February 11, 2012

No-smoking trend picks up steam in recovery centers

Austin Recovery, the largest inpatient addiction treatment center in Central Texas and one of the biggest in the state, is going smoke-free April 30, according to an article in the Austin American-Statesman.

“When you're in residential treatment, what better time to address your other deadly addiction, which is tobacco use?” said Jonathan Ross , president and CEO of Austin Recovery. The nonprofit treats 3,200 clients annually and has three residential campuses.

Ross and his staff hope to dispel the old-school notion that it's too hard to get people to quit smoking when they are trying to kick a drug or alcohol problem. “Not only are you continuing an addictive behavior and putting yourself at risk of relapse, you're also killing yourself,” he said.

At Austin Recovery, nearly 80 percent of clients smoke, said Juli Hartmann, a senior counselor. “If you stop smoking at the same time (you enter addiction recovery), you have a 25 percent better chance of being successful in your recovery,” Hartmann said.

Ross said he believes it's inevitable that all licensed treatment centers in Texas become smoke-free — just as New York and New Jersey have required. All of the state's psychiatric hospitals have smoke-free campuses, and a proposed rule would require all licensed facilities to follow suit, said Carrie Williams, spokeswoman for the Department of State Health Services. The state is seeking feedback on the rule but has not set a target date to act, she said.

For the full story, click here.

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