According to Daybreak Youth Services Director Annette Klinefelter, the impact of drug addiction costs Southwest Washington nearly $1 billion in healthcare costs, lost wages and incarceration each year.
The toll on children in our community and their families is, of course, even greater.
Established in Spokane in 1978, Daybreak opened its Vancouver facility in 1999. Two short years later, they expanded and continue to grow with the help of multiple partnerships.
“Christian organizations, municipal partnerships, as well as help from local businesses and the community itself have fueled our growth from the beginning,” Klinefelter said.
Employing more than 40 FTEs and 100 volunteers in Vancouver, Daybreak offers inpatient and outpatient treatment services to youth and families struggling with the disease of addiction.
“Awareness of the disease, removing the stigma that prevents healthy dialogue and access to treatment is the first step in our success,” Klinefelter explained.
Parents, according to nonprofit director, can be ashamed to ask for help or to look deeper at warning signs.
“Because your child is smoking pot, it doesn’t mean you are a bad parent, but it is a call to pay closer attention,” she said.
The disease of addiction holds no boundaries – socio-economic or otherwise.
Screening and early intervention
“There is a direct correlation with debilitating substance abuse and onset in youth. The key is to catch things early,” Klinefelter said.
Daybreak has many screening and educational programs throughout Clark County and area schools. The goal is to catch kids as they are pressured and tempted into experimenting with drugs before they are engulfed into the disease.
“Addiction is devastating to all – a nightmare for families,” Klinefelter conceded.
Successful treatment is getting youth back to school or in vocational training, removing them from the street and getting them back to safety – free from crime and serious health risks.
Daybreak adds another element to their treatment in identifying and providing help with co-occurring disorders such as mental health issues. The conditions often go hand-in-hand and successful treatment needs to focus on underlying issues either resulting from or causative of the substance abuse.
Nonprofit organizations like Daybreak have only begun to scratch the surface. Recognizing there is more to be done, Klinefelter advocates for improvement.
“Right now, our average treatment program runs for six weeks,” she said. “Studies show, to make real life changes, we really need six months to a year.”
Expanded facilities are part of the improvement in care. Daybreak hopes to add to their bed count so that they may extend their program while still meeting the needs of new patients. Additionally, their current Vancouver site only accommodates male participants. Daybreak would like to see a new facility for girls in the near future.
Another factor in improving care is the insurance industry.
“Currently, most commercial insurances only cover 25 days of treatment. It is not enough,” Klinefelter explained.
As a community, Klinefelter said, we can support Daybreak either with financial assistance or, even better, with our time.
Volunteers accompany kids on field trips, which include tours of local businesses, and help them with a variety of projects. One current project in need of support is a video series the kids are developing to help reach other children at risk or struggling with addiction.
By serving as a mentor or hosting a vocational visit, volunteers help to instill goals in program participants – something for them to strive for in their clean life away from substance abuse.