Substance Abuse Program at Bell High School - a KMF priority

It all started.... .... on a mellow autumn day in September, 1998. KMF members assembled at Bell High School for an emotional and exhilarating meeting. Over the next two hours, we listended in silence as stories of substance abuse by young people in our city unfolded in front of us.

We heard from Paul Welsh, Executive Director of Rideauwood Addiciton and Family Services, that 1,000 more staff are needed to meet the demand for assistance for addiction problems in our schools. A teacher and father told us of his family’s experience with his son who began using drugs in Grade 8. There was a 6-month waiting list at Rideauwood, so the son had 2 1/2 months of treatment in a Minneapolis treatment centre at a cost of $500 per day - instead of at a cost of $300 per day for the same treatment at Rideauwood.

Dr. Mark Ujjainwalla then spoke of his battle with alcohol and the importance of Rideauwood in helping him face a serious condition whigh the general public has, to a large extent, ignored. He emphasized the huge problem that substance abuse has become and the urgent need for more support for treatment. The pain of these experiences showed on the faces of the presenters., and it was difficult to hold back the tears. Since that moment.... .... the principle and teachers of Bell High School, Rideauwood staff and KMF have never looked back.

• The Project • The Medical Foundation Committee agreed to support a two year, three-pronged strategy to treat substance abuse, which will provide: 1. substance abuse treatment to 50 students a year for two years; 2. an evaluation of the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of the program; 3 a video and work book for use in implementing similar programs in other communities.

To date, $13,000 has been allocated to the program by the Kiwanis Medical Foundation. More than 16 students are now enrolled in the program and planning for the evaluation project has begun in earnest. Hear more about this.... .... and other exciting and worthwhile projects that the 1999 Kiwanis Medical Foundation has supported by attending the luncheon meeting on Friday, June 4, 1999. See you there!