Drug and alcohol addiction early intervention and prevention program

Introduction: This grant proposal abstract was submitted to fulfill Capstone Graduate Research requirements for the Master of Social Work at California State University, Northridge. The full grant proposal for "Drug and Alcohol Addiction Early Intervention and Prevention Program" was submitted to the Scaife Family Foundation in the Spring semester, 2018. Problem: Far too often one of the pathways leading to homelessness is trauma during childhood, which in turn triggers drug and alcohol use for self-medication. As some young adults age out of the foster care system or set out on their own for the first time, drug and alcohol addiction leads many onto a path to adult homelessness. Solution: Covenant House California (CHC) is a 501(c)3 and an affiliate of Covenant House International (CHI). CHI is the largest private youth shelter provider in the Americas. CHC in Hollywood, CA is uniquely situated for early intervention and drug and alcohol addiction prevention because of four main reasons, 1) Hollywood, CA is a destination for homeless youth who come from all over the world, 2) the physical structure of CHC was built from the ground up to be a “one stop shop” to meet the unique physical, mental, and substance health of youth, 3) the staff collaborate effectively using holistic shared care plans that embody the youth’s goals, 4) the staff utilizes evidence based practices. To address substance use CHC employs a Substance Use Counselor and the entire staff collaboratively utilizes the evidence-based theories of Trans-theoretical – “Stages of Change”, Harm Reduction Approach, and a Trauma Informed Perspective. This allows CHC to take a holistic and non-judgmental approach that promotes overall wellness, resulting in the reduction of the youths’ need to self-soothe with drugs and alcohol. The CHC community provides a place for the youth to integrate new and positive experiences, practice new skills and reassess themselves in relationships with others. Thus improving the youth’s communication and overall interactions while promoting an increase in life skills to handle stressful circumstances and deal with environmental cues that may trigger intense craving for drugs and alcohol. The structure, stability and caring support that youth receive at CHC gives the youth opportunity to address their trauma in a safe environment and go on to lead self-sufficient lives, often free from the impairment of addiction.