The Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske recently visited the Denver EFFECT program, a successful collaborative, family-centered substance abuse treatment program that has been serving Denver families for the last two years. Kerlikowske’s visit to the Addiction Research and Treatment Services Outpatient Women’s Treatment Services clinic demonstrates his interest in learning about the Denver EFFECT program’s approach to substance abuse treatment.

In 2007, the Denver Department of Human Services was awarded a $3 million grant to develop family-focused treatment for local families dealing with the painful effects of addiction. The resulting program, Denver EFFECT (Entire Family-Focused Effective Comprehensive Treatment), was designed by the DDHS in partnership with the Addiction Research and Treatment Services (ARTS) program in the department of Psychiatry at University of Colorado Denver’s School of Medicine and Arapahoe House.

“Participation of family members in substance abuse treatment has been found to result in higher rates of treatment completion, as well as better treatment outcomes, including a reduction in relapse,” said Eric Ennis, senior instructor of Psychiatry and director of the ARTS Adult Outpatient Services program at CU Denver’s School of Medicine. “Through Denver EFFECT, family members can gain a clearer sense and understanding of addiction and recovery while feeling more in control of how they can help their loved one through this challenging time. Family members also get the much-needed professional support that is often missing from other approaches.”

All Denver EFFECT clients are in the DDHS Child Welfare system and are referred by caseworkers. Following referral, clients are provided services free of charge including substance abuse treatment, family-centered case management, individual/group/child/ family therapy, parenting skills and training, trauma services, childcare and more.

Denver EFFECT accepted its first family in March 2008 and is currently serving 40 families with a total of 84 children. The program shows that from enrollment in the program through discharge, there were/are significant positive changes in clients’ responses to family conflict, alcohol and drug use, and psychological/emotional problems. Improvements were/are typically observed at a 3-month follow-up post discharge from the program.

“Arapahoe House is proud to be part of this life-changing collaborative integrating the efforts of child welfare, substance abuse treatment, and court systems,” said David Murphy, CEO of Arapahoe House. “The holistic approach to treatment in Denver EFFECT empowers parents with substance abuse to combat their addiction with long-term solutions that strengthen their families and the community.”

For more information about the Denver EFFECT program, contact Program Director Lynne Ford at 720.944.1254.

About the CU Denver School of Medicine
Faculty at the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Medicine work to advance science and improve care. These faculty members include physicians, educators and scientists at University of Colorado Hospital, The Children’s Hospital, Denver Health, National Jewish Health, and the Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Degrees offered by the CU Denver School of Medicine include doctor of medicine, doctor of physical therapy, and masters of physician assistant studies. The School is located on the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus, one of four campuses in the University of Colorado system. For additional news and information, please visit the CU Denver newsroom online.

About Arapahoe House
Arapahoe House is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a continuum of accessible, affordable, and effective services for individuals and families with alcohol, drug or other behavioral health problems. With 14 locations and more than 20 specialized services, Arapahoe House is Colorado’s leading provider of prevention, detoxification and treatment services for alcohol and drug abuse.

About Denver Department of Human Services
Denver Human Services helps and protects people of all ages. Our dedicated staff listen, advise, and help people apply for public assistance programs. We protect abused and neglected children and adults by making sure they live in safe environments and help both individuals and families in crisis. In addition, we help connect people to community services that can help them in a time of need. Denver EFFECT Partners

Contact: Tonya Ewers-Maikish, 303.315.6374, [email protected]

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