DuPage County Panel Says Naloxone Offers Hope for Heroin Overdose Epidemic

Jim Scarpace, Executive Director at Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment in Aurora, speaks about heroin abuse and the overdose drug, naloxone.

Jim Scarpace, Executive Director at Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment in Aurora, speaks about heroin abuse and the overdose drug, naloxone.

As Chicagoland suburbs continue to combat an onslaught of lethal heroin overdoses, those close to the issue are making a concerted effort to educate area professionals and residents about potential solutions. Earlier this week, Gateway Foundation’s Jim Scarpace joined community leaders in a round-table discussion put together by U.S. Rep. Bill Foster’s office to talk about naloxone, known as the heroin overdose anecdote drug, and how it could be used to fight DuPage County’ overdose epidemic.

A life-saving substance administered by syringe or inhaled, naloxone is an opioid marketed under the brand name Narcan. Panelists unanimously agreed: naloxone saves lives, and it needs to be put into the hands of people positioned to use it for that purpose.

Gateway’s Jim Scarpace explained to participants that naloxone does not create a high and is not addictive. It works to reverse the effects of overdoses on all drugs classified as opioids – this includes heroin and some types of prescription pain medications, such as OxyContin and Percocet.

“Most people aren’t aware of naloxone, and what it can do,” said Jim Scarpace, executive director, Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment in Aurora. “However, access is not easily gained by some people.”

But progress is being made here in Illinois. Naloxone is not available in every state; only 17 states (including Illinois) and District of Columbia have passed laws to distribute it. Furthermore, among these states, Illinois is one of 10 that allow for third parties, such as a family member or friend of an intravenous drug user, to be prescribed naloxone.

Learn more about naloxone and how Illinois legislation is addressing the heroin epidemic.

Other topics discussed include:

  • The Good Samaritan Law, which is passed in Illinois, is intended to encourage bystanders to seek medical help for overdose victims. The bystander who calls 911 or seeks medical help will receive immunity from criminal charges for drug possession (except for marijuana). The overdose victim is protected, too.
  • Issues about naloxone accessibility and whether it should be an over-the-counter drug.
  • Medication available to aid in treating heroin addiction.

Held at the Yellow Box Christian Community Church in Naperville, the round table is one in a series of events organized by Congressman Foster to galvanize community leaders and concerned residents to address the uptick in heroin overdoses. Participating organizations and individuals include: Beacon-News Columnist Denise Crosby; DuPage County Health Department; DuPage Metropolitan Group; Gateway Foundation; Naperville resident Karen Hanneman whose son Justin Tokar died of a heroin overdose in 2011; and Yellow Box Community Christian Church.

Make yourself part of the solution to the heroin epidemic. Create greater awareness to reverse the disconcerting heroin trends impacting our communities. Learn more at RecoveryGateway.org/Heroin.

Teen Drug Trends Survey: K2 Losing Popularity but Illicit Drug Use on the Upswing

k2, spice, synthetic drugsGateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment points to a new study that shows synthetic marijuana (marketed as K-2, Spice, etc.), which has been of increasing concern because of its adverse effects and high rates of use, is losing its appeal with teens. Conversely, teen drug trends indicate overall illicit drug use is trending upward—which is being driven by teens’ drug of choice: marijuana.

The Good News

The second-most popular illicit drug used in 2012 among 10th and 12th graders (after marijuana) is dropping in popularity today. In 2013, there was a highly statistically significant fall in use of K2 and Spice among high school seniors, and a significant decrease for three combined grades. According to the 2013 Monitoring the Future study:

  • Among 12th graders: 11.3 percent used K2 in 2012, which dropped to 7.9 percent in 2013.
  • Among 10th graders: 8.8 percent used K2 in 2012, which decreased to 7.4 percent in 2013.
  • Among 8th graders: 4.4 percent used K2 in 2012, which declined to 4.0 percent in 2013.

“This encouraging news regarding synthetic marijuana usage reflects a substantial win for the future health and well-being of American teens and families. It also validates how concerted efforts from local, state and national governments in cooperation with the private sector can positively affect public safety in a relatively short period of time,” says Michael Darcy, President & CEO, Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment.

Likewise, research shows a sharply increasing proportion of teens in all three grades see great risk in using so-called “bath salts,” often described as “fake cocaine.” In a single year, the percent indicating that occasional use of bath salts carries great risk of harm has risen by 13, 17 and 25 percentage points in grades 8, 10 and 12, respectively.

teen drug trends, teen drug use, marijuanaThe Bad News

The proportions of students indicating any use of an illicit drug in the prior 12 months are:

  • Among 8th graders: 15 percent in 2013 compared to 13.5 percent in 2012.
  • Among 10th graders: 32 percent in 2013 compared to 30.4 percent in 2012.
  • Among 12th graders: 40 percent in 2013 compared to 39.4 percent in 2012.

These are the latest findings from the University of Michigan’s annual study funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Since 1991, the Monitoring the Future study has annually surveyed 40,000 to 50,000 U.S. secondary school students to help shed a light on teen alcohol and drug use.

For teens who struggle with substance abuse issues, Gateway Foundation offers specialized alcohol and drug treatment programs for teens while instilling healthy coping skills to assist teens with the challenging transition into adulthood. To learn more about Gateway’s free, confidential consultation, call 877-505-HOPE (4673).

Gateway’s Mindfulness-Based Sobriety Webinars Well-Received

gateway mindfulness webinar, mindfulness-based sobriety

Nick Turner and Phil Welches, co-authors of “Mindfulness-Based Sobriety”

As part of Gateway Foundation’s on-going efforts to enhance knowledge about substance abuse treatment, Gateway’s own Dr. Phil Welches and Nick Turner, MSW recently led two informative CE webinars covering Mindfulness-Based Sobriety.

Consequently, Gateway was able to contribute to the professional development of hundreds of professionals working in the fields of healthcare and behavioral health. Participants shared positive feedback about the CE training, such as:

Several complex ideas were presented effectively and efficiently. I’ve been reading about this stuff for a long time and these concepts usually take a whole lot of pages to get across. Great job!”

“Keeping abreast of the recent trends helps in gaining a clearer understanding of the potential we have to engage the client in an effort to effect positive changes.”

Glad to hear about Gateway using mindfulness.”

Wow, Phil and Nick did a wonderful job! I can’t believe how fast the hour went by.”

“I wish to thank you for the opportunity to hear about Mindfulness Based Sobriety. I practice ACT and am in grounded in behavior therapies so this was very interesting.”

To view a recorded version of the Mindfulness-Based Sobriety webinar and download the presentation, click here. To keep up on industry news and future webinars, sign up for Today’s Resource e-newsletter.

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment is Different…Find Out Why

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment CentersWhen someone chooses Gateway  Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers, our team of clinical professionals strives to ensure each person is treated with respect and feels empowered to turn their lives around. We don’t fixate about the past rather we look ahead to what life can be like in recovery, a life that is truly worth living.

At Gateway, shame dissipates and motivation appears. Families heal and reunite. The brave decision to manage substance abuse issues and the commitment it requires remaining sober is celebrated every day.

Here is what people who recently completed treatment at Gateway Treatment Centers have to say:

“I am truly thankful to have found my way to Gateway Chicago West. The ENTIRE staff has treated me with dignity and like a family member…they all have helped save my life!  I sincerely hope that anybody who needs help with substance abuse finds their way to Gateway.  Gateway is the family helping to save me and my family.”

“I am now 120 days clean and sober after trying to quit myself the past 40 years. I would and will recommend Gateway to anyone who has a problem like I have.”

“I have had a wonderful experience at Gateway, I have learned so much in the time I have spent in treatment. The program has offered me a lot of support outside the groups. I would recommend Gateway to anyone seeking help.”

Read More Success Stories

To learn more about Outpatient and Residential Treatment Programs and our free, confidential consultation, please call 877-505-HOPE (4673).

Now Covered: Treatment for Substance Abuse Enters Primary Care Arena

alcohol or drug issues, healthcareFinancial barriers are a big reason individuals generally prolong seeking professional treatment for alcohol and drug abuse issues. However, that barrier is no longer an issue for hundreds of thousands of Americans. That’s because treatment for substance abuse is now recognized as one of the 10 essential health benefits covered by health insurance per the provisions of The Affordable Care Act.

As of January 1, 2014, hundreds of thousands of Americans who need help working through addiction issues now have access to professional treatment via health insurance.

In this new era of healthcare, it is more important than ever for individuals to practice preventative health care management to promote healthy aging. And, while it may be tempting to twist the truth about how many drinks you consume each week, it is in your best interest to be honest because you just may learn something new like:    

  • Where you range on the scale between moderate and binge drinking.
  • The risks associated with the use of prescribed medications, especially opioids.
  • How symptoms of anxiety or depression may relate to alcohol or drug use. 
  • Why you need to be extra vigilant about adhering to moderate drinking if a family history of alcoholism exists.

 Make the most of your medical check-ups by being honest about your alcohol and drug use because an open dialogue with your healthcare professional is just what the doctor ordered.

If alcohol or drug use is a problem for you or a loved one, Gateway Treatment Centers offer Outpatient Treatment Programs available in the morning and evening hours and centers located throughout Illinois, including Chicago. To learn more about our free, confidential consultation, please call Gateway at 877-505-HOPE (4673) or visit RecoverGateway.org.


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