Oklahoma experts voice concerns over young people's access to treatment

Wednesday night, experts in addiction and also young people in recovery served on a panel about youth addiction. The panel followed a film screened at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art about Oklahoma teens and young adults who have found sobriety.
BY JACLYN COSGROVE jcosgrove@opubco.com Published: December 13, 2012
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Oklahoma has a lack of resources available for young people struggling with addiction, a problem highlighted at a panel discussion Tuesday night.

Additionally, Oklahoma's mental health and substance agency has only $10 million available to focus on substance abuse prevention, said Terri White, commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

“We have almost zero dollars in prevention,” said White, one of several panelists.

The panel discussion followed a screening of “12: Promises,” a documentary that focused on young people from Oklahoma who are former addicts.

Other panelists included: Kelly Dyer Fry, editor of The Oklahoman and vice president of news and information for OPUBCO Communications Group, who discussed what it's like to be a parent with a child in recovery, and Peter Messiah, director of the Oklahoma City University Addiction Prevention Studies Program.

Three young people in recovery also were on the panel.

Austin, 23, whose last name wasn't given, has been sober for seven years and shared his story of recovery. He is featured in the film, and said he saw the impact addiction had on his family. He saw his father die as a result of alcoholism.

“I knew what was going to happen, or most likely what was going to happen,” he said. “I had to make a decision.”

The 12 Recovery Foundation, an Oklahoma City-based group, helped produce the documentary, and plans to continue to produce a series of documentaries about youth in recovery.