Project Safe Recovery Evaluated By SIUE Team

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A program introduced in January by the Madison County Probation and Court Services Department helps women address addiction and abuse by providing a safe environment for treatment of themselves and their children, if they have them.

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The extensive support and services offered by Project Safe Recovery are beneficial in getting the clients into treatment, and increases the likelihood of the client remaining in treatment until graduation from the program.

A program introduced in January by the Madison County Probation and Court Services Department helps women address addiction and abuse by providing a safe environment for treatment of themselves and their children, if they have them.

Professors at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville are evaluating the effectiveness of Project Safe Recovery, which offers women screening for substance abuse and mental health disorders, transportation to intensive treatment that is provided several times per week and child care assistance to assure attendance.

Participants in the program with a history of victimization and trauma receive intervention to improve coping skills, as well as skill building to help them, if applicable, to empathize with and manage their children’s behaviors. All of this is facilitated through the enhanced Drug Court support and treatment program.

Project Safe Recovery has been funded through a three-year, $899,000 grant from The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA,) part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. SIUE received $150,000 to evaluate treatment data from clients.

“Project Safe Recovery has shown promising results in the 10 months that clients have been receiving treatment,” said Jeremy Jewell, associate professor of psychology at SIUE and lead evaluator on the project. “The extensive support and services offered by Project Safe Recovery are beneficial in getting the clients into treatment, and increases the likelihood of the client remaining in treatment until graduation from the program.”

Currently 43 clients have been served, with 29 remaining in active treatment groups. The program has an average 76-percent attendance rate, which strongly correlates with the percentage of clean drug tests, Jewell said.

“The more clients who attend treatment, the less likely they are to test positive for illegal substances when given a random drug test,” he said.

The SIUE evaluation team is analyzing data from clients at intake, six months into treatment and upon discharge from the program. The team gathers demographics, current drug use and type of drug use, level of education completed, living arrangements, mental health needs and social support received.

Team members also are analyzing data to the degree which an individual in the program recognizes she has a substance abuse problem; her desire for help; readiness to participate in treatment, anxiety, depression and decision-making ability.

“Our data show that clients report a significant increase in self-esteem and ability to make good decisions, while also understanding that their drug use negatively impacts not only them and their families but also society as a whole,” said Jewell.
The project goal is to help 110 clients during the three-year grant period. The group is currently on track to exceed that goal. The program is available for adult women through the county’s drug court.

“I believe that the holistic approach of this program is what sets it apart from others,” said Susan Taylor, director of Adult Substance Abuse Services with Chestnut Health Systems. “We address childcare, parenting, family bonding, trauma, mental health, substance abuse and community support.

“A recovery specialist, who is a graduate of Madison County Drug Court, works directly with the women to introduce them to 12-step meetings and aid in their understanding of the steps.”

The SIUE School of Education offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology, speech pathology/audiology, exercise/wellness and a wide range of teacher preparation areas. Students blend their classroom activities with hands-on experiences in a variety of diverse rural, urban and metropolitan settings.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is a nationally recognized public university offering a broad choice of degrees and programs ranging from career-oriented fields of study to the essential, more traditional, liberal arts. At SIUE we offer 44 baccalaureate degrees, 13 post-baccalaureate certificates, 47 master's degrees, 11 post-master's certificates, two first-professional degrees, and one post-first professional certificate. Known for an emphasis in health science education, SIUE also offers a pharmacy and dental school. Additionally, undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates are available through the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, the School of Business, the School of Education and the School of Nursing.

One of 12 Illinois colleges and universities, SIUE is located on 2,600 acres of rolling hills and woodlands in Edwardsville, just 25 miles from St. Louis, a major metropolitan area. Proximity to the St. Louis area enhances SIUE’s energy and vitality. The campus is easily accessed from several major interstates, while the city of Edwardsville offers ample opportunity for jobs, entertainment, shopping and fun.

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