Many people with substance use disorder also smoke cigarettes. As part of primary care Fred Brown Recovery Services teaches classes about smoking cessation, led by Pamela A. Ennis, LAADC-CA. Ennis is one of the counselors on staff at Fred Brown Recovery Services, in which role she has served for 13 years.
Ennis came to Fred Brown Recovery Services from Kaiser Hospital where, among other roles, she established their smoking cessation program. She modeled the same program for Fred Brown Recovery Services. The class has several sessions, including what nicotine does to the heart, lungs and body; healthy lifestyles including exercise and adequate rest; information on nicotine replacement therapy; and general education about prescription medication support that can play a role in quitting smoking.
Ennis offers a second level of this class just to people who want to quit smoking. This program takes the classes a few steps further, and includes instruction on using nicotine gum, lozenges and patches to quit smoking, supplied by Fred Brown Recovery Services. The four-week program has twice weekly meetings to check in on progress and offer support. As new people cycle into the program, successful quitters finish. The longer program, more regular support, and assistance with nicotine replacement supplies has been very successful in helping many clients quit for good. Part of this success rate is grounded in learning about positive attitude, positive self-talk, and incorporating ways to stay focused.
Pam Ennis also teaches at Long Beach City College, training students to become drug and alcohol counselors like her. Ennis says while she is not an alcoholic herself, her father was, and she found through working at Fred Brown Recovery Services a deep passion for the work of helping people recover.
“I never thought I would be in the field of addiction medicine, I started off as a schoolteacher,” says Ennis. “When I was working at Kaiser, someone told me about Fred Brown and said I should check them out. On my first interview, I was hired. The minute I got here I loved it. I love it so much it led me to teach at LBCC, and I often connect students to Fred Brown Recovery Services for work. It is in my heart and soul to touch the lives of the people in recovery, and I found that passion here. I love being part of the Fred Brown Recovery Services team.”