Help­ing drug-abus­ing, delin­quent youth and their fam­i­lies

The Palm Beach Post - Neighborhood Post - Western Palm Beach County - - Front Page - Con­tributed

What does Drug Abuse Treat­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (DATA) do?

When par­ents first come to DATA, they are filled with worry and de­spair. They often be­lieve that this is their child’s last chance. For more than 30 years, DATA has been a refuge of hope for chil­dren and fam­i­lies strug­gling with ad­dic­tion and se­vere be­hav­ioral prob­lems. Each in­di­vid­ual and fam­ily is unique. Each re­quires spe­cial care and at­ten­tion.

We a re c h a n g i n g l ive s ev­ery day by pro­vid­ing the most com­pre­hen­sive treat­ment , i n t e r v e n t i o n a n d pre­ven­tion ser­vices to chil­dren, teenagers and fam­i­lies through­out Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lu­cie, In­dian River and Okee­chobee coun­ties who are trou­bled and lost and strug­gling with sub­stance abuse and ju­ve­nile delin­quency. How does DATA ben­e­fit the com­mu­nity?

Sub­stance abuse can hap­pen to any child and at alarm­ingly young ages, re­gard­less of their so­cioe­co­nomic sta­tus. It is our be­lief that all chil­dren are good, and if given ap­pro­pri­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties, they will be­come pro­duc­tive, con­tribut­ing mem­bers of so­ci­ety.

We en­vi­sion a com­mu­nity that in­stills the im­por­tance of ed­u­ca­tion and re­spect for self, life and prop­erty, which em­pow­ers chil­dren and their fam­i­lies to re­ject drugs, vi­o­lence and other crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity. DATA fully un­der­stands how sub­stance abuse af­fects ev­ery as­pect of an in­di­vid­ual’s life and that high-qual­ity sub­stance abuse pre­ven­tion, out­reach and in­ter­ven­tion level ser­vices can and will foster sel­f­re­liance, so­cial com­pe­tence and ab­sti­nence from sub­stance abuse. What i s your a ge ncy’s fo­cus for the fu­ture?

In­creas­ingly, the young peo­ple com­ing to DATA are part of the new and tragic opi­oid cri­sis. This has an enor­mous im­pact on the lives of the ad­dict, and his or her fam­ily. DATA is com­mit­ted to tak­ing on this new chal­lenge.

We know that many of our youth are us­ing opi­oids. We know that many with other ad­dic­tions, if not treated now, will even­tu­ally be­gin us­ing opi­oids. The best way to pre­vent some­one from be­com­ing ad­dicted to opi­oids is to treat chil­dren and ado­les­cents who are en­gag­ing in early use of drugs and al­co­hol.

We will con­tinue col­lab­o­rat­ing with ju­ve­nile jus­tice and the courts to iden­tify delin­quent youth who have sub­stance abuse and men­tal health is­sues, or ap­pear to be head­ing in that di­rec­tion. As opi­oid abuse in­creases, work­ing with our five-county area school districts is even more crit­i­cal and we will stay fo­cused on main­tain­ing and ex­pand­ing our in­ter­ven­tion pres­ence in lo­cal schools. How can the com­mu­nity help?

One hun­dred per­cent of eve r y do­nat i o n to DATA goes di­rectly to sup­port its ex­cep­tional, ev­i­dence-based sub­stance abuse pro­grams de­signed to meet the spe­cific needs of chil­dren, teens and their fam­i­lies im­pacted by ad­dic­tion, men­tal health and delin­quency is­sues. DATA wel­comes sup­port from the com­mu­ni­ties we serve by help­ing us spread the word that the work we do is im­por­tant and that there is a place to go when all hope seems lost. Help us by in­tro­duc­ing DATA to cor­po­ra­tions and other po­ten­tial donors. Con­sider mak­ing DATA part of your an­nual giv­ing with a con­tri­bu­tion in honor of a fam­ily mem­ber or friend. All do­na­tions are tax de­ductible.

CON­TRIBUTED PHO­TOS

Wal­ton Stouden­mire is direc­tor of res­i­den­tial ser­vices at DATA, which of­fers youth strug­gling with ad­dic­tion a tem­po­rary home to re­ceive ther­apy, be­hav­ioral mod­i­fi­ca­tion and the op­por­tu­nity to at­tend its on-site school at ei­ther of its cen­ters in West Palm Beach and Fort Pierce.

John Fowler, pres­i­dent and CEO of DATA

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