By Michael Heins
The Toole, Liberty and Chouteau Recovery Program is reaching out to help the chemically dependent.
TLC Recovery Directory Carol Richard, TLC employee Karen Kraus and chemical dependency counselor Rachel Lopez recently met with Hill County Commissioner Kathy Bessette and Blaine County Commissioners Art Kleinjan and Vic Miller.
TLC Recovery is a non-profit organization that is involved in helping chemically depended people in an eight-county area: Hill, Chouteau, Toole, Teton, Glacier, Pondera, Liberty and Blaine.
Richard told the commissioners the program is hiring a new counselor. Walt Docthorman will be part of the TLC staff soon, she said.
"Docthorman has 15 to 16 years of experience working with chemically depended people," Richard said.
The program is also looking to hire someone for the Cut Bank area because of the added work case load in that area, Richard said. Chemical dependency counselor Don Odahl needs help in providing service to the the area, she said.
"Odahl has been part of the program for seven years and he has been part of the foundation in getting TLC Recovery started," Richard said. "After Docthorman arrives we hope to expand in our community and reach out to more people with a chemical dependency problem."
Richard said she also hopes to have the program go into the schools and talk to students about the chemical dependency problem and help educate them. She said she would also like the program to provide chemical dependency education in the jails.
Richard said she would like to have an open house once more counselors are hired.
Bessette said she was concerned about burnout and asked if the counselors experienced it in the program.
"We are busy," Lopez said. "I am thankful for days like Presidents' Day."
Carol spoke briefly about the MIP, and ACT programs.
MIP is a program is for adolescence that have a drinking problem and are referred by the courts and/or schools.
The ACT program, assessment course and treatment, is for DUI offenders. TLC has a contract with Montana Department of Human Services.
The states contribution depends on the service the program provides, Richard said. Funds from the federal government are matched with county funds and if the county funds are reduced so are the federal funds.
"We want to increase our service but it is hard to get people online to get to the Counselors," Lopez said,
"We do get people into the chemical dependency program within a two-week period," Richard said. "It is surprising to see people come in that seem hopeless and yet have a good recovery."
Richard said the program doesn't refuse people and anyone can come in and ask questions.
"We are here to service and help people with addictions," she said.
Kraus mentioned teen depression and what the TLC program does to combat it.
"We need to catch teenagers that are depressed, because depression often leads to drug or alcohol abuse," she said.
The program may not stop them from using drugs and alcohol, Kraus said, but it can help them graduate from school.
Richard also brought up the need for a clinic in our area for uninsured low-income people.
Richard said a clinic is needed in our area that will treat lower-income people for medical problems, like a similar clinic in Great Falls.
"A lot of people in our area are in need of psychiatric medication but these people are falling through the cracks," Richard said.
TLC counselors are trained and certified by the State of Montana in accordance with Montana State Laws and are approved by the State of Montana and provide outpatient counseling, ACT, intervention, assessment and referrals and the appropriate level of care.
TLC also offers educational programs for family members of the chemically dependent.
For more information Call TLC Recovery at 622-3211.