LAWRENCE — A free University of Kansas program that helps community members with addictions is set to expand through a local grant and support from Douglas County.
Established by the Cofrin Logan Center for Addiction Research and Treatment, the program draws as many as 20 people to the Lawrence Public Library at 5 p.m. Wednesdays to learn about and receive help with overcoming addictions. Bruce Liese, clinical director at the Cofrin Logan Center, facilitates the program, which is based on a national model called SMART Recovery. The Cofrin Logan Center is a part of the KU Life Span Institute.
A $7,800 grant from the Douglas County Community Foundation, combined with $5,590 in support from Douglas County, will fund free training for 40 SMART Recovery facilitators who can expand the program to community centers, health care settings, correctional facilities and organizations that serve survivors of domestic violence or who are homeless.
“We anticipate being able to serve dozens of community residents per week in a variety of settings throughout the county,” Liese said. “Many of our participants would not otherwise have access to evidence-based addiction services.”
Liese said that one aspect that sets the program apart is that it welcomes people to address challenges with any addiction, including addiction to alcohol, tobacco, opioids, gambling and sex. The program has four parts: developing and maintaining motivation for change; dealing with urges and cravings; working through thoughts, feelings and behaviors; and living a balanced life.
“Our mission is to transform the lives of Douglas County citizens through charitable action, and the work of the Cofrin Logan Center is not only transformational for individuals in recovery, but it has the power to grow and be sustained through trained counselors,” said Lori Trenholm, director of community investment at the Douglas County Community Foundation. “We are grateful to have a small part in making this program possible.”
Addiction and its rippling effects in the county have been documented by the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department. A 2018 report by the department stated that:
- 21 percent of residents 18-25 years old meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder.
- 7.7 percent of county residents are heavy drinkers, according to a federal behavioral risk assessment survey
- Between July and September of 2017, residents filled 17,736 opioid prescriptions
- About 2,700 people annually seek hospital emergency services for psychological health problems, including alcohol addiction
- Suicide is the leading cause of death among individuals ages 18-44 in Douglas County.
“Reducing addictive behaviors has the potential for reducing morbidity and mortality in Douglas County,” Liese said. “Our goal is to expand accessible services in Douglas County so that people can get the help that they need.”
As the Cofrin Logan Center trains the 40 new SMART Recovery facilitators, Douglas County is also expanding behavioral health resources through the development of the county’s new behavioral health campus, to be built north of the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center.
“The SMART Recovery program is a phenomenal complement to what the county is trying to do,” said Nancy Thellman, Douglas County commissioner. “We are seeing this beautiful alignment of academic study of addiction from the Cofrin Logan Center, the center’s commitment to treatment in the community and the changes happening in the county’s behavioral health programs at the same time.”
An information session for people interested in becoming SMART Recovery facilitators will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 13, at Lawrence Public Library in meeting room B. For more information about training opportunities through the SMART Recovery program, visit the Cofrin Logan Center website.
The Cofrin Logan Center for Addiction Research and Treatment was established in 2018 through a gift to KU Endowment by KU alumnus Dan Logan and his wife, Gladys Cofrin. It brings together scientists, practitioners, policymakers and students across diverse disciplines from the KU Lawrence campus, KU Medical Center and community partners with the purpose of supporting collaborative research and community-academic partnerships that leverage the expertise of center members and partners. It offers community-based treatment programs in partnership with organizations including Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center and DCCCA, among others.