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Substance Use Disorder Program Helps Battle Creek Area Clients

June, 2018

Statistics on substance use disorders (SUD) in the United States are sobering. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health:

  • 20 million people aged 12 and over had a SUD: 63% had alcohol use disorder, 25% had a drug use disorder, and nearly 12% had both.
  • Approximately 60,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2016.
  • More than eight million people had both a SUD and a diagnosable mental illness.
  • Only 6.9% of people with any kind of SUD received treatment through a specialty treatment facility – leaving 93.1% without needed treatment.

That last statistic really gets Cassie Bueker’s attention.

“I believe every individual deserves an opportunity to recover from addiction and heal the unresolved grief, anxiety, or depressive symptoms that often accompany it,” she says. “My goal as a therapist is to assist clients along this journey and provide the tools for growth and change.”

Cassie is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor. She provides Substance Use Disorder Treatment in Family & Children Services’ Battle Creek office at 778 W. Columbia Ave.

Each week, she holds as many as 30 one-on-one counseling sessions with clients. She also leads three group support sessions for up to 10 people. One group is for women only. Clients are often struggling with alcohol, opioids, methamphetamines, or a combination of these.

“People come to us from throughout Calhoun County and reflect the population at large,” she says. “We see men and women in equal numbers, young and old, working and retired, single or married, disabled or abled, homeless or wealthy, rural and urban.”

Her youngest client was 15, the oldest nearly 70. Most are between 30 and 50.

Using a proven effective form of therapy called cognitive behavior therapy, or CBT, Cassie helps clients develop tools to manage their urges and cravings, develop healthy coping skills, and set boundaries. Importantly, CBT helps address underlying depression and trauma.

“A history of trauma or mental illness typically goes hand-in-hand with SUD,” Cassie says. “Unresolved trauma and mental illness do not go away on their own. Avoiding them while trying to treat the substance use disorder seldom succeeds. Therapy cuts to the core of the problem. We help clients confront this trauma and address the reasons why they are not healthy, beyond the substance use.”

Cassie also helps clients access community services such as short- or long-term residential treatment (though the agency does not operate its own facility). She can also help mothers find residential treatment so they don’t have to be separated from their children, and, working with Recovery Services Unlimited, Cassie can help men and women find transition or sober living housing, as well as help them connect with “recovery coaches,” people who have themselves gone through recovery and now help newly diagnosed SUD patients through recovery.

Tuesday and Thursday mornings find Cassie at the Calhoun County Courthouse in Battle Creek attending treatment team meetings with probation officers, defense and prosecuting attorneys, police officers, a judge, and a liaison from the Battle Creek-based mental health and SUD service provider Summit Point.

“Many people are court-ordered to us,” Cassie says, “due to a DUI [driving under the influence for alcohol or drugs] or another legal offense linked to SUD. Their sentencing often includes an assessment by a clinician such as me and a treatment recommendation. During our team meetings we discuss how people are progressing in their treatment.”

Cassie’s SUD program also offers driver’s license restoration treatment to help people get a driver’s license reinstated following a DUI conviction and relapse prevention that helps clients identify and avoid triggers that may lead them back to substance use.

Although Cassie cannot prescribe medication that might help her clients address their SUD or mental health disorder, she can refer patients to physicians who may prescribe a medication to reduce the urge to use alcohol and opiates or a medication to treat depression or anxiety.

“Few people seek treatment for SUD unless they are told that they must by a court, an employer, or loved ones,” Cassie says. “People think they can defeat SUD on their own. But they can’t. With programs such as ours, they don’t have to fight alone. We can provide the tools, skills, and encouragement they need.

“Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength. Everyone struggles with something. If you are struggling with substance use, we can give you the help you need.”


To inquire about an appointment with Cassie Bueker, LPC, CAADC, SUD therapist at Family & Children Services in Battle Creek, contact our intake specialist at 269-965-3247.

Cassie Bueker

Cassie Bueker