Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Driving Under the Influence

The statistics don’t lie.  Driving under the influence is a serious issue that takes lives.  Last year in Delaware, more than 5,500 people were arrested for DUI, and 24% of the state's traffic deaths were alcohol related.  According to the state of DE’s statistics, 62% of alcohol-related accidents and fatalities occurred between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m., with males age 21 – 34 being the most likely to be involved in an alcohol-related crash.

Now, new reports show that there may be a way for parents to decrease the chances that their children drive under the influence – stop doing it themselves.  Reports show that adolescents are far more likely to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs if they live with a parent that drives under the influence.

According to SAMHSA’s latest report, 18.3 percent of 16 and 17 year olds living with a mother who drove under the influence of drugs or alcohol also drove under the influence – as opposed to 10.9 percent of the adolescents who lived with a mother who had not driven under the influence. The difference was even more pronounced for fathers - 21.4 percent of adolescents living with a father who drove under the influence also drove under the influence, as opposed to 8.4 percent of adolescents living with a father who did not drive under the influence.

SAMHSA has developed an online tool at to help parents create an action plan to talk with their children about the dangers of underage drinking.

Friday, December 23, 2011

SAMHSA Announced New Definition for Recovery

SAMHSA recently announced a new working definition of recovery from mental disorders and substance use disorders. The definition is the product of a year-long effort by SAMHSA and a wide range of partners in the behavioral health care community and other fields to develop a working definition of recovery that captures the essential, common experiences of those recovering from mental disorders and substance use disorders. The new working definition of Recovery From Mental Disorders and Substance Use Disorders is as follows:

A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.
Through the Recovery Support Strategic Initiative, SAMHSA also has delineated four major dimensions that support a life in recovery:

  • Health: Overcoming or managing one's disease(s) as well as living in a physically and emotionally healthy way.
  • Home: A stable and safe place to live.
  • Purpose: Meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school, volunteerism, family care taking, or creative endeavors, and the independence, income, and resources to participate in society.
  • Community: Relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Power of Peer Support

Today’s  New York Times cover story, “After Drugs and Dark Times, Helping Others to Stand Back Up,” focused on peer support and its power to help people pull through recovery and get their lives back on track.

The mental health care system has long made use of former patients as counselors and the practice has been controversial, in part because doctors and caseworkers have questioned their effectiveness.  But recent research suggests that peer support can reduce costs, and in 2007, federal health officials ruled that states could bill for the services under Medicaid — if the state had a system in place to train and certify peer providers.

In the years since, “peer support has just exploded; I have been in this field for 25 years, and I have never seen anything happen so quickly,” said Larry Davidson, a mental health researcher at Yale. “Peers are living, breathing proof that recovery is possible, that it is real.”

To read the full NY Times article, click here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

AIDS Awareness

Today, we know that HIV/AIDS does not discriminate. Anyone can become infected with HIV when engaging in high risk behaviors. HIV/AIDS can and does impact all of our lives. Stigma, discrimination, and countless myths continue to surround HIV/AIDS as it continues to spread at alarming rates, perhaps because some individuals believe they are exempt from impact of the disease.

New infections are surging among teens and young people both in the United States and worldwide. In the United States, one-half of all new infections occur in people younger than age 24 years, mostly among heterosexual women and girls. In developing countries, young women face even higher risk for contracting HIV—they become infected up to six times as often as young men in those areas.

But, HIV/AIDS has come a long way. We may still be many miles away from a cure, yet the medical advances that have been made to treat this virus are monumental. HIV/AIDS is now considered to be a chronic illness. People are living long, vibrant, healthy lives with HIV. With the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and other treatments during the last two decades, people with HIV/AIDS in the United States are living longer.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Today is World AIDS Day

Today, December 1, is World AIDS Day.   This day has been observed for 23 years, and began as a way to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS and those affected by the disease.  World AIDS Day helps fight the stigma for people living with HIV by providing education and steps for prevention.  The World Health Organization’s theme for the day, which runs from 2011 through 2015 is “Getting to Zero – zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS related deaths.”

The disease, first discovered in 1981, affects nearly 1.2 million people in the United States.  The United States has made tremendous progress against HIV, preventing hundreds of thousands of new infections and helping people live longer, healthier, more productive lives with effective treatments. Testing is the only way to identify the nearly 250,000 Americans currently living with HIV who do not know they're infected – that's 1 in 5 of all Americans with HIV.  HIV testing and diagnosis are the first steps toward connecting people to life-extending treatment, as well as helping to prevent the spread of HIV to partners.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Heroin Alert

The Poison Control Center has been notified that doctors in the region have recently encountered heroin overdoses that have seemed particularly potent, and which have required higher than normal doses of naloxone for reversal.  As contamination of heroin with other drugs has been a frequently encountered phenomenon in our region, health care providers and public health officials are advised to be aware.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Antidepressant Prescribing Has Increased Almost 400%

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antidepressant prescribing has risen almost 400% since 1988.  The study, which is based on the responses of 12,000 participants from 2005-08, found that more than 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 12 now take antidepressants.  National statistics show that 9.1% of adults will suffer from depression at any given time in their lives, with women being more than two times more likely than men to develop the illness.

Depression most frequently hits people between the ages of 45 and 64, and the CDC found that Americans in this age group were more likely to receive prescription drugs to treat depression.  Race also played a part in depression statistics.  The findings show that although African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to be depressed than whites, more antidepressants were taken by whites (14%), compared with just 4% of African-Americans and 3% of Hispanics.  Teens are also affected by depression.  According to data from the National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2005, about 9% of teens ages 12 to 17 had a major depressive episode in the previous year, with only 2.8% of boys and 4.6% of girls taking antidepressants. 

The most concerning finding in the CDC study is that people who take antidepressants are taking them long term. Approximately 60% of people had taken the medications for two years or longer, and 14% had taken antidepressants for more than a decade.  Finally, the study finds that antidepressant prescriptions are more common than the prevalence of depression.  Although earlier data show that about one-fifth of the prescriptions are written to treat other conditions such as anxiety disorders, pain and menopausal symptoms, there is still a 2% excess of prescriptions written.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Prescription Drug Abuse on the Rise


Delaware’s The News Journal ran a three day special from November 6-8 focusing on the epidemic of prescription drug abuse in DE.  Prescription drug abuse is a serious issue that is striking close to home.  In DE, there is one death every other day due to the abuse of prescription pills.  Approximately one in eighteen people living in DE have admitted to taking prescription pain killers for non-medical use, ranking the state as 14th in the nation. The problem with prescription drugs has seriously affected DE, mainly because the state hasn't begun tracking prescriptions for narcotics and other controlled drugs.

The rates for prescription pill deaths in the state of DE have greatly surpassed even stereotypically more serious drugs such as heroin and cocaine.  In the past few years, opiates and anti-anxiety drugs contributed to the 354 deaths in Delaware, which is 72 percent higher than heroin, cocaine, and alcohol combined.

BCCS’ Domenica Personti was interviewed for the article that ran on November 6th entitled, “Pills' Artificial Sense of Safety Can Lull Many into Addiction.”  Domenica said, "They say, 'We pop pills. That's the cool thing to do.'” "They think you don't become the stereotypical drug addict, but you absolutely are."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NIDA Kicks-off National Drug Facts Week

The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) Drug Facts Week began Monday, October 31 and runs through Sunday, November 6, 2011.  National Drug Facts Week (NDFW) works to bring together teens and scientific experts in communities across the country to discuss the real facts and shatter the myths about drug abuse.

Research has shown that a key ingredient for preventing drug use is ensuring that communities, parents, and kids have the most up-to-date, scientific information about drug use and their effects on the brain and body.  By joining forces and bringing young adults and scientific experts together with a common goal, NDFW aims to educate teens and encourage conversations.

NIDA will hold community events across the country through November 6.  For more information and to view the latest version of NIDA’s “Shatter the Myth” booklet, click here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

World Mental Health Day - October 10, 2011

Today is World Mental Health Day and this year’s theme is "Investing in Mental Health." The day was created to raise public awareness about mental health issues and to promote open discussion about mental health and investments in prevention, promotion, and treatment services. 

Due to the fact that there is a large treatment gap for mental, neurological and substance use disorders in poor countries, World Mental Health Day is an important tool to increase knowledge about the significant behavioral health disparities that persist in diverse communities across the globe.  Many countries have less than one mental health specialist per one million people. To reach these communities, there needs to be an increased investment for mental health and a push to shift available resources toward more effective forms of services delivered through primary health care and community settings.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Workplace Drug Use

According to a 2010 National Drug Treat Assessment published by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, workplace drug abuse is on the rise.  The Assessment showed that 8 percent of full-time and nearly 10.2 percent of part-time employees abuse drugsStatistics also showed that the majority of the increase is due to the abuse of prescription narcotics, not illegal drugs.

A 2010 report from urine drug testing company Quest Diagnostics found that 8 percent of full-time workers and 11.5 percent of part-time workers were current drug abusers.   U.S. Department of Labor studies in 2006 found much higher worker drug abuse rates in the food services, construction, and durable goods sectors, while both studies supported the increase in prescription drug statistics found by the National Drug Treat Assessment.  A 2008 report by Quest Diagnostic found more workers are now testing positive for prescription drugs than cocaine and methamphetamine combined.

Luckily, companies do have some power in controlling drug abuse issues in the workplace.  Company drug policies are proven to be effective and can limit the amount of employee drug use.  Workers whose employers did not have a written drug policy were about twice as likely to report abusing drugs in the past month as employers with written policies about drug use.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rise in Illicit Drug Use From 2008 to 2010

According to a study conducted by SAMHSA, the use of illicit drugs among Americans has increased from 2008 to 2010.  The study showed that 8.9 percent of Americans ages 12 and older were current illicit drug users.  The rate of use in 2010 was similar to the rate in 2009 (8.7 percent), but remained above the 8.0 percent rate from 2008.

Another disturbing trend that they found is the continuing rise in the rate of current illicit drug use among young adults ages 18 to 25, from 19.6 percent in 2008, to 21.2 percent in 2009, and 21.5 percent in 2010.

SAMHSA generates its study results through The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), which is conducted annually with approximately 67,500 participants ages 12 and older throughout the United States.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Needle Exchange Program Bill Signing Reception

Tuesday July 5, 2011
4:00 to 6:00 PM

Kooma Delaware
400 Justison Street
Wilmington DE, 19801

On June 7, 2011, the Delaware Legislature passed a law to continue the needle exchange program without sunsetting. Senate Bill 13: An Act to Amend Title 29 of the Delaware Code Relating to Sterile Needle and Syringe Exchange makes the original pilot status of the program permanent. This Act directs the Director of the Division of Public Health to maintain a sterile needle and syringe program to help prevent the spread of AIDS and other diseases. Brandywine Counseling and Community Services will continue to operate the program, which offers HIV testing, health counseling, hepatitis C testing, and referrals to substance abuse treatment.

Join us to celebrate permanent sterile needle and syringe exchange in Delaware. Please RSVP to Sara Grainger at

Monday, June 20, 2011

News Journal: New Map Shows Spread of HIV/AIDS Along I-95

The June 18, 2011 News Journal ran an informative article on how HIV/AIDS has spread along the I-95 corridor. A new map confirms the effect of easy access to intravenous drugs via the highway, as well as Wilmington's proximity to Philadelphia and Baltimore. However, the highway also contributes to the spread of the disease via unsafe sex:

Just like major roads are drug-trafficking arteries, they also enable people infected with HIV to travel, said Basha Silverman, prevention program director at Brandywine Counseling. That way, HIV-infected people can maintain sexual relationships and spread the disease from city to city.

"The freeways create access and give people more opportunity for sexual contact," she said. "When sexual contact is unprotected, [sexually transmitted diseases] are spread."

Click here to read the full article.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sterile Needle and Syringe Exchange Is Now Permanent in Delaware

On June 7, 2011, the Delaware Legislature passed a law to continue the needle exchange program without sunsetting.  

Senate Bill 13: An Act to Amend Title 29 of the Delaware Code Relating to Sterile Needle and Syringe Exchange makes the original pilot status of the program permanent. This Act directs the Director of the Division of Public Health to maintain a sterile needle and syringe program to help prevent the spread of AIDS and other diseases. Brandywine Counseling and Community Services will continue to operate the program, which offers HIV testing, health counseling, hepatitis C testing, and referrals to substance abuse treatment.

Every day, our staff sees the brutal impact HIV/AIDS has on men, women and children throughout Delaware. It seems to be so well hidden from the public eye. We are dedicated to preventing the spread of this disease.

Many of you are aware of the facts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over one million Americans are currently living with HIV. Twenty-five percent of those cases are attributed to risk factors related to injection drug use. Our needle exchange program prevents the spread of HIV among injection drug users, and therefore saves lives.

Our state’s needle exchange program is not simply a needle distribution program. Injecting drug users are required to return a used syringe in order to obtain a new, sterile needle. The program creates a unique opportunity for our Prevention and Treatment staff to interact with active drug users who might want our help but are not knocking on our front door. We are meeting them where they are, going directly to the people that need us. By joining our program, they are taking the first step to break the cycle of addiction.

The staff who work on our mobile van offer every client education, counseling, referrals, HIV, hepatitis C and pregnancy testing services. We identify folks in crisis, and link them with the appropriate mental health care.

The needle exchange program works. It saves lives!

During the first five pilot years, we were able to accomplish the following:
  • Incinerated over 68,000 potentially infectious syringes and removed them from the streets -- virtually eliminating the needle litter problem.
  • On the needle exchange program van, we conducted 2,581 Rapid HIV tests and 138 Hepatitis C tests. 18 clients tested positive for HIV and 27 tested positive for Hepatitis C. 100% of the positives were connected to care and case management.
  • Nearly 2,000 of those HIV tests were provided to community residents who access the van and are not enrolled in the program. Thus, we are reaching more than just injection drug users.
  • 163 people (of the 261 formal referrals made) were successfully admitted to drug related treatment, a 62% success rate. BCCS is uniquely qualified to operate the exchange program because we also provide a variety of behavioral health services. We are able to quickly and seamlessly link people to the treatment they need.

Resource: Includes information from

Thursday, June 9, 2011

BCCS to Lead Prevention Campaigns to Safeguard Delawareans from Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Statewide Movements Aim to Reduce Consequences, Costs of Harmful Behaviors

Wilmington, Del. — Brandywine Counseling & Community Services (BCCS) has cemented its reputation as Delaware’s leading voice of alcohol and drug prevention, having been awarded two grants totaling $600,000 a year for three years, to create two statewide campaigns designed to prevent alcohol and drug abuse before any sign of a problem occur. The grants were awarded from the Delaware Division of Health & Social Services, Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health.

“For decades, our prevention efforts have focused on giving people all the information and resources they need to recognize the signs of drug and alcohol abuse,” said Dr. Lynn Fahey, CEO of BCCS. “These two new grants will help us expand these efforts and prevent drug and alcohol abuse before the abuse even begins.”

The first of the two campaigns, You. Front and Center, targets alcohol and other drug abuse among adults 18 and over. Delaware law enforcement agencies reported 5,538 adult drug arrests during 2006, and 2,551 alcohol related arrests. In addition, Delaware is above the national average for marijuana use by young adults, with 10.45% of the population 12 and older reporting they have used marijuana in the past year.

You. Front and Center will have many dimensions, all building Delaware’s capacity to measurably demonstrate changes in attitude toward alcohol and other drugs. The campaign targets the entire state, with special emphasis in Wilmington and Kent County where state data indicators show significant need. The core prevention education activity is delivery of an evidence-based curriculum called Prime for Life in a multi-session ongoing small class format. More than 250 people are expected to attend the class per year. In addition, BCCS will host several job fairs that will introduce Prime for Life to participants, create enthusiasm and recruit participants for the full program. Social media, traditional print media and special events will also promote the educational classes, while creating prevention dialogue and promoting messages that have been proven effective in prevention.

The second campaign, BTU – Beat The Urge, targets alcohol abuse among young people (“Y” and “Millennial” generations). In Delaware, binge drinking increases from a rate of 10% among eighth graders, to 23% among 18 to 20 year olds and to 64% among college students. Delaware is significantly higher than the national average for individuals 18 to 25 with alcohol dependence or abuse. There are severe consequences, in the form of injuries from alcohol-related crashes, arrests of minors for DUI, and more than $200 million a year in costs to the citizens of Delaware for medical care, work loss, and pain and suffering resulting from the use of alcohol by youth.

The alcohol prevention campaign has a strong peer-led component. BCCS is partnering with middle schools, high schools, colleges, community organizations and faith-based organizations to reach the young adult audience. This campaign, which also is statewide, will be highly visible through social media, traditional media and special events. A new evidence-based curriculum will be developed in a peer-to-peer format, creating enthusiasm and encouraging participants to get involved with the alcohol-free movement, in order to exponentially increase the number of people who become involved. In our first year, we expect to present the curriculum to approximately 300 young people and to train 20 adult trainers (such as school nurses) and 150 adolescent and young adult peer leaders.

The two prevention campaigns and all of their components will be measured for outcomes and impact. BCCS expects to demonstrate changes in attitude toward alcohol, marijuana, prescription opiates and heroin among high-risk populations. In the long term, BCCS aims to produce measurable, statewide change and sustainable outcomes within Delaware communities related to alcohol and drug use, such as: a decrease in underage and binge drinking, a decrease in alcohol and drug related traffic crashes, and a decrease in costs associated with alcohol and drug-related violence and traffic crashes.

Achieving changed individual attitudes that prevent the onset of behaviors which are costly to personal health, to community health and to Delaware is an important step toward a healthier future. BCCS seeks to create dialogue about the shared responsibility we have to safeguard ourselves and our loved ones from alcohol and substance abuse.

About Brandywine Counseling & Community Services
For 25 years, Brandywine Counseling & Community Services, Inc. has been a trusted provider of outstanding substance abuse and behavioral treatment, HIV/AIDS prevention and education initiatives, mental health and advocacy services. BCCS is Delaware's most recognized provider of behavioral services with seven locations statewide. The core program offerings fall under one of four critical areas of care: Education, Advocacy, Prevention and Treatment. For more information about BCCS, visit 

For more information, please contact Basha Silverman at (302) 655-9880 ext. 123 or

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Living Out Loud 2: Rick Van Story Center Consumer Conference

Our friends at the Rick Van Story Center are hosting a Consumer Conference, "Living Out Loud 2: The Magic of Transformation" Friday, September 9. Tickets are only $2.00. The keynote speaker is Antonio Lambert. Buses are provided in Southern Delaware, and sponsorship opportunities are available. Register or get more information here.

The mission of the Rick VanStory Resource Center (RVRC) is to be the premier peer support center promoting recovery, quality of life, advocacy, education, mutual support, peer directed services, and participation in mental health policy design for individuals throughout the state of Delaware (RVRC) also proudly accepts donations of all kinds. Please call (302) 691-7950 to support their cause.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Benefit for Mike Kriner and Chris Sturmfels

The family and friends of Mike Kriner and Chris Sturmfels are raising awareness for a benefit to be held in Wilmington on August 27th 2011 and would greatly appreciate your support! A 5K Walk/Run and post run “Fun Day” at Rockford Park are being organized to raise money for the education funds of 4 young children who lost their fathers on February 25, 2010 in a DUI traffic accident.

Chris Sturmfels and Mike Kriner were social workers employed by Connections, a non-profit organization offering community support programs. These devoted husbands and fathers were tragically killed by someone with the problems they specialized in treating.

Now, their friends and family are working hard to coordinate a day in honor of these two gentlemen who lived life to its fullest and truly gave back to their community in so many ways. Their fundraising efforts will raise money for the children’s education trusts. All net proceeds generated from the event will be donated in full to the trusts.

The Beck Sturmfels Educational Trust
Michael T. Kriner Education Fund

A committee has been established to coordinate the day’s events and we are hoping you may be able to help. Here are some ways you can help make the event a success:
  • Become a Platinum Sponsor by donating $500 or more. Your organization’s name/logo will be printed on the event banner and t-shirts.
  • Become a Gold Sponsor by donating $250 or more. Your organization’s name/logo will be printed on the event t-shirts.
  • Become a Silver Sponsor by donating any amount.
  • Donate raffle items or gift certificates.

PLEASE MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO: Kriner Sturmfels Education Fund

MAIL TO: P.O. Box 243, St. Georges, DE 19733

For all inquiries, contact Nicole Roy at or Claire Callahan at

Other ways you can help if you are unable to make a monetary donation:
  • Post event details on your website, news letter or bulletin
  • Offer event flyers to your customers
  • Volunteer to help on event day (sign-ups, water stations, fun day activities, etc.)
  • Spread the word to your family, friends and employees

Thank you in advance for any support you may be able to provide.

Summer Jam: Rick Van Story Center Event and Fundraiser

Our friends at the Rick Van Story Center are holding a Summer Hip Hop Jam Fundraiser Friday, May 27.

The mission of the Rick VanStory Resource Center (RVRC) is to be the premier peer support center promoting recovery, quality of life, advocacy, education, mutual support, peer directed services, and participation in mental health policy design for individuals throughout the state of Delaware (RVRC) also proudly accepts donations of all kinds. Please call (302) 691-7950 to support their cause.

We encourage you to come out and support this great organization! Click here to download a flyer.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bill Introduced to Continue Delaware Needle Exchange reports that a bill has been released to the State Senate to remove the "sunset" provision from the Delaware Needle Exchange, which was slated to expire next year.

The program has moved over 200 people to drug treatment in 4 years, far exceeding its goal of five a year. It has a total enrollment of 1,025.

"Our needle exchange program saves hundreds of lives and saves the state millions in potential health care costs," said Basha Silverman, director of Prevention programs for BCCS.

Read the full story here.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Video: AIDS Plus 30 in Delaware

This video from WHYY's "First" looks at HIV/AIDS in Delaware 30 years later. Despite prevention efforts like the needle exchange, new infections continue, and so does the stigma. The issue seems to have disappeared from the headlines, at a time when more education is needed.

Watch the video here (click Chapter 3).

Also, read the companion article from Delaware Today, The Fight Continues.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Consumer Survey Results

Thank you to everyone who took last month's satisfaction survey. Your feedback helps us improve our services to you.

313 people took the survey. Here are some results:
  • 96% of you were "Very Satisfied" or "Satisfied" with the help you received that day.
  • 87% were "Very Satisfied" or "Satisfied" with the time you had to wait.
  • 96% were "Very Satisfied" or "Satisfied" with the knowledge of the staff who assisted you.
  • 97% were "Very Satisfied" or "Satisfied" that you were treated with dignity and respect.
  • 97% were "Very Satisfied" or "Satisfied" that you were treated with confidentiality and privacy.

We asked which online tools you use, such as email or Facebook, to learn the best ways to get information to you. We've read all your comments as well, and the management team is taking steps to address them.

The next survey will be in June. Thanks again for your feedback. We hope this gives you a voice about issues that matter to you.

Monday, April 25, 2011

"Dangers of Smoking" Dinner Presentation

Our friends at Henrietta Johnson Medical Center will be hosting a seminar on the “Dangers of Smoking” for adult smokers who want to quit and healthcare workers.

The Dangers of Smoking/Tobacco
Thursday April 28, 2011

Registration at 5:45PM – Program begins at 6PM

Henrietta Johnson Medical Center (GYM)
601 New Castle Avenue
Wilmington, DE 19801

LEARN tips on how to SAY NO and mean it!!

Did you know there are over 600 additives found in cigarette smoke?

Of the 600 additives, 69 are linked to cancer!!

Facilitated by: Frank Hawkins

Adults ages 18 and older PLEASE

Prizes, Raffles & Giveaways

Please Register to Ashia Cale (302) 655-6187 and leave your name, telephone # and which session you plan to attend.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

BCCS Will Be Closed Good Friday

BCCS will be closed Friday, April 22, 2011 for the Good Friday holiday. We will reopen Monday April 25.

Have a great holiday!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Public Input Invited on How to Help At-Risk Women in Wilmington

Brandywine Counseling & Community Services (BCCS), Stand Up for What’s Right and Just (SURJ), and the University of Delaware are conducting focus groups at local community locations to find out how the public thinks the community, the police, the courts, and the prison system can provide better services and solutions to women who may have gotten in trouble with the law, particularly prostitution. Public feedback will help to shape services that may be funded through a federal grant. Refreshments will be provided.

The next focus group will take place Thursday April 14, 2011, at 7 PM, at Claymore Senior Center, 504 S. Clayton Street, Wilmington.

To RSVP, please call Basha Silverman at (302) 655-9880 x123 or email

Comments will be collected anonymously for a research project approved by UD's Board for the Protection of Human Subjects in Research. The event is co-sponsored by West Side Crime Group.

The focus groups are made possible by a grant from the U.S. Office of Women’s Health, which created the Delaware Prostitution Diversion Project, a groundbreaking coalition of criminal justice, social service and public health systems. The overall goal of the project is to improve the health and welfare of female sex workers, reduce their cycling rate in the court system, and thereby reduce women’s reliance on sex work as a means of income.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

April is Child Abuse Awareness Month

April is Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month at BCCS. BCCS Lancaster will be hosting several events in an effort to raise awareness about child abuse and child abuse resources in Delaware.

April 5th – Child Abuse Awareness Kickoff!
BCCS Counselors will be in the lobby and dispensing areas, handing out resources for parents and kids, such as bookmarks, ribbons, and tattoos. Counselors will also provide clients with a schedule outlining the different activities that will take place throughout the month.

April 12th, 9 AM to Noon - Release for Recovery
BCCS Outreach Department will be hosting a "Release for Recovery" Day. Come in and pamper yourself. Paint your nails, give yourself a facial. Bring the kids and pamper them as well. All items will be provided by BCCS.

April 19th, 9 AM to 1 PM - Get Informed!
We will have educators from different agencies in Delaware come and present information on child abuse and how kids are affected. Please see a schedule.

April 26th, 10 AM to 1 PM - Children's Celebration: A blue ribbon day for kids
Luncheon sponsored by BCCS along with arts and crafts activities for clients and their children. We will have volunteers from various local agencies to assist.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Community Focus Group: Solutions for At-Risk Women in Wilmington

Can You Help Suggest Solutions for At-Risk Women in Wilmington?

Brandywine Counseling, SURJ, and the University of Delaware Need Your Ideas! 

Brandywine Counseling & Community Services, SURJ, and the University of Delaware are conducting focus groups at local community locations to find out how you think the community, the police, the courts, and the prison system can provide better services and solutions to women who may have gotten in trouble with the law, particularly prostitution. Your feedback will help to shape services that may be funded through a federal grant. Pizza & drinks provided.

This is an opportunity for Service Provider Professionals, Clients, and Community Members.

Hicks Anderson Community Center -- Monday, March 21, at 6:45 pm
501 N. Madison Street, Wilmington


Hilltop Lutheran Neighborhood Community Center -- Wednesday, March 23, at 6:45 pm
1018 W. 6th Street, Wilmington

To RSVP, please call Basha Silverman at (302) 655-9880 x123 or email

Comments will be collected anonymously for a research project approved by UD's Board for the Protection of Human Subjects in Research.

Delaware Reentry Consortium
100 W. 10th Street
Wilmington, Delaware 19801

Thursday, March 10, 2011

BCCS Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Campaign Wins Distinguished SIAA awards

Wilmington, Del. - Brandywine Counseling & Community Services, Inc. (BCCS) was recognized with the Bronze Award at the 2011 National Service Industry Advertising Awards (SIAA), the only advertising awards that specifically recognize achievements of the service industry. Of the 1,000 institutions and 400 advertising agencies that submitted entries, the “Say NO To That Shot” billboard, part of a prevention campaign on fetal alcohol syndrome, was honored in the Outdoor/Transit category.

“Receiving this award out of the thousands of entries is simply phenomenal,” remarks BCCS, President and CEO, Lynn Fahey, Ph.D. “The recognition underlines the importance of this campaign and its mission to prevent fetal alcohol syndrome which is vital to infant health and the health of our society.” This campaign invokes a startling image to create a message that resonates with all who view the billboard and make an impact against the preventable syndrome. Creating this award-winning campaign with BCCS was Hockessin-based public relations and social marketing firm GillespieHall.

BCCS works in areas beyond infant health by providing holistic care to persons and their families living with addiction, mental health, and HIV-related challenges. The “Say NO To That Shot” billboard ad campaign stands out against other advertisements with a powerful message portrayed in a heart-stopping, real way. The SIAA award emphasizes the significance of the topic of fetal health and recognizes the admirable work of the BCCS in this important area.

The BCCS fetal alcohol awareness initiative was made possible by Delaware’s Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health.

National SIAA Bronze Award, Billboard– ‘Say No to That Shot’

For 25 years, Brandywine Counseling & Community Services, Inc. has been a trusted provider of outstanding substance abuse and behavioral treatment, HIV/AIDS prevention and education initiatives, mental health and advocacy services. The core program offerings fall under one of four critical areas of care: Education, Advocacy, Prevention, and Treatment. Originally part of Wilmington Medical Center, BCCS was incorporated as a separate non-profit in 1985 and has been a full member United Way agency since 1988. For more information on Brandywine Counseling & Community Services, visit

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

BCCS Will Be Closed Friday, March 11

BCCS will be closed Friday March 11, 2011 for staff training. We will reopen Monday, March 14.

Thank you,
BCCS Staff

Friday, March 4, 2011

Nested Services Help Patients Stay Healthy

Many Delawareans with severe substance abuse and mental health issues are achieving recovery and stability thanks to Safety Net Services, Brandywine’s multifaceted treatment, pre-treatment, and HIV/AIDS program.

Safety Net connects clients to substance abuse treatment and other appropriate services, depending on their readiness to enter treatment, while providing a safety net before, during and after treatment engagement. A key to the program’s success is the nesting of medical care, Medication Management, risk reduction interventions, and HIV testing within a substance abuse treatment program. The nested services make appointment scheduling, transportation and other practical issues much easier for patients, particularly those struggling with mental health and/or physical issues. It also increases patient comfort and safety, and strengthens confidentiality. The result is improved patient health, stability and general well-being.

Since it began in 2007, Safety Net has served 244 clients, of which 217 are still active in the program. This past year, 27 successfully completed the program and graduated, and 78 new clients entered the program. Safety Net also works with the BCCS outreach team to identify and engage at-risk or HIV-positive substance abusers in the community.

The typical Safety Net client is facing multiple treatment issues. They struggle with addiction, mental health, and medical issues. Routinely, they have financial challenges. They get help with basic survival needs like food and clothing, which is a crucial first step before considering and engaging in substance abuse treatment. Help is also provided with transportation, child care, medical care and housing.

Safety Net clients have, on average, four medical problems each, and take an average of two medications. Most (90%) are HIV positive, and two-thirds also have mental health diagnoses such as depression or bipolar. Medication Management helps them stay on top of their complex health care needs. An average of 21 participants utilize this service each month, and all are compliant with their medications.

Clients learn to reduce their HIV risk through education and behavior change. Over half (53%) have stopped injecting drugs since entering the program. 33% have stopped sharing needles. 77% have reduced their number of sex partners, and 90% have increased condom use since entering the program.

Of those who reported no income at admission, 38% had income after 6 months, 83% say their support network has improved, and 97% of clients have no new arrests. Safety Net clients are making progress in all areas of their lives.

Safety Net Services is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. For more information, please call 655-9880, ext. 123.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Take the Step Up Pledge to End Underage Drinking

Take the Step Up Pledge to end underage drinking in Delaware!

Click here to “like” the Step Up Facebook page to take the pledge. Then, ask your friends to do the same.

The Step Up Pledge is a statewide movement in Delaware acknowledging parents, adults, and children who support a parent's involvement in preventing underage drinking.

The “Step Up” campaign urges parents – and all adults – to stop facilitating or ignoring youth alcohol consumption and to take responsibility for their role in underage drinking. The campaign presents parents with steps they can take to have an active role in preventing underage drinking.

Visit the Step Up Website at for information on teen drinking including statistics, warning signs, tools, and solutions.

Monday, February 21, 2011

STEP Moves People Out of Addiction, Homelessness

Homeless substance abusers in Sussex County are improving their quality of life thanks to STEP (Support, Treatment, Education, and Prevention), Brandywine’s outpatient program in southern Delaware.

135 homeless individuals have entered STEP since the program started up in late 2009. 93% of them are drug free after 6 months. 55% have found affordable housing, and 63% have improved their employment status or received entitlements. All STEP clients receive case management, substance abuse treatment, a mental health evaluation, health care services, and education on disease prevention.

The clinicians of STEP work resourcefully in the community to help their clients find housing and jobs. A case manager visits area shelters to meet with residents, answer questions, and run educational groups. A vocational specialist helps clients write their resume, links them to community resources, and takes them out in the community to help them find employment.

There are many success stories. One client, diagnosed with schizophrenia, has decreased her hospital stays and substance use to the point where she is ready to live on her own. Others have gone back to get their GED and enroll in college. Another client came to us having nearly lost everything, including custody of her daughter, as a result of her addiction. Today she is celebrating 9 months clean and sober, has a job, her child is back home with her, and she is finishing her Associates degree with a 4.0 GPA!

We’re also excited about our new partnership with the TAP FAITH group, which stands for Talented Address-less People for Affordable Innovative Transitional Housing. The group meets at a church in Georgetown every week and is composed of community leaders throughout Sussex County, and individuals who are currently homeless. TAP FAITH helps the homeless clients of STEP by coming together to brainstorm options for them to be housed that day.

At a recent TAP FAITH meeting, a woman came to the meeting who was homeless and had no funds. Immediately, members began to come up with options. One member gave his phone to the woman to call the Crisis House. She was not able to reach them, so he told her he would transport her there after the meeting to see if a bed was available. The church pastor then told her, if she could not get admitted to the Crisis House, to get a denial slip which would give her access to stay in the church’s emergency shelter for the night.

TAP FAITH is an excellent group that has grown from 6 members to 20 in months, and is still growing, all for the sole purpose of helping our homeless population. It is an exciting group and a great opportunity for BCCS and our clients to be involved in.

STEP is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, and by the Delaware Health Fund. For more information about STEP, please call 302-856-4700.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Learn Job Skills with Our Career Curriculum Series

BCCS is offering a Career Curriculum Series for our clients, sponsored by Elwyn. Learn valuable skills to help you gain employment.

All classes begin promptly at 9:00 AM at the Lancaster Center in the IOP room.

Job Search Skills    Friday, February 25

Interviewing Skills    Friday, March 11

Social Skills    Friday, March 25

I Want a Career    Friday, April 8

Transportation    Friday, April 22

For more information, please contact Christine Czajkowski at 656-2348, extension 145.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

BCCS Shares Prevention Work at CADCA's Community Prevention Day

Sara Yarnall, Prevention Supervisor at BCCS, presented at the Community AntiDrug Coalitions of America’s (CADCA) Annual National Leadership Forum XXI Community Prevention Day on February 7, 2011 in National Harbor, MD. Sara discussed BCCS Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs programs and how effective our programs have been for the citizens of the State of Delaware.

“We appreciated Sara’s participation in the Delaware Presentation at CADCA,” said Dr. Marc Richman, Assistant Director for Community Mental Health and Addiction Services with the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. “Sara was well prepared, quite impressive and passionate (!) about the work BCCS is doing on prevention. It was received well by the audience.”

The State of Delaware’s prevention team also presented at the conference about current prevention efforts in the state, the state roles in working and collaborating with communities, as well as challenges and successes encountered and what Delaware has done to move forward.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Volunteer Spotlight: Lisa Sherwood, Board of Directors

BCCS wishes to express our thanks to outstanding volunteer and Board Vice President Lisa Sherwood, who is retiring from Board service after four and a half years.

Lisa joined our Board in 2006. “My interest was piqued when, driving to work in Wilmington, I kept noticing the long line of people waiting in front of the building,” she recalls. Her observation, shared by many, inspired us to write a newsletter article exploring stigma and misunderstandings about people in treatment.

“As I learned more about BCCS,” she says, “I was blown away by the lives touched by the organization. And the lives saved. I wish other people had an opportunity to see the faces of recovery... people from all walks of life, all sizes, all ethnicities.. all struggling and ultimately succeeding in their recovery. This is thanks to their own courage and the team of caring professionals at BCCS.”

Lisa became an enthusiastic and dependable Board member, who always found time for BCCS despite her demanding work schedule as Director of Provider Development for Genesis HealthCare Corporation. Before becoming Vice President in 2010, she served as Board Treasurer and chair of the fundraising committee.

She also assisted with Board recruitment. Recruiting volunteers, she believes, is one of the most challenging parts of BCCS’ work. “From volunteering to be an active Board member, to volunteering to paint a mural to brighten a dreary treatment room, to running a job interview skills workshop, volunteers greatly enhance the BCCS programs. And we can never have too many!”

“Lisa’s faithful service to BCCS is without question, greatly appreciated,” said Board President Rev. Karla Fleshman. “Her tenure spanned a time of great transition in the organization; and no doubt her faithfulness to healthy communication; and her dependable commitment to the organization is coming to an end at a time when she is confident of those who remain on the Board of Directors. Her consistent presence and insightful guidance helped direct this fine organization to new leadership with an expanded mission of service. We thank you Lisa!”

Board member Lauren Pearce added, “Lisa was an incredible burst of energy who kept our Board focused and dedicated. Her enthusiasm and passion for Brandywine was demonstrated in all that she took on, including recruiting new Board members and embarking on new ideas.”

Lisa has high hopes for BCCS in the next five years. “I'd like to see BCCS in more satellite locations, growth of the needle exchange program to serve other communities in Delaware, and a second (or even third!) Lighthouse program, to serve recovering mothers and their babies. And most of all, I'd like to see BCCS triple the number of clients served. That's a tall order. But there IS a need and BCCS is positioned to rise to the occasion!”

When asked what she most enjoyed about her involvement, Lisa says, “The chance to work with some wonderfully caring and passionate people. I will miss them!”

We will miss you as well, Lisa. Thank you for your years of service, and all that you brought to the Board and the organization!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Basha Silverman Honored for HIV/AIDS Work

BCCS congratulates Basha Silverman, Prevention Program Director, on two honors for her outstanding work in HIV/AIDS prevention.

On Saturday, February 12, Basha received the Community and Support Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Fight Against HIV, at the 10th Annual Do The Right Thing 4LIFE Banquet, presented by AIDS Delaware. Do the Right Thing 4LIFE is an educational prevention program that seeks to increase the awareness about HIV/AIDS/STDs within the African American community. Its efforts have resulted in numerous educational parties in barbershops, beauty salons, and private homes in New Castle County, reaching over 500 individuals.

“I am honored and excited to be a part of this,” Basha said, “as Frank [Hawkins, event organizer] and I started working in HIV the same year and have worked side by side for about a decade. I am grateful that he thought of me.”

Also, on Friday, May 6, Basha will receive the Ally Award at the 2011 WOW Awards Celebration, hosted by the Delaware HIV Consortium. This annual awards event recognizes corporate and individual excellence for philanthropy, volunteerism, fundraising, and community leadership in the field on HIV/AIDS. Visit for more information.

Congratulations Basha on these well-deserved honors!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Delayed Opening Wednesday 2/2

BCCS will have a delayed opening in New Castle County on Wednesday February 2 due to the weather. Dispensing will open at 7 AM; all other programs at 9 AM.

Sussex County programs will operate on a normal schedule.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

BCCS Is Closed in New Castle County Thursday 1/27

BCCS programs in New Castle County will be CLOSED today 1/27 due to the weather. Dispensing is open. All other programs in New Castle County are closed.

All Sussex County programs will be open on time.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

BCCS Will Close at 12:30 Wednesday Jan. 26

BCCS will close at 12:30 today, 1/26, due to the weather. There will be no evening hours, with the exception of the Newark evening program which will be open as usual.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In Memory of Gordon Pizor

With sadness, we mourn the passing of a member of our Brandywine family, psychologist Gordon Pizor, on January 10, 2011.

Gordon worked for Brandywine for more than 25 years, providing psychological evaluations and testing for clients. He worked closely with clinical and medical staff to diagnose and treat patients, assisting them to recover from addiction and mental illness. He also attended many of our P2R process improvement meetings to help us work on ways to increase patient access and decrease wait time for mental health services.

In addition to his work with Brandywine, Gordon maintained a private practice, specializing in adolescents and learning disabilities. He was also the co-founder and Head Coach of the Wilmington Youth Rowing Association, which taught the sport of rowing to at-risk and disabled youth.

Gordon had a true passion for his profession and for helping others. He was well-liked by both patients and staff, and will be greatly missed.

A celebration of Gordon's life will be held on Saturday, January 22, from 11 am - 1 pm at the WYRA Boathouse, 500 E. Front Street in Wilmington. A scholarship fund has been set up in Gordon’s name, and details will be placed on the WYRA Web site shortly.