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For Your HealthHave a substance use disorder? Help is a phone call away.BY COURTENAY B. VANDERMOLEN, Director of Resource DevelopmentStatistics on substance use disorders (SUD) in the United States are sobering. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health:• 20 million people aged 12 and over had a SUD: 63% had alcohol use dis- order, 25% had a drug use disorder, and nearly 12% had both.• Approximately 60,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2016.• Only 6.9% of people with any kind of SUD received treatment through a specialty treatment facility – leaving 93.1% without needed treatment.These statistics really get Cassie Bueker’s attention.“I believe everyone deserves an op- portunity to recover from addiction and heal the unresolved grief, anxiety, or de- pressive symptoms that often accompany it,” she says. “My goal as a therapist is to assist clients along this journey and pro- vide the tools for growth and change.”Bueker is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Advanced Al- cohol and Drug Counselor. She provides substance use disorder treatment at Fam- ily & Children Services, 778 W. Colum- bia Ave, Battle Creek.Each week, she holds about 30 one- on-one and group counseling sessions with clients who are struggling with al- cohol, opioids, methamphetamines, or a combination of these.“People come to us from throughout Calhoun County and reflect the population at large,” she says. “We see men, women, young, old, working, retired, single, mar- ried, homeless, wealthy, rural, and urban.”Bueker helps them develop tools to manage their urges and cravings, devel- op healthy coping skills, and set bound- aries. She also helps them address un- derlying depression and trauma, which typically accompanies SUD.“Avoiding unresolved trauma and mental illness while trying to treat the substance use disorder seldom succeeds. Therapy helps confront this trauma and address the reasons why you are not healthy, beyond the substance use.”This is critical, she says, because suicide is the leading cause of death among people with substance use disor- der. Compared to the general population,people with alcohol abuse or dependence are at about ten times greater risk for sui- cide. Alcohol is present in 30 to 40 per- cent of suicide attempts.“People struggling with substance use and suicidal thoughts are not alone in their struggle,” says Bueker. “Family & Chil- dren Services is among several local agen- cies that can help. There is always hope.”In addition to providing counseling to treat SUD, she can refer clients to physi- cians who may prescribe a medication to reduce the urge to use alcohol and opi- ates, or medication to treat depression or anxiety. And she provides relapse pre- vention counseling to help clients identi- fy and avoid triggers that may lead them back to substance use.She also helps clients connect to com- munity services such as residential treat- ment facilities and transition or sober living housing.“People think they can defeat sub- stance use on their own. But they can’t. Asking for help is not a sign of weak- ness. It’s a sign of strength. If you strug- gle with substance use, help is a phone call away.”To make an appointment with Cassie Bueker at Family & Children Services in Battle Creek, call (269) 965-3247. If you or someone you know is in crisis and you fear they may be suicidal, call the 24-hour Summit Pointe Crisis Hotline in Battle Creek at 800-632-5449.Cassie BuekerHEALTH ISSUE I SCENE 4309 19

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