Adventure and Wilderness Therapy
Adventure therapy is a method of combining healing exercises with outdoor activities. Each activity is guided by a therapist, and the activities can take place individually or with a group. One of the most popular methods of wilderness therapy is therapeutic camps. Therapeutic camps date back to the 1800s, and have been used ever since. The point is to get away from their everyday life and focus on the nature around them. This is important for addicts, as many of them lead very stressful lifestyles (Learn Through Experience, n.d.)
Much like therapeutic camps, adventure therapy is meant to take the patient out of their comfort zone and bring them somewhere outside of their normal life. Adventure therapy pushes the patient to learn more about both their environment and themself. Leadership is one of the main skills people take away from adventure therapy. There are many different kinds of adventure therapy because different patients have different fears or interests. Some of the most popular methods include rock climbing and ropes courses (Learn Through Experience, n.d.).
Art and Music Therapy
Art therapy has a heavy emphasis on self expression, and is popular throughout each age group. The therapy is guided by a therapist, and it usually takes place one on one. One of the main goals of art therapy is simply relaxation. There are three different types of art therapy, including self-expressive art, art studio, and legacy projects. Self-expressive art and art studio are the more popular types, as they predominantly focus on how the patient is feeling in the moment. Legacy projects, however, focus on memories. The style of art therapy that the patient chooses really just depends on their background and the details of their addiction (Hope Healthcare, n.d.).
Like art therapy, music therapy focuses on relaxation. Patients, accompanied by a therapist, listen to music, and oftentimes are encouraged to create their own. Many patients enjoy writing songs and performing them to the therapist. Music has many physical effects on the brain and releases endorphins when people hear music they enjoy. This is what causes the positive symptoms like relaxation and contentedness. While the meetings with the therapist are critically important to improving, patients are encouraged to listen and create music outside of therapy sessions as well (Hope Healthcare, n.d.).
The state of Virginia has taken several approaches to address opioid addiction in the commonwealth. According to Tina Pullen, the Public Affairs Officer for the Norfolk Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Virginia is a leader in addressing the opioid epidemic. From the Governor of Virginia, who is a pediatrician, to the Virginia Attorney General and the United States Attorney, there is a strong sense of urgency at every level of government to address the crisis T. Pullen, personal communication, November 2, 2018).
This is exemplified, for example, by Virginia’s initiative to spearhead statewide change in education curriculum both at the K-12 level and in higher education. More emphasis has been placed on education about opioids and the hazards associated with its use as opposed to focusing on the traditional DARE program. Additionally, there has been an improved response capability by the law enforcement and first responders community. Naloxone is more readily available and coordination in investigations and the responsibilities of the first person to respond to a scene involving opioids are being handled in an unprecedented way. Also, the medical community in Virginia has changed the way they treat pain and has led efforts to incorporate comprehensive opioid education and training for medical and nursing students. Furthermore, the outreach groups have engaged the faith-based community and initiated social media efforts to crowdsource awareness and information sharing (T. Pullen, personal communication, November 2, 2018).
In the Coastal Plain region of Virginia, the Virginia Attorney General and the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia teamed up in 2016 to form the Hampton Roads Opioid Working Group. The Hampton Roads Opioid Working Group is a community-based group of action oriented members who are dedicated to reducing the number of opioid related deaths by addressing the demand side of the threat through community awareness, medical community innovation and leadership, and through the support of service based organizations and treatment facilities. The group is made up of members of the law enforcement community, educators, medical professionals, peer recovery specialists, and outreach coordinators. Since September 2016, it has met regularly to address all angles of the epidemic (T. Pullen, personal communication, November 2, 2018).
Because of all of these changes, Virginia was able to report that opioid related deaths in Hampton Roads went down 17% in 2017 (T. Pullen, personal communication, November 2, 2018).
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