Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers center or TROSA for short is a rehabilitation center founded in 1994 by Kevin McDonald. The center is located in Durham, North Carolina. Before founding TROSA, Mr. McDonald gained experience by working in Delancey Street Foundation for twelve years, as well as directing a program that assisted homeless parolees in LA. With the help of local officials, the Old North Durham Elementary School was leased out for $1 per year and was refurbished into living spaces for TROSA patients.
TROSA: Treatment, Programs and Staff
As far as treatment goes, TROSA offers an inpatient program exclusively. There are individual and group therapy available, coupled with an academic education program for all residents. The treatment itself lasts for 2 years and is separated into different levels, depending on the amount of time spent in the program.
For the first 30 days after the entry into the treatment program, the patient will get the status of ‘intern’. Interns have a work schedule prepared for them that includes a number of household activities such as cleaning the facility and the surrounding grounds. This initial period is designed so that the patients can get an understanding of how the program works as well as to familiarize them with the location, staff and future levels of care program.
After the first 30 days have passed, the patients will be given a status of ‘freshman’ and with it a more diverse activity schedule. Aside from getting regular group treatment, three times a week lasting around 2 hours each, patients with ‘freshman’ status will also be given a vocation which they will follow during their stay in TROSA. In most cases, patients will be in charge of preparing meals for fellow residents, as well as doing office work or working in one of the companies that TROSA founded in order to provide real job opportunities to their residents.
The next level of treatment will begin 90 days after patient’s enrollment and will come with a few accommodations as well as more responsibilities work-wise. Patients will at this point be allowed one phone call per month lasting no longer than 15 minutes and will be allowed to receive 5 pieces of mail or unframed photographs. After another 3 months have passed, the patients will be allowed a second 15 minute phone call per month. There is an exception to this rule during major holidays like Christmas or Thanksgiving, during which every patient will be allowed to contact their loved ones.
After the patient has spent 6 months in TROSA care program they will be awarded the status of ‘resident’ which will open up new accommodations as well as opportunities for personal improvement. In this part of the treatment the patient will have to work to improve their chance of having a normal and healthy life after rehabilitation. They will have the opportunity to attend off-campus college courses, parenting courses and workshops and other courses for vocational improvement.
After a year has passed, patients will be allowed more contact with patients of opposite sex during group activities such as gym and dining.
Around 70% of the staff members in TROSA are actually program graduates who have returned to mentor the newer patients or have themselves overcome substance addiction.
Medical staff present at TROSA campus at all times includes:
- licensed clinical addictions specialists (LCAS)
- licensed professional counselor associates (LPCA)
- certified substance abuse counselors (CSAC)
- internationally certified alcohol and drug counselors (CADC)
TROSA: Facilities and Extras
While the first facility that TROSA used for housing was the Old North Durham Elementary School, it has since expanded greatly and now houses over 350 residents on a 13-acre piece of land.
It is important to note that male and female dormitories are separated, as patients have little contact with other patients of opposite sex during the initial months of the treatment process. The campus also has facilities for social events like quarter-yearly graduation ceremonies as well as facilities for TROSA companies where patients are fulfilling their vocational activities.
Dormitories are placed in large, brick buildings with the capacity of 40 to 50 individuals each. Rooms are four-bed and each floor has a shared bathroom with several showers. Each building also has a common area where patients can watch TV, read and relax and interact with each other in spare time. Patients who have been in the program for more than a year are moved into separate apartments located off campus.
Each of the residences has workout equipment, but there is a shared, well-equipped gym on campus as well.
There are extra activities organized for the residents of the TROSA campus on a regular basis. Graduation ceremonies are held every three months and serve as a motivation boost for other residents. Dances, trips to the local lake, a baseball game or to a museum are organized regularly as well.
After a patient has spent 21 months in the program they will be allowed to look for a job off campus. For people who are threatened with homelessness after graduation, there is transitional housing offered for the duration of 1 year.
Rules and Regulations at TROSA
The day begins at 6.30am and lasts until 10.30pm. During this time the residents will have to attend 2 hours of group treatment every other day and each day will have a work time of 8 hours. Rest of the time is used for meals and activities such as daily seminars and various education classes on topics such as relapse prevention, anger management, stress reduction, and goal-setting.
With over 20 years of experience and serving more than 350 patients each year, TROSA is one of the biggest and most successful rehabilitation in the area. With an extremely detailed rehabilitation program based on vocational rehabilitation, patients attending the TROSA rehab program will not only leave it clean, but will also be well equipped to handle any possible relapse-causing situation as well as be a functioning member of community. The sheer amount of people who graduated and are returning to help out at TROSA as mentors should serve as testament enough of the quality of its service.
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