Adolescent Outpatient in Newport Beach and The Safe Rides Program
Mission Hospital of Orange County has found a way to help prevent teen drunk driving accidents by providing South County Safe Rides, a program that gives intoxicated Orange County teens a safe ride home. The program enlists high school students who travel in pairs to pick up intoxicated callers and deliver them safely to their destination, thus reducing the number of intoxicated teens on the road. In 2008, the program had over 700 callers. One of the volunteers, a San Clemente High student, argues that teens will continue to get drunk and high, and that this program at least helps to alleviate the dangers of teens drinking and driving. The attention this harm reduction program has garnered also calls attention to the growing number of teens in Orange County abusing alcohol and drugs. In Southern California, where drinking and drug abuse is often portrayed as glamorous, more light must be shed on this very real problem.
As Orange County begins to take notice of this issue, the next step is looking at solutions. Some teens need serious help when it comes to dealing with their drug and alcohol problem. Residential treatment offers a safe place for teens and their families to begin the healing process. In the therapeutic community, teens are given the support and structure needed to help rebuild. I was initially threatened by the idea of structure, but found that it was actually very helpful. Coming from the chaos of my life of addiction, the structured program at Visions made me feel calm, like I could relax and let other people take the reins for a bit. As I learned more tools for self care, I gradually gained more privileges and felt more qualified to make healthy decisions for myself. The periodic field trips and weekly dinner/movie/meeting trips made me realize how much fun can be had in recovery. It was the first time I really felt alive in a long, long time. As I bid farewell to residential treatment and moved along to outpatient, I began to see the huge difference in the person walking in the doors to the person walking out.