Film of substance

Holly Welborn

Photo By Kat Kerlin

Holly Welborn is the development director for Bristlecone Family Resources, which helps people and families with substance abuse problems. The center is located on a peaceful former ranch at 1725 So. McCarran Blvd. For more information, call Bristlecone at 954-1400, and visit

Bristlecone has had some recent attention from the BBC. Tell me about that.

What happened is the BBC—it’s all tentative—are looking to do a documentary on methamphetamine use in the U.S. They looked at Bristlecone mostly because our drug court system, Bristlecone Adult and Family Drug Court, is one of the best in the U.S. They also targeted us because of the high methamphetamine problem in the state of Nevada.

What happens if it goes through?

They’re looking to interview some of our clientele and produce a documentary because, in the United Kingdom, they don’t really have a methamphetamine problem, and they’re just fascinated by it and by the drug court system because they don’t have that there. … They haven’t set anything for sure, but they have contacted our offices, they’ve interviewed one of our judges. They’re just waiting for [the go-ahead from their producers].

What does Bristlecone do?

We are an adult alcohol and drug counseling center, and we also have Bristlecone Family and Adult Drug Court system. We provide resources to individuals suffering from any kind of addiction. We have residential and outpatient services, as well as transitional living. We provide one-on-one counseling, groups, and it’s all based on evidence-based research. We also have a social detox unit—we used to have a medical detox unit, but we were forced to give it up because of funding issues. That’s increased the burden on the hospitals and also the [Community] Triage Center— it’s the main center for people detoxing from heroin and other drugs, and it would be deadly if they didn’t have medical care while going through that, and we used to have that here. One of our goals this year is to refund a medical detox program.

What made Bristlecone stand out to the BBC people?

We have our drug court system; we have a judge on staff, so we deal with it at the legal level. … The other thing is we have one of only two residential gambling treatment programs in the state.

There are only two in the state?

Isn’t that insane? … We have clients here for gambling. Most have co-occurring problems with drugs, but it doesn’t mean we wouldn’t take in a non-drug gambling patient.

From what you know, is meth use in Reno decreasing? Increasing?

Of course meth is always going to be a huge problem here, but we’re starting to see a rise in heroin use, especially among the younger people, under 30.

New Year’s Eve can be a tough time for people with substance abuse problems. Any coping advice?

Well first, it’s interesting you ask that because we have a spike of people whose New Year’s resolution is to get clean. They party one last time on the 31st, and we have spikes on Jan. 1, so our waiting list increases. My advice is to definitely give us a call. If we can’t get you into residential right away, we can get you into outpatient care You don’t want to be alone out there. And to find a 12-step program if you can’t get into the center immediately so you can have a support system around you.

Is the waiting list long?

You don’t stay on the waiting list very long. … The other very important thing to note is we prioritize—if you are a woman and you are pregnant, we will get you into our facility immediately.