CASC sees more with stimulant use disorder

BATAVIA, OH — For the first time, in 2020 the Community Alternative Sentencing Center (CASC) saw a significant number of women (18 percent) and men (10 percent) with stimulant use disorder as their primary substance use diagnosis. In past years, it had been less than 1 percent.

The numbers reflect a trend that has been noted by others in the community who deal with substance abuse disorder, said Alicia Fine, vice president of Clermont County Behavioral Health Services. They are reporting increased use of methamphetamine — a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system.

Fine and Sarah Kodras, CASC program manager, gave an overview at today’s Clermont County Board of County Commissioners meeting. CASC seeks to provide innovative behavioral health and medical treatments for community members who are struggling with substance use disorders and are connected to the Clermont County Municipal Court system.  The program is located on the same campus as the Clermont County Jail facility.

Fine said that 53 percent of men and 51 percent of women had alcohol use disorder as their primary substance use diagnosis – and 33 percent of men and 49 percent of women had a co-occurring mental health diagnosis, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. The average age was 38 for men and 39 for women.

Despite the pandemic, 148 men and 67 women were admitted into the program in 2020.

Kodras said CASC never shut down when COVID-19 hit. Programming kept running, and core staff were on site, but educational programming was offered on Zoom.

“It’s been a big effort, but I think it’s going well overall,” Kodras said. She noted that CASC works closely with probation, the court system, and the Mental Health and Recovery Board.

Clients are with CASC from five to 90 days. The men’s unit’s maximum capacity is 25; women’s, 12. Now, the program has 22 males and 10 women.

CASC provides group counseling in an intensive outpatient program. It also includes educational groups on topics such as healthy relationships and communication to stress tolerance and anger management.

CASC gives at least one individual counseling session per week. The program provides case management that helps link clients with doctors, mental health professionals, court appointments, housing and the like. It offers Medication Assisted Treatment, psychiatric services, nursing, employment services and peer recovery and community support (AA, NA, Smart Recovery, etc).