BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — For more than two decades, the New Day Ranch has been known for the treatment and education services it provides to youth and their families.
Now New Day Inc. is expanding through its West End office to include an adult substance abuse co-occurring program that uses Native American models including the medicine wheel and smudging to treat Natives and non-Natives alike.
The program is housed in a nearby building dubbed the Eagles Nest Healing Center.
“There's no waiting list,'' said Dana LeClair, program manager and a substance abuse counselor at New Day, “and we have a pretty even split between Natives and non-Natives.''
The program opened late last year with two counselors. Now it has four, and New Day is looking to hire a pair of peer mentors to help share the load.
The client caseload is currently about 25, and about 100 have been served since December.
The adult substance-abuse program is state licensed and was begun primarily to make up for the service gap caused when Native Americans were no longer receiving treatment provided by the Indian Health Board.
“People say there is such a need and that our jails are full, but then the money isn't there to fund drug and alcohol treatment,'' said Liz Fuller, a substance abuse counselor at New Day. “We hear from clients, ‘I didn't know you were here.' We have plenty of room.''
In addition to the medicine wheel, the program employs other Native cultural enrichment activities — the talking circle, sweat lodge, smudging and equine assist experiential therapy.
Fuller can cite early success stories. A product of the intensive outpatient program, one woman with a methamphetamine addiction is now employed after four months of sobriety. She still has a connection with her three children — one of them a recent high school graduate.
“You can see the behavioral change and the physical change,'' Fuller said. “She still has her kids, and they are reconnecting after a lot of family dysfunction.''
LeClair said the reasons treatment finally takes hold with some people are as varied as the people themselves. He himself is a 27-year recovering alcoholic who went through treatment “seven or eight times.''
“There can be a certain age, and for some people it's an ‘aha' moment,'' he said. “I was pretty much a lost cause, but I believe in a higher power, and spirituality was my out of addiction.''
“We encourage getting reconnected spiritually,'' he added. “Is it a Creator thing? Are the stars aligned? For some, it's just getting sick and tired of being sick and tired.''
Fuller said counselors don't see relapses as failures.
“While they're here, we plant seeds,'' she said. “It can take seven or eight times. I think it might be the repetition (that leads to success).''
MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — Prosecutors have charged two women in Skagit County Superior Court in connection with an overdose death.
The Skagit Valley Herald reports Milagros Encarnacion and Michelle Martinez were each charged this week with controlled substance homicide and six other drug-related felonies in connection with the death of Ida Sylvester.
Documents say Sylvester was found unresponsive May 11 in her home on the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community reservation.
Documents say witnesses who were with Sylvester the night before her death reported they had been to the Burlington home shared by Martinez and Encarnacion to purchase Percocet.
Documents say one witness said she could tell the pills were not genuine Percocet and they made her sick.
Encarnacion and Martinez are being held in the Skagit County Community Justice Center on $500,000 bail.