needs of your community. We will provide accurate, useful information surrounding a broad range of topics, as they relate to substance use/abuse, and/or fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Please contact us for more information.

These are exciting times for BCCS. You know where we have been. Now let’s look forward together to where we are heading!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

There's Still Time to Donate in 2010!

We at BCCS hope you had a wonderful and joyous holiday, and we want to say thank you for your support all year!

If you're considering a year-end charitable gift, there is still time! And if you've already contributed, please forward this message to a friend.

At BCCS, Delawareans can find their best chance at meaningful, long-term recovery. Your support makes their success possible. Here's what some of our clients say:

"There were many days that I may have needed an open ear and felt down and out, and one or more have been there."

"Without this program I wouldn't have had the advantage of bringing my child with me in my recovery."

"They helped find the true me."

You may donate conveniently and securely on BCCS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Have a very Happy New Year, and thank you in advance for your generosity!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

BCCS Is Closed Monday Dec. 27

BCCS will be closed Monday, December 27, except for dispensing, due to the snow storm.

We will be open for dispensing only from 7 AM to 12 Noon. All other programs are closed.

All evening dispensing consumers should report between 7 AM and 12 Noon. There will be no evening hours.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

BCCS Is Closed for the Christmas Holiday

BCCS will close at 12:00 PM today, December 23, 2010, and we will be closed tomorrow, December 24, 2010, in celebration of the Christmas holiday.

We will reopen Monday, December 27.

We wish you a wonderful and safe holiday!

The BCCS Holiday Survival Kit

This week, BCCS consumers received a special gift, "Holiday Survival Kits." The idea for the kits came from other clients in the Lancaster Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and their counselor Mark Murdock. The group created the kits and distributed them during this holiday week.

The "Survival Kits" included the following :

Toothpick - To pick out the good qualities.

Rubber Band - To remember to be flexible.

Band Aid - To heal hurt feelings.

Pencil and Eraser - To list blessings and erase mistakes.

Gum - Stick with your recovery.

Mint - To remind you that you are worth a mint.

Candy Hugs - Everyone needs a hug sometimes.

Tea Bag - To remind you to relax daily.

What a creative idea! You are never far from little reminders that will keep you focused on your recovery, and allow you to not only survive, but enjoy this holiday season. If you have a friend or loved one in recovery, why not show them you care with the thoughtful gift of a Holiday Survival Kit?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The 2nd Annual BCCS Giving Tree

BCCS hosted our 2nd Annual Giving Tree Monday December 20, 2010, bringing gifts and holiday cheer to families in need. All BCCS clients with children were invited to the Outreach Center to choose a gift for their child and wrap it. Holiday music, food, and an impromptu sing-along led by Brandywine’s own Rochelle Booker made for a very festive atmosphere!

Parents and grandparents lined up starting at 9 AM for a chance to choose from a roomful of toys for all ages. Many were in the process of starting a new life, free of drug addiction or mental illness. One guest expressed his gratitude to simply enjoy the holiday with his son, stay home, and “just do the best I can.”

The Giving Tree would not have been possible without our generous donors. We especially wish to thank our partners, Widener University School of Law, and Bryn Mawr College, who held toy drives on campus. Students took tags from the Giving Tree and bought toys matching the age and gender of the child. In addition to collecting toys, Widener Law held a raffle under the leadership of student Sara Alsaleh, which raised an amazing $662!

We are so grateful to all of you for your generosity and support of our clients at the holidays. You made it a wonderful day of gift-giving. At BCCS, we work to give Delawareans the best chance at meaningful, long-term recovery. Your support helps them to overcome mental illness and substance abuse, to restore themselves, and to give back to a society that gave to them.

You can see all the holiday magic of the Giving Tree in our photo album and in the video below.

In the words of a grandmother of two, “I wish everybody in the universe a blessed and safe holiday!” Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from BCCS!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Shop and Support BCCS

Haven't finished your holiday shopping yet? Here's a great way to support BCCS while you shop. Buy your gifts through GoodShop, select BCCS as your charity, and a percentage of your purchase supports behavioral health services that give Delawareans a chance at meaningful, long term recovery.

GoodShop partners include Amazon, Best Buy, iTunes, the Apple Store, Macy's, and many more.

And, don't forget to use GoodSearch, which raises a penny for BCCS with every Internet search you do.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

One Week Left In Giving Tree Toy Drive!

Our Giving Tree toy drive is in full swing! We're partnering with Widener University, Bryn Mawr College, and others to give our clients the opportunity to shop and wrap gifts for their kids. Already, Widener Law students have raised over $600 in support of the drive - thank you!

If you would like to donate a toy for our Giving Tree, please bring in your donation by Wednesday December 15. The Giving Tree event will take place Monday December 20 at the Outreach Center at 2814 Lancaster Avenue. All BCCS clients with children are invited to come shop and wrap their gift.

We are seeking new unwrapped toys for all ages.

Thank you for helping us brighten the holidays for our clients and their families!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Recharged and Recovery-Bound

Robert (right) and Counselor Josh Ellow

Piles of paper sat in disarray on Robert’s living room table, filled with calculations, sketches, and half-finished designs. It was a quarter past noon, and he was just waking up. How long had it been since the ideas stopped coming? Since he’d had full time work? Since this once-successful machinist and aspiring inventor found himself sitting at home, sleeping into the afternoon?

Life seemed to have come to a halt, as if the gears had stopped turning. At age 49, Robert’s drinking had cost him his job, his family’s trust, and his driver’s license. He’d served prison time for a felony charge. He was feeling depressed, helpless, and isolated in his house.

“I was left to probably the most dangerous space that I ever was in, the space between my ears,” he recalls. “A victim of my own thoughts.” But with help from some dedicated counselors and a supportive community of his peers, Robert found a way to get those gears turning again.

A probation officer was the first to point him in the right direction. She knew that for Robert to find work again, he first needed to treat his depression and quit drinking. She referred him to Alpha, one of the Treatment programs at Brandywine Counseling & Community Services.

Brandywine staff immediately went to work to stabilize Robert’s mental health and sobriety. He began talk therapy with counselor Daniel Norvell, worked on homework assignments, and gained an understanding of the stressors that led him to drink. He also saw Brad Why, the psychiatric nurse practitioner.

“I enjoy when I get to see Dr. Brad, ‘cause he’s so upbeat. The doctor staff here is very good, very professional.” Concerned about Robert’s drowsiness, Brad recommended a change in his medications. It made a huge difference. Robert found he could wake up early. He could now enjoy breakfast with his girlfriend before she set out for work at 6 AM. “I can get up, make a cup of coffee, sit there for half an hour, and clear my head, and I’m good to go!”

But the real difference-maker was group counseling. In particular, one group led by counselor Josh Ellow, called Recovery Bound. Held on Saturday mornings, the group runs for two hours, and is one of Brandywine’s most popular offerings.

Robert talks with Josh Ellow after group.
“I really like it,” Robert says of the Saturday group. “Man, [Josh] does one hell of a job. He’s so full of excitement, and so full of energy, he just brings the place alive. By the end of the week, I feel worn down, but I look forward to going there and getting my batteries recharged.”

Out of the energy of the Recovery Bound group has grown a strong peer support network. Robert quickly made friends and felt a sense of belonging. One week after missing group with an illness, he returned to hear, “We really missed you.” He began trading phone numbers and making social plans with fellow group members.

He meets one friend for lunch once a week. “He’s unemployed too. We ride the bus into Newark, have some lunch, hang out. We walk around Newark a little bit, and then sashay on back home on the bus!” Another buddy introduced Robert to Narcotics Anonymous meetings, and they began attending several a week. All this socializing serves an important purpose, which Robert is well aware of.

“Saturday Recovery Bound gets me out of the house. And if I get out once a week with a buddy, go get a sandwich at lunch, I’m out again! Then, I’m not isolating myself anymore. I’m not sitting around the house, feeling sorry for myself, thinking about drinking.”

The Recovery Bound group was building up Robert’s social circle, and elevating his mood. He even began to take on a leadership role in group discussions. “I participate in that class now all the time. If nobody’ll raise their hand to talk about something, I’ll try and get the ball rolling, so people don’t feel so shy about stepping up and speaking. They all look at me for that. Now, we’ve got probably 8 or 10 people participating all the time, which is great.”

And his success in treatment was carrying over to the rest of his life. The search for work continued to discourage him, but he no longer dealt with it by drinking. “Yesterday, I had a really rough day. I was walking all over, just feeling beat up by the end of the day. I could’ve used a drink, but I didn’t. Around 9:30 last night, I was out like a light.”

“It’s great getting up and looking in the mirror in the morning, and your eyes are white, they’re not bloodshot. You don’t have to worry about buying gum to cover your breath, or any of the thousands of things I used to do. It really feels great.”

Today Robert has 8 months sober. He’s on his way to rebuilding relations with his children. He also has a new relationship, often spending family time with his girlfriend and her daughter. They cheer on the kids at their sporting events, watch movies, and share holidays. At Oktoberfest, they won a goldfish. “He’s sitting on top of my little space heater. We call him ‘Flush.’ We didn’t expect him to live, but he’s carrying on, probably 3 weeks now!”

Likewise, his acceptance into the family is carrying Robert along. “It’s a second chance. It’s comforting. I want to continue on this path. My life’s changed for the better. Every day is a new beginning for me. It’s great to be sober. Every day is a beautiful day for me now.”

As he continues his search for work, many other activities are keeping that space between his ears occupied. He plans to get involved with his church and the 1212 recovery clubhouse. He hopes to travel to the Grand Canyon and Maui. And, he’s working on his inventions again. A number of his ideas have generated interest, and are being researched for possible patents.

“Even though I’m not working, I try not to let it get me down. I stay with my meetings, stay with Brandywine. To me, being at Brandywine feels like I’m walking hand in hand. I feel like somebody’s got my hand. They’ve got my back. Somebody’s gonna fight for me, help me see the right way to do things, and I really appreciate that.”

It’s all thanks to the feeling of community among staff and peers at Brandywine. The Alpha program graduated 385 clients this year with some or all of their goals completed. Robert is well on his way to joining them.

“You’re not treated as a number. You’re treated like a person. You’ve got a clean slate when you walk in here. You’re treated with respect, dignity, common courtesy. It just makes you feel like a real human being. Every time I come here, I see two or three people from Saturday group. It’s really a friendly atmosphere, it keeps me going.”

The pieces of his life fit into place again, and the energy is flowing. And if he should ever lose that energy again, Robert knows he can come to Brandywine for a recharge. That is the power of community.

The Alpha Program at Brandywine Counseling & Community Services is funded by and is part of the system of public services offered by Delaware Health and Social Services, Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. For more information, please call 302-472-0381 or visit

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

BCCS is Closed November 25 and 26

BCCS will be closed for Thanksgiving Thursday November 25, and Friday November 26. We wish you a wonderful holiday!

Staff Cooks and Serves Clients' Thanksgiving Lunch in Annual Tradition

Each Thanksgiving, BCCS staff expresses thanks to our clients by preparing and serving a traditional holiday meal. More than 100 guests and their children enjoyed this year's feast, which included home cooked turkey, macaroni and cheese, veal Parmesan, sweet potatoes, greens, cranberry sauce, salad, rolls, and a variety of desserts.

One guest expressed her gratitude for the Thanksgiving basket she received earlier this week. "I am so grateful, so thankful, for the baskets that you guys give out every year. I am so pleased that you all do that for us."

Visit our Thanksgiving album to see more photos from this wonderful Brandywine tradition.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

World AIDS Day Service and Candlelight Vigil

Dear Friends,

So much of what we do at BCCS is focused on preventing and alleviating suffering, and restoring health and dignity.

We know how much these things matter to you, which is why we're extending this personal invitation to you.

Please join us on Wednesday December 1st for a candlelight vigil recognizing World AIDS Day. We will remember those who are living with HIV/AIDS, and those who have lost their battle with AIDS.

As of October 31, 2010, 3,547 people are living with HIV/AIDS in Delaware. Approximately one out of every 247 people in the First State are HIV-positive. Delaware consistently ranks among the top 10 states for per-capita HIV infections and for per capita AIDS cases. As of 2006, over a half a million Americans have lost their battle with AIDS, including 1,867 Delawareans.

The Vigil will be on Wednesday, December 1, 2010, 6:00 PM, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1502 West 13th Street, Wilmington, DE 19806. Parking is available in the church’s parking lot.

The service will be interdenominational, with representatives from different faiths, and music from the Rainbow Chorale of Delaware. This event is sponsored by AIDS Delaware, BCCS, Connections Community Support Programs, and the Delaware HIV Consortium.

Thank you, and we hope to see you at the vigil.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Widener Law Students Give BCCS A Reason to Be Thankful

“BCCS has been making a significant impact on our community for over 25 years - we wanted to help their outreach this Holiday Season”

WILMINGTON, DE - Sara Alsaleh, a Widener Law student, and her classmates, members of her newly-formed Food and Drug Law Association, wanted to give back to the Wilmington community. “We wanted to make a difference, we wanted to do something for the neighborhood,” said Sara. The third year, part-time student saw a perfect opportunity through a personal contact: Sara and her classmates decided to help Brandywine Counseling & Community Services, Inc., a community organization providing holistic care to persons affected by substance abuse, mental health and HIV-related challenges.

“BCCS reaches so many people,” said Sara. “We thought it was best to support their efforts. They really make an impact.” As a service to its clients, Brandywine Counseling will give out over 200 Thanksgiving baskets to those in need on Monday, November 22. For their part, Sara and the members of the FDLA organized a raffle, open to the Widener Law community, and solicited donations from local businesses such as the Olive Garden and T.G.I. Friday’s. They were able to raise over $600. On the day the Thanksgiving baskets are handed out, the Widener Law students will assist BCCS staff in the distribution of the charitable gifts.

However, the volunteer efforts of Sara and her classmates don’t end at the pre-Thanksgiving event. Widener Law School is one of many partners in BCCS’s Giving Tree. In its second year, the Christmastime charity receives gifts from partner organization patrons and makes it available to BCCS clients who are unable to provide gifts for their children. Sara Alsaleh, in her service to Brandywine Counseling, will collect all of the donated gifts from Widener Law and bring them to BCCS in mid-December. The gifts, intended for boys and girls of different ages, will be available to BCCS clients, already in the process of recovering from an illness and starting a new life, a few days before Christmas.

For more information, please contact: Basha Silverman, Prevention Director, at 302-655-9880 x123, or Sara Alsaleh at 570-262-7156.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Donate a Toy for Our Holiday Giving Tree

The holidays are nearly here, and BCCS is planning something special for our clients who are recovering from addiction and mental illness. Last year we held our first-ever Giving Tree toy drive, which was a huge success. It allowed individuals who could not afford to buy gifts to go shopping for their kids, and wrap their own gifts, without spending money. This year, we will run the event again.

Our partners, including Bryn Mawr College and Widener University, are collecting donations of new toys during November-December. We are supplying small X-mas trees, with tags with descriptions like “Girl Age 6” or “Boy Age 3 Months” for donors to remove and buy an appropriate gift.

Trees have also been placed at BCCS Lancaster and Alpha, where our staff are participating in the drive. We will accept donations of new toys at either location during regular operating hours. The goal is to collect hundreds of gifts. If your business would like to join our drive as a partner, please send us an email!

On the day of the event, we will put all the gifts in one large room, organized by age and gender. Then we offer our clients (with children) an opportunity to go shopping for their kids. We provide a gift wrapping station for them to wrap the gifts with staff assistance. This is empowering to the clients because it gives them an opportunity to do it all, except spend money, for their children.

The Giving Tree is a special opportunity to help those in need this holiday season, and in a more personal way than simply donating money. We look forward to making a little holiday magic and spreading some cheer once again this year.

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Tobacco Warnings and Graphics

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has unveiled a new comprehensive tobacco control strategy that includes proposed new bolder health warnings on cigarette packages and advertisements. Once final, these health warnings on cigarettes and in cigarette advertisements will be the most significant change in more than 25 years. These actions are part of a broader strategy that will help tobacco users quit and prevent children from starting.

Read the full announcement here.

Do you think these new ads will be effective? Why or why not?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Turkey Giveaway Monday November 22

Brandywine's annual Thanksgiving turkey giveaway will take place Monday, November 22!

Every year, families in need have the opportunity to sign up to receive a basket from the Basket Brigade of Delaware, filled with turkey, stuffing, and other holiday staples. Brandywine hands out baskets to around 150 of our clients each year. We are truly thankful to be able to help those who could not otherwise host Thanksgiving for their family.

This year, we're also thankful to have the support of Widener Law students, who are raising funds and volunteering to benefit BCCS. Already, students have raised over $500 through a raffle! Many will join us to help out at the turkey giveaway. And, Widener students are also partnering with us on our holiday toy drive and Giving Tree. Thank you, Widener!

If your business or school would like to help out BCCS this holiday season, please send us an email. We would love to have your support for the toy drive. Together, we can make the holidays joyful for those who most need it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

BCCS Fetal Alcohol Campaign Wins Prestigious MarCom Award

‘Say NO to that Shot’ Billboard Wins 2010 International Awards Competition, ‘Life is Competitive” Billboard Receives Honorable Mention

Wilmington, DE – Brandywine Counseling & Community Services, Inc (BCCS) is pleased to announce its Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Campaign has been recognized with the 2010 Platinum MarCom Award, an international awards competition that recognizes outstanding creative communications achievement.

“It is a tremendous honor for our campaign to be recognized among the thousands of entries that were submitted from around the world,” said CEO Lynn Fahey, Ph.D. “The prevention of fetal alcohol syndrome is vitally important and the excellence of this campaign enhances that mission.”

BCCS’s “Say NO to that shot” billboard was the recipient of the Platinum Award, while its “Life is Competitive” billboard was the recipient of an Honorable Mention. A part of BCCS’s Prevention Initiatives, both billboards were designed to discourage alcohol abuse, though the “Say NO to that shot” outdoor advertisement specifically focused on preventing fetal alcohol syndrome, a group of physical, behavioral and learning conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy.

“This is just fabulous,” said Bridget Paverd who heads up GillespieHall, the social marketing firm responsible for the campaign. “Brandywine Counseling is an extraordinary client who is totally immersed in its mission and goals – their passion transfers onto us very easily. This honor is something we share on every level with BCCS.” GillespieHall president, Neal Hall, a Harvard trained physician, recognizes that GH’s clients trust the GH team to change behaviors. “Our campaigns are all about creating awareness and garnering real results.”

2010 MarCom Platinum Award Winner – Billboard for Brandywine Counseling & Community Services

2010 MarCom Award Winner H.M. – Billboard for Brandywine Counseling & Community Services

Brandywine Counseling & Community Services, Inc. (BCCS) is a community organization that provides holistic care to persons and their families living with addiction, mental health, and HIV-related challenges. BCCS is Delaware's most recognized provider of behavioral services with seven locations statewide. For more information, please visit

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

1212 Honored at the NAACP Annual Freedom Fund Banquet

Our friends at the 1212 Corporation have received the President's Award at the Annual Freedom Fund Award Banquet, sponsored by the NAACP.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. From the ballot box to the classroom, the thousands of dedicated workers, organizers, leaders, and members who make up the NAACP continue to fight for social justice for all Americans.

The 1212 Corporation saves lives. This local recovery club house serves as the only safe haven for recovering addicts and their families in Wilmington, Delaware area. Congratulations!

Accepting the award, from left to right, are Executive Director, Steve Burns; Vice President, Justine Harris; and Board President, Wm. James Harrison III.

Monday, November 1, 2010

5 Questions for Domenica Personti, Program Manager

5 Questions is our staff spotlight feature where we introduce you to the people who make BCCS run.

Name: Domenica Personti 
Job: Program Manager, Lancaster Center
Time with BCCS: 4 years

1. Tell us what you do at Brandywine.
I was recently promoted to Program Manager at the Lancaster site. I do a lot of trainings for the staff, supervise the Perinatal program, the NSAFE program, the Core department, as well as all the support services, Anger Management, Partial, and IOP.
This position still allows me to do front line work. I still have the opportunity to meet and talk with clients on a daily basis. I want to make sure that I am available to them. Recently, I set up a “sound-off” for clients, twice a day every Tuesday for the whole month of October. Anyone who wants to can come and sit with me, and just have a conversation about things that they like, and things that they want to change, and things that they think we are doing well. Hearing what the clients have to say is really important to me.
My biggest challenge is probably slowing myself down. I would like to just do everything, like, tomorrow! And I’m constantly working on me, to slow down and look at things realistically. It’s challenging for me to not be spontaneous, especially when you see this great vision that we have. I see Brandywine with this great vision, so it’s exciting, and sometimes it’s hard to slow yourself down and work through it.
2. Anger Management and Partial Hospitalization are some of the new programs you’ve introduced at Brandywine. Tell us about these programs and why they were introduced.
We offer Anger Management in a one day, eight hour course on Fridays and/or Saturdays. It made sense to do it here, to make it an affordable and allow the clients to “one stop shop,” like we do everything else at Brandywine. It provides easier access. They’re right here. They can take it here. It’s also open to the public. Anyone can come and take it, but originally, it made sense for our clients.
Partial Hospitalization is for our clients who are having a little bit of difficulty at our other levels of care. So when we see that they’re struggling and need a little bit more intensive treatment, we can refer them to our Partial program. That runs 7 AM to 1:30, Monday through Friday. It includes education and group therapy sessions. They get a half an hour to 45 minute lunch. So it’s kind of like school, so to speak.
3. You’ve also been very involved in addressing the educational needs of Brandywine staff. How important is ongoing training to the services our staff provides?
This is so important. Our field shifts and changes so often, that we have to be up to speed as to what new treatment modalities are out there, and what new tools we can use to treat our clients. I feel like it’s such an important tool that the staff need, as well, if we can constantly keep them fresh, even if it’s retraining in certain areas.
I want the staff to be cross trained, so that everyone can work in any aspect of treatment here at Brandywine. My vision is for all staff to be able to work in multiple areas, fill in when needed and be true team players. For example, anyone can do intake, and everyone understands and knows what NSAFE does. So if an NSAFE client doesn’t have access to a case manager right away, one of the Core counselors should be able to meet with that client, and at least occupy them and help them a little bit until their primary is available. This will improve the quality of our care, and we will treat the clients better. I think that’s all part of training.
Education is so, so, so important now. When I came into the field, you just had to have an Associates degree. That was in ’99. Now, there’s such a focus on education, as well there should be. The day I stop learning, I’m really not any good to anyone else, and I believe that. That’s why I’m still in school. I just try and push education, absolutely. You can’t really do a whole lot without that anymore.
4. Tell us your favorite client success story.
I had a client that I worked with as support for the counselor, when I was a supervisor. When I met him, [he] had just went through a pretty bad relapse, had been using for about 10 months. I met with him pretty often for a good 3 or 4 months, got him linked up with a lot of support services that he needed. He ended up going to school for ten weeks, got a skill certification, and then got a union job, and he’s now a 13 day client [with 3 years clean and twice a month pickups.] So that’s a pretty awesome success story. And I still see him pretty often and I still look and see how he’s doing, so that’s a good feeling.
5. If you had $30,000 to donate to BCCS, what would you do with it?
I would do criminal re-entry, absolutely, without a doubt. I went into this field when I was 19 years old, gaining my first experiences working at Gander Hill Prison and with AmeriCorps. We went into the prison and did a project based around vocational rehab, and how it benefits people who are at risk for substance abuse and incarceration, due to any kind of history of crime. While I was there, I was exposed to so many intelligent people who had just fallen into the wrong crowd, or used drugs at a young age, and I was amazed at the level of intelligence a lot of them had, and their current situation kind of held them back.
I would take $30,000 and I would do a criminal re-entry program, and I would help the offenders coming out of prison before they even got out. Case management services for the couple weeks before they get out, and then assist them with housing, employment, and record expungement. That’s a really big deal. I think that’s one of the biggest hindrances that our clients who have criminal history have, in getting employment. So that would be, without a doubt, what I would do with it.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Farewell and Thank You, Carol Ludwig

Carol Ludwig, BCCS Chief Financial Officer, is retiring today after 19 years of service with us. Yesterday we held a farewell for her at her office at the Lancaster Annex. It was an opportunity for those who have worked with her and been touched by her dedication and service to BCCS to express their gratitude and say goodbye.

Carol was presented with an oversized card signed by BCCS staff, as well as a gift of matching turquoise earrings and necklace. As staff reminisced and shared stories from the past, Carol recalled her favorite client.

“Over on 4th Street, when I first started working there, I came out and she started spilling her guts to me. I was like, ‘Honey, honey, I’m not a counselor! Don’t be tellin’ me this stuff!’ And she looked me in the face, and she said, ‘Well, you looked like somebody I could talk to.’ I said, ‘Awww…’”

Asked what was her best moment, she said, “Coming here. I took a big pay cut to come here, but when I got here and started working here, I knew this was where I belonged.” As for retirement plans, she plans to take off in an RV and travel with her husband, and to do some volunteer work.

Thank you, Carol for your many years of service and best wishes!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Groundbreaking "Prostitution Diversion Project" Wins Federal Funding

U.S. Office of Women’s Health awards $100,000 grant to Brandywine Counseling & Community Services (BCCS)

Wilmington, DE – For the past several years, Brandywine Counseling & Community Services (BCCS) caseworkers have walked Wilmington streets from midnight to early morning, encouraging area prostitutes to enter into healthcare and counseling treatment programs. But it is the group’s proposed Prostitution Diversion Project – with its groundbreaking coalition of criminal justice, social service and public health systems - that caught the attention of the federal government and won BCCS a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Office of Women’s Health.

“We are delighted to be recognized for our collaborative approach to the issue of prostitution in Delaware,” said Dr. Lynn Fahey, CEO of BCCS. “These women are in need of both medical and social services but are often trapped in the criminal justice system with limited access. By aligning a network of representatives from all three systems, we can improve the health and welfare of female sex workers, and reduce the cycling rate in the court system of women with criminal charges linked to prostitution. This project is going to save Delaware taxpayers significant sums of money.”

The overall goal of the proposed Prostitution Diversion Project is to reduce the women’s reliance on sex work as a means of income. Originating from interest within Delaware’s Court of Common Pleas, Commissioner Mary McDonough reached out to BCCS to begin discussions around alternative approaches. Depending on the need, BCCS will offer assistance in the form of drug treatment, trauma counseling, job training and placement. The organization also heads up the coalition committee, which includes representatives from the multiple intercept points that interact with the prostitution population. Stakeholders on the committee include:

• Community health/public health providers/clinics
• Non-profit organizations and outreach programs serving at-risk individuals
• Law enforcement agencies
• Court professionals
• Corrections professionals
• Organizations providing services upon prison re-entry
• Our local Academic Institution; The University of Delaware

“Our proposal was small and very specific to protecting the health and welfare of women in the sex trade, so we were the underdogs in a very competitive grant process,” said Basha Silverman, Prevention Director and BCCS Project Coordinator. “I believe our ambitious project was chosen partly because Delaware’s size makes it a manageable location to test for a realistic and sustainable program.”

The grant award extends through August 31, 2011. BCCS has subcontracted with Dr. Chrysanthi Leon of the University of Delaware and Joanna Champney, Executive Director of SURJ (Stand up For What’s Right and Just) to assist the coalition with essential research to determine health needs of the prostitute population as well as develop a corresponding Strategic Plan of Action and detailed Implementation Plan. BCCS’s aim is to align criminal justice and social services to identify an innovative health approach that is women-centered, trauma-informed, cost-effective and sustainable.

At the completion of the grant year, the BCCS Prostitution Diversion Project will compete with 16 other award winners for an additional five-year funding grant from the U.S. Office of Women’s Health to implement the program.

Brandywine Counseling & Community Services, Inc. (BCCS) is a community organization that provides holistic care to persons and their families living with addiction, mental health, and HIV-related challenges. BCCS is Delaware's most recognized provider of behavioral services with seven locations statewide. For more information, please contact Basha Silverman at (302) 655-9880, ext. 123, or visit

Friday, October 22, 2010

Needle Exchange Credited with Reduced HIV Infection Rates in Delaware

The number of new HIV infections in Delaware has fallen from over 300 a year to about 155 in the past decade, and the state's pilot needle exchange program deserves some credit, according to the Delaware Division of Public Health.

Jim Dickinson of DPH made this statement at yesterday's meeting of the Delaware HIV Planning Council. As of September 30, there were 101 newly identified HIV cases in Delaware during 2010. In addition to needle exchange, improved education and outreach programs may also be contributing to the decrease, Dickinson said.

Also at Thursday's meeting, the Council heard from James Albino, senior program manager for the Office of National AIDS Policy, about the White House's national strategy to reduce new infections by 25% over the next 5 years. The strategy incorporates prevention, increased access to medical care, reduction of stigma, and increasing coordination.

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Take a Tour of the Anchor Program

Thanks to all who stopped by our Open House yesterday to help BCCS celebrate the launch of the Anchor Program, a mental health initiative for adults suffering from mental illness or mental illness coupled with substance abuse or dependency issues.

If you missed it, visit our photo album to take a virtual tour!

Located conveniently at 2500 West 4th Street, Suite 1, Wilmington, DE, 19805, Anchor works with Medicaid and other insurance providers. Call for more information or make an appointment: 302-472-0381.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

JustGive Will Match Your $10 Donation for 10 Days is celebrating 10 years of giving. Thanks to donors' generosity, JustGive has sent millions of donations to tens of thousands of charities working throughout the world. Brandywine has received $871 from supporters like you through JustGive since their start.

To celebrate these 10 years of giving, thank donors, and further their mission of increasing charitable giving, JustGive will add $10 to every donation made for ten days, beginning 10/10/10.

When you visit and donate $10 or more to Brandywine, a $10 match will be added to your gift. Your donation helps people recover from addiction and mental illness, and now with this $10 match, you can have an even greater impact.

So let's take advantage of this special offer! Please forward this post to anyone who supports Brandywine's work. Together we can make a difference for recovering persons and their families. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Delaware Has Nation's 7th Highest Binge Drinking Rate

Today's News Journal reports that the CDC ranks Delaware as having the 7th highest binge drinking rate in the country, at 18.5%.

Binge drinking is defined as four or more drinks within two hours for women, five or more for men.

Binge drinking and alcoholism are responsible for nearly 80,000 deaths each year. Binge drinkers, for the most part, are not addicts.

One reason that binge drinking has not fallen during the past 15 years is because it's not widely recognized as a "risky health behavior," said Tom Frieden, director of the CDC.

Prevention efforts therefore need to focus on awareness of the lifestyle risks, such as car crashes, as well as risky criminal or sexual behaviors. In addition, we should promote alternative choices in activities, so that binge drinking becomes a less attractive option.

Why the rate is so high in Delaware compared to other states is unknown, according to local counselors who have treated binge drinkers.

Why do you think Delaware's rate is so high? What else can be done about this serious public health issue?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Spirituality Group Now Offered in Newark and Wilmington

BCCS now offers a weekly Spirituality Group at two of our locations: Fridays 11:30-12:45 at the Alpha Center, and Tuesdays 6-7 PM at the Newark Center. The groups are open to any Brandywine client.

Our focus is on spiritual principles that bring healing when applied. We keep recovery on track through daily time with God in prayer, reading, and meditating on the word and in fellowship.

Topics we explore include: Forgiveness, Life Is A Short Assignment, Healing Choices, Honor Your Parents, Getting Help, Letting Go, House Cleaning, Renewing of the Mind, Relationship Choice, and Identity.

Disclaimer: The group is voluntary and the Life Recovery Bible is our main text. Welcome.

At the end of each session, participants are given three assignments: To pray about everything they've heard; to write down how they connected with the topic; and to share it with somebody.

This group has proven very popular at the Alpha Center since it began earlier this year. We are now adding a second group at Newark to meet the demand.

For more information, please call Kefa Obara or Tanyel Johnson at (302) 472-0381.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Anchor Program to Host Open House October 18

Brandywine Counseling & Community Services, Inc. (BCCS), continuing along in our new name, look and direction, will host an open house to celebrate the launch of the Anchor Program, a mental health initiative for adults suffering from mental illness or mental illness coupled with substance abuse or dependency issues. We invite you to stop in Monday, October 18, 2010 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Anchor Program, 2500 West 4th Street, Suite 1 in Wilmington.

“We are excited with the introduction of the Anchor Program,” said Dr. Lynn Fahey, CEO of BCCS. “It will speak to the growing and complex behavioral health concerns of our community, particularly of those who don’t know where to go or recognize that they are struggling with issues, but are unsure how to move forward.”

The Anchor Program offers counseling and treatment for mental health concerns such as but not limited to, anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), substance abuse, and eating disorders. Short term and group counseling are also offered. Program Director Denise Hartrick holds distinctions as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Internationally Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor, Internationally Certified Co-Occurring Disorders Professional Diplomate, and Internationally Certified Clinical Supervisor. She has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Wayne State University.

Official hours of operation for the Anchor Program are Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. A variety of insurance providers, including Medicaid, are accepted. Download a flyer here. For more information or to make an appointment, call (302) 472-0381.

Brandywine Counseling & Community Services, Inc. is a community organization that provides holistic care to persons and their families living with addiction, mental health, and HIV-related challenges. BCCS is Delaware’s largest provider of addiction services, serving over 2,000 clients age 18 and over at seven locations statewide. For more information, please visit

Thursday, September 23, 2010

AIDS Walk Delaware Is This Sunday Sept. 26

The 2010 Delaware AIDS Walk takes place this Sunday, September 26 at Rockford Park in Wilmington. There's still time to make your contribution and support our own Team NSAFE!

The funds we raise go directly to assist the funding for the Thanksgiving turkeys and meals we provide to BCCS clients. Donate online through our fundraising page, or register to walk.

For more information, contact Edna Maldonado or Christine Czajkowski at 656-2348.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

DWI Consequences as Seen Through Driver's Status Updates

This is an amazing video that follows a young partygoer from happy hour to a DWI charge and all its consequences. The story is advanced entirely through status updates on social media. At the end, we see it all could be avoided by designating a driver. What better educational tool to reach the under 25 age group?

The video is by the Texas Department of Transportation.

Thanks to Osocio for the tip.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Support BCCS in the 2010 United Way Campaign

United Way’s 2010 campaign has kicked off. Our goal in Delaware this year is to raise $21 million for our state's human service needs. When you make a pledge to the campaign, you support the services provided by BCCS and other member agencies.

When you donate to United Way, you make a difference for your fellow Delawareans. If you choose to designate to BCCS, your impact will be felt by your neighbors who are affected by behavioral health challenges.

By helping members of our community recover from mental illness and substance abuse, while also focusing on improving their physical health, you will make many good things possible. Thanks to you, they will have a chance to restore themselves and give back to a society that gave to them.

We encourage you to be generous in supporting the campaign. There is no wrong way to give, whether your donation is large or small, whether you designate it to one agency or spread it around to many. We also know in this economy, it's not easy to be charitable, but it makes a difference for those in need.

Your workplace probably runs a United Way campaign. If it doesn't, it’s easy to start. Contact United Way at (302) 573-3700 and they will set you up with everything you need. You can request guest speakers from member agencies for your campaign rally.

At BCCS, we educate, we advocate, we prevent, and we treat. Your contribution ensures we can continue to do that, and to restore lives. Thank you very much for your support.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Photos from Client Appreciation Day

It was a day of food, music, and family fun at the Outreach Center!

View photo album

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims - September 22

The Delaware Victims’ Rights Task Force will host a Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims in the state of Delaware, September 22nd, 2010.

The location is the Delaware Center for Horticulture, 1810 N. Dupont Street, Wilmington DE 19806.

Doors open at 6:00 PM,
Event Starts at 7:00 PM

We would like to come together to honor those who have lost their lives to violence. We invite family and loved ones to be a part of this event by decorating memorial bags, posting writings and artwork on the memorial wall, adding a photo to the memorial video played at the event. To receive a bag ahead of time to decorate, or to provide a photo for the video please contact the VRTF below. Bags and wall space will be available the night of the event.

For more information:
Visit the website:
Call: The Delaware Department of Justice at 1-800-870-1790

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Anger Management Classes in English and Spanish

BCCS now offers our One Day Anger Management Class in both English and Spanish.

Gain the skills needed to better understand your anger, and to effectively manage and cope with intense emotions. This is a one day, eight hour class that meets court ordered requirements. It starts promptly at 8 am and will end at 4:30pm. It is open to any Brandywine client as well as the public.

Classes are offered the first Friday and Saturday of every month. The next sessions are October 1 and October 2. Classes are held at the BCCS Lancaster Avenue Center, and the cost is $150.

To register, please call 656-2348 x 625. For more details, please visit

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Join Us for Client Appreciation Day September 17

Friday September 17 is shaping up as a full day of Recovery Month celebration at BCCS. In Sussex County, we're holding our softball tournament, and in New Castle County, we're hosting a Client Appreciation Day!

In recognition of National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, BCCS will host an all-day event that will include recovery sessions, fun, and food, at the Lancaster Avenue Center from 8 AM to 4 PM. Free and open to clients, their families, and staff members of Brandywine, Client Appreciation Day seeks to provide support to BCCS clients in their recovery efforts. Come on out and bring the kids!
  • Barbecue
  • Talent/art showcase
  • Carnival games and prizes
  • Face painting
  • Kids' activities
  • Hair and beauty treatments
  • Topic-focused groups running for most of the day.

We hope to see you there to celebrate recovery!!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Anchor Program at BCCS

Last week BCCS announced the opening of our mental health treatment program. The new program is called Anchor, and is open and ready to serve you!

If you're experiencing mental health issues, you may feel that you're adrift in the waters of life and don't know how to navigate them. The Anchor Program can provide you with the tools and insight on just how to do that. And, if at any time in your treatment you feel uneasy, you are welcome to come to Anchor and dock for awhile.

Some of the services we provide at Anchor are:
  • Short-term counseling
  • Treatment for mental health concerns such as, but not limited to:
  • Anxiety, Depression, and OCD
  • Substance abuse
  • Eating Disorders
  • Or perhaps, you just need someone to listen to you.
Located conveniently at 2500 West 4th Street, Suite 1, Wilmington, DE, 19805, we work with Medicaid and other insurance providers. Call for more information or make an appointment at 302-472-0381.

You can download a flyer about the Anchor Program here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The BCCS At-Risk DUI Program

Have you been discharged from your primary DUI treatment program and need to complete additional treatment to satisfy requirements? The BCCS At-Risk DUI Program may be for you.
  • We offer walk-in assessments at the Alpha Program, 2500 West 4th Street in Wilmington, Monday-Thursday from 7 AM to 12:30 PM.
  • It is a 12 week program, provided you follow all requirements.
  • Within two weeks of your assessment, you must attend a Meet & Greet Session with your counselor on a Friday at 9 AM.
  • You must attend two groups a week for at least 12 weeks. You may start attending groups after your assessment. 
  • You will also have individual sessions 1-2 times a month.
  • You must remain drug and alcohol free. You must provide random UDS/breathalyzer tests over the 12 weeks. If you provide a positive UDS and/or breathalyzer result at any time, you must start the 12 weeks over.
  • You must follow and complete all treatment plan objectives to successfully complete the program.
  • The fee of $150 must be paid in full for you to receive your discharge paperwork and for it to be sent to your referral source.
For more information on the DUI Program, please call BCCS Alpha at (302) 472-0381.

Friday, August 20, 2010

5th Annual "Homeruns for Recovery" Softball Tournament

Brandywine is sponsoring our 5th annual tournament in honor of Recovery Month! It will be a day of games, food, friends, and sober fun.

The event is free and open to clients and staff members of BCCS and friends of the recovery community. A variety of dependency and substance abuse recovery facilities, including Aquila of Delaware, Fellowship Health Resources, and Hudson Health, as well as regional branches and departments of BCCS, will be featured in the softball competition.

Information from Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, as well as Brandywine, will be available. Food will also be served.

Softball equipment will be provided, but players are encouraged to bring their own if possible due to limited supply.

When: Friday, September 17, 2010

9 AM - 2 PM

Sports At the Beach
22518 Lewes Georgetown Hwy.
Georgetown, DE 19947

RSVP by September 13 to Krystal Cooper at (302) 856-4700 or

Let's Play Ball! See You There!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Lighthouse Wish List

The Lighthouse residential program for women and children is in need of the following items!
  • 2 new strollers - with infant carriers attached.
  • Bed pillows.
If you have items to donate, please call The Lighthouse at (302) 424-8080, or email us. All donations are tax-deductible. Thank you!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Introducing Mental Health Services at BCCS

Now in Wilmington, a source of mental health treatment you can trust!

Growing to meet the complex behavioral health care needs of our community, BCCS is now offering professional outpatient services for adults (18 or older) who are experiencing mental health disorders or mental health and substance abuse issues.

BCCS professional services include:
  • Assessments
  • Talk therapy
  • Short-term Individual and Group counseling
  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Mental Health Medication Services, as needed
  • Referral Services

Located conveniently at 2500 West 4th Street, Suite 1, Wilmington, DE, 19805.

BCCS works with Medicaid and other insurance providers.
Call for more information or make an appointment: 302-472-0381; Fax: 302-225-8644

Hours of operation are:
Tuesday 11am-7pm
Wednesday 8am-4pm
Friday 7am-3pm

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Volunteers Raise Funds and Enthusiasm for AIDS Walk

BCCS is off to a running start in raising money for this year’s AIDS Walk, thanks to some wonderful volunteers who are serving as team captains! They have set up a table at the Lancaster Center on Tuesdays and Fridays, promoting the activity, giving away flyers, and asking for donations.

Already, we have raised a total of $200! Our goal is at least $500, and you can help us reach it! Visit our fundraising page, contact Edna Maldonado or Christine Czajkowski at 656-2348, or stop by the display table.

“I’m really excited about the whole thing,” says team captain Betsy, who is HIV positive and a recovered drug user. “I came here through the hospital, and when I got here, I got involved. If you are infected with the virus, you can keep on living and still help other people. Brandywine has helped me do that, and that’s why I’ll do anything for this program.”

Volunteers Kaitlyn and Gloria were recruited by Betsy, seeing how passionate she was. “She came in and talked to our IOP group, asking us to either sign up to be on the team or to donate,” says Kaitlyn, who has family and friends with HIV/AIDS. “Watching them go through what they have to go through and not being able to do anything, sucks! So why not help the people that you can, so they don’t have to be alone. If you donate the money, it goes to helping them with their medicine, food, whatever they need, so they’re not by themselves.”

Betsy recognizes how different things are today than a few years ago. “I’m very healthy and outgoing and spontaneous! There’s a lot of new drug therapies today we didn’t have back then. Maybe I wouldn’t be sitting here right now, maybe somebody would have been walking for me today. So I’ve got to give back! If I support everything I can about this disease, maybe God will bless me, and I can bless somebody else, because a lot of people have come around when they listen to my story.”

The 24th Annual AIDS Walk Delaware will be held Sunday, September 26, 2010 at Rockford Park in New Castle County, Sunday, October 3, 2010 at Silver Lake Rec. Area in Kent County, and Sunday October 3, 2010 at Grove Park in Sussex County.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Video Announcement on our Name Change

Here's a video announcement from our CEO Lynn Fahey on our new and expanded course for the future as BCCS!

Monday, August 2, 2010

We Are Now Brandywine Counseling & Community Services!

New Name, New Logo, New Service Offerings.
Dear Friends,

For 25 years, you've known Brandywine Counseling as a provider of outstanding substance abuse and mental health treatment, HIV/AIDS prevention and education initiatives, and advocacy services.

You've come to expect the best from us. The best possible care; the most compassionate and knowledgeable staff; the most services, for all areas of your life, all in one place. Your best chance at a new life. Now, the best is about to get even better.

Today, August 2nd, we become Brandywine Counseling & Community Services (BCCS).

We're setting a new and expanded course for the future by adding Community Services to our name. It's a distinction that acknowledges our wide range of existing services and successes, while also recognizing our growth and expertise as a community-focused behavioral health organization.

Our new look and logo is a true alignment of our heritage and vision. It's an authentic expression of BCCS' unique strength, values and goals - and the greater hope and life transformation we continue to bring you.

BCCS' expanded services in behavioral health will benefit the entire Delaware community, from our most vulnerable populations through to baby boomers heading towards retirement. Our focus will remain on 4 areas of care: prevention, education, treatment and advocacy, and soon we plan on including adolescence and primary care. Healthy behaviors result in healthy lives.

Change is good. That's something we often tell our clients. Now, Brandywine is changing, to be even better at meeting your needs. We know this change will be good for you, for us, and for the community.

As always, we thank you for your support and for helping make our work possible. Together, we help people get better.


Lynn M. Fahey, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer

P.S. - Please visit for continued updates from BCCS, and to learn what you can do to help!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Addictions Outreach Counseling Helps Save Lives

Bobbie Dillard from Brandywine Counseling, left, 
and Harold Rosen, M.D., chair of the Dept. of Psychiatry.
Our friends at Christiana Care published the following article about a unique collaboration between Wilmington Hospital and Brandywine's outreach department. It is reprinted here with permission.

More patients with substance abuse issues are receiving potentially life-saving treatment for addictions thanks to an innovative peer-to-peer counseling program.

An embedded, on-site outreach counselor at Wilmington Hospital is engaging patients with drug and alcohol problems at times when studies show intervention efforts most often find success.

Christiana Care launched the program Sept. 1, 2008 in partnership with Brandywine Counseling Inc. Since then the program has produced dramatic results that could ultimately reduce serious illnesses associated with addiction, such as pancreatitis, heart disease, kidney failure, cirrhosis and pneumonia.

More than a third enter treatment
As of June 10, 2010, 35 percent of the 313 individuals who received peer-to-peer counseling have participated in a licensed inpatient or outpatient treatment program, says Terry Horton, M.D., an internist on the faculty of the Department of Medicine.

“These numbers are exceedingly robust,” Dr. Horton says. “Before, the only option available to engage patients in community-based drug treatment was to hand them a phone number and a few, if any, would follow through.”

The program’s impressive success rate attracted the attention of Delaware Physicians Care, an Aetna Medicaid plan. In tracking 18 patients who received peer-to-peer counseling, the group found that individuals were taking better care of their health and relying less on emergency care.

Hospital admissions declined by a third and there were 38 percent fewer visits to the Emergency Department. Meanwhile, visits to primary care providers increased 88 percent.

Patients who receive treatment for their addictions and routine care from their primary care physicians are less likely to develop more serious diseases.

“Care for substance abusers can be exceedingly expensive,” Dr. Horton says. “By getting them treatment, we can reduce their suffering and benefit society as well.”

Brandywine Counseling’s Bobbie Dillard works directly and intensely with patients at Wilmington Hospital who have been identified as being addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Brandywine Counseling counselor 
Bobbie Dillard meets with patients with 
alcohol and drug abuse problems after 
they arrive at Wilmington Hospital.
Outreach for patients at bedside
“Bobbie comes to the bedside or the clinic or the Emergency Department and talks with the patients,” Dr. Horton says. “It’s a low-tech method that is having a positive impact on health care costs.”

Finding ways to channel people into treatment for their addictions could have a sweeping effect on the health care system. Currently, 7 percent of the adults in Delaware are considered problem drinkers, according to the state Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health.

“When you include drug abuse, the number is even higher,” Dr. Horton says.

Bolstered by the success of the program at Wilmington Hospital, Christiana Care hopes to expand the initiative to Christiana Hospital.

“We’re working with the state to try to secure federal funding,” Dr. Horton says. “We think we have come up with an effective method that saves both lives and money.”