Frontline expands treatment effort

Frontline expands addiction treatment effort

Frontline Foundations is opening a larger outpatient treatment facility downtown with addiction therapy programs involving art, music, and — in a delicious twist — food.

Unveiled during an open house Thursday, the facility at 714 Lincoln-Way provides not only effective treatment, organizers say, but a comprehensive recovery support system for those dealing with drug or alcohol addictions.

“We hope to provide a place where young people can stay plugged in during their recovery and interact with their peers no matter what their interests,” executive director Amber Hensell-Hicks said.

Organizers were using the open house to reintroduce Frontline Foundations to the community.

“We want people to know what we have to offer,” Hensell-Hicks said.

Artwork was drawn or painted by clients lines the walls. A backroom is set up for printing T-shirts. Other offices are used for group gatherings or private meetings.

During the open house, clients performed songs they had written and produced. In the kitchen, volunteers and clients prepared meals and desserts for visitors.

“This is going to help a lot of people,” nutrition coordinator Tony Houser said.

Frontline Foundations, which has been in Porter County for about 10 years, had a facility across from the courthouse in La Porte, at 605 Michigan Ave., for about three years. It was about 3,000 square feet.

The new location, with about 8,000 square feet, will allow for an expansion of programs, including a kitchen where clients can learn to prepare nutritious meals.

Program director Allen Grecula said the art, music, and cooking programs have “everything” to do with successful addiction treatment.

“It gives people an outlet in their recovery,” he said. “It gives them a reason to stay plugged in so they can continue to grow as a person.”

The Rev. Dennis Meyer, the senior pastor at Bethany Lutheran Church and a board member with Frontline Foundations, agreed.

“It’s all part of the therapeutic relationship,” he said.

Frontline is funded by the Hicks Family Foundation and relies on support from community partners, volunteers, and donors. The mission of this facility, like the one in Chesterton, is to serve anyone who needs help, regardless of their ability to pay.

A $64,000 grant from the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte allowed Frontline to equip its kitchen, which executive director Maria Fruth said would help clients learn about proper nutrition as well as help them focus on their recovery.

The building formerly housed a bank branch and resale shop, among other businesses.

While programs at Frontline are described as faith-based, the treatment also employs the latest scientific thinking and proven methods for recovery, according to Rachael Cloud, one of nine state-certified addiction treatment counselors on the staff.

Those methods include cutting-edge brain exercises to diminish addictive triggers in the brain, she said. Other services include individual counseling, peer-group counseling, and family counseling.

The Frontline program “incorporates the clinical aspects of abuse and addiction as well as nondenominational faith-based principles addressing the spiritual aspects of healing and recovery,” according to its website.

Hensell-Hicks, a Westville native, said most of the organization’s 300 clients in La Porte and Chesterton were ordered into treatment by a judge as part of their sentencing, although people can choose where to find that treatment.

Referrals from doctors, family members, and friends also are encouraged, she said. Even at the smaller office on Michigan Avenue, the program never reached capacity.

“We want people to use our services,” Hensell-Hicks said. “That’s why we’re here.”

Nationally, only about one-third of those who complete treatment stay clean and sober, but Hensell-Hicks said she is gratified by the number of Frontline clients who stick around for support and encouragement after completing their required treatment.

The foundation retains ownership of the building across from the courthouse and is accepting grant proposals for use of the facility related to activities serving the same client base — a bookstore or perhaps an addiction specialist, according to Hensell-Hicks. Rent for the first year would be free.

Chief Deputy Ron Heeg, with the La Porte County Sheriff’s Department, said he was encouraged about the expansion of services at Frontline.

“This is exactly what this community needs,” Heeg said. “This is what people need when they get out of detox and they need a place to turn.”

“I’ve always said we can never arrest our way out of this problem,” he said. “Education, enforcement, and treatment. Well, this is the treatment part of the equation.”