Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Pledges $20,000 to Support State’s First Youth-Focused Substance Use Disorder Recovery Community Center


PROVIDENCE, RI – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) has awarded a $20,000 grant to The Providence Center (TPC) to support development of the Anchor Youth Recovery Community Center, the first youth-focused substance use disorder recovery community center in Rhode Island.

The new community center will provide access to evidence-based, age-appropriate recovery support for adolescents, helping to combat disproportionate rates of youth relapse – 18 months post treatment 70 percent of adolescents and 46 percent of adults relapse according to a study conducted by Ramo and Brown (2008).

“For substance abuse treatment to be effective for young people over the long-term, it must be tailored to their unique needs,” said Gus Manocchia, M.D., BCBSRI chief medical officer.  “Blue Cross is encouraged by The Providence Center’s focus on this particularly vulnerable population. By better supporting adolescents in recovery, we can make a measurable difference in Rhode Island’s overall substance use disorder rates and create healthier communities.”

Based on data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, this tailored support is especially important when you consider that Rhode Island has one of the highest rates of drug use – 15.1 percent —for youths between the ages of 12 and 17. The national average is 9.2 percent.

“Peer support has tremendous power to help all people strengthen their recovery,” said Deborah O’Brien, The Providence Center’s president.  “Our mission with this new program is to provide young people with a foundation for lifelong recovery, and we’re grateful to organizations such as BCBSRI for helping make this possible. We think that programs like this, programs to help people stay well, are the building-blocks of a more efficient healthcare system.”

The Anchor Youth Recovery Community Center will promote the Alternative Peer Group (APG) model, an evidence-based strategy based on the assumption that for young people, peer relationships – much like the ones that initiate and support drug use – are necessary to facilitate recovery. APGs use positive peer pressure to reduce risky behaviors and support abstinence. 

By providing youths a safe place to be after school and outside of the home, reported to be the most difficult time and place to abstain from using drugs and alcohol, youths will have access to daily recovery support including:
• Recovery meetings for youth that are facilitated by youth
• Fun and creative activities such as dances, sober proms, movie nights, cooking classes, and collaborative art projects to help create new friendships and build trust
• Homework assistance to support students to catch up on their studies and graduate on time
• Access to computers and Wi-Fi capability to complete homework, work on school projects, and search for jobs
• Parent involvement, education and support to better position families to aid their children’s recovery
• A reflection room designated space for a teen to reflect, consider their options, and make positive choices.

Since their creation in the early 1970s, APGs have produced a recovery rate greater than 85 percent. The nationwide recovery rate is approximately 30 percent.

The center is slated to open in early 2018 and will be located at 1280 North Main Street in Providence with the following hours of operation: Monday through Thursday: 2:30 to 7:30 p.m., Friday: 2:30 to 9 p.m., and Saturday: 3 to 8 p.m.

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