Bonnie Falvy is assistant to the director of the Crossroads program. The Crossroads house is next to the land where Mount Eagle once stood on North King's Highway. A Metro terminal is planned for the land directly in front of the Crossroads house.
History goes back to the late sixties in terms of the Crossroads program. In the late sixties in Fairfax County there was a lot of drug usage in the communities and in the schools. When we talk about Crossroads we're really talking about two facilities but one program. The clinic, that's an outpatient place that's located at Fairfax Towers. If the problem is severe enough that they need residential treatment, then you're referred here to the house, and the stay is anywhere from 6 months to a year. It's a lot more controlled, obviously, than outpatient. We have both males and females. The treatment is in groups, and individual, and a lot of it is just working out the everyday problems of life. There are no locks on the doors, and no bars on the windows. We get referrals from courts, from parents, from voluntary service.
We try to - from the day one - start defining when that person is going to go back out in the community. What seems difficult for anybody in treatment is the readjustment back into the community.
We are a totally abstinence program. We do not offer the choice, alternative use of methadone, and we do not medicate at all, or offer any mind-altering drugs such as tranquilizers, anti-depressants. We do have a regular physician that all the kids see for routine workups when they first come in, and then on periodic checkups after that. We do not dispense any kind of drugs. That can be abused or has been in the past.
All these kids have problems. You’re really talking about a multitude of acting out problems, not just the use of drugs. That is one of the symptoms. We try to teach them, to repattern so they can survive and react and respond in a sensible concerned way. Just sitting down and talking to an individual helps. Pointing out that they left a mess in the kitchen. Dealing with daily stress, that becomes an important issue too.
I want to stress two things: one is confidentiality. Federal guidelines are very, very strict and we abide by them because we feel they are important. Let's say you came up to me and said "I hear Suzie Q is in your program." I couldn't acknowledge the fact that Suzie Q's in the program unless Suzie Q told me it was all right. So it's very, very important for the community to know.
As far as the police are concerned we have a very good relationship, and very often they bust a kid or see a kid intoxicated in public --whether it's pot or alcohol or whatever --they'll say "Well, get over to Crossroads. " Another thing, our relationship with the schools are very good.
It's a pendulum, it is just that society has calmed down about it. I don't think there is any less than 3 or 4 years ago. I don't think there's as much heroin, even though we're seeing more of it than we were at this time last year. When I first came here the big thing for the kids was pot, and for the adults it was illegal methadone. Then they cracked down on all the programs in D. C. and thank God. So that kinda went out. Then they started with Qualudes. Then that died down and we saw a lot of alcohol. We're still seeing a lot of alcohol, a lot of K. W., that's Killer Weed. It's P. C. P. which is a horse tranquilizer, and mixed with marijuana or parsley. And if you don't have any of that good stuff you can go to your own kitchen get a little parsley and spray it with Roach or Raid and smoke that. It doesn't become physically addictive but there's a lot of physical complications. It's even more detrimental than heroin. Alcohol is up right now, and what it will, be 6 months from now I don't know. It's kind of scary when kids are mixing alcohol, K. W., barbiturates and stuff. That's a fatal combination.
I think we made a horrible mistake in the 60's when we had these commercials on television like the kid with a needle in his arm with the room swinging around "Don't smoke marijuana” as the message. You're saying to the kids that smoke marijuana that they're going to hell in a handbasket, and the kids knew it isn't true. We lost our credibility. I think education programs are important for exposure for the understanding of why a kid will turn to drugs. The kids that never get into it don't need it and the kids that get into it are going to use it. So let's deal with what's going on.
I've never sat down with a kid that's been smoking marijuana and said, especially to a guy, "This is going to inhibit your male hormone production, and you smoke enough of this stuff long enough you'll get breast enlargement and you're not going to have an erection." So what? He doesn't care. I smoke cigarettes. I see it's a hazard to health and it doesn't stop me, so I have to deal with why I continue to do that. The issue is not whether or not it's going to kill me.
Anyone is eligible to apply in our program and get in. Let's say a teenager comes with their parents. You'll be seen with a case worker for about an hour, hour and a half, not to just ask about drugs but about what's going on in school, at home, and finally what led to all this thing. We have had teenagers who call or drop in on their own. You talk to any kid. I have to say "Look, I can't work effectively with you unless your parents are involved --whatever's going on with you is going on with your family. "
We just rented the house for a house that we could hold 30 kids in but we've fixed it up a lot.