Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation program builds local capacity for operation, treatment

In addition to the soft opening of the Hinemlu O’hala Para Enteramenti, or HOPE, rehabilitation center last week, special assistant for Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation Yvette Sablan said the program is in the process of building local professional capacity in rehabilitation and human services for the CNMI.

Sablan noted the program’s hiring of substance abuse counselors that are certified in providing psychotherapy services to various groups with addiction or mental illnesses, addiction assessment, recovery-based practices and integrated dual disorder treatment, including forensic focused intervention.

“The Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation program has been focused on building its professional capacity with the hiring of new certified substance abuse counselors and the training of our local workforce to provide the same professional services. In collaboration with the Community Guidance Center, [Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.], and the CNMI Drug Court, this will help the afflicted members of our community and address substance abuse, especially our ongoing efforts in the war on ice,” Sablan said.

Right now, there are eight behavioral health technicians that are certified in crisis counseling and substance abuse recovery for a 24-hour rotation.

“We have two certified substance abuse counselors on board, and we are expecting two more joining the team in a few months. I’d like to reiterate that the HOPE facility is a group home, in a safe and secure environment for the treatment of those looking to heal and I applaud Gov. [Ralph DLG] Torres for his foresight at a time where the community needs a comprehensive substance abuse program,” she said.

Torres underscored the importance of addressing the increasing rates of substance abuse.

“We have family members in our community suffering in silence. In order to build a safer and healthier community, those suffering from addiction need this critical access to services and treatment. Developing our local talent to help our people is our commitment and investment in the future of our islands. I thank all our community’s stakeholders for their continued collaboration, and we look forward to the next steps in providing more rehabilitation services for our family and friends who need it the most.” (PR)

Obet Aguilar

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