TCC Recovery

Ohio State Legal Services Association awarded grant to partner with The Counseling Center offering Legal Services as part of Addiction Treatment Services

It took five years to create and fund, but the first known partnership in the United States between a legal aid law firm and a drug/alcohol addiction treatment center has begun work in Portsmouth, Ohio.  Ohio State Legal Services Association (also known locally as SEOLS or Southeastern Ohio Legal Services) and The Counseling Center (TCC) initiated a partnership in December, with the help of a grant from the Ohio State Bar Foundation (OSBF).  Enhancing the likelihood of long-term, addiction recovery is the simple goal driving the collaboration between the legal aid law office and the treatment center.

The new project places a SEOLS lawyer inside TCC offices in Portsmouth and West Union.  Although the legal assistance to TCC clients will not be different than that generally available from SEOLS, the partnership focus is on the civil legal problems most often impacting those persons in drug/alcohol addiction treatment.  Those legal problems are more often associated with employment barriers, access to subsidized housing, and costs related to past criminal court actions.

Mark J. Cardosi, Managing Attorney of SEOLS in Portsmouth stated that the idea for the combined action of TCC and SEOLS arose in the context of the national model of medical-legal partnerships (MLP). There are nearly 300 such partnerships in the USA and all of them unite the medical and legal communities under a common mission to address and prevent health-harming social conditions for patients and the community.  The first formal MLP was created in the early 1990s at the Boston Medical Center. But, the idea of legal assistance being used to help address medical issues probably belongs to Dr. Jack Geiger, who hired a lawyer in 1967 at the Delta Health Center in Mound Bayou, Mississippi to address his patients’ food and housing problems.

Despite the national successes of MLPs nationwide, there was no MLP between a legal aid law firm and a treatment center (solely) for drug/alcohol addiction. Attorney Cardosi, the son of a family physician, and Andy Albrecht, Executive Director of TCC, waited patiently for funding opportunities. Despite earlier funding requests, the best condition for attracting funding came after the recent creation of TCC’s partner agencies, i.e. Compass Community Health (a primary health care provider) and Compass Point Housing (a recovery housing agency). Once TCC clients had access to primary health care and recovery housing, it seemed necessary and appropriate to seek funding to include legal services as another “leg” of support for those seeking recovery from drug/alcohol addiction.  The Ohio State Bar Foundation thought the project had merit and provided $50,000.00 to start the effort.

Andy Albrecht, Executive Director of TCC, has been busy addressing the growth of the need for drug/alcohol addiction treatment services in this region.  He said that the inclusion of legal services is part and parcel to the success of addiction treatment. Albrecht added: “Stressors, like those presented by legal problems, adversely impact everyone, but especially those recovering from drug/alcohol addiction.  Having a lawyer to help TCC clients will be a benefit to TCC and the entire community.”

As the staff of The Counseling Center and Southeastern Ohio Legal Services are now into the fourth month of their new project, they are also looking for a university-based research partner to help examine the usefulness of the combined efforts of the legal and addiction treatment professionals. There is no question that there are many unmet legal needs of those in drug/alcohol addiction treatment, and the concept that legal assistance enhances addiction recovery seems to be an appropriate and reasonable assumption. Yet, it is still an unproven theory.  In the interim, SEOLS will be seeing TCC clients once a week throughout 2017 to make a difference in the lives of those who are already seeking positive change.

About The Counseling Center

Since 1984, The Counseling Center Inc. has served the southeastern Ohio region as a behavioral health, alcohol and addiction treatment facility. Currently, The Counseling Center serves approximately 200 clients annually, employs 264 people and operates locations in both Adams County and Scioto County.  Programs of the Counseling Center include the Stepping Stone program for addicted mothers and expectant mothers, the Marsh House for Men, the Second Chance Center, St. Lucy’s program for Women, The Loved Ones Group for families of addicted loved ones, school-based prevention services, a job training program called Clean Hire, primary health care and recovery housing through affiliated agencies, and other supportive services. Online at www.thecounselingcenter.org.

For follow up or additional comment, please contact:

Mark J. Cardosi, SEOLS Managing Partner, mcardosi@oslsa.org office phone (740) 354-7563 ext. 8601

Andy Albrecht, CEO The Counseling Center, aalbrecht@thecounselingcenter.org office phone (740) 353-6685 ext. 8000

For media inquiries, please contact:

James Daniels, Southeastern Ohio Legal Services Director, jdaniels@oslsa.org office phone (614) 824-2610

Gina Collinsworth, The Counseling Center Chief Public Relations Officer, gcollinsworth@thecounselingcenter.org office phone: (740) 351-2706

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: