Synthetic marijuana, which is also known as K2, is a potent and dangerous drug that has been circulating communities all over the country. This substance is, unfortunately, one that is often abused by young people who hope to achieve a mind-altering high. And while this substance was originally marketed as a safe alternative to traditional marijuana, the ingredients in this drug hardly resemble traditional marijuana and pose a number of life-threatening risks to the health and wellbeing of those who abuse it.
Sadly, many young people have consumed this substance without seeking treatment and have experienced many harmful effects as a result. However, if you presently have a child who is abusing synthetic marijuana, you can take a proactive approach and get your child treatment so as to avoid a possibly grave outcome.
Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Desert Hills provides a full continuum of behavioral healthcare services that range from sub-acute residential treatment to community-based programs for children, adolescents, and their families. Since its opening in 1990, Desert Hills has grown from a small residential program to the largest and most respected provider of behavioral health services in the state of New Mexico, offering three different locations where individuals can access services.
In order to ensure that we are offering the highest quality of care possible while meeting all of our patient’s unique needs, we provide ongoing training for and supervision of all our staff members, making sure they are up-to-date on the latest evidence-based treatment modalities. Because we are able to offer each child and adolescent customized and personal care, we can address the specific problems that synthetic marijuana abuse has imposed on your child’s life and help him or her develop the skills needed to return to living the healthy, happy life that or she deserves to be living.
At Desert Hills, we are dedicated to not only improving the lives we touch but also to helping to change the lives of those we serve, one child at a time.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
If your child is abusing synthetic marijuana, you may be unsure of what you can do to help. You may have noticed that he or she has behaved erratically, which has likely caused you to feel greater worry for your child’s health and wellbeing. If you have exhausted other options to help your child, treatment may be the next logical step.
Please consider the following to help your child get the care he or she needs to overcome a synthetic marijuana abuse problem:
- Learn about the signs of synthetic marijuana abuse, including the signs of intoxication. Make note of these signs since you may need to report them to your child’s treatment provider during the assessment process.
- Devise a plan for seeking emergency treatment if your child’s health appears at risk while under the influence of or recovering from synthetic marijuana abuse. In doing so, you could save your child’s life.
- Look into treatment options and contact a few centers to learn how they care for young people battling a synthetic marijuana abuse problem. If one center stands out to you, schedule an assessment for admission for your child.
- Talk to your child about the need for treatment and present the pros of no longer abusing synthetic marijuana. Your child may deny that he or she is abusing this drug, but it important to remain steadfast in your decision to get him or her into treatment.
- Be sure to take an active interest in your child’s care once he or she begins treatment. This is a great way to show support and learn about your child recovery.
- Learn how you can help your child continue his or her recovery success after completing treatment, as you will likely be a great source of support once he or she returns home.
Lastly, it is equally important that you make sure that you are tending to your own needs as well. You must ensure that you are practicing good self-care so that you can be refreshed and adept at helping your child.
Why Consider Treatment at Desert Hills
Since synthetic marijuana first appeared on the drug scene, many youths have succumbed to its dangerous effects. Many have be unable to perform at school and have dropped out or been expelled as a result. Some have had increased interaction with police and now have criminal records. And some youth have developed additional substance abuse concerns in turning to other forms of drug abuse in order to achieve a more potent high.
Perhaps the most alarming reported effects due to synthetic marijuana abuse have had to do with the detrimental psychological effects that have occurred and the increase in synthetic marijuana-related deaths among younger people in recent years.
However, these detriments, as well as others, can be avoided. By helping a youth get treatment to end his or her abuse of synthetic marijuana, the grave costs of this drug can be mitigated altogether.
Program Philosophy and Benefits
At Desert Hills, our philosophy is based on the approach that treatment should be centered on patients and their families. We train, facility-wide, on the Nurtured Heart Approach in order to provide our patients and their families with inner wealth and opportunities to grow. We are dedicated to using evidence-based treatment modalities on every unit to ensure that patients and their families have the highest likelihood of obtaining long-term, successful outcomes. It is our mission to provide high-quality, comprehensive behavioral and mental healthcare services to children, adolescents, and their families by offering a full array of therapeutic interventions across a vast spectrum of care.
All of our services are individualized, culturally sensitive, and fully centered on our patients and their families. The clinical emphasis at Desert Hills is placed on assessment, treatment planning, discharge, and aftercare planning, with the all-encompassing goal of preparing patients to have a successful future at home, at school, and within the community.
Types of Treatment Offered at Desert Hills
Here at Desert Hills, we have 10 distinct units, each of which features programming that is designed specifically to address the needs of a wide variety of populations. Each unit follows a chief treatment modality throughout its programming, which coincides with the needs of the patients on that particular unit.
Desert Hills strives to use evidence-based treatment modalities on every unit in order to ensure that patients have the highest likelihood of obtaining long-term, successful outcomes. Described in more detail, below are some of the services that Desert Hills affords our patients:
Medication management: Medication management is provided for all patients throughout each one of our treatment programs. This is done so as to make sure that each patient is fully supported in getting all of his or her medication needs taken care of, while simultaneously being properly monitored to ensure the therapeutic effectiveness of any medications that have been prescribed. For children and adolescents who are struggling with synthetic marijuana abuse, but also have the compounded issue of a co-occurring mental health disorder, may find relief through the implementation of certain psychotropic medications. Such decisions will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Individual therapy: On each unit, patients are provided with at least one individual session per week. These sessions are meant to be a time where patients can meet with a therapist in a safe and confidential setting in order to process through specific concerns they are facing, keep track of personal treatment goals, and work on individual skills-building in order to more effectively cope with stresses and triggers.
Group therapy: Here at Desert Hills, all of our patients attend group therapy at a minimum of three times per week. These group sessions offer children and adolescents the opportunity to connect with others who are going through similar experiences. Some of the topics that are covered in these groups, depending on the specific program that a patient is taking part in, include interpersonal effectiveness, conflict resolution, anger management, stress management, and correcting and replacing thinking errors. For those patients who are also struggling with substance abuse concerns, psychoeducational groups are held regarding the effect of substance abuse on the body, brain, and overall functioning.
Family therapy: Since family involvement is important to the overall success of recovery, we hold at least one family therapy session per week for each patient. Family therapy focuses on guiding and facilitating an open dialogue, as well as educating parents, caregivers, and other family members on the intervention skills that are being used in treatment. The process of doing so will help ensure the patient’s success long after discharge.
Educational services: Continuing one’s education while at Desert Hills is a very important part of our treatment program. Schooling at Desert Hills provides our patients with a positive, safe, and individualized place to learn and grow. All teachers communicate weekly with the treatment team, assuring consistency in the individual goals set for each student.
Additional services that are available depending upon each patient’s specific needs include:
- Canine therapy
- Equine therapy
- High and low ropes courses
- Music therapy
- NA / AA meetings for patients who are struggling with substance abuse concerns
- Red Rocks Group (a Native American peer group)
- Services for deaf and hard of hearing patients (administered by deaf therapists and other mental health technicians that are trained in American Sign Language)
- Art therapy
- Bilingual mobile assessments
- Peer council
- Play therapy
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
All patients from our residential treatment center have the opportunity to step down to one of our many outpatient care options, of which include the following:
Clinical day treatment program: This program allows patients to live at home, while also addressing any behavioral or academic issues they may have. These services are provided on a year-round basis for children and adolescents who are middle school through high school aged. There are both regular and special education services available, allowing students to earn summer credits and catch up if they have fallen behind academically. Additional services include group therapy, individual therapy, family therapy, and various experiential therapies.
Intensive outpatient program (IOP): Our IOP is designed to treat adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 who are struggling with substance abuse concerns as their primary diagnosis. Services are held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30pm-6:30pm, and on Saturdays from 9:00am-12:00pm. Services for this outpatient program also include group sessions, individual therapy, and family therapy.
Group homes: Designed to provide patients who are between the ages of 16 and 21 who are in need of a structured home-based living situation, our group homes provide services that are focused on psychosocial skills development and functioning in the community. For those patients who are also struggling with substance abuse concerns, psycho-educational groups are held regarding the effect of substance abuse on the body, brain, and overall functioning.
Behavioral management services: These services, which are led by six management specialists, can take place in the home or at school. The goal of these services is to help prevent children from needing a higher level of care, allowing them to remain at home and in school.
Treatment foster care: This program is licensed and certified by the New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department to license, train, and support treatment foster parents and treat children between the ages of 4 and 18 who are placed in their homes. TCF provides around-the-clock clinical supervisions, on-call therapy, and case management services.
Psychiatric outpatient clinic: Our outpatient clinic is staffed by psychiatrists who work with clients, aged 4-17, who are in need of psychiatric evaluations or medication management. The clinic is open Monday through Friday from 8:00am-5:00pm and appointments can be made with the coordinator of the program.
Whatever your child’s continuing needs may be, Desert Hills provides a wide range of services that will be able to address any and all of those specific needs. We will do everything in our power to help your child overcome his or her concerns and learn to see the world as a safe and happy place once again.