Sunday, February 14, 2010

1/3 of GCASA's admissions have not achieved high school graduation

335 out of 1050 admissions to GCASA's treatment programs in 2009 did not finish high school or have a GED. That's 32%, 1/3 of GCASA's admissions.

Only 28 out of the 1050 or 3% had a Bachelor's degree or better.

What does this mean?

1. A significant number of GCASA's clients are functionally illiterate. They probably cannot read well enough to understand the paperwork they are signing on admission. Their ability to read and comprehend written materials is probably compromised in some way.

2. The ability of GCASA's clients to be employable is limited not only by their substance abuse histories, but by their relatively low levels of academic achievement.

3. GCASA is serving a population of poorly educated folks who will not do well in our current economy or participate positively in a democratic society which requires an educated and aware electorate.

4. What is the association of poor academic achievement and substance abuse? Did the poor academic achievement constitute a risk factor for the substance abuse disorder or did the substance abuse disorder constitute a risk factor for poor academic achievement? It is hard to know this for sure, but we do know that children with learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Behavioral Problems which contribute to poor school performance are at higher risk for the development of substancea abuse disorders.

5. How can GCASA's treatment services take into account the fact that 1/3 of its clients are poorly educated? These folks need a tremendous amount of help negotiating the more complex systems and bureaucracies that constitute our current world whether it be social services, health care, criminal justice, employment, etc. Many of GCASA's clients are badly in need of case management services because their skills in self sufficiency are limited and these folks need a lot of assistance. Unfortunately, these case mananagment services are what is called an "indirect service" that is not "medically necessary" and therefore is usually not a reimbursable service. Looking closely at the demographic characteristics of GCASA's admissions, clearly leaves the impression that GCASA is serving people whose social functioning is at the bottom level of the social strata. As such, these are the folks that need taxpayers help the most and GCASA is serving the people whom the agency is intended to serve, the folks who are at risk of all kinds of social problems without the resources, financial, psychological, social, to cope.

6. The populaton which GCASA serves is highly stigmatized in our society and this stigma often flows over onto the people who would attempt to serve them. The people that GCASA serves are often poorly educated, impoverished, involved in the criminal justice system, have poor health, and have difficulty in developing and maintaining constructive social relationships.

This is article #6 in a series on 2009 GCASA admission data.

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