The mission of Free At Last is to rebuild the community from within, reclaiming addicts and giving people who failed in the past the chance to succeed in the future. Free At Last provides community based, culturally appropriate bilingual (English/Spanish) treatment, intervention and prevention services designed to reduce the exceptionally high rates of substance abuse and HIV infection and to break the cycle of addiction, reunite and rebuild families torn apart by intergenerational addiction, provide alternatives to incarceration, and foster economic self sufficiency.
When drug turf wars led to the murder of 42 people in the City of East Palo Alto in 1992, the media called it “the murder capital of the U.S.” When the Urban Health Study reported that the city had the highest incidence of HIV infection among IV drug users of any city west of Chicago, another epidemic needed to be addressed.
Free At Last: Community Recovery And Rehabilitation Services (Free At Last) was
founded in 1993 by a small group of community residents which decided that the community needed longterm solutions to reduce addiction and stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. They envisioned a community recovery center for substance abuse treatment, intervention and prevention services with a special focus on those affected by incarceration, HIV/AIDS, and intergenerational addiction.
Free At Last’s successful community based programs are run by members of the community within the community. Its adopted evidence based program design provides more positive results in meeting client needs than state run programs
Free At Last’s recovery and rehabilitation services over the past twenty plus years have been proven to succeed. According to research that tracks individuals in treatment over extended periods, most people who get into and remain in treatment stop using drugs, decrease their criminal activity, and improve their occupational, social, and psychological functioning. Below is a list of positive impacts that local collaborating agencies and law enforcers can attribute to Free At Last’s programs and services:
Qualitative Impacts/Social Return on Investment
Free At Last has made a tremendous impact on the health of our local communities. Below are a few areas where our programs and services have made a difference:
Our programs have helped reduce:
- Addiction related crime and violence in neighboring cities
- Societal costs of prisons and the criminal justice system
Our programs have helped increase:
- Stabilization among our clients through access to much needed mental and physical health services
- Access to and participation in reentry services from incarceration
- Reunification with families and children torn apart by drug and alcohol addiction
- Access to and participation in anger management, communication and conflict resolution skill building programs
- Access to job training opportunities and placement