Funding Second Chances | Community Beat | Salt Lake City Weekly

Funding Second Chances


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Addiction can affect anyone; the Sobriety Optimization League (SOL) wants to help. A scholarship foundation that aids individuals in getting into a treatment facility, sober-living facility or rehabilitation center, SOL is committed to making sure everyone has a chance at long-term sobriety.

"Working here has really opened my eyes," Executive Director David Rosen says. "It's not just the guy standing on a street corner, it's people from all segments of the population who struggle with this." The nonprofit is on a mission to provide financially disadvantaged individuals and families with the chance to achieve long-term, sustainable sobriety. The group collaborates with charitable donors and recovery services to provide education, resources and support.

According to Rosen, drug and alcohol abuse results in more deaths than car accidents. The problem is particularly acute in Utah, which he says is now third in the nation for opioid overdose. "I run into it on a daily basis," he says.

Staffers work with therapists, interventions, treatment centers, sober-living centers and more to find the best possible plan for each individual. "The goal is long-term sobriety," Rosen says, which requires specific tailoring, and to that end, the organization keeps track of what approaches different facilities are using and what populations they are serving.

Scholarships are available for those who either have no medical insurance or are underinsured—meaning, they have insurance but it won't pay for drug or alcohol treatment. Application information is available on the organization's website. But the help doesn't stop with funding. According to Rosen, most people facing addiction just don't know where to begin. In addition to scholarships, SOL provides guidance and advice.

"Someone calls and says, 'I think my husband, my wife, my daughter, my son might be having addiction issues'; we try to steer them to the best possible resource for that particular person," Rosen says. For example, he wouldn't recommend the same facility to a 50-year-old alcoholic as he would a teenage drug addict.

Right now, SOL is preparing for its fourth annual Teetotaler Speakeasy fundraiser on Friday, Oct. 14. Attendees will have the opportunity to dress up in their finest Roaring '20s duds and compete in a blackjack tournament for the chance to win an all-inclusive Costa Rica vacation, Jazz tickets, a Deer Valley vacation, and much more. Tickets are $200 per person or $300 per couple, and money goes toward scholarships. The event runs from 6:30-10 p.m. at the Alta Club.

For those who want to support the cause in other ways, check out SOL's website and Facebook page for more opportunities. Rosen says the group periodically holds carwash fundraisers, training sessions at different facilities for family members of addicted individuals, and "Shred for Sobriety" outings on Wednesday nights during ski season at Brighton, where people can meet others who are also in recovery.

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