Cynthia Crone, R.N., A.P.N., an advanced practice nurse in the Department of Psychiatry, is executive director of Arkansas CARES. She described the program as “unique, in that the children enter treatment along with their mothers. This removes one of the greatest barriers to treatment and results in a longer timeframe of treatment, which is positively associated with better family outcomes.”
Dr. Smith explained, “Addiction is a chronic, relapsing illness. What many people do not realize is that treatment of addiction is as effective as treatments for other chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Treatment of mothers doubles as prevention for their children. Through this program we are demonstrating that prevention and treatment efforts work hand in hand. We are also providing training to health-care students from many academic fields.”
The Arkansas CARES program is dedicated to helping decrease substance abuse among mothers and lessening the harmful effects of addiction on children and families. According to the program’s medical director, Linda L.M. Worley, M.D., “Arkansas CARES is working to break the cycles of addiction, poverty, and dependency.”
According to Nicola Conners, Ph.D., one of the program’s independent evaluators, “The treatment success rates are impressive.” Her study of the Arkansas CARES positive family outcomes will be published soon in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. She reported that only 15 percent of mothers who completed the Arkansas CARES treatment program had relapsed to alcohol or drug use nearly a year after leaving the program compared to a 58 percent relapse rate for women who did not complete the program. Treated mothers also had significant improvements in their mental health status, family cohesion, employment, legal status, living conditions, and ability to be an effective parent. Their children made gains in school and showed increased ability to resist using alcohol and drugs.
Addiction treatment not only works, it is cost-effective. Vice Chancellor Butler said, “According to the National Institutes of Health, several conservative estimates show that every dollar invested in addiction treatment programs yields a return of between four and seven dollars in reduced drug-related crime, criminal justice costs, and theft. When savings related to health care are included, total savings can exceed costs by a ratio of 12 to one.”
Working with affected children is an important part of the family recovery process. The UAMS Child Study Center, also a part of the Department of Psychiatry, is expanding by opening the Child Study Center North (CSCN) at the Pine Street Family Development Center near Arkansas CARES Eastgate. CSCN will serve children enrolled in Arkansas CARES as well as an expanded circle of North Little Rock families.
According to Bruce Cohen, director of the UAMS Child Study Center, “Children of addicted parents are the highest risk group of children to become drug and alcohol abusers because of genetic and family environment factors.” The CSCN intervenes by working closely with client families of Arkansas CARES, treatment staff, local schools and community agencies. While addressing the specific needs of these children, CSCN provides support and guidance to family members and others.
Several community organizations and churches have collaborated with North Little Rock and UAMS in planning Arkansas CARES Eastgate, including the Family Service Agency, Midwifery Associates, Watershed, North Little Rock Boys and Girls Club, Girl Scouts, Jefferson Comprehensive Care Clinic, North Little Rock Housing Authority, and the North Little Rock Health Department.
The program has also received community and corporate support. SunCom and Motorola donated 12 cellular telephones and cellular telephone service to Arkansas Cares.
Arkansas CARES Opens North Little Rock Center exportuser 2018-01-05T08:58:02+00:00