The Partnership at Drugfree.org Launches 1-855-DRUGFREE Bilingual, Toll-Free Helpline for Parents of Kids Who are Using Drugs or Drinking

~Expert Help for Parents and Families in Need~

NEW YORK, NY – September 20, 2011 – The Partnership at Drugfree.org is introducing a new bilingual (English/Spanish), toll-free telephone helpline, dedicated to helping parents and families who may not have access to our comprehensive resources at drugfree.org, or who want to reach out and speak to a qualified social worker about their child’s drug use or drinking.

Many parents struggle to find a clear path to intervention and treatment information, often resulting in a frustrating search to get effective help for their child. The new helpline aims to fill that void and will provide useful information, when families who are facing a child’s addiction need it most.

The Parents Toll-Free Helpline1-855-DRUGFREE(1-855-378-4373) is staffed by social workers with practical experience in substance abuse intervention and treatment. These specialists offer expert advice to help parents plan a course of action for teens who are struggling with substance abuse and, if appropriate, supply a short list of resources or treatment facilities in their area. The Parents Toll-Free Helpline, which has been proving itself in its testing phase since April, is not a 24-hour crisis hotline and will be staffed Monday-Friday from 10:00 am-6:00 pm EST.

Helpline professionals work with parents to understand the unique needs of their children, help them find appropriate treatment options and encourage support and family involvement through the recovery process.

“By listening to the stories that callers have to tell – the challenges, setbacks and emotional turmoil that go with a child’s substance abuse or addiction, we help parents outline a course of effective action – whether it’s prevention, intervention, seeking treatment or supporting recovery – grounded in the science-based resources we have built at drugfree.org,” said Johanna Bos, LMSW, CASAC, Lead Parent Support Specialist for the helpline.

The Parents Toll-Free Helpline Meets a Real Need for Intervention and Treatment Advice

Nine million American adolescents and young adults between the ages of 12-25 need help addressing drug and alcohol problems; of those nine million, two million are teenagers between the ages of 12-17 [1]. Yet an alarming 90 percent of those two million adolescents who need help with substance abuse issues are not getting the treatment help they need [2].

The helpline is also helping parents take effective action before their child’s drug use or drinking reaches a point where treatment is required. Research has shown that substance abuse problems can be reduced by intervening early [3]. Encouraging parents to take immediate action is therefore a main goal of the helpline’s team of parent support specialists.

“We know from talking with parents across the nation that there are limits to the help and depth of content provided over the phone by government agencies,” said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org. “They’ve shared how crucial it is to have someone listen, help them make sense of options, understand terminology unique to treatment and guide them step-by-step toward making a plan when they’re faced with a drug or alcohol problem in their child. This new helpline was created by building upon the things we learned families most wanted and needed, further advancing our evolution as a provider of life-changing services to millions of parents and their kids.”

“When a child has substance abuse issues, the whole family needs support,” said Ken Winters, PhD, Director of the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research, Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota and Senior Scientist at the Treatment Research Institute. “Parents may need a counselor to walk them through exactly what they will say to their teenager when they suspect substance abuse. If they have not already done so, parents need to establish rules about alcohol and other drugs, and consequences for breaking those rules. They may also need help figuring out whether their adolescent should get a professional assessment and these are some of the things that a counselor on the helpline can assist them with.”

The parent support specialists who staff the helpline are trained on empirically supported intervention techniques such as Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) and Motivational Interviewing to assist parents in communicating with their children and find appropriate help when it is needed. CRAFT is specifically designed for concerned parents and others to help their loved ones, who have problems with drugs or alcohol, get appropriate treatment. 

Phil Bauer, who is a Parent Advisory Board Member for The Partnership at Drugfree.org adds “The helpline is a ‘lifeline,’ providing hope for parents or any caring adult who is raising a child. It is a much-needed tool in this time of declining public-funded resources, rising drug use and a concerning epidemic of prescription abuse among our nation’s youth.”

The Parents Toll-Free Helpline was made possible through the generosity of pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma, the Bodman Foundation, a private foundation and numerous matching contributions from individuals.

Redesign of Time To Get Help: Online Resource to Help Parents Facing Addiction in Their Families

For parents who seek online support, The Partnership at Drugfree.org has just redesigned Time To Get Help, an online community that provides parents of teens and young adults with lifesaving information when families are in crisis and facing a child’s addiction. The new homepage presents an engaging, holistic approach, emphasizing the personal stories from Time To Get Help community members and serves to complement the helpline.

Time To Get Help now features a unique a series of podcasts, sponsored by Barnes & Noble, featuring notable authors who have been profoundly affected by drug and alcohol addiction in their family. The podcasts highlight Q&A sessions between the authors and real parents, discuss a range of topics and offer an honest look at the devastating impact addiction has on American families.

The site also now includes customized tools like comprehensive eBooks on intervention and treatment, along with downloadable worksheets and checklists to fit the individual needs of families who are at different stages in the process of getting help for their loved ones.

To learn more about the Parents Toll-Free Helpline, please visit Time To Get Help.

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[1] (2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health)

[2] (2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health)

[3] (Dennis 2005)

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