Patrick Miller Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Program
Patrick Miller was raised in a loving family that was devoted to his wellbeing. He died anyway of an accidental heroin overdose. According to a 2018 Berkshire Eagle editorial, “Little did grieving parents John and Rosaleen Miller know in 2005, when they created the Brien Center’s Patrick Miller Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Program in memory of their son’s death, that the program they established would eventually become so critical to the welfare of Berkshire adolescents. Since then, the Brien Center’s Miller Program has become the go-to agency for all matters involving youth drug treatment and prevention, and the center’s evidence-based approach has proved to at least slow the increase of youth substance abuse where it has been implemented.”
Last year, 1,722 teens received evidence-based curriculum through the Brien program. A total of 1,412 of these teens participated in post-outcome measures which determined that 82% demonstrated improvements on substance use knowledge and risky behaviors. This year, 2,180 youth were seen at local schools for substance use prevention. Statistics measured before and after the program showed a 75% reduction in opioid use for teens completing the program and an 80% increase in teens demonstrating greater knowledge of the impact and potential consequences of opioid drug use.
These are compelling statistics. Studies conclude that youth at the beginning of their addiction cycles are resistant to attending clinic services and are very unlikely to seek them out. That’s why it’s so important for Brien staff to be present in schools, the community, and even in families’ homes.
The Brien Center’s Patrick Miller Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Program includes education, prevention, intervention, screening and outpatient services to address substance use and abuse among Berkshire County youth. For youth with substance use disorders, our treatment team provides intensive addiction treatment including comprehensive assessment, individual therapy, family intervention, and A-CRA (Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach), which is an evidenced-based behavioral treatment for alcohol and other substance use disorders that helps youth, young and families improve access to the kind of help proven to reduce or stop substance use.
The success of the program is demonstrated in community surveys documenting a reduction in adolescent substance use in communities where the program is present. The program’s impact has also been validated by local and national foundations, which have provided generous grants to fund its expansion. Both the Josephine and Louise Crane Foundation and the Donald C. McGraw Foundation are major benefactors.