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Getting Started


There are four basic steps to getting started with a good program for addressing substance use in rehabilitation centers:

  1. Identify other staff who would like to see a program started or improved.
  2. Seek the support of management to initiate a program.
  3. Evaluate current resources and needs.
  4. Use in-service training to raise the awareness among other staff about the nature and severity of the problem.

In any rehabilitation setting there will be different levels of awareness and understanding about the need for substance abuse prevention, intervention and treatment. There will also be different levels of willingness to initiate programs to address this issue. For these reasons, “getting started” is about garnering as much support as possible from all levels of the organization. If you are a staff person with interest in this area, you may need to identify other staff that have similar interest, educate supervisory and managerial personnel and promote the issue with all staff. Most importantly, you will need to seek the support of management staff for a program. If you are in management, you may need to identify staff that have an interest, assess resources and initiate in-service trainings. Once enough interest is developed, a complete evaluation of resources should be made.

Assessment of resources should include:

  • Evaluation of training received by staff and training need
  • Evaluation of competencies and background of staff
  • Evaluation of staff attitudes about substance use

The evaluation process will also identify key staff persons with the appropriate commitment, training and competency to organize and operate a program. In-service trainings should be used to raise staff awareness about the severity of substance abuse problems and the adverse effects on the recovery process that use of alcohol and other substances can have after a brain injury. All staff need to understand the undermining effect use can have on rehabilitation outcomes post-discharge.

An important note to remember is that whatever the level of awareness or programming an organization has at this point in time, this manual can be used to upgrade an existing program or help install a new program. 

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This website has been funded with financial assistance from Grant #H133A120086 awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) to the Ohio Valley Center for Brain Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation for the current funding period of 10/01/2012 - 09/30/2017.