Right Door sees success in fighting addiction | AspenTimes.com

Right Door sees success in fighting addiction

Naomi Havlen

The Right Door is off on the right foot.In the past year, 114 people took advantage of the new nonprofit that fights substance abuse in the Roaring Fork Valley. Perhaps more impressive is the organization’s 10 percent success rate, according to its first yearly report.”We hope that percentage gets bigger and bigger as we go along, but the reality of substance abuse is that one out of 10 people don’t recover,” said Brad Osborn, the nonprofit’s director.The Right Door is the valley’s solution to expensive detox facilities and inpatient counseling. Its mission is to help people into recovery programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, or programs offered by the Aspen Counseling Center.”We never expected to have this many contacts,” Osborn said. “It’s surprising that people got used to using us so fast. It’s just like, ‘if you build it, they will come.'”One of The Right Door’s biggest goals is establishing a “recovery clubhouse” in Aspen, a place where the recovering community can gather for 12-step meetings and support. But with a scarcity of affordable real estate, fund raising and the scouting of locations continues while the organization helps people into treatment.”We’re substance abuse case management – we’re helping people get connected and referring them to the intensive outpatient center at the Aspen Counseling Center,” he said.The nearest inpatient treatment center is in Grand Junction, and detox facilities in this area have proved too expensive to keep afloat. The Right Door, which began operations in October 2003, has more than 50 volunteers who are recovering addicts on-call to counsel those seeking help.”We live in this resort community and people come here to party. The problem is that every so often someone loses control of what’s going on, and they have a hard time asking for help,” Osborn said.A profile of people who got help last yearThe first annual report profiles valley residents who received help for substance abuse. It’s a diverse group.Most clients were between the ages of 21 and 59. Just 8.5 percent of the clients were 20 or younger, and only 1 percent were more than 60 years old.When it comes to marital status, 41 percent of clients were single or never married, 34 percent were separated or divorced, 11 percent were in committed relationships, 12 percent were married and 2 percent were widowed.”It really just shows that people who are on their own rather than in relationships have more problems with substance abuse,” Osborn said.The study’s report on ethnicity and education reflects the valley’s demographics. Ninety-five percent of clients were Anglo, while 4 percent were Latino. Eleven percent had less than a high school education, while 23 percent graduated from high school or had their general educational development certificate.Thirty-one percent of clients had attended some college, 27 percent had a college degree and 8 percent held graduate degrees.The nonprofit mainly assisted Aspen residents, who made up 45 percent of clients. Snowmass residents made up 18 percent, Basalt residents 9 percent, and Carbondale and El Jebel 6, percent.Visitors to Aspen also benefited from The Right Door’s services – 14 percent of clients were from elsewhere in Colorado and 4 percent were from other states.The results go hand-in-hand with the busier months in the valley. The Right Door reported seeing fewer people during the off-season months of May and October. Osborn said January and July “maxed” the organization.”This has turned out to be a good solution to us not having our own detox facility,” he said. “It has brought all of the agencies who are usually stuck dealing with these individuals to collaborate together. That’s the hospital, the police department, the sheriff’s office, the jail and the court system.”The Right Door is primarily funded with grants from the city of Aspen and Pitkin County. It has also received a grant from the Aspen Valley Medical Foundation and gets money from the local court system – specifically from DUI fines and other alcohol- and drug-related charges.”I think we’re going to continue to be successful if we can keep this program funded and keep the community involved,” Osborn said. “Our volunteers give us a lot of support – there’s no way we could do it ourselves.”Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com

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