Drug addiction workshop set Saturday
by RICK NORTON, Associate Editor
Sep 19, 2012 | 2154 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A free workshop whose outreach is aimed at individuals and families impacted by abusive addictions to inhalants, over-the-counter drugs and their prescription counterparts is being brought to Cleveland by the Hiwassee Mental Health Center.

HMHC is working in partnership with the GRAAB Coalition, also recognized as Going Respectively Against Addictive Behaviors, to make the program available through the Drug-Free Communities Support Program Grant.

Scheduled Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at the HMHC offices, the three-hour educational and informational seminar will feature a variety of speakers and treatment professionals. The Hiwassee Mental Health Center is located at 940 South Ocoee St.

“There will be presentations by people in recovery and speakers will be providing education about the causes and nature of addiction,” according to Tanya Southerland, GRAAB executive director. “There will also be representatives from numerous treatment and recovery programs who will be there as well to answer questions about how and where to find help.”

Primary counselor during the seminar will be David Webb, LPC at Hiwassee Mental Health Center. Webb will bring a wealth of credentials including a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling, Licensed Professional Counselor with the state of Tennessee, Mental Health Service Provider, Certified Alcohol and Drug Treatment Counselor for Volunteer Behavioral Health Center and Approved Provider for the Tennessee Sex Offender Treatment Board.

One speaker at the seminar will be James Giles, a former drug and inhalant addict, who will speak on his life, the circumstances leading to his multiple addictions and his actions in overcoming the illness that led to an unsuccessful suicide attempt.

A personal testimonial titled “My Own Prison,” as written by Giles, is published in today’s edition of the Cleveland Daily Banner on the Editorial Page (Page 16).

In his perspective, Giles acknowledged he started abusing drugs and inhalants at age 14.

“I started out using because it made me feel that if I was having hard times, I could use and it felt good just to get out of all the chaos and frustrations,” Giles wrote. “Yes, it felt good, and then it started taking control of me. I had to use more and more to keep that feeling.”

Giles discusses a life of loneliness, failed attempts at rehabilitation (“... for the shelter and food and whatever else I could get other than working the programs ...”), and finally the suicide attempt that left him near death.

After regaining consciousness in the hospital, his first vision was family members who were crying at his bedside.

“My mother and grandmother were standing over me crying and that’s when it hit me — not only was I hurting myself, but I was destroying my loved ones, friends and family,” he penned. “That’s when it was time to get real with myself.”

The first 30 people to arrive at Saturday’s workshop will receive a free copy of “Why Don’t They Just Quit?” by author Joe Herzanek. The seminar is being presented under the same name.

HMHC operates under the umbrella of Volunteer Behavioral Health Care System. Volunteer is a private, nonprofit corporation. Each organization has a longstanding, 20-year history of providing community-based services for seriously and persistently mentally ill adults, severely emotionally disturbed children and adolescents, and persons with alcohol and drug-treatment needs, Southerland explained.

She said Volunteer offers outpatient services to adults, children and families in a 31-county region. Services include individual, family, marital and group therapy; evaluations and assessments; crisis response and respite; specialized programs for children and families; services for the severely and persistently mentally ill; physician/psychiatric medication management; alcohol and drug abuse treatment and prevention/education; and Employee Assistance Programs and Behavioral Wellness Seminars.

Southerland said as part of the grant HMHC uses “The 12-Step Facilitation Outpatient Program.” The facilitation initiative is listed on SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP).

“This funding is used for the facilitation of the parent (or family support) workshops and individual/group counseling sessions,” Southerland explained. “The individual and group counseling will specifically address individuals overcoming Prescription, Over-The-Counter and/or Inhalant addiction.”

The Drug-Free Communities program is directed by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The DFC program was created by the Drug-Free Communities Act of 1997, and was reauthorized by Congress in 2001 and 2006. Since 1998, ONDCP has awarded approximately 1,600 Drug-Free Communities grants to local communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, Palau, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia.

The GRAAB Coalition is nearing the start of its annual “31 Days of Prevention” beginning Oct. 1.

For additional information about the “Why Don’t They Just Quit?” community forum, contact Webb at HMHC at 423-643-