Elevations RTC is a unique residential treatment center that works with all students ages 13 – 18. Elevations offers guidance, support and relief to students struggling with issues like trauma, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, behavioral problems, and substance use.
Elevations RTC is located in Utah and provides specialized, clinically intensive programs to struggling teens.
We recently had the opportunity to interview Judi Jacques, Executive Director of Elevations RTC and Jennifer Wilde, Executive Clinical Director of Elevations RTC to learn more why some young adults are better able to transform their lives through therapy and group support and the impact of opioids and other commonly misused drugs are having on America’s youth.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, prescription drug misuse, which can include opioids, is among the fastest growing drug problems in the United States. In 2016, 3.6 percent of adolescents ages 12-17 reported misusing opioids over the past year. This percentage is twice as high among older adolescents and young adults ages 18-25. The majority of this misuse is due to prescription opioids.
What are some of the individual personality traits and characteristics that suggest successful treatment outcomes?
Judi– Motivation, and a family system that helps to provide accountability for individual process and individual setbacks. What I mean specifically by that is having a family or parents at home that can be empathetic and sympathetic to struggles that the kiddo is going through here on campus, but also hold them accountable for some of those setbacks, hold them accountable for some of those challenges, and hold them accountable for some of the bad decisions that they are making.
We actually prefer them to make some of those bad decisions while they are with us so that we can help them learn from those decisions. We want to challenge them. If they are an anxious child, we need them to experience that anxiety while they are here so they can learn how to cope with it, and we need the parents to be supportive of that and to hold them accountable for the interventions and strategies we are using here on campus. I think also persistence, which a lot of our kids have a hard time with initially, but as they work through the program you can see that building in each of the kiddos.
The ones that are most successful are the ones who really at some point during their stay they decide that they don’t need everything done for them, they would prefer to do it, they would prefer to take ownership of their struggles and their success, and they persist with that.
Jennifer– I would say from a clinical standpoint saying there are personality factors isn’t accurate. What I would say is that if somebody has the motivation, willingness, and capability to develop insight into their needs, the way that they need to obtain support, the skills they need to access to deal with their emotional and mood management difficulties, and the willingness to reach out for support and get structure from people outside themselves. I would also say that outside of personality traits, is our natural temperament, and I have found throughout my career that the temperament of the individual really doesn’t matter as much as the factors I discussed previously.
Someone who is mild mannered and soft spoken can be just as successful as someone who is fiery and somewhat aggressive in their approach to things. It really just has to do with their willingness to take their natural strengths and target them towards success and progress, and also use those strengths to compensate for their weaknesses.
Have you seen the impact and effects of the nationwide rise in opioid addiction?
Jennifer– Yes. Most importantly I have seen that with the accessibility of parents and parents own need to get treatment. We have several situations where students’ caregivers are grandparents, and that is often as a result of opioid addiction or other difficulties within the family system. We do have kids that have more access to opioids, but because we are not specifically a substance abuse program, we probably see this less than others.
How does the opioid epidemic compare to some of the public health issues you have dealt with in the past, and are there any suggestions on how we can or should address this issue?
Jennifer– I would say this is more prevalent. I think that the access is a lot easier unfortunately. I think that with the opioids in particular, we had people 10 or 20 years ago that were misrepresenting the effects of these drugs, and were not helpful in managing them. We had insurance companies, medical providers, etcetera who were on board with deception related to how these things would impact, and I think at the time they didn’t really understand how impactful this would be.
I would say just compared to other things, prevalence is the biggest thing because there is so much access. Any person, from any socioeconomic place, within our country, within any culture has access to opioids, and I think that does have a major impact.
Thanks to Jennifer and Judi for their tremendous insight and perspective.
To learn more about Elevations RTC, call (385) 217-3963.