Ohio CASA Board Member Weighs In on Trauma and Addiction

As part of a project by the Southeast Trauma-Informed Care Collaborative, Ron Luce talks about the impact of past trauma on individuals he serves as executive director of the John W. Clem Recovery House.

Luce explains that the underlying cause of an alcohol or drug addiction is frequently some kind of trauma. “Really, when you get down to the bottom of what’s going on, it’s not about the drugs or the alcohol,” he says.

“Working on the … addiction and, at the same time being able to recognize that there is some sort of traumatic event underneath it, allows for a co-occurring response to that person. It’s not only dealing with a drug or alcohol issue … It’s also recognizing that person’s underlying trauma.”

Luce said people who have experienced trauma need first to recognize that the trauma “usually is not your fault.”

They also should seek professional help from psychiatrists and psychologists who understand trauma and have the skills to work with its victims. Last, they need to surround themselves with positive people who can support them and with whom they feel safe, and who understand that recovering from trauma is not quick or easy.

The Southeast Trauma-Informed Care Collaborative is an initiative of the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services.