Junction Celebrates 20 Years

September 25, 1991|By Cindy Parr | Cindy Parr,Contributing writer

WESTMINSTER — At the age of 27, after 13 years of drug and alcohol abuse, she feltshe had reached bottom.

"I was miserable, my life was chaotic," said Kim, now 29.

Finally, in winter 1989, the Mount Airy resident realized she needed help.

"I couldn't go on any more with things as they were," she said. "I was doing cocaine and other narcotics. My life revolved around working my waitress job and making the money to get drugs.

"Junction saved my life. There's no other way to put it," Kim said. "Going there for the last two years has been the best thing that ever happened to me."

For 20 years, the private, non-profit outpatient center has treated Kim and some 4,000 others dependent on drugs and alcohol and will celebrate that anniversary from 2 to 5 p.m. Friday at 98 N. Court St.

"We see ourselves as part of the continuum of care -- dealing with prevention, offering individual, group and family counseling and linking people to their next step, whether it be inpatient care or continued counseling," said Olivia Myers, Junction's executive director.

Clients are addicted to drugs, alcohol or both, and range from 14 to 50, with half adolescents and half adults, said Myers. Typically, they are first offenders referred by the State's Attorney's Office, referrals from Parole and Probation, or from Carroll County schools.

"I found Junction by looking in the phone book," Kim said. "I was looking for a place where I could go and get help, and Icontacted them. I have been involved with individual counseling eversince."

Junction allows Kim to pay based on her salary and what she feels she can afford.

"Sometimes my once-a-week visit costs me about $10," she said. "They will not turn you away if you cannot pay."

Myers said the state requires Junction to treat 163 people a month, with the "average" treatment usually 12 to 15 weeks of drug-free outpatient therapy, based predominantly on weekly counseling.

"This is one-on-one counseling, which gives the individual a good start and allows us to assess whether they need to be referred to an inpatient facility or continue counseling through self-help groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous," Myers said.

Urinalysis is required three times a week.

Junction's clinical director, John Bosley, said the facility's "more-intensive programs are highly individualized."

"Our first-offender program requires the client to attend for one year," he said. "Clients are re-evaluated every 90 days, with those who are chemically dependent continuing treatment with us or being referred to an inpatient facility."

In fiscal 1991, which ended June 30, 57 percent of Junction's adult patients completed treatment without using drugs.

William Rusinko, chief of management information services for the state Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration, said the average for patients completing treatment drug-freeat the three outpatient facilities in Maryland over the same period was 47 percent.

"Junction's percentage was very good, based on thestate average," he said.

"Success is usually hard to define in this business, because it is nebulous," Bosley said. "We look at incremental success, and usually that incremental success over the long term helps clients achieve lasting success."

Since last September, Junction has participated in the county school system's Student Assistance Program.

"We are proud of our involvement," Bosley said. "Students who may have a drug problem are referred to us through a varietyof sources, which include teachers, parents and the Department of Social Services.

"What we do is go into the schools and assess students to see if, indeed, there is a problem," he said. "Between October1990 and May 1991 we did 225 assessments and completed 19 referrals to inpatient programs."

The number of clients in the Junction program has more than doubled over the last five years, but Myers said there are indications drug and alcohol abuse may be on the decline.

She said a survey done every two years by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene showed drug use by high school students down 10 percent from 1987 to 1989.

"We do not know if this is a trend. We are watching and hoping that our prevention efforts are working. We have reached thousands of people through the schools, service clubs and organizations, and we will continue to help them understand the diseaseof addiction."

Junction Inc. was founded in 1971 by two Westminster-area groups that wanted to help people deal with drug abuse, and the name was derived because of its origin, Myers said.

"There was a group of youths and a group of adults in the community that combined efforts to form what was originally going to be a recreation and counseling center. The community was really supportive," Myers said. "Consequently, the county gave them the building, and the state awardedthem a grant to hire counselors."

The treatment center has a staff of 15 workers certified by the state in prevention and treatment ofdrug and alcohol abuse. Most have bachelor's degrees in some type ofcounseling, and a number have a master's in psychology or social work, said Myers.

Junction treatment is paid for by grants through the Maryland Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration, which is part of the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The center has a budget of $360,000 for fiscal 1992.

The prevention program is paid for through county and state grants and fund-raising efforts. Its budget is $124,000.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.