As noted by the Empowered to Change Inc., addiction is a challenge facing many people in the society. Like a bus, it picks and drops people along the way and leaves most of them devastated and desperate. Many people struggle with addiction which may manifest itself in many ways. One of the ways addiction manifests itself is through substance abuse. Most people suffering with addiction have are left with no choice and they live a desperate life with no desire to change their circumstances ("Explaining the Cycle of Addiction," 2018). It is this challenge that inspired Coral Nicholas and Michele Snyder to establish an organization that was seeking to work with pre-trial intervention individuals who dealt with addiction and were facing the court due to compliance issues. Addiction leads to many devastating life events, like a spider web effect, it can be nearly impossible to get sober when things like prison, homelessness, isolation, and human-trafficking are all holes that someone can't get out of without help.
Empowered to Change is a non-profit organization located in the city of Seminole, but also sprinkled throughout parts the south region of the United States. This organization began by a woman hoping to empower women to be self-sufficient and leave abusive situations and relationships, but quickly grew to help not only women, but men with a magnitude of situations. Their biggest influence in the community is helping addicts and alcoholics regain self-sufficiency, independence, financial stability, and sobriety. Instead of just being a company focusing on the end effect, Empowered to Change instead focuses on the many underlying causes from addictions ("Empowered to Change," n.d.). From victims of human trafficking turning to drugs to forget painful memories; a former prisoner stranded on the street due to companies refusing to give him a job and turning to drugs in hopelessness; all the way to a large root of addictions problem, the mental illness that goes undiagnosed that a person turns to drugs thinking it'll help. Empowered To Change offers transitional homes for prisoners, a warm bed for the homeless, a safe space for victims, while helping people transition back into society and productive, mentally-capable humans again. Generally, the organization plays significant role in court system cases, offering a food and shelter program if individuals abide by the rules and attend AA/NA .It offers individualized plans based on someone's needs and circumstances while providing life coaches available for human-trafficking victims, former prisoners, addicts/alcoholics ("Empowered to Change," n.d.). Finally, it provides help for men and women to gain financial responsibilities seek employment, safe environment to live, licensed social workers.
The organizations operations are based on the legal provisions under the Unites States constitution. First, the federal government passed into law the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act 2000 which was authorized by President Bush in 2002 and later by president Barrack Obama ("Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000," n.d.). The Act was passed as an amendment of Violence Against women Act (VAWA) of 1994 which protected women from violation. It is from such legal provisions that the ETC finds its mandate. It seeks not to reinforce the law, but to offer assistance to victims abused in incidences of human trafficking ("Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000," n.d.). Generally, the organization presence is the courtrooms as decisions are made especially, where referral services are recommended.
ETC targets to assist individuals who come out of jail regain their normal life and help them adapt in the society after the long period of separation. Research indicate that three-quarters of prisoners have a history of drug abuse, while one-third have a mental illness An approximate of 650,000 prisoners is released annually from collection facilities in the United States("Human Trafficking, Mental Illness, and Addiction: Avoiding Diagnostic Overshadowing," n.d.). More than 52% of former prisoners in the United States are faced with the challenge of adapting in the society and they end up behind bars within three years. This situation is often as a result of committing new crimes or due to parole violation. More to that, this prisoners go home to very poor neighborhoods where they lack support networks and necessary social bond necessary for restarting their lives("Empowered to Change," n.d.). As a result, recidivism rates are high in many places across the country due to the complex challenges faced by the ex-prisoners and the limited opportunities for readjustment. Majorly, such people are in such of jobs, housing and better prospects in to be able to start living a fresh ("Human Trafficking, Mental Illness, and Addiction: Avoiding Diagnostic Overshadowing," n.d.). Faced with this challenge, the ETC has established support system for such individuals through provision of shelter, food and transportation until they can get back to their feet.
Furthermore, slavery in the modern world has taken the form of human trafficking for the purposes of sex or labor. Notably, human trafficking is unlawful in the United States and through the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA); the government seeks to mitigate cases of human trafficking as much as possible. Human trafficking takes many forms, ranging from forceful induction of commercial sex especially for people under the age of 18 years to subjection to involuntary debt bondage("Human Trafficking, Mental Illness, and Addiction: Avoiding Diagnostic Overshadowing," n.d.). These experiences result to extreme psychological and physical issues which require close monitoring to ensure safety and recovering of such patients. Most cases of trauma disorders are related to human trafficking ("Empowered to Change," n.d.). This harassment take the form of domestic violence, where women and at times children are subjected to extreme traumatizing experiences as they are coerced to do things out of their own will("Human Trafficking, Mental Illness, and Addiction: Avoiding Diagnostic Overshadowing," n.d.). It is the concern of the ETC to assist such victims regains their sobriety and lives a normal life once again.
The rate of homelessness in the United States is overwhelming. Close to 10,000 people aged between 16-60 years are homeless. In a survey conducted in 2013 by a Times Staff Writer, the rate of homelessness in Pinellas County was disturbing (Winter, 2016). Nearly more than 7,000 people were homeless. Notably, 50% of homeless have the combination of mental illness and drug addiction .This condition has not improved over the years. Such victims of homelessness are vulnerable to a wide range of effects in the society. It is reported that most children brought up under foster care due to homelessness are more likely to end up falling victim of either human trafficking or prostitution. Additionally, many victims of homelessness are reported to suffer from depression, physical impairment, alcohol or drug abuse issues and worse still, end up being imprisoned having committed different crimes ("Empowered to Change," n.d.). The ETC aims at assisting such victims in assisting them live in a clean safe environment and live a life of self sufficiency and responsibility (Winter, 2016). Last but not least, the organization seeks to work with different victims of addiction through life coaching in sober living, detoxification, spiritual renewal and healthy sexuality.
The Empowered to Change Inc. has significantly contributed to recovery of many people from addiction, alcoholism, life after prison adaptability, and provided aid to many hopeless individuals across the region. The organization has established a 4-phase program which has exponentially assisted such victims regain self-worth and a spirit of hope in their life. Further, the Empowered to Change has contributed greatly in helping those individuals given an opportunity by the court to join an outside program in the bid to their recovery. In a bid to assist people from prison, the organization has been able so successfully assist such individuals with transportation aid, and food until they secure employment. Such individuals are required to attend AA/NA meetings through the four-step program and follow the rules and regulations of the organization ("Empowered to Change," n.d.). Through the program, the organization ensures that special attention is given to victims of human trafficking who suffer from either physical or psychological problems. More importantly, the organization uses qualified personnel who are able to assit the patients through the programs adequately. For example, Coral Nicholas MA, one of the organization's co-founders, coaches different individuals on sober living, healthy sexuality, and detoxification ("Connection Between Mental Illness and Substance Abuse | Dual Diagnosis," n.d.). The different approaches by the organization since its inception has gone a long way in helping it achieve their goal.
In conclusion, there is a great need for a support system and a support network for individuals going through harsh situations in life. Studies have shown that in the United States, the rate of homelessness is very high especially in some areas such as HYPERLINK "Seminole among other areas. Also, there is prevalent problems facing the people who are released out of prison as they try t reconnect with the society, get a job and start over a new life. However, these people often luck support mechanisms and they end up frustrated and ending up behind bars within a period of three years. Additionally, human trafficking has also been another social problem in the region. Most people are victims of forced sexual harassment which has great effect physically and psychologically. Consequently, the Empowered to Change Inc. has made it their aim to establish a program that will assist such victims rediscover themselves and reconnect with the society. More importantly, the organization offers life coaching to the victims to provide them with knowledge and skills that are necessary in coping despite their situations.
Addiction and Substance Abuse. (n.d.). SpringerReference. doi:10.1007/springerreference_301065
The Connection Between Mental Illness and Substance Abuse | Dual Diagnosis. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.dualdiagnosis.org/mental-health-and-addiction/the-connection/
Empowered to Change. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://empowered-to-change.org
Explaining the Cycle of Addiction. (2018, October 30). Retrieved from https://www.recoveryconnection.com/cycle-addiction/
Human Trafficking, Mental Illness, and Addiction: Avoiding Diagnostic Overshadowing. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/human-trafficking-mental-illness-and-addiction-avoiding-diagnostic-overshadowing/2017-01
New CASA* Report Finds: 65% of All U.S. Inmates Meet Medical Criteria for Substance Abuse Addiction, Only 11% Receive Any Treatment. (2016, February 16). Retrieved from https://www.centeronaddiction.org/newsroom/press-releases/2010-behind-bars-II
Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.state.gov/j/tip/laws/61124.htm
Winter, T. (2016, March 4). Addiction Among The Homeless Population | Sunrise House. Retrieved from https://sunrisehouse.com/addiction-demographics/homeless-population/
" Seminole among other areas. Also, there is prevalent problems facing the people who are released out of prison as they try t reconnect with the society, get a job and start over a new life. However, these people often luck support mechanisms and they end up frustrated and ending up behind bars within a period of three years. Additionally, huma...
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