Cenikor’s Waco Facility is now offering Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Services for Opioid Addiction

By Eric R. Jeter

In the midst of the opioid crisis, communities across the country face increased demands for prevention and substance use services.

According to the CDC young adult’s heroin use has more than doubled within the past decade.  More than 90 percent of people who use heroin also use at least one other drug, 45 percent of people using heroin are also addicted to prescription opioid painkillers and that prescription opioid drug overdoses has increased threefold in the last three years.  In addition, an estimated 2.1 million people in the United States are afflicted with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) related to prescription opioid pain medicines in 2016.  There’s an increasing number of infants born with opioid dependency and rising rates of diseases such as Hepatitis C, and HIV. It is safe to say that the United States is facing a very real crisis.

The silver lining in this cloud is that there are effective medications to treat opioid use disorder.  The use of these medications in treatment is called MAT, which stands for Medication Assisted Treatment.

Many treatment programs and behavioral health providers are increasingly now provide MAT.  Cenikor Foundation, a leading treatment provider with locations in Texas and Louisiana, offers MAT as one of multiple treatment methods.

In August 2018, Cenikor’s Waco Facility began offering MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment) services for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) in its 3015 Herring Avenue location.  Opened in 2012, Cenikor Waco provides treatment services for individuals affected by substance use disorders in its detox and short stay residential programs.   With the addition of MAT to its treatment services, Cenikor Waco is widening access to treatment for the community and providing patient-focused treatment designed to meet individual needs, thereby changing and saving more lives.

The goal of the MAT program offered by Cenikor’s Waco Facility is to support an individual’s efforts to remain abstinent from opioids and other drugs of addiction through the use of counseling, medication and case management services. The philosophy of the program is one of compassionate care with an emphasis on participant safety and personal responsibility.

Medicated-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is the use of FDA- approved medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders.

As we seek to provide services to help those with an opioid use disorder achieve lasting sobriety, we recognize that no treatment is “one size fits all”.  Cenikor is committed to partnering with patients to design a treatment that best meets their needs.   At Cenikor, we use new ways to gauge success beyond simply whether a patient in recovery has stopped using opioids.  Our comprehensive approach aims to reduce relapse overdoses and infectious disease transmission among numerous outcome measures.

We continue to work with our referral partners as well as health care professionals to ensure individuals with opioid use disorder continue to have access to the most effective therapies.

Cenikor is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, proudly serving over 1,000 clients per week to achieve better health and better lives.  For more information please visit www.cenikor.org or call 1-888-CENIKOR.

Eric R. Jeter has been with Cenikor Foundation since 2012.  As Construction Manager he oversaw the construction and opening of Cenikor’s Waco facility.   After successfully running the Waco short stay and detox program he advanced to Regional Director.  Eric now manages the Waco, Austin and Tyler locations.  Eric is deeply committed to Cenikor’s mission and helping those in need achieve better health and better lives.  Additionally, Eric is the President & Owner of locally owned business Jeter Property, a custom home building and remodel company located in Waco.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.




Effective Drug Abuse Prevention education is a bargain for our community

By Cheryl Allen

If you have a child in the public school system, you probably already know — this is Red Ribbon week!

Red Ribbon is a national campaign observed annually on the last week of October.  It highlights the benefits of living drug-free. It also provides a valuable opportunity for adults to engage children and youth in dialogue about making positive life choices, including avoiding harmful substances. This year’s theme “Life is a Journey, Travel Drug-Free” reminds us of the importance of avoiding substance abuse throughout our lives.

The Red Ribbon campaign began in 1985 when drug dealers killed DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) agent Kiki Camarena. Camarena grew up in a dirt-floored house with hopes and dreams of making a difference. He worked his way through college, served in the Marines and became a police officer. When he decided to join the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, his mother tried to talk him out it. He told her, “I’m only one person, but I want to make a difference.” After his death, his friends began wearing red ribbons to honor the sacrifice made by Camarena, and as a symbol of their commitment to live drug-free lives.

The movement spread and in 1988 Congress established Red Ribbon Week to bring awareness to the value of living drug-free, and to pay homage to all men and women who have made sacrifices in support of our nation’s struggle against drugs.

Many schools have special activities planned, and VOICE is assisting them by conducting educational presentations and distributing red ribbons, banners, and other items.

The Red Ribbon campaign is an important, but small, part of VOICE’s work. As a nonprofit funded by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, VOICE offers a variety of free programs in schools and the community. Using an evidence-based curriculum, we teach healthy living skills, including tobacco, alcohol, and drug prevention. Visit texasschoolsurvey.org/report for data that reflects the critical need to reach children and youth at an early age.

VOICE also provides support for VASA (Voices Against Substance Abuse). This coalition is comprised of individuals from a variety of sectors who meet regularly to address ways to create a drug- and alcohol-free culture for youth in McLennan County. We encourage anyone who is interested in serving to contact us.

One of VASA’s initiatives is to encourage residents to dispose of unused prescription medication properly. On October 27, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) is conducting a Drug Take-Back Day in our community. Please visit takebackday.dea.gov for times and locations. Another option is to take the drugs to a permanent disposal site at the Baylor Police Department or come by the VOICE office where we can provide disposable bags.

When children and youth choose not to abuse drugs, the communities and individuals benefit. Students who remain drug-free do better in school, are less likely to end up in the judicial system, and have a better chance of becoming productive citizens. With that in mind, effective drug abuse prevention education is a good bargain for our communities.  The cost of a school-based prevention program is approximately $220 per student compared to the $4,000 per student costs associated with substance use treatment, emergency room visits, lost productivity, etc.

Please visit voiceinc.org for information about programs that address substance abuse prevention in our community.

This Act Locally Waco blog post was written by Cheryl Allen. Cheryl has served the community professionally and as a volunteer for many years. She is the Director of Program Development for VOICE and is an adjunct lecturer in Civic and Community Service at Baylor University.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.



Make your Plan to Vote!

By Rebecca McCumbers Flavin

Early voting is underway!  In this blog post, we provide important information to help you make your plan to vote.

1. Plan when to vote:

Early Voting begins Monday, October 22 and continues daily through Friday, November 2. Polls are open:

  • Monday, October 22 through Friday, October 26, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Saturday, October 27, 7:00 AM-7:00 PM
  • Sunday, October 28, 1:00 PM-6:00 PM
  • Monday, October 29 through Friday, November 2, 7:00 AM-7:00 PM

That means you can vote anytime beginning October 22nd until Election Day EXCEPT for November 3, 4, and 5. If you miss early voting, then plan to cast your ballot on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6; polls are open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

If you received a ballot by mail, those should be returned by 7:00 PM on Tuesday, November 6.

2. Plan where to vote:

McLennan County has vote centers, and you may vote at ANY center, not just the one closest to your house.

During early voting, you have 5 vote centers to choose from:

  1. McLennan County Elections Administration Office
    214 North 4th Street, Suite 300, Waco, 76701
  2. Robinson Community Center
    106 W. Lyndale, Robinson, 76706
  3. Waco Multi-Purpose Community Center
    1020 Elm Street, Waco 76704
  4.  First Assembly of God Church
    6701 Bosque Blvd., Waco, 76710
  5. Hewitt Public Safety Facility
    100 Patriot Court, Hewitt, 76643

On Election Day, there are even more vote centers to choose from.

Choose a place and time that is convenient for your daily commute. Keep in mind that lines are often shorter during Early Voting.

If you need a ride to the polls, Waco Transit is offering free rides on Election Day. Simply present your voter registration card, or an “I Voted” sticker to the driver to obtain free passage. In addition, Uber and Lyft are offering free or reduced-price fares, depending upon where you live.

3. Plan what you need to bring to the polls and what you should leave behind.

Plan to have the proper ID. Texas law requires that voters present a photo ID at the polls. There are seven forms of photo ID accepted at Texas polling places:

  • Texas Driver’s License issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate (issued by DPS)
  • Texas Personal identification card (issued by DPS)
  • Texas Handgun License (issued by DPS)
  • U.S. military ID card that includes your photograph
  • U.S. citizenship certificate that includes your photograph
  • U.S. passport book or card

These IDs will be accepted if they expired less than four years ago, with the exception of citizenship certificate, which must be up to date. If you do not have one of the required photo IDs, you may present an alternate form of supporting identification. You will also be asked to complete “Reasonable Impediment Declaration” to accompany this alternate form of ID, as described here.

Things to leave behind.

Texas law prohibits the use of electronic devices within 100 feet of a voting station. You may not bring electronic devices into the polling places, nor may you take photographs inside the polling places. If you use the Vote 411 voting guide, plan to bring a paper copy with you; you will not be able to use your phone to access the guide. If you take a selfie, make sure you are more than 100 feet beyond the polling place.

You are not permitted to bring or wear campaign material into a polling place. Leave hats, buttons, t-shirts, etc. supporting candidates in your car.

4. Get informed about the races and candidates on your ballot.

VOTE411 is a non-partisan online voters’ guide provided by the League of Women Voters Education Fund. Just plug in your address at Vote411.org, and you will receive personalized election information, including a list of races and candidates and races on your ballot. Vote411 has a great feature where you can compare candidates’ positions side-by-side. You can print out your ballot with candidate choices and bring it with you to the polls.

Once you have made your plan to be a Waco, TX voter, share your plan friends and family members to help them make their plan to vote, too!

Rebecca McCumbers Flavin serves as Co-Communicator for LWV-Waco, leading the taskforce that focuses on voter registration and get out the vote activities. Dr. Flavin is also a Senior Lecturer in Political Science at Baylor University. The League of Women Voters (LWV) is a non-partisan organization that for nearly 100 years has advocated protecting the right to vote and encouraging the exercise of that vote. The Waco chapter was reformed in 2017 as a League-at-Large under LWV-Texas.

In the past year LWV-Waco has hosted several events, including a voter candidate forum for the March 2018 Primary and the November General elections, voter registration drives, a movie night, and an educational walk co-hosted by Waco Walks. To join or learn more about LWV, follow us on Facebook by searching for League of Women Voters of Waco, or contact the local chapter at lwv.waco@gmail.com.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.


The Future of Historic Waco – Summary of Community Gathering

The Historic Waco Foundation has launched a strategic process to understand Waco’s story from a number of perspectives in order to form future partnerships and programs that would offer the greatest benefit to the community. This post is one in a series to share with you how that work is progressing and how you can get involvedFor the rest of the posts in this series, click here: Historic Waco Foundation Series. — ALW

By Patricia Scott, President, Historic Waco Foundation Board of Directors

This is a great time to be part of the Waco community. Waco is growing. We have a vibrant downtown and almost every weekend there is a concert, festival, sporting event, art festival or convention bringing visitors to town. With all of the excitement around town, it is easy to focus on the future, but we must also look at Waco’s past if we are truly going to understand Waco today.

Historic Waco Foundation’s mission is to preserve and present the history of Waco and McLennan County. As an organization, we are the first to acknowledge that though our mission is broad our focus has been narrow. We have focused on the historic homes and the people that built and lived in those houses – and that has limited Historic Waco Foundation to the late 1880’s and a very small group of people in Waco. It is time to look beyond these beautiful houses and focus on the history of Waco in its entirety.

To begin this process, Historic Waco Foundation recently hosted a gathering to gain information and provide direction from the community at large. The gathering attendees came from all sectors of our community and most had no previous knowledge of or participation in Historic Waco Foundation activities.

Prior to the gathering, Historic Waco Foundation sent an online survey to community members and asked that they share it with their networks, and so on. The survey asked respondents to answer three open-ended questions (1) what is important to the people of Waco, (2) what is distinctive about Waco and (3) about what do Waco-area residents care.

In total, Historic Waco Foundation received 37 survey responses. Using those responses as a basis, Historic Waco Foundation developed four additional questions to guide the community gathering conversation.

Question 1: Which untold stories need to be told?

Discussion ranged from an unbiased and full telling of the Jesse Washington lynching to what Waco-area residents have done for recreation through the years. Attendees also mentioned the importance of delineating the history of Waco’s schools, including unique stories like the tunnel under La-Salle, then a two-lane main road, for elementary school children. Conversations also focused on the importance of recognizing the contributions and daily lives of Waco’s African American and Hispanic communities.

Question 2: What are some ways Historic Waco Foundation can tell these stories?

The community gathering attendees offered several fantastic and thought provoking suggestions for how Historic Waco Foundation can share some of the previously untold or rarely told stories with the community. Overall, the suggestions centered on involving more media and technology in our storytelling. Plays and performances are a common way to presented history – think Shakespeare and his Henry plays—and many of the attendees agreed. There was discussion about Historic Waco Foundation collaborating with the arts community, be it visual or performing arts, and involving students who can write, produce, act, sing or perform historical interpretations.

Question 3: What organizations can or should Historic Waco Foundation collaborate with in the future?

Acknowledging the stories that need to be told and employing creative ways to present them is only the first step. Historic Waco Foundation will also engage in robust collaboration with community groups to identify additional stories and truthfully and effectively present them.  Thanks to this enthusiastic group of community leaders, Historic Waco Foundation now has an extensive list of possible partnerships.

Question 4: What are some ways Historic Waco Foundation may be able to use its houses in the future?

Historic Waco has struggled with the upkeep of its current houses and has investigated alternative uses for the historic homes. Historic Waco Foundation asked attendees for suggested uses for the homes, and many of the responses mirrored possibilities already discussed and investigated. Stay tuned for more on this. Historic Waco sincerely wants to present the houses in ways that benefit the entire community and accurately capture the stories of all Wacoans.

This community gathering was just the first step in finding our niche within this community. Historic Waco Foundation will take the many suggestions to heart and act on them in ways that will benefit the sustainability of our organization and Waco’s many citizens.

Patricia Scott is President of the Board for Historic Waco Foundation and a native of Waco.  Patricia has been a member of Historic Waco Foundation since 2010. She is a Docent at McCulloch House and has served on the Historic Waco Foundation Board for the past three years and as President for the past two years. Patricia and her husband love to travel and make it a point to find a Museum wherever they go. She loves to read and needlepoint, but her greatest joy is her granddaughter, Grace.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashleyt@actlocallywaco.org for more information.