East Texas meeting challenge of substance abuse services

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Those concerned about the future of substance abuse services and treatment come to the table with ideas. "Mine is for enhanced consumer and family support," begins a participant.

The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council, the Burke Center, SFA's social work department and Memorial Medical Center of East Texas obtained the funding for the study. Focus groups are conducted in seven communities.

The goal is to identify the gaps in services for people threatened by or are fighting addictions. Projected restrictions on funding is the biggest challenge.

"We're looking at what we can do to provide more efficiently and also what we can do to cover the whole area and also involve some entities that are already been touched by substance abuse issues," explained Paul Jackson, who handles community relations for Burke Center.

Hospitals, schools and the judicial system are just some areas touched by substance abuse. The list is long. So selecting a focus group wasn't easy.

"We want to just get a wide variety of members from the community, so we have judicial officers, educators, those in the helping fields," said Melissa Mallory, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council Prevention Coordinator.

Every day until next Monday a list of ideas will be submitted. No idea is a bad one.

"We're looking at being more creative. We're looking at what kind of recommendations come from other counties and the facilitators are encouraging us to be creative and kinda think outside the box," said Jackson.

Focus groups have been conducted in Center, Nacogdoches and Lufkin. On Wednesday, June 22, Crockett will host one. Thursday, one is in Woodville. On Friday in Jasper. On Monday in Livingston.

SFA's Social Work Department will compile the information. A three year plan for improving the delivery of substance abuse services will be the final product.

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