What’s Been Going on at Gateway?

This year marks our 50th anniversary, and we are celebrating our accomplishments while working to improve and innovate. These past few weeks, we’ve looked back and forward:

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Gateway Aurora alumna Lucy Gabinski-Smith (left) and Lake Villa alumnus Nick Kanehl (center) visited our Gateway Chicago headquarters March 20 to inspire the board, including CEO Tom Britton (right), with their recovery stories*. They also shared how they have continued their connection to Gateway through our alumni programs.

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Chicago River North and Independence Clinical Director Gilbert Lichstein taught 36 participants about motivational interviewing at a Loyola University Medical Center Grand Rounds Training on March 22. Motivational interviewing helps clinicians to treat each patient as an individual.

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We’re over the Cupid Shuffle. A Gateway team ran with members of the recovery community for the annual Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K March 25.

*If you or someone you know would like to tell your Gateway recovery story, please contact us. We’d love to interview you and inspire others. 

Drug & Alcohol Use in Adolescents

Nearly 70 percent of high school seniors have tried alcohol, 50 percent have taken an illegal drug, and more than 20 percent have used a prescription drug for a non-medical reason, studies show. Research has found the majority of people are most likely to misuse drugs and alcohol during this transformative time.

Why is this the trend?

  • Underdevelopment of the prefrontal cortex
    • The parts of the brain that process reward and pain first mature during childhood. However, the prefrontal cortex – responsible for controlling impulses, emotions, and decision-making – does not mature until people reach their mid-20s. Therefore, adolescents are motivated by the desire to feel pleasure and avoid pain, both of which are associated with drug and alcohol use.
  • Genetic factors
    • Certain genetic traits, for instance a low harm-avoidance personality trait, make individuals more susceptible to using drugs and alcohol.
    • Mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety also increase the likelihood an adolescent will turn to substances.
  • Social environment
    • Teens are more likely to try drugs and alcohol if their friends are also using.
  • Accessibility of drugs
    • Adolescents are at an increased risk of trying substances if they have easy access to them.
  • Family environment

Compared to adults, adolescents are much more likely to hide their substance use from loved ones. Adolescents are also less likely to show signs of a problem because they have a shorter history of use. However, there are still red flags.

What are the signs?

  • Loss of interest in school and hobbies
  • Sudden need for more money and unwillingness to explain spending habits
  • Withdrawal from family and friends, and an increased desire to be alone
  • Change in friends
  • Change in behavior or personality
  • Unresponsiveness to communication
  • Frequent rule-breaking, especially of curfew

While most adolescents who try drugs and alcohol do not have substance use disorders, the likelihood of developing a substance use disorder is greater for people who begin using in their early teens. According to a study, 15.2 percent of people who start drinking by age 14 develop substance use disorders, compared to 2.1 percent of those who wait until they are 21 or older.

What are the effects?

  • Difficulties with schoolwork
  • Relationship problems
  • Loss of interest in normal healthy activities
  • Impaired memory and thinking ability
  • Increased risk of contracting an infectious disease
  • Mental health problems—including substance use disorders
  • Increased possibility of partaking in unsafe sexual activities
  • Overdose
  • Death

The key in the battle against adolescent addiction is time: We need to involve adolescents in professional treatment programs as soon as possible. Adolescents are less likely to seek out help on their own, so it is crucial loved ones help them into treatment.

Bad Habits: Processing Addictions Beyond Alcohol and Drugs

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When people think of addiction, they think of substances like alcohol and drugs. They rarely think of addictive behaviors, but addiction goes well past substance use disorders.

In 2011, the American Society of Addiction Medicine included behavioral addiction in the broader definition of addiction. Behavioral, or process, addiction is the repeated compulsion to engage in a behavior, even when the behavior becomes harmful, because the individual cannot resist engaging in the behavior without intervention. Some of the most common behavioral addictions are eating, shopping, gambling, sex, and use of social media.

While process addictions have always been prevalent in the addiction community, they gained traction fairly recently in the larger medical community due to two big findings. First, people with substance use disorders tend to have more than one addiction. Second, the brain reacts to behaviors the same way it does to substances – this is why certain behaviors, like gambling, can be addictive.

Similar to substance addictions, there is no single cause of behavioral addictions. Addiction is complex, and so are the reasons why certain people develop them while others do not. However, research has indicated genetics play a major role in a person’s susceptibility to developing the disease. In addition, people who develop addictions often report high levels of impulsivity and sensation-seeking personality traits paired with low levels of harm avoidance traits.

Further, diminished control is common in individuals with substance use disorders and process addictions. Due to tolerance, people struggling with addiction experience less pleasure each time they engage in the behavior or consume the substance, so they become motivated by negative reinforcement (relief from withdrawals) as opposed to positive reinforcement.

Co-occurrence with substance use disorders is relatively common among individuals with behavioral addictions. People with a gambling addiction are 3.8 times more likely to struggle with an alcohol use disorder. (Correlation does not mean causation, however, and the relationship between the two is unclear.)

Oftentimes, process addictions are not regarded as dangerous or detrimental compared to substance use disorders. But job or financial loss and relationship issues with family and loved ones still accompany these disorders.

Process addictions can also be more difficult to diagnose, as the signs are usually not as clear as, say, a heroin addiction. Physical health does not immediately start deteriorating and individuals oftentimes hide and disguise their behaviors from people close to them.

One of the biggest challenges in identifying these disorders is the social acceptance and, in some cases, necessity – to a degree – of behaviors such as eating, shopping, and spending money. Others may not consider related addictions issues until it takes a tremendous toll on someone’s life, until it’s too late. Before addictions spiral, though, pay attention to the red flags.

Warning signs of a behavioral addiction:

Making lifestyle changes to accommodate the behavior
– Extreme mood fluctuations related to the activity
– Justifications or rationalizations for continuing to partake in the behavior
– Extreme excitement when discussing the behavior
– Debt and frequent money borrowing

Regardless of the type of addiction, societal stigma often casts addiction as a moral failing, a lack of willpower or motivation. Research shows sustained recovery is more successful when the addiction is treated professionally, so we must continue addressing the roadblocks preventing people with behavioral addictions from seeking and receiving professional treatment.

The Trump Administration’s Opioid Action Plan

valentino-funghi-276005-unsplashDuring the 2016 presidential election, then Republican nominee Donald Trump took a tough stance on the opioid crisis, declaring he would help solve the crisis if he were elected. President Trump often cited his personal connection to addiction as a major motivator, as his oldest brother passed away after a battle with alcohol use disorder.

The first step the Trump administration took was to declare the opioid crisis a national public health emergency last October. In 2017, Trump also donated his third quarter salary to the Department of Health and Human Services in an effort to combat the opioid crisis.

During a speech on Monday in New Hampshire, President Trump released his plan to combat the opioid crisis, which he called “The Crisis Next Door.” The plan is broken into the following three sections: enforcement and interdiction, education and prevention through a federal advertising campaign, and employment assistance for those battling addiction:

Enforcement & Interdiction

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President Trump has mentioned numerous times a desire to implement the death penalty for drug traffickers when the Department of Justice (DOJ) deems it appropriate, which has stirred controversy. During today’s speech, Trump officially called for the use of the death penalty for high-level drug traffickers.

The DOJ is now leading a task force on major litigation against drug companies at the federal level. Trump called for these companies to be held responsible for their actions. The administration plans to cut the nationwide opioid prescriptions by one-third. Trump also stated federal funding will be invested in the development of non-addictive painkillers. In addition, within two years at least half of all federally employed healthcare providers will adopt best practices for opioid prescribing, and within five years all federally employed healthcare providers will do so in order to prevent over prescribing.

Trump also emphasized supplying emergency responders and law enforcement with the overdose-reversing medication Narcan. Some cities, including Chicago, have already put forth this policy.

Education & Prevention

children-403582_1280A major initiative will be a federal advertising campaign targeting young adults and children. The administration plans to spend money on commercials that depict the devastating effects of drugs to scare children away from ever using them.

During his speech, Trump highlighted Adapt Pharma and its work with colleges and high schools. Adapt provided colleges and universities across the country with four boxes and high schools with two boxes of Narcan in an effort to reduce student overdose deaths. Adapt has also provided education on Narcan to school staff.

Employment

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Another focal point is helping inmates with substance use disorders get the treatment they need and, further, helping them secure employment after they are released. Trump referenced the country’s low unemployment rate and strong economy as being beneficial to helping inmates get hired.

Additional Takeaways:

Although no financial plans were discussed during the speech, in his latest budget proposal released in February, Trump called for an allocation of nearly $17 billion in 2019 to fight the opioid epidemic. The money from the budget will mainly go to expanding coverage of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) and helping states monitor and track clinics that prescribe a large amount of opioids, which many public health officials deem necessary to resolving the crisis. Trump reiterated in his speech that the administration will dedicate resources to ensure the accessibility and affordability of medication-assisted treatments.

The administration will also waive a Medicaid rule that prevents treatment facilities with more than 16 beds from receiving reimbursements for addiction services. This initiative could prove instrumental for low-income individuals seeking treatment.

Shortly after the president’s speech, Congress released plans to introduce multiple bills to help end the opioid crisis. One of the bills is the Preventing Overdoses While in Emergency Rooms (POWER) act. This bipartisan bill aims to set up protocols for emergency rooms across the United States on best practices for discharging overdose patients, to ensure patients have the resources they need to succeed post-hospitalization. Measures of this act would ensure patients’ access to overdose-reversal medication and other medication-assisted treatments, as well as peer-support specialists and other types of treatment programs.

It’s Not Always Easy Being Green: Staying Sober this St. Patrick’s Day

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This weekend, the Chicago River will flow green and people dressed in green across the country will flood the streets, bars, and restaurants for St. Patrick’s Day. The holiday, originally celebrated in honor of the patron saint of Ireland, has become a drinking holiday for many Americans. It can be easy for nondrinkers and those in recovery to feel excluded and uncomfortable during the holiday weekend. So here is Gateway’s guide to activities that do not involve alcohol and some tips in case you find yourself among the pint glasses:

Stay in and enjoy your favorite indoor activities.

Whether you prefer Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime, there are plenty of streaming options to choose from. Marathon a new series or re-watch a classic film from the comfort of your own home. For a list of what is available for streaming this weekend, click here.

If sports are more to your liking, then, as you probably already know, you’re in luck—March Madness . College basketball is now at the forefront of the sports world with games playing nearly every minute of the day. Even if your ride or die team failed to make it into the tournament or is already out, there are plenty of exciting matchups and Cinderella stories waiting to happen. For the schedule of all this season’s games, click here.

Read a new novel or re-read your favorite one. For a list of books everyone should read, across different genres, click here.  If you’re in the mood for fresh books with the potential to become classics, here is a link of New York Times’ best sellers released this past weekend.

If you prefer something more hands-on, look no further than the DIY board on Pinterest to find tons of crafts to keep you busy through the weekend—and even through the remainder of the month.

Focus on any of your hobbies, whether it’s playing an instrument or baking. Whatever you decide to do, dedicate time this weekend to something you thoroughly enjoy.

If you start to feel cabin fever…

Use this weekend to see the newest movies in theaters. Blank Panther has shattered world records and received glowing reviews. If you’ve already seen Black Panther or classic superhero movies aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other options now showing, including A Wrinkle in Time and Tomb Raider. Click here for a complete list of movies currently playing.

The time for New Year’s resolutions may be over, but it’s never too late to make a new resolution or to revisit one you made in January. Heading to the gym or a fitness class is a sure way to get your body—and your mind—feeling good. Exercise is proven to signal the release of dopamine, which makes you feel happy.

Surrounding yourself with people who are also not drinking is the surest way to resist temptation. Even if you are not drinking, simply seeing alcohol can lead to cravings.

However, if you find yourself somewhere where other people are drinking, remember to keep your mind and hands occupied. Try to find a sober friend who will accompany you so you have additional support and someone to talk to. Mingle with other guests but shy away from areas where alcohol is located, like bars. Hold a cup of a non-alcoholic beverage, like a carbonated drink or seltzer water mixed with juice. This reduces the likelihood someone else will make a drink for you or ask if you want something to drink.

Always remember you know yourself best, and if you feel uncomfortable, it is okay to leave. Trust your instincts.

There is no wrong way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and regardless of what everyone is doing, you should take the time to do what is best for you this weekend.

“It’s All in Your Head”

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For centuries, addiction was viewed as a psychological problem, all just in someone’s head. To be “cured” someone simply needed to want to quit. Addiction is, in fact, in a person’s head, but not in the way many believed. It is in people’s heads because addiction alters the brain.

Addiction is a chronic disease that afflicts millions of people across the country and millions more around the globe. It does not discriminate against an individual’s socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, race, etc. It affects people of all backgrounds across all generations. It collaterally affects the families and loved ones of those battling this disease.

Addiction is an extremely complex disease that is misunderstood by many people to this day. Though much progress has been made regarding the stigma around addiction, many still view addiction as a moral failing. Unlike many other diseases, there is a sense of blame that is placed on those that have addictions.  As a whole, society has demonized addiction and made it so that those who are battling the disease have a hard time speaking out and seeking out the necessary treatment for the fear of being ashamed and judged.

Addiction, however, is not a moral failing. It is, instead, a chronic disease that often requires medical and professional help. Much like other diseases, addiction can destroy relationships with loved ones, it can cause many health and financial problems. Even with all of the negative consequences, addiction is hard to break because there is no simple solution or cure.

While no one decides or chooses to have a substance use disorder, some are more genetically predisposed to addiction than others. Through various research regarding addiction, genetics have been found to play a role in the disease. Studies conducted on twins and adopted children show that about 40 to 60 percent of susceptibility to addiction is hereditary. While it is not clear why some people become addicted and others do not, there are some factors such as genetics and environment that increase a person’s susceptibility to having an addiction.

But what is clear is the use of alcohol and drugs alters the brain and makes it harder for those with substance use disorders to quit. The brain starts to rely on the substance. Though the initial decision to try a substance may be voluntary, after a while it becomes compulsive – people begin to lose the ability to say no.

After continued substance use, the part of the brain that controls judgment becomes impaired. Once the brain becomes impaired, the person struggles to have the control he or she needs to say no. Addictive substances flood the brain’s reward circuit with dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical messenger that signals pleasure. Once dopamine is released, the brain begins to associate the substance with that feeling of pleasure, the “high.” This leads to the individual wanting to use that substance over and over again to chase that same feeling.

However, the feeling of pleasure diminishes as the brain adjusts to the excess dopamine; as a result, more of the substance is required in order for the individual to experience the same amount of pleasure. This leads to individuals developing a tolerance, needing more to feel the pleasure they once experienced. In many cases, individuals begin to take more of the substance in order to achieve that high and it becomes more difficult to break the addiction. Long-term use of drugs and/or alcohol leads to sometimes permanent changes in the brain, depending on the frequency and amount the individual used. The repeated use of drugs and/or alcohol begins to affect functions in the brain like learning, judgment, decision-making, and memory.

In addition, this excess dopamine can also lessen the pleasure an individual feels when they begin to do other things that once brought them pleasure, such as spending time with friend or eating their favorite dessert.

After someone stops using, they face withdrawals. Withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, shaking, fatigue, among many more effects. The only way to get immediate relief from the symptoms is to use the substance. Wanting a release from these unpleasant symptoms and to temporarily experience the “high” once again, the individual oftentimes turns to the substance. The brain has already associated said substance with pleasure and learned that this is the way to feel good. The brain is wired to seek pleasure, and once it has associated a certain action with pleasure, it is begins to seek out the source of the pleasure.

Since addiction affects learning and memory, people may be in danger of relapsing after seeing a beer bottle, for instance if they have alcohol use disorder. Because of conditioned learning, they will begin to crave the alcohol and feel compulsion try to take over – even if they haven’t had alcohol in a long time. The hippocampus and amygdala are the two parts of the brain that store environmental cues and even when an individual no longer wants to continue seeking out the source of their pleasure, the brain still associates the source with pleasure – they develop cravings when they are around the substance.

Many individuals battling addiction feel that they have to go through this fight by themselves, and to carry that burden solely on their shoulders. It is not an easy topic to discuss, but it is one that needs to be addressed differently. Instead of blame, empathy and acceptance needs to be shown towards those who are struggling. The stigma of addiction puts blame solely on those who have it. While breaking the vicious cycle of addiction does indeed take a lot of willpower and inner strength, it is not as easy as an individual deciding to quit.

Much like many other diseases, addiction can be treated and managed. It is important to remember that relapses do occur, but it does not mean that the individual cannot successfully manage their addiction. Having specialized treatment programs and seeking out professional help is the best way to start towards a life of sobriety. Attempting to go “cold-turkey” without professional supervision can be dangerous. There are instances of death and other life-threatening occurrences. Which is why seeking out professional help is the safest and most reliable way to begin the journey to recovery.

What’s Been Going on at Gateway?

A lot of us at Gateway have been busy this past month. Running. Dressing up. Flying to warmer places. Before we get back to work this week, we’re looking back:

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On Feb. 10, Gateway Aurora Executive Director Jim Scarpace (right), LCPC, and Admissions Coordinator Nicole DeMory (left) attended the Black Bar Association (BBA) of Will County‘s Bi-Annual Barrister’s Ball. The BBA advocates for civil rights and equal access to education. The group’s event spotlighted community leaders in the county.

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A Delaware Gateway team ran in the “E-Racing the Stigma” 5K on March 3 to help raise $94,683 for atTAcK addiction, a nonprofit established to assist individuals and families affected by addiction.

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On March 6, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Engagement Dr. Teresa Garate and Project Specialist Kellie Romany attended The Kennedy Forum‘s On The Table event “Reframing Mental Health in the Media.” Images from the nonprofit Be Vocal (left) reframed representations of mental health. Speakers included WBEZ criminal justice reporter Shannon Heffernan (left) and Marine Corps Veteran Sonya Ebhotemen (right), who has used her experiences with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to become a certified peer specialist and inspirational speaker.

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This past week, Gateway executives also traveled to Pacific Grove, CA to meet our new partners at Beacon House. Beacon House Executive Director and CEO Phyllis Meagher (left) and Gateway President and CEO Tom Britton (center) also met with Moe Ammar (right), president of the Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce.

The Gender Gap of Addiction

International Women's Day.pngToday marks International Women’s Day, and as women across the world are celebrated, it is also important to think about the issues that are harming women.

One of the biggest issues hurting the world as a whole is substance use disorders, and it is something that is taking the lives of many women. Yet, women are often left out of the conversation when it comes to substance use disorder. Addiction is many times portrayed and framed as a male disease, but the reality is that it is affecting many women as well. In fact, women are at a higher risk for developing prescription opioid use disorders than men. Substance use disorders do not discriminate and can affect anyone, regardless of gender.

Though more men have died from overdoses and more men have substance use disorders, in the past few years, women have begun to close the gap. This is partly due to women being prescribed prescription opioids by their doctors. According to reports, the proportion of deaths from prescription opioids increased 400 percent among women and 265 percent among men between 1999 and 2010.

Women are equally, or in some cases, more likely to use prescriptions opioids than men. Studies have shown that physical and sexual trauma followed by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is more common in women than in men seeking treatment. According to research, women are more likely to experience and undergo sexual and physical trauma, and are, therefore, more likely to report chronic pain and be prescribed medication. Women are also more likely to be undertreated or misdiagnosed for their pain, which is why women tend to be prescribed opioids more often than men.

Women are also at a higher risk for a substance use disorder due to biological differences. Men and women do not process drugs in the same way, since women tend to have a higher percent of body fat and lower percent of body water. Which, according to medical studies, means smaller doses for women can be more toxic.

According to research, middle-aged women have seen the highest rise in death rates in the United States from prescription opioids compared to any other group. However, substance use disorder is still portrayed as a male issue. A study in Rhode Island found that women are three times less likely to receive Naloxone by emergency responders than men. The cause of this issue is two-fold. Prescription opioids are not as recognizable because they do not always leave clear signs of using compared to other drugs, such as heroin. Therefore, emergency responders may not be aware that an overdose occurred. In addition, substance use disorder is framed as a male issue, and therefore, the underlying problem when a woman is an emergency situation is often times not believed to be an overdose.

When seeking treatment, there are many additional challenges women must overcome. One of the biggest is the stigma that women are not supposed to have substance use disorders. In society, women are perceived as caretakers and are often shamed into silence. Women are supposed to be the ones taking care of everyone, which makes it hard for them to take care of themselves and put their health first. Pregnant women and mothers may also fear legal ramifications and losing their children. In addition to stigma, women also lack access to treatment that is suitable for them. In order for women to get the help they need, stigma must be reduced and access to treatment must be expanded.

If you or a woman you know has a substance use disorder and needs help, Gateway Foundation offers specialized treatment programs for women to help them get their lives back.

 

Gateway Foundation’s Latest Protocol to Help Fight the Opioid Epidemic

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Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report that found overdoses from opioids jumped by nearly 30 percent in one year. From the third quarter of 2016 to the third quarter of 2017, staggering 30 percent more overdoses occurred than in the previous year across the nation. The region that saw the biggest increase is the Midwest, with Wisconsin seeing a 108.6 percent increase followed by Illinois, which saw a 65.6 percent increase. The opioid epidemic currently facing the country is one that is in dire need of help. People all across the country have lost loved ones in the battle against this crisis, and it has drawn concerns nationwide. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, drug overdoses are currently the leading cause of death among Americans under the age 50, and opioid overdoses are the leading causes of accidental deaths in the United States. This nationwide crisis is affecting people of all backgrounds, and it is making its way into more neighborhoods each day. It is something that needs to be addressed immediately and access to certain treatments is essential in saving lives.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the ongoing opioid crisis is the most significant public health and public safety crisis facing Illinois. This past year, nearly 1,900 people died of overdoses, which is almost double the amount of people who have lost their lives in car accidents. In addition to this high death toll are the families and individuals who have suffered great pain and loss, as well as the thousands of emergency department visits and hospital visits.

“The bitter reality of heroin and opiate use is the incredible risk of fatal overdose. With the introduction of overdose reversal agents, people with addiction and families are given the critical opportunity to enter treatment and find a new way to live, free from active addiction,” said Dr. Thomas Britton, CEO & President of Gateway.

To combat this crisis, Gateway Foundation has taken measures to help fight the battle against opioid use disorder and other substance use disorders. Gateway is now equipping clients being treated for opioid use disorder with the lifesaving opioid reversal drugs, Naloxone. Clients are being given Naloxone in an effort to help prevent overdoses. Naloxone, also known by its brand names, Narcan® and Evzio®, are lifesaving reversal medications that can block or reverse the effects of opioids to prevent an overdose.

Clients who are being treated for an opioid use disorder are equipped with Narcan or Evzio prior to leaving the facility, whether it is a day pass or if they are leaving the program. Before receiving either Narcan or Evzio, the clinical staff trains the clients in administrating the intake of the medication. These medications work by binding to opioid receptors and quickly blocking or reversing the effects of the opioids, and working to restore the individual’s breathing back to a normal level. Each client is given the opportunity to decide which brand they prefer, while taking into consideration insurance coverage and their preferred route of administration. Narcan is a nasal spray and Evzio is an auto-injector that has verbal instructions once it is automated.

Gateway also encourages clients to have the reversal medication on hand in case they ever come across someone that may be in need of the medication. Since family members are crucial in an individual’s rehabilitation process, they are also educated on the benefits of carrying one of the medications, and how to access and administer these medications.

Additionally, Gateway partnered with the Illinois Department of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (DASA), on two programs to help the fight against opioids in Illinois. The first is the Pre- and Post- Release Medication Assisted Treatment for Offenders. This program focuses on the incorporation of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), into the treatments offered in prison prior to an inmate’s release. The incorporation of MAT has the ability to decrease the risk of opioid overdose and death as well as the likelihood of relapse. Vivitrol, which is a medication that blocks an individual from getting high from opioids or alcohol, along with participation in ongoing case coordination is also offered. Less than one-third of inmates with opioid use disorder receive this treatment even though MAT is crucial and has been proven to be useful in helping individuals overcome their addiction to opioids.

The second program is the hospital Emergency Department-Based Services Program. This program is specific to hospital emergency departments that have seen a large increase in the admissions of individuals as a result of opioids. These ERs now staff licensed clinicians from Gateway to offer support by providing screening, placement, referrals, education, and risk reduction counseling.

Stigma around substance use disorders and those who experience it are extremely harmful. Seeking out professional help is of upmost importance when someone has a substance use disorder, but the stigma around receiving treatment prevents some from ever getting the help they need. A lack of access to necessary treatment is also hurting many who are faced with a substance use disorder. These medications are a step in the right direction in helping individuals with their addiction; however, they are not viable long-term solutions.

Footnotes

1. Illinois vs. the opioid epidemic
2. Illinois Plan
3. Jump In Overdoses Shows Opioid Epidemic Has Worsened
4. ‘So much death’: Opioid crisis hits home in Central Illinois

Pacific Grove’s Beacon House Becomes Gateway Foundation Affiliate on West Coast

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Beacon House of Pacific Grove, CA (www.beaconhouse.org), is now a Gateway Foundation affiliate (www.gatewayfoundation.org). The nonprofit partnership expands Gateway’s national alcohol and drug treatment programs to the west coast. The agreement will serve more Californians with the highest quality of addiction care.

In 2017 alone, more than 60,000 people died from increased opioid use. This past year, the Trump administration declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. As recently announced, the Federal Government plans to spend $17B over the next two years to combat this crisis. “More communities than ever before are negatively impacted by opioid use. Our nation needs stronger treatment alignments — like ours — across the U.S., to effectively combat this epidemic,” says Dr. Tom Britton, Gateway Foundation President, CEO. “For 60 years Beacon House made great strides in addiction treatment and care. This new partnership continues our health care mission to treat more residents and clients more effectively,” adds Phyllis Meagher, Beacon House President, CEO.

Gateway Foundation serves over 6,000 people a day across seven states. It is the largest U.S., nonprofit treatment provider specializing in substance use disorders. Beacon House addresses alcohol, opiate, and sedative addiction, among other addictions.

“For our existing clients and stakeholders, this partnership means we are stronger and better together. We advance all effective treatments available and will create innovative, new programs, said Britton. “Working together, we lead the way for community-based, integrated healthcare for people in need. We look forward to building up Northern California’s addiction treatment capacity.” Meagher adds, “Beacon House will have its biggest outreach footprint ever under this partnership — and with a nonprofit partner with 50 years of sound experience. This is something Californians should be proud of.”

About Beacon House: With two locations in Pacific Grove, Beacon House treats men and women seeking to realize a lifetime without drugs and alcohol. Offering inpatient and outpatient programs, Beacon House prides itself on providing a warm, homelike setting for those in need of a safe, comfortable environment as they begin a path to lasting recovery.

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