Local Treatment Center Looked At As National Example

By: Mike Bowersock
Published: July 11, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio —

The pricetag on drug and alcohol addiction treatment is half the cost of incarceration, so government officials are looking at more treatment areas.

Director of the National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske is a member of President Barack Obama's Cabinet who toured the Amethyst center Monday with Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Amethyst is a women's drug and alcohol recovery center that allows women to bring their children with them into treatment.

"I was able to be a mom to my child who has lived with me since I got here from day one," said Tara Richmond, who is a recovering client at the facility.

"We are so supportive of family-based therapy. Family-based therapy keeps the family intact," said Kerlikowske. "It provides the armor that the children need because we know about the intergenerational problems that surround drug abuse and it allows the mothers to stay with the family."

The shelter is just one part of a larger change the administration is looking to as it revamps the war on drugs.

Claiming treatment is half the cost of incarceration, officials are looking at supporting more facilities like Amethyst.

Another area involves an increase in drug and alcohol addiction among returning veterans.

In May, NBC4 visited the Warren Correctional Facility and talked to Andrew Chambers.

He's an Iraq war veteran who claims he extensively abused alcohol when he came home.

"I’d be fishing and drinking or I'd be at a party and drinking or I'd be at a bar and drinking or I'd have dinner and be drinking … alcohol was part of my life every day," Chambers said.

While he takes responsibility for the violence that led to his incarceration, he also said the time spans between his visits to the VA were when he would get into trouble.

"I think that there's a pretty good chance that the gentleman you're talking about probably had some obviously … almost certainly had some effects from his military service and it's really up to the VA to find that out and to come for them," said Sen. Brown. "That shouldn't happen that somebody falls through the cracks."

So changes to the war on drugs are coming, and the goal is to stop it in its infancy before drugs and alcohol become a full fledged battle.