I am posting this at the Snelling Ave Dunn Bros. Coffee shop. Unfortunately, there were no available tables with outlets close by. Actually, every table was taken. So, I am sitting out back, which is great today, considering it is 60 degrees right now, but also lacks outlets. Anyway, work was quick, with only one consult. But it did require an assessment, and a DHS one at that.
DHS is Department of Human Services. In Minnesota, for publicly funded patients, we have to fill out a particular form, which is 18 pages long. Most of the Minnesota care HMOs (there are four of them that manage health care for Minnesota) require it to be completed, even if they are not going to get state funding for treatment.
See, many, many years ago, something called Rule 25 was created to help under-insured people get funding for treatment. These people could be employed, have health insurance, but not have substance abuse benefits, But, as in all things deemed welfare, the financial requirements became so strict, the original target population was restricted from receiving aid, and only the poor got the funding. Get a job, and you lose your funding.
Anyway, the funding was a combination of Federal grants with a certain level of matching state funds. From what I understand, Minnesota was better than most states at getting the money out there for treatment. Wisconsin, at least when I first sobered up in the mid 80s, was not so good at it.
As seems to be the case these days, in an effort to prove government inefficient, a re-write by the state (controlled by republicans, I deem, though can not prove) was done on Rule 25 recently, and they created a bloated assessment tool that goes above and beyond any reasonable effort at assessing for abuse or dependence. In my opinion, it was created with the mind-set that we had to discover a lifetime of issues in 40 to 60 minutes.
A psychiatrist that works for one of the county mental health services complained the assessment was a complete waste of time; that it attempted to be a tool for developing an actual treatment plan - instead of it's original function - which was simply to determine the necessary level of care for a person.
One of the biggest problems with my field is that it is very politicized, especially in the last decade, as Christian organizations attempt to insert their ideology into treatment services. I came across a little flier that was clearly written to coop the original intent of AA, and in direct opposition to one of the traditions, which clearly states attraction rather than promotion. This flier was describing the means to evangelize the 12 step concept.
In all things both conservative and Christian, it is a return to shaming the drunks and drug addicts. Considering Bill W. spent the first 8 months of his sobriety attempting that path, and failing, I suspect we will not really hear of any statistical success from this move. Prior to AA's creation, there really was not documented success at dealing with addiction.
In the end, I have to say I grow tired of my field. It seems more mired in bureaucracy then at any time in my 19 year career. All I want to do is help people find their way out of the hell that is addiction. Instead, it has turned into another battle ground for which ideology is the best.
You know, there's been quite the pile on concerning Michael Phelps and his bong hit. As a chemical dependency counselor, I have been reluctant to even read the articles. Mostly because of the double standard that is now on full display.
Let's be honest. Had Mr. Phelps gone out and gotten drunk in celebration of his amazing accomplishment, not one article would have been published. Unless, of course, he got into some kind of trouble. No doubt, young Mr. Phelps did have a few. And in the process, managed to stay out of trouble. He did not end up behind a wheel. He did not make a spectacle of himself in public.
So, here we have him celebrating his amazing accomplishment, not with alcohol, but with marijuana. And the problem he caused? He ended up in a picture. <snark tone="sarcasm">Oh my. It's the end of civilization as we know it. Look! Up in the sky. It's a meteorite plunging into our atmosphere. Oh, we're doomed. DOOMED I tell you!</snark>
Sigh. This is nothing more than rank hypocrisy. Enough. Marijuana is not the social evil as claimed by these pearl clutchers. Alcohol causes more death, more destruction, more pain to our society. Yet, it is alcohol that is socially acceptable. Yet despite this very obvious fact, we learned that prohibition did not work. It is not working now for marijuana.
Like any chemical, marijuana can become an addiction to some. I know, I am one such person. But I am not so high and mighty that I am going to claim it's an evil, vile drug that should be scoured from the planet. History has shown prohibition just does not work.
So, to all you pearl clutchers; first, you just don't look good in pearls. Seriously, way gaudy. Buy a fashion magazine, will you. Second, you're being shrill. How about you notch the voice down an octave or three? Maybe you guys ought to think about forming a self-help group to deal with this problem. You know, call it Pearl Clutchers Anonymous.
Yeah! I got up early enough to write a quick blog post. I've checked the news. It damn near put me back to sleep. What news that is out there is being pressed into service as the next worst thing to ever happen in our nation. It's a shtick that right wing radio has had down pat for decades, but now it seems as if the Legacy Media and the various blogs are flagging that old approach well past it's death.
Yeesh. It's just a slow news day. Seriously. After 7 plus years of BushCo™, I suspect we are going to find ourselves bored with the lack of sensationalism. No one, and I mean no one, is going to displace BushCo™ as the most controversial United States administration in modern times.
We are all going to be like drunks looking for that elusive intoxication. Try as we might, we will never feel that exhilaration we first felt as we published a post about the latest outrage from the impertinent son of a misplaced New Englander.
Our drug of choice has actually been gone for quite some time. He's gone into hiding now that his popularity has sunk lower then Nixon's.
So, like any good addict, we've switched; thus lies the explanation of our fascination with Sarah Palin. In my using days, if I couldn't get pot, I got drunk. In today's blogging milieu, if we can't have our BushCo™ story, by God, we've got Sarah to take it's place. It's the same cheap, tawdry content, only with a feminine label.
Soon, though, she'll be empty. Then what? Write outrage over Obama? Does anyone really think that Barack will be as incompetent, as amoral, as ignorant as George W. Bush? If anyone out there thinks that; put down the pipe, back away, and check yourself into treatment. Or the psych ward. Because, DAMN, your either high or psychotic. Or both.
Yup, I finished what reading I had left, took the tests, and got myself the rest of my licensing CEUs. Never mind that I have to pay three times the amount a Doctor or a Nurse pays for their license. Never mind that I have to acquire three times the amount of CEUs as a Nurse or Social Worker. Never mind that I am in the lowest paying career in contrast to the other three previously mentioned careers.
It seriously sucks to be a Substance Dependence Counselor in the State of Minnesota. $400.00 to renew my license. That is ridiculous. 40 hours of CEUs. That is ridiculous. And to make matters worse, with the slow, steady strangulation of my field, the employers are no longer supplying free in services. Roughly speaking, it is about $13.00 per CEU. I spend over $900.00 to remain in my field.
And people wonder why I am fucking mad all the time.