If you suspect you or someone you care about has an issue with alcohol or medication misuse or abuse, one way to do an initial screening is through Florida's BRITE Project, which is active in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Sarasota counties, as well as several others.
From mid 2004 to mid 2007, the program screened nearly 3,500 older adults, and nearly one-quarter of them received brief intervention for alcohol or medication misuse, says Larry Schonfeld, chairman of the department of aging and mental health at the University of South Florida.
Along with misuse of alcohol and medication, 30 percent of those screened also showed moderate to serious depression.
Locally, people can turn to these organizations for help:
Gulf Coast Jewish Family Services
Based in Clearwater. Contact Dorothy Chambers at firstname.lastname@example.org; (727) 479-1800, ext. 3024; www.gcjfs.org/brite.htm.
Centre for Women
Based in Tampa. Contact Denise Dydowicz at email@example.com; (813) 251-8437, ext. 241; www.centreforwomen.net/brite/help_seniors_brite.swf.
Drug Abuse Comprehensive Coordinating Office Inc.
Based in Tampa. Contact Sherri Kincaid at firstname.lastname@example.org; (813) 984-1818; www.dacco.org/program.html.
Coastal Behavioral Healthcare Inc.
Based in Venice. Contact David A. Clapp at email@example.com; (941) 492-4300; www.coastalbh.org/saadultsgeriatric.htm.
More information is available on the BRITE Web site: BRITE.fmhi.usf.edu.