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Faith-Based Treatment Helps Teens in Georgia

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The Nelson L. Price Treatment Center in Marietta, Georgia, is helping teenagers struggling with substance abuse by using a faith-based approach, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on July 24.

The Price program was originally established by the Georgia Baptist Children's Home and Family Ministries, Inc. as an outpatient treatment center in 2000. Since 2003, it has been a residential center housing up to 20 teenage clients at a time, with a nine-month treatment program that includes medical care, psychiatric therapy, academic work, and spiritual awareness.

Program coordinators believe that the religious aspect of their facility is essential to its success. Church attendance is mandatory twice a week, and prayer sessions are held daily. “Because it is faith-based, this program offers a much larger capacity for helping kids,” said Wallace. “It's very rewarding having the flexibility to introduce [religion] into their lives and their treatment.”

During the orientation phase of treatment, all clients in the Price program receive uniforms and the young men receive haircuts. “We try to rip them from that drug-culture image,” said Wallace. “We want them to see themselves as a different person right away.”

The program also includes the development of a six-month aftercare plan, which usually encompasses continued counseling, attendance at Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and cooperation of school officials and parents. So far this year, the Price center has served 42 teens, 13 of which have graduated.

“Graduates come out of this program truly understanding their disease, their addiction, and have learned more about their own selves than what they would have gotten from an outpatient setting,” said Randy Freeman, director of the McIntosh Trail Child and Adolescent outpatient treatment center, which regularly refers clients to the Price center.

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