Ohio will better meet the needs of its deaf and hard of hearing residents through a three-year grant just awarded by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to Wright State University.
The $1.5 million grant, "Deaf Off Drugs and Alcohol," will provide "e-therapy," group and individual counseling and case management via video conferencing and videophone technology. Funding was awarded starting October1, and the program will begin providing clinical services in January 2008.
"Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing tend to have significant challenges in accessing treatment services because of difficulties associated with communicating, isolation and stigma," commented Angela L. Cornelius, director of the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ODADAS). The cabinet-level state department will collaborate with Wright State on implementation of the grant. "Deaf Off Drugs and Alcohol will greatly improve access to services by eliminating barriers and by creating greater sensitivity around the needs of Ohioans who are deaf or hard of hearing," added Cornelius.
The Consumer Advocacy Model (CAM), a Dayton-based substance abuse treatment program for persons with disabilities, operated through the Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State, will develop the American Sign Language-based program for persons who are attending chemical dependency treatment in their own communities. The project also will assist local treatment providers in locating interpreters and better accommodating the needs of the deaf client.
Several barriers adversely impact substance abuse treatment to persons who are deaf: a lack of accessible treatment providers; a small number referred to treatment at any given time; difficulty maintaining anonymity of individuals in treatment; few alternatives for self-help support groups; and a general lack of information about the best treatment methods for the deaf population.
It is estimated that deaf individuals experience substance abuse problems at least as frequently as the general population. This would mean that one of 10 persons who are deaf have a substance abuse problem. A recently completed study at Wright State University estimated that 1,400-3,400 profoundly deaf adults in Ohio currently need chemical dependency treatment.
Two deaf-run organizations, Columbus-based CSD-Ohio and Dayton-based Deaf Community Resource Center will provide substantial infrastructure and support for this project.
"This funding is a very exciting opportunity for the deaf community," says Dennis Moore, Ed.D, the principal investigator on the grant, and director of the Substance Abuse Resources and Disability Issues (SARDI) program at the Center for Interventions, Treatment and Addictions Research at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. "Persons who are deaf may have been very poorly served by traditional treatment approaches, and this is the first state-wide effort in the country to develop systematized methods for overcoming the many challenges. ODADAS has been a great partner in this effort, and the timing is quite good for a project with a statewide focus," states Dr. Moore.
For more information about the project or how to enroll for service contact, SARDI at (V) 800-390-2518; (F/TTY) 937.775.1495; Ohio Relay Service (800) 750-0750; or via E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.