Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Center of Hope: Serving without Discrimination

Meth addiction is a real problem, no doubt about it. There are signs and symptoms just like any other disease. According to Arletta Robinson, director of the Center of Hope, it’s impossible to compile statistics about the number of guests at the Center who may be addicted to methamphetamine. The only way Center of Hope case managers know that a guest has used or is using meth is when they ask for help and admit that they use meth. “However, that’s ‘self reporting’, so not even that is reliable,” Arletta said. “We don’t conduct urine testing, because we serve without discrimination. As for looking for physical traits that are red flags for meth use, such as tooth loss, that would be profiling, and we don’t do that.  What if the guest lost their teeth in an accident?” Arletta said.  What we do know is that when a guest self reports meth use and wants help, we work with many different Tulsa agencies, (including our own Adult Rehabilitation Center, ARC) to get them help.  And while the guest is working with other agencies to get help, we offer them food, shelter and a listening ear.

How do the case managers and other staff members at the Center of Hope listen to stories of drug abuse, and disastrous choices guests have made and still serve with compassion rather than judgment?

"It’s a mind frame,” case manager Gwen Bess said. “All of us have made mistakes, made stupid choices. People tell themselves they’re  not going to get addicted. You can’t know what someone has been through in their lives. They have pain and they self medicate. Some survive their past and some don’t.  It takes compassion, objectivity and empathy.  That’s what I mean by a mind frame,” Gwen said.

Coming up next learn about how Tulsa agencies are stepping up to help and what we are doing as a community.at I mean by a mind frame,” Gwen said.


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