Lake-Geauga Recovery Centers reported last week they are surpassing the national average for successful treatment of those with alcohol and drug addictions, but are struggling to find a sober house for women in Geauga County.
Melanie Blasko, chief executive officer for Lake-Geauga Recovery Centers, and Charles Tong, the organization’s chief fiscal officer, provided an update of the organization’s accomplishments to Geauga County Commissioners last week.
Ms. Blasko said the agency has seen an increase in the number of persons taking part in a jail treatment program with 159 inmates participating in the voluntary program and, of those, 130 participating in group counseling. Of those participating from July 2018 through June 2019, 72 percent of the men and women participating met their treatment plan goals, she said. That was an increase over fiscal year 2018 when 68 percent met goals.
An aftercare program for those in the jail treatment program showed that 62 percent of the participants were discharged after meeting their goals. She said the 20 participants in the program also was an increase over the past year.
Following up six months later with 67 participants, workers found that 70 percent reported remaining sober, 10 percent reported relapses and 10 percent were re-arrested, Ms. Blasko said.
Residential treatment is being provided for 31 Geauga County residents in homes in Lake County.
She said in fiscal year 2017, 55 percent of the women and 62 percent of the men completed residential treatment and met their treatment milestones, exceeding the national average of 40 to 44 percent.
Similarly, in fiscal year 2018 as of Dec. 31, 2018, 51 percent of women and 47 percent of men had completed residential treatment and met goals, again, exceeding the national average.
For those completing treatment in fiscal year 2017, Ms. Blasko said, a study one year later showed 48 percent of men and 50 percent of women were still sober and reported an improved quality of life.
She said the agency welcomed its 18th drug-free baby that was born to residents in the residential treatment homes.
Ms. Blasko said the agency will also be a provider to the drug court established by Geauga County Common Pleas Court Judge Carolyn Paschke.
She said the agency has been awarded funding to open two additional recovery homes, which includes one for women in Geauga County. However, Ms. Blasko said, the agency has been looking for such a home for three years, but the current housing market has proved challenging.
The agency receives approximately $360,000 for its operations through the Geauga County Mental Health and Addiction Recovery Services.
Commissioners unanimously approved an allocation of $44,150 for the jail treatment program, but had questions for Ms. Blasko.
Commissioner Ralph Spidalieri asked why the agency is seeking the same amount of money if a drug court is being established with the goal of providing alternates to jail time.
“If there will be less people in jail, there should be less people in this program,” he said.
Commissioner Timothy Lennon agreed. “I guess I don’t understand this at all,” he said.
Mr. Tong said the majority of those in the jail treatment program come from the municipal court, not the common pleas court.
Ms. Blasko agreed, saying she did not expect to see any decrease in the numbers participating in the program.
Ms. Blasko said she would research the matter, attempting to learn whether Lake County, which has been operating a drug court for years, has seen a decrease in the jail population. She said she would be in contact with officials in the Lake County Drug Court as well as those in the jail.