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CBH increases programs, services

The Seminole Tribe’s Center for Behavioral Health is in the process of adding more programs and revising others to improve its service to tribal members.

CBH director Tony Bullington has been attending community meetings to share information about the changes and get input from the community.

To help clients in recovery, the tribe has a guardianship program in which a tribal member’s money is put on hold while they get treatment for their addiction. An allowance is granted to cover normal bills and living expenses. Bullington said he has seen success in that program; sometimes the accomplishments are recognized during tribal council meetings.

“We try to spend time educating the community and family members about the latest drugs,” Bullington said. “We give them warning signs to look for in their loved ones and have given them short training sessions on how to administer Narcan.”

Narcan is a nasal spray medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose in minutes.

CBH works collaboratively with clients for their recovery. Programs include residential treatment, outpatient treatment and counseling.

Among new CBH initiatives is the formation of a crisis intervention team that will be available after hours. The initiative has a grant and is expected to soon start a pilot program in Hollywood. The team will work collaboratively with the Seminole Police Department on some issues. He said it may take time to develop the program, but Bullington is optimistic.

Through Native Connections, another grant-funded program, Bullington plans to develop community activities and events that will get young people involved in substance abuse prevention.

The Tribal Opioid Response grant is being retooled to go beyond Narcan alone. Bullington would like to have more tribal members working on community engagement since his goal for CBH is to be more community based.

“My hope is to re-envision the department with three things in mind: culture, community and family,” Bullington said. “We want to reprogram through those eyes so there will be a buy-in that will have much more of an impact. I hope more people will take advantage of those things. We would like to have input from the Elders. They are the most powerful source of wisdom in the tribe.”

Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at