Friday, March 5, 2010

A Safety Net of Recovery and Stability

Brandywine Counseling’s Safety Net Services program, now in its third year, is making a difference for Delawareans with high HIV risk and severe substance abuse and mental health issues. Safety Net is an umbrella program offering treatment and pre-treatment to people at various stages of readiness for help, who would otherwise be “lost in the cracks” of social services. The focus is specifically on reaching women and ex-offenders, two of Delaware's highest-risk populations.

In the past year, Safety Net has assisted with over 2500 outreach contacts and 248 HIV tests. Many of our referrals come from the BCI Outreach team, who upon identifying a contact from the target population, will introduce them to the Safety Net Intervention Specialist. The Intervention Specialist will then offer services, see the client through the admission process, and remain in contact throughout their treatment experience. Many referrals also come from the Emergency Room at the Wilmington Hospital, made possible by the unique partnership of BCI with Christiana Care. Both sources have proven to be very successful “front doors” to treatment admission. In the past year, we’ve seamlessly transitioned 74 clients to addiction and mental health treatment, with a total of 148 active clients in the Safety Net program.

Six months after admission, we measure several indicators of recovery and stability. Safety Net participants show good progress on all measures. 56% report no drug use, 80% report no alcohol use, and 52% report no alcohol or drug use. Many reporting HIV risk at admission report reduced risk, with 66% who reported high-risk sexual activity reducing or eliminating risk, and 66% of injection drug users ceasing use. Three-quarters of the clients not housed at admission are now housed. Of the clients reporting no income at admission, 39% now have income. Clients also improved their support system and social connectedness. Half of those without a support network at admission have developed one. 95% of clients have no new arrests. 90% of the clients on mental health medications are compliant with their medications.

Overall, Safety Net Services has enabled many Delawareans with severe addiction and mental health issues to achieve recovery and stability. Our approach is holistic, simultaneously addressing multiple critical issues. The result is a newly created network of services that effectively assists clients into substance abuse treatment and provides a safety net before, during, and after treatment engagement.

Safety Net Services is funded through a grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

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