Billy T. Cattan Recovery Outreach Center, the nonprofit that provides treatment to adults suffering from substance abuse disorder, is organizing a town hall to address the stigma that drug and alcohol addicts still face when they seek treatment or are in recovery.
Daniel Barrientos, the center’s executive director, said he’s wanted to organize this conversation for a long time so the Victoria community can discuss how to better support those suffering from addiction.
“The idea is still that people have to have the willpower to quit their addiction, and that’s not the case,” Barrientos said.
Medical research shows substance abuse disorder is a clinical diagnosis, but the perception that an addiction is a personal failing can prevent people from seeking treatment or acknowledging that they need help.
“When you go to the doctor’s office, you’re not looking around to see who’s going to see you,” Barrientos said. “But when you come to a treatment center, that’s the first thing you’re thinking – which is pretty sad because it is a disorder.”
Barrientos said he hopes the town hall gathering is the first in a series of conversations that Victoria can have about how to better support people with substance abuse disorder.
The panelists include Barrientos; Victoria psychiatrist Dr. Kourtne Roberts; District Attorney Constance Filley Johnson; Clyde Keebaugh, of the Center for Health Care Services; and Jody Guerra, of Recovery Unplugged in Austin.
Ryan Jaynes, an alum of Billy T. Cattan’s treatment program, will also be on the panel to address his own recovery process, Barrientos said. Gary Moses will moderate the discussion, and the audience will also be able to ask questions.