Why Choose Community-Based Services? 

 December 26, 2020

By  Alan Oviatt

Access Foundation intends to build a colony of recovery within the communities of Washington and Iron counties. For our clients, a very critical tipping point in recovery is the transition from the first year of early recovery to the sustaining years of long-term recovery. The success or failure of this transition has much to do with the community resources available to them.

As our local community of recovery comes to see itself as members of a larger and more embracing recovery community, greater numbers of our clients will find a world in which to recover.

The Stable Environment Model views housing and mental health services as different needs, not bundled together. It is fundamental in our model to separate landlord functions from the service delivery roles. Both tend to be more effective when provided in partnership with each other. Access Foundation rallies community resources for the support of its residents.

Community resources refer to:

Community services
  • community leaders, 
  • recovery-friendly employers, 
  • law enforcement,
  • and specialists in the mental health industry  

-- all located in the community, that provide integrated care for people affected by drug use and dependence, a continuum of care from low-threshold services to stabilization to aftercare and integration.

Services must be attractive to our residents to be effective. When services are readily available, voluntary, unconditional, free of any legal consequences, address all the individual needs, and are diversified, since no single treatment is right for all individuals. Community services also offer longer-term approaches as recovery from drug dependence can be a long-term process and, as with other chronic illnesses, often needs many treatment episodes.

Community-based treatment is also the most cost-effective approach to support people affected by drug use and dependence. Evidence from across the world has shown that patients using community-based services significantly decrease the number of hospital stays, emergency-room visits, and criminality.

Advantages of Community-Based Services

Some of the other advantages of community-based services (versus residential based services) include:

  1. 1
    Facilitating patients’ access to treatment
  2. 2
    More appealing for patients
  3. 3
    Affordable for patients, families, and the community 
  4. 4
    Fostering patients’ independence in their natural environment
  5. 5
    Flexibility compared to other modalities of treatment.
  6. 6
    A focus on social integration from the beginning and community empowerment
  7. 7
    A less intrusive approach than other treatments (e.g., residential, hospitalization, intensive therapies, custodial, etc.) which is less disrupting to family, work, and social life
  8. 8
    Facilitating reduction of stigma and promoting community expectation of positive outcomes  

What Access Foundation Does

Access builds a coordinated network of community providers and --->

  • Identifies concerns
  • Identifies resources
  • Problem solves
  • Refers residents
  • Provides expert support

The development and provision of community-based services for drug use and dependence requires partnerships with all stakeholders, community awareness, and mobilization to change perceptions and mobilize support for people who use drugs.

Drug use disorders are health conditions that can affect any individual, family, and community. Yet misperceptions, fears of social and legal consequences, and discrimination all tend to keep people away from the services they need. On the other hand, if they get help, people suffering from drug use disorders can and do manage their condition, recover and lead happy, productive, and full lives.

About the author

Alan has an MBA and is the co-founder of Access Foundation. He has been a content writer for the recovery industry for the past eight years.

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