Options Recovery Services in the News!
Options Recovery provides free substance abuse treatment to some of the most down and trodden in Alameda County- multiple offenders and parolees, the homeless and anyone who can’t get drug treatment services anywhere else.
Executive and Medical Director, Davida Coady, MD, and Clinical Director, Tom Gorham, have made tobacco dependence treatment an integral part of addictions treatment at Options for the last 6 years. Recognizing that drug-free is also tobacco-free, all clients are required to attend tobacco education and cessation orientation, and capable Options staff offer on-going tobacco cessation classes for all clients who want to quit.
All Options transitional housing is smoke-free, and preference is given to clients who have quite smoking. Options Recovery has the most comprehensive tobacco cessation program of any substance abuse program in the county.
Actor Martin Sheen Speaks at Addiction Service’s Anniversary
A Berkeley-based service offering help to those plagued by drug and alcohol addictions celebrated its tenth anniversary Saturday night with a fundraising event hosted by actor Martin Sheen.
More than 100 community members turned out to St. John’s Presbyterian Church to see Sheen host the 10th Anniversary Benefit Gala for Options Recovery Services, a nonprofit group founded in 1997 to help people fight drug and alcohol addictions.
As the honorary chair of the organization’s board of directors, Sheen said he began working with Options Recovery founder Davida Coady to “do something about helping homeless people, street people (and) marginal people who are afflicted.”
Options Recovery offers walk-in drug and alcohol recovery programs for approximately 800 people a year, said George Beier, a member of the organization’s board of directors. The organization also facilitates a mental health clinic and transitional housing for graduates of the program, he said.
Sheen joined guests, including Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, Alameda County Supervisors President Keith Carson and Berkeley City Council Member Daryl Moore, in the dinning hall and started the event by cracking West Wing jokes.
The event also included a performance by comedian Erica Lann- Clark and speeches from Coady and graduates from each year since the organization began offering programs.
Coady gave a synopsis of the organization’s milestones, from first obtaining funding from the city of Berkeley in 2003 to gaining permission to work with inmates from Alameda County’s Santa Rita Jail last year.
“This has been a very successful program,” she said.
Vernita Green, a graduate of the program and now Options Recovery’s women’s program coordinator, told the audience how the organization helped her transform from what she described as a helpless drug addict to a productive member of society.
“I was able to demand respect from others. I learned my strengths and weaknesses,” she said.
Sheen concluded the evening by introducing silent auction items that included a signed script of the third West Wing episode.
Tom Reed, an Options Recovery graduate and counselor for the organization, said the fundraising goal was $20,000.
“It’s a beautiful event,” he said, “We are honored to have someone as generous as Martin Sheen (at the event).”
Sheen said the key to the organization’s success is its ability to provide low- cost housing for people with drug and alcohol addictions, since he said recovering addicts find it difficult to “stay clean and sober” without stable housing.
“I’m very happy and excited,” he said, “I didn’t dream that (the organization) was going to be so big. We decided to make (the benefit gala) a celebration.”
Benjamin Ide Wheeler Medal
Davida Coady was selected as the 2005 recipient of the Benjamin Ide Wheeler Medal for lifetime achievement. The Berkeley Community Fund Nominations Committee noted her 35 years of dedication to the recovery and rehabilitation of addicts and alcoholics on the streets Berkeley. This historic honor, conferred on "Berkeley's Most Useful Citizen" since 1929, was presented to Dr. Coady at the 12th Annual Awards Dinner Gala on October 26.
Enlightened Public Policy: California’s Proposition 36 : Five Years After Mandating Treatment For Drug Offenders, California Tallies Up The Savings
Five years ago, Californians voted Proposition 36 in by an overwhelming 61 percent margin, passing into state law one of the most enlightened reform efforts with respect to the problem of addiction in many decades. Alarmed at the relentless, and very expensive, growth in prison building in the state, voters correctly identified the problem as being one in which large numbers of drug users were being warehoused in jail as a result of misguided punitive approaches to addiction.
Mandating as it does that people who are caught for the first and second times for drug possession be sent to treatment rather than jail, many counties were dragged into the policy very reluctantly, especially counties in the middle and western part of the state. Municipal officials in these areas were more often than not skeptical that the program would work.
But five years later a study by the University of California at Los Angeles, UCLA, has basically put to rest any doubt about the effectiveness of the program, at least from a financial perspective. The study estimates that over the five years since Prop 36 was passed, the state has saved nearly $900 million. And the rate at which the growth in the state’s prison population has slowed is truly remarkable. A federal Department of Justice study recently pointed out that when Prop 36 was passed in 2001, California was predicting that the number of prisoners statewide would reach 184,000 by 2005. The reality, post Prop 36 in 2006 is that California now has a prison population of just 164,000, thanks largely to a 20 percent fall in the number of drug offenders who are locked up. Factor in the fact that California no longer needs to spend $500 million on new prisons it had planned to build, and total savings form Prop 36 reach almost $1.4 billion.
But the success of Prop 36 is also measured in lives saved and people reborn, according Albert Senella, COO of Tarzana Treatment Centers, Southern California’s largest private treatment provider. In his capacity as president of the California Association of Alcohol and Drug Program Executives, CAADPE, Senella has been one of the state treatment industry’s key point men on Prop 36.
“Absolutely the program has been a success,” says Senella. “But now we are looking to improve on it.”
One of the things that treatment providers are working on currently is ensuring that adequate funding exists for Prop 36 in the years to come. In his current budget, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposes annual spending of $120 million, which county alcohol and drug directors are calling woefully inadequate, pointing out that it refunds the program at only 1999 levels, Senella says that this year counties will spend $147 million administering Prop 36. “We need a lot more than what the governor is proposing to get the job done,” says Senalla, adding that the $120 million is seriously inadequate given that treatment providers estimate that they need at least $209 million a year to treat the referrals they are getting from Proposition 36 clients. In Sacramento, early on, officials projected in their funding requirements that 70 percent of Proposition 36 referrals would be “casual” users requiring minimal treatment. Instead, over half of the referrals have turned out to be long-term drug abusers requiring far more intensive treatment. “These referrals, contrary to some people’s expectations, have to a large extent been very hard core drug users,” Senella said. “They need quite a bit more than outpatient treatment, but unfortunately funding for long-term inpatient isn’t often forthcoming.”
The backers of Prop 36 are hoping to use the new data from UCLA showing the massive cost savings the initiative has brought the state of California to persuade lawmakers in other states to adopt similar legislation. “All states find themselves cash strapped,” said Bill Zimmermand, who as executive director of Santa Monica based advocacy group Campaign for New Drug Policies managed the ballot initiative that got Prop 36, passed five years ago. “We hope this new data will be a powerful tool in overcoming opposition to pursuing less punitive approaches to drug addiction.”
Similar initiatives in other states brought by Campaign for New Drug Policies have not been successful. In 2002 the group managed to get a Prop 36 style ballot in front of Ohio voters, who defeated the initiative. In the same year, officials in Florida and Michigan killed ballot initiatives based on technical issues surrounding the signatures needed to get the issue on a statewide ballot.
“It takes millions of dollars to go the state ballot route,” said Zimmerman, pointing out that the financial backers of Prop 36- three wealthy individuals that intended and hoped that a success in California could one day be used as an instrument of persuasion with state officials and legislators nationwide. “We are now launching a campaign to influence the other states,” Zimmerman said.
NAADAC Organizational Achievement Award
Options received the 2006 NAADAC Organizational Achievement Award presented to an organization in the US that has demonstrated a strong commitment to the addiction profession and particularly strong support for the individual addiction professional. The award will be presented on September 30th 2006 at the NAADAC annual conference in Burbank, California. NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals is the largest membership organization for addiction professionals in the country.
East Bay Daily News | Friday, September 16, 2005
Car Need a Bath?
Come to the Options Recovery Services Car Wash benefit that is hosted every Saturday from 9 to 2 p.m. at Lutheran Church of the Cross parking lot (Across from AAA) at 1744 University Ave. Ben took his car, I mean "baby", here recently, and they did an excellent and most thorough job. Their suggested prices are WELL below what those other places are charging -- and you'll drive away sparkling, knowing you did something nice for somebody. They do waxing, leather conditioning, and tire dressing. Stop by tomorrow and see what we mean! Look for news on the Mobile Car Wash service coming soon.
East Bay Daily News | Tuesday, September 6, 2005
Ex-addicts Extol Sobriety
Thirty-three recovering drug and alcohol addicts denounced their former addictions at Options Recovery Service's quarterly Celebration of Sobriety, a graduation program for its members last Friday afternoon. For some of those celebrants it was the first time in their lives they'd ever celebrated a conventional success.
"I ain't never graduated from nothing in my life," said Gerald Cole. "Let me tell you, it feels good."
Dana Beamon, also graduating, agreed.
"I didn't know how to be here, how to act civilized because of the way I lived, said Beamon.
A recurring theme at Options is the gratitude its clients express to the very police officers who arrested them. Clients say that the officers didn't arrest them, they saved them, said Coady.
"Recovery happens in a community," said Latoya Brand. She graduated on Friday from Options women's program with her 4-month old son, Andre. Andre's father Charlier Evans, is also an Options client. "It was one of the best decisions I made in my life. My children got their mother back," Brand said.
Buddhism and the Twelve Steps | Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Kevin Griffin Speaks of his Experiences with Options in his Book
I pull one of the mismatched folding chairs into the circle of twenty-five men and women in the large hall of the Veterans building in Berkeley. An ancient curtain hangs in front of the stage, and voices echo from comers of the cavernous room as people come together for the Friday morning meditation group. I take a little silk bag out of my backpack and bring out a set of Tibetan cymbals. The two small chimes are attached with a strand of leather like a shoelace. I hang the leather over my thigh, a chime failing on either side.
"My name's Kevin, and I'm an alcoholic and addict," I shout.
"Hi, Kevin," they shout back. They settle in and the room gets quieter.
"I'm here to share some meditation with you," I say. "Meditation is part of the Twelve Steps -- Step Eleven -- and I've found it to be very helpful in staying sober."
Most of the group is listening with interest. They are here, many of them, because they were arrested for drug possession and diverted to this program. "Options," it's called. Largely homeless, the population served by Options is pretty far "down the scale," as the Big Book says. With poor health, bad teeth, jobless, friendless, they really don't have much going for them.
Kevin: excerpt from One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps
Independent Charities in America | Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Options Selected Amongst 'Best in America' Charitable Organizations
Of the 50,000 + charities that participate in the Combined Federal Campaign, only about 1500 - the members of Independent Charities of America and Local Independent Charities of America - will have to opportunity to display this "Best In America" seal of approval. Your organization is one of those chosen few.
The "Best In America" seal was inspired by the recent comparative review of "watchdog" groups by the National Council of Nonprofit Associations. The Council included the CFC standards in its review, and it was obvious that those standards match or often exceed the standards of other groups. ICA and LICA are acknowledged as the most rigorous in the application of those standards to member eligibility review, in conjunction with their own additional tests. Your organization has documented that it meets those standards and tests. Your recognition is well deserved.
Vista Community College | Wednesday, May 25, 2005
3 Options Graduates Honored
Robert Reeder, Edward Williams, and Augusto Norana received the Theresa Lewis Campus Climate Award at the First Annual Vista Community College Awards Night. The award recognizes their commitment to improving campus life. All three recipients are graduates of Options Recovery Services. Congratulations Robert, Edward, and Augusto!
San Francisco Daily Journal | Monday, May 2, 2005
Alameda County Judge Champions Nonprofit Recovery Program
"You really wonder at the priorities of the country and where your money is being spent when you see that there is such inadequate mental health assistance," [Alameda County Superior Court Judge Carol Brosnahan] said. "There is almost no substance abuse assistance that's available.
That recognition has made Brosnahan a champion of efforts such as Berkeley's Options Recovery Services, a nonprofit substance abuse rehabilitation program. Through the years, she has directed numerous defendants to Options for help.
Lawyer's credit her with instituting a system where drug assistance counselors attend court. People with alcohol or drug problems "literally would be escorted across the street to start getting help," defense attorney Syren said.
She and her husband of nearly 47 years, prominent San Francisco trial lawyer James Brosnahan, support the program in other ways. An art show featuring paintings by James Brosnahan not long ago raised $1700 for the center, the judge said
Recently she brought proceedings in her Oakland courtroom to a brief halt while she called for everyone present to applaud a man who successfully completed a 52-week substance abuse program.
San Francisco Chronicle | Saturday, April 23, 2005
Have Heart, Will Hammer
Once known as "Christmas in April", Rebuilding Together has in San Francisco and Oakland turned into year-round efforts that that are directed by paid staff to enlist sponsors and teams and match them with projects from the simplest residential patch-and-paint to one that Oakland Executive Director John Caner has declared the "Super Rehab." There, Paul Radliff leads a large, skilled team from Pulte Homes to renovate three halfway houses owned and managed by Options Recovery Services for people coming out of drug and alcohol abuse treatment.
CommonGround | Thursday, April 21, 2005
Room for Recovery
Where else but Berkeley can you see smiling police officers embracing the very people they arrested only months before?
It's graduation day at Options Recovery Services, Dr. Davida Coady's urban refuge where drug addicts and alcoholics
rebuild their lives through yoga, acupuncture, group discussion and counseling. Father Bill O'Donnell of St. Joseph
the Worker Church has called Coady the "Mother Theresa of the East Bay." And Options has won the support of actor
Martin Sheen ("The West Wing"). In Room for Recovery,
former SF Chronicle editor Lewis Kolinsky examines how they're succeeding to help substance abusers stay clean and sober.
Services | 1931 Center Street | Berkeley, CA 94704 510.666.9552 fax 510.666.0987