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Diverse curriculum, recovery coaching among cornerstones of Fairbanks young-adult program

July 21, 2016
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Tailored treatment services for young adults not ready to launch, particularly young-adult males, continue to be a highly active area of service development by addiction treatment providers. For more than two years, Indianapolis-based Fairbanks has offered a continuum of services to young men ages 19 to 24 in its Odyssey Program, to which many young adults with opioid use disorders have been referred.

Mindy Miller, Fairbanks' clinical manager for its adolescent and young-adult units, says Odyssey has benefited from a multidisciplinary approach to services, in which standard group therapy is also accompanied by attention to nutrition, meditation, recreational activity and other offerings. The program also features the contribution of a bachelor's-level recovery coach (a personal recovery history is not a prerequisite for the role) who works mainly with patients at the outpatient level.

The coach offers important guidance and a dose of accountability at an early recovery stage during which the young adult is “out and about in the real world” trying to find his way, says Miller.

Miller explains that the idea for Odyssey gained momentum after Fairbanks leaders' observation of more young-adult males seeking substance use treatment, and not having the common life experiences to create a therapeutic bond with older-adult patients. She says that today, most Odyssey patients have a primary issue with opioids, particularly heroin.

The program, which serves mainly an insured population, strikes a middle ground between more highly structured adolescent services and less structured adult care.

Miller says the program seeks to communicate to its patients a sense of hope for a different but better future. “It's hard for these young men at 19 or 20 to hear that they will never drink again, never use drugs again,” she says.

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