Interview with Tonya Jernigan, November 26, 2018

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Beginning of her career working with women experiencing domestic violence

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Partial Transcript: Let me just start off my saying today is--what is today?

Segment Synopsis: Tonya Jernigan talks about her background in psychology and women's studies, and how she knew she wanted to work on women's issues. After college she began working with women who had experienced domestic violence, and eventually landed a job as a therapist at the Chrysalis House.

Keywords: Chrysalis House; Domestic violence; Substance abuse; Women

Subjects: Drug abuse counseling.; Drug abuse counselors; Drug abuse--Treatment.; Drug addiction and recovery; Drug addiction--Treatment.; Rehabilitation centers.; Rehabilitation counseling.; Rehabilitation counselors.; Substance abuse treatment facilities; Substance abuse--Patients--Counseling of.; Substance abuse--Patients--Rehabilitation.; Substance abuse--Social aspects; Substance abuse--Treatment.

00:09:28 - Women & interpersonal trauma linked to substance abuse

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Partial Transcript: Well, your background in women's studies is really interesting to me. And I'm wondering how you think about substance abuse particularly as it pertains to women.

Segment Synopsis: Jernigan discusses how research has shown that women with substance abuse issues often have more interpersonal trauma, that is, trauma that was done directly to them by another person, and how substance abuse often becomes a coping skill women use to deal with these negative, traumatic experiences.

Keywords: Interpersonal trauma; Psychology; Substance abuse; Trauma; Women

Subjects: Drug abuse counselors; Drug abuse--Psychological aspects.; Drug addiction and recovery; Drug addiction--Psychological aspects.; Rehabilitation counselors.; Substance abuse--Psychological aspects.; Substance abuse--Social aspects; Substance abuse--Treatment.

00:14:10 - The rise of opioid and heroin use among women entering Chrysalis House

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Partial Transcript: Do you--uh, you're gonna have to remind of your timeline in terms of years...

Segment Synopsis: Jernigan recalls that when she first came to Chrysalis House in 2010, opioid use disorders were dominant among women who were coming for treatment. Heroin use, in 2010-2011 was typically not common. In 2015 and 2016, Jernigan says about 60% percent of women entering Chrysalis House were using heroin. The increase was "drastic." Jernigan talks about how this was a likely a consequence of laws enacted to regulate prescribing and shut down pill mills.

Keywords: Chrysalis House; Heroin; Opiates; Opioid use; Pill mills; Prescribing; Women

Subjects: Drug abuse counseling.; Drug abuse counselors; Drug abuse--Treatment.; Drug addiction and recovery; Drug addiction--Treatment.; Rehabilitation centers.; Rehabilitation counseling.; Rehabilitation counselors.; Substance abuse treatment facilities; Substance abuse--Patients--Counseling of.; Substance abuse--Patients--Rehabilitation.; Substance abuse--Social aspects; Substance abuse--Treatment.

00:21:31 - A substance use epidemic in America

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Partial Transcript: Um, you know, I--you know--and that's kind of the hard thing.

Segment Synopsis: Jernigan talks about how the trends of which drugs people use might change, but the general problem of substance abuse is a huge problem in America that will not go away. Untreated trauma and lack of social mobility will drive people to use, if they have a true substance abuse disorder, she says.

Keywords: Employment; Epidemic; Generational cycles; Opioid use; Prison; Substance abuse; Trauma

Subjects: Drug abuse--Social aspects.; Drug addiction; Substance abuse--Social aspects

00:22:48 - Life for women living at Chrysalis House

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Partial Transcript: Um, for women that, you know, are admitted into the Chrysalis House, can you talk about what the...

Segment Synopsis: Jernigan talks about how many of the women beginning their stay at Chrysalis House are on guard, and have been hurt by people who were supposed to love and care for them. She also talks about noticing an increase in desperate behavior as addictions to highly addictive substances like opioids have become so prevalent.

Keywords: Chrysalis House; Opioid use; Treatment; Women

Subjects: Drug abuse counseling.; Drug abuse counselors; Drug abuse--Social aspects.; Drug abuse--Treatment.; Drug addiction; Drug addiction and recovery; Drug addiction--Treatment.; Rehabilitation centers.; Rehabilitation counseling.; Rehabilitation counselors.; Substance abuse treatment facilities; Substance abuse--Patients--Counseling of.; Substance abuse--Patients--Rehabilitation.; Substance abuse--Social aspects; Substance abuse--Treatment.

00:31:30 - Intense stigma against pregnant women with substance abuse disorders

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Partial Transcript: Yeah, uh, you know, what, what you're talking about is really a sign of--

Segment Synopsis: Jernigan talks about how often times pregnant woman with an opioid use disorder experience an intense stigma in their community, where they are told that they are "choosing" drugs over their unborn child. She also talks about other obstacles that prevent pregnant women from seeking treatment. Jernigan also discusses the problematic phrase "drug-addicted babies," which implies that babies can become addicted. She says that addiction is defined as a host of behaviors and psychological states that babies do not have. Jernigan talks about how Kentucky has done a good job of raising awareness about Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome in the rise of the opioid crisis, particularly.

Keywords: Kentucky; Mothers; Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome; Opioid use; Pregnancy; Pregnant women; Stigma; Substance abuse

Subjects: Drug abuse counseling.; Drug abuse counselors; Drug abuse--Social aspects.; Drug abuse--Treatment.; Drug addiction; Drug addiction and recovery; Drug addiction--Treatment.; Rehabilitation centers.; Rehabilitation counseling.; Rehabilitation counselors.; Substance abuse treatment facilities; Substance abuse--Patients--Counseling of.; Substance abuse--Patients--Rehabilitation.; Substance abuse--Social aspects; Substance abuse--Treatment.

00:41:29 - Medication-assisted treatment & defining recovery

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Partial Transcript: Um, this is bringing me to my--the, the next question.

Segment Synopsis: Jernigan talks about how individualized the recovery process is, and how it really depends on the person. Some people can go to group meetings and therapy and not take any medication. Some people need to take medication. She says recovery for some people may look like using buprenorphine for the rest of their lives. Jernigan says that the main mindset that defines recovery for her is a person who decides they want and deserve a better life. She stresses that recovery is not a straight line, that there are many peaks and valleys.

Keywords: Medicated-assisted treatment; Medication-assisted treatment; Recovery; Substance abuse; Women

Subjects: Drug abuse counseling.; Drug abuse counselors; Drug abuse--Social aspects.; Drug abuse--Treatment.; Drug addiction; Drug addiction and recovery; Drug addiction--Treatment.; Rehabilitation centers.; Rehabilitation counseling.; Rehabilitation counselors.; Substance abuse treatment facilities; Substance abuse--Patients--Counseling of.; Substance abuse--Patients--Rehabilitation.; Substance abuse--Social aspects; Substance abuse--Treatment.

00:51:47 - Transitioning into life beyond Chrysalis House

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Partial Transcript: Um, I just have one last question for you and that is, what--why is it four to six months?

Segment Synopsis: Jernigan talks about how most women stay at Chrysalis House for at least 6 months, sometimes longer. She discusses how many women start new jobs while in treatment so that they are employable when they leave treatment. She talks about how difficult the process of recovery from a substance abuse disorder is for these women, having to juggle a new baby, mental health issues, and employment issues.

Keywords: Addiction; Mental health; Pregnancy; Recovery; Substance abuse

Subjects: Drug abuse counseling.; Drug abuse counselors; Drug abuse--Social aspects.; Drug abuse--Treatment.; Drug addiction; Drug addiction and recovery; Drug addiction--Treatment.; Rehabilitation centers.; Rehabilitation counseling.; Rehabilitation counselors.; Substance abuse treatment facilities; Substance abuse--Patients--Counseling of.; Substance abuse--Patients--Rehabilitation.; Substance abuse--Social aspects; Substance abuse--Treatment.