Dona Ana County is one of those counties which attracts little attention unless it is time for elections
Dona Ana County is one of those counties which attracts little attention unless it is time for elections. The county is right on the Mexican border, and that in itself exposes the residents to the thriving drug trade on the other side of the border. Dona Ana County is one of the most diverse in the county with the Hispanic population being the most dominant. It has a higher poverty level than the rest of the country indicating that it is at risk. The county needs as much attention as any other in the country, and it has to begin with an appreciation of the situation.
Why I Chose the County
The main reason for choosing the county is that I have a profound personal connection to the area and the problem. I detest the fact that communities like the ones in Dona Ana do not get as much attention as they do. It drives me crazy that the gospel of compassion and treatment is not visible in Dona Ana at the level it is in other communities. I want to highlight the fact that the authorities can do better. I want to help, and I believe the best way to help is to shed light on the issue.
Information sanitizes situations. When there is knowledge, evil has to hide because it will be exposed. Knowledge also drives evidence-based solutions which are extremely likely to be effective. My work here is to separate the facts from the fiction. I need to present Dona Ana County as it is and not as some would want it to look like. Substance abuse is a problem which needs a deliberate and sober approach. I want my work to inform that approach and hopefully lead to practical solutions in the end.
Dona Ana County is relatively sparsely populated, and its population represents the typical spread in the American society. The county does have indicators which point to a drug and alcohol problem. For instance, the rate of childhood poverty in the county is higher than both the state and national average. Research shows that poverty in childhood is tied to adult problems including alcoholism and substance abuse (Abuse, 2017). The lack of economic empowerment means that the facilities are poor and children do not get the chances they need in life. These essential indicators are worrisome, and any solution has to address them.
Family and Youth, Inc.
The non-profit is one of the largest in New Mexico, and it aims to transform the community by transforming the children. All of its programs have children at the core, and its board includes child psychologists and therapists. The organization has existed for at least forty years with the inaugural registration happening in towards the end of 1979. Since that time, it has refined its methods and evolved into one of the most effective and ethical non-profits in the country. It offers a raft of services which serve to inspire and guide the community’s children.
One of FYI’s most critical services is supportive housing. The evidence shows that children who remained homeless for an extended period were more likely to be alcoholics and substance abusers (WHO, 2014). These children would be exposed to abuse, manipulation, and temptation to drug use. FYI offers housing where the child is safe and away from drugs and alcohol. The homes are completely dry: no alcohol allowed inside. However, the some of the housing is temporary, and it has to be due to the budgetary constraints. The children and families who get shelter also receive help on how to get a more permanent solution.
FYI also realized that children who lacked authority figures and guardians were at high risk of being juvenile delinquents. These children would have no one to teach and guide them through life and more often than not they would learn the wrong things (Bose et al., 2016). FYI offers a mentorship program in the form of AmeriCorps. The organization is an entirely voluntary effort to train children to serve in the community. They get to learn from their leaders and older members and grow into grounded and ethical adults. The program has provided mentorship opportunities for thousands of children and changed lives in the process.
There are also extensive programs which seek to provide children with as much contact with their parents and guardians as possible. The Family Support Service, for instance, makes it possible for parents undergoing rehabilitation to see their children. FYI provides support to the children in the homes and then facilitates the children’s visit to wherever the parents are. FYI also offers temporary family reunification services where permanent reunification is legally impossible. The Safe Exchange and Supervised Visitation programs also increase children’s contacts with loved ones. The program allows the children to maintain contact and benefit from the familial love without being in danger.
FYI also provides support for children in their homes using several programs. For instance, the In-Home Services provides a platform where volunteers can help with house chores, spend time with families, help children with their homework, and the like. It aims to normalize the child’s behavior as much as possible. The Child and Adultcare Food Program also reaches into homes through food vouchers and nutritional advice. FYI’s partner families are more likely than others to eat a balanced diet. The organization knows that change begins in the home and so its programs are home-oriented.
All of the above programs and more run with the understanding that neglected children are more susceptible to substance abuse than others. FYI asserts that it combats society’s ills by starting right at the beginning. Offering proper nutrition ensures that children function at full capacity. Providing home support makes sure that children remain in supervised company for as long as possible. The AmeriCorps keeps children engaged and gives them an anti-drug mentality. Each and every program targets a specific indicator of alcohol and substance abuse. In that manner, AmeriCorps solves the problem before it even begins.
Life Healing Center
The organization is a holistic institute which focuses on the need for all addicts and recovering alcoholics to take control of their lives. Its underpinning commitment is to create a recovery system where the person has low chances of remission. The recovered addict should be able to get back into society smoothly and conduct his or her affairs without feeling the need to go back to his or her addiction. The treatment necessarily begins with the acceptance that there is something wrong with the patient and he or she needs to fix it. Personal ownership of the problem enables the addicts to claw their way back to normalcy.
The treatment usually begins with admission to the care center and a personal interrogation by the counselors. Of course, it is not called an inquiry; they refer to it as a debrief process. It enables the facility’s staff to understand the underlying causes of the substance abuse. It is a method which makes it possible for the facility to have custom-made solutions for all of its customers. It eschews the practice of having set-in-stone programs where the solutions are one-size-fits-all. The process is rich and results in a recovering addict who has a grasp on reality and who understands what he or she needs to do to remain clean.
Finally, as mentioned the program is entirely holistic and incorporates changes in both the patient and his or her family. The organization explains that the patient cannot recover if his or her personal life is not in order. The family needs to support the patient at all times, and that requires them to have the skills to do so. The non-profit’s work in the community involves educating addicts’ families and equipping them with the skills to help their recovering relatives.
I firmly believe that one is only as good as his or her information and knowledge. I am strongly committed to helping the Dona Ana community with its drug and substance abuse problem, but I can only do that if I am informed. That is why I made contact with Family and Youth, Inc. and the Life Healing Center. Both entities offer holistic treatment with FYI working directly with the community, educators, families, and government agencies to stop drug and substance abuse right where it starts.
Abuse, S. (2017). Mental Health Services Administration. Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results From the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Bose, J., Hedden, S. L., Lipari, R. N., Park-Lee, E., Porter, J. D., & Pemberton, M. R. (2016). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website. https://www. samhsa. gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FFR1-2015/NSDUH-FFR1-2015/NSDUH-FFR1-2015. pdf. Published September.
FYI. (n.d) About. FYI. https://www.fyinm.org/
LHC. (n.d) About. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/treatment-rehab/life-healing-center-santa-fe-nm/90858?sid=1525184695.693_20996&county=Dona+Ana+County&state=NM&spec=220&ref=1&tr=ResultsName
World Health Organization, & World Health Organization. Management of Substance Abuse Unit. (2014). Global status report on alcohol and health, 2014. World Health Organization.