Gateway Nursing Manager Presents on Medication-Assisted Treatment

James Blasko, nursing manager at Gateway Foundation treatment centers in Pekin, Springfield and Jacksonville, will present on Medication-Assisted Treatment at the Tazewell County Justice Center in Pekin on Thursday, June 28 from 12 to 2 p.m. The first 30 minutes will begin with a lunch, followed by Blasko’s presentation and a question and answer session. In his presentation, Blasko will review the medications and methods used to assist patients suffering with substance use disorder and how these medications address withdrawal symptoms, cravings and detoxification and ultimately save lives.

What is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) combines behavioral therapy and medications to treat substance use disorders. Gateway Foundation centers provide MAT as part of a comprehensive program that includes counseling and therapy to help individuals modify their behavior to make better lifestyle changes for long-term success.

MAT is an evidence-based treatment option proven to reduce or eliminate cravings, decrease withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of relapse.

Who is James Blasko?

After spending 16 years in the intensive care unit at a hospital, Blasko took a job with Gateway Foundation treatment center in Springfield and has been with Gateway ever since. He currently serves as the nursing manager for Gateway treatment centers in Springfield, Pekin and Jacksonville. He cites the patients, the family dynamic of the staff, the work he is doing and how many people it is helping as what he loves most about his job at Gateway.

Blasko is no stranger to MAT. He was one of the main forces behind Gateway’s initiative to offer Narcan to patients and their loved ones after treatment.

“I felt very strongly about helping our clients succeed and their families to feel a little more relief about taking them home and knowing if there was a relapse they could save their loved one’s life,” Blasko says.

Blasko’s commitment to patients goes beyond the sites’ walls. When Gateway patients cannot access the facilities in Springfield, he drives 45 minutes to Lincoln to provide it. He picks up medications from CVS and Walgreens for patients who are unable to pick them up. He also administers shots at area jails because MAT has been proven to reduce recidivism.

To learn more or attend the free event, click here.

Celebrating Young Men’s Health with Gateway Lake Villa’s Bridge Program



For National Men’s Health Month, we sat down with Executive Director of Lake County services Karen Wolownik Albert at Gateway’s Lake Villa campus to discuss the Young Men’s Bridge Program. This program helps young men develop the coping techniques to overcome the issues caused by their substance use disorders – and the life skills to succeed during this critical transition point in their lives.

Gateway Foundation’s ASPIRE Program Achieves Top, Dual Diagnosis Rating

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Gateway is proud to announce the ASPIRE program at Chicago Independence is the first in Illinois to be certified as a Dual Diagnosis Enhanced (DDE) site. This means ASPIRE is now officially able to treat co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. ASPIRE is the only women’s program that has met the DDE standard, as determined by an independent rater, and one of the only women’s programs American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) deems appropriate for clients who have severe or unstable mental health disorders and need residential treatment.

The ability to treat substance use and mental health disorders is extremely important, as 80 percent of individuals with mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, also have substance use disorders. In order for a person to have the greatest chance of a successful outcome, both aspects must be treated. When either disorder goes untreated, the probability of relapse is much higher.

In order to ensure the staff is thoroughly prepared for treating clients with substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders, Gateway hired employees who established many techniques to develop a training program to spread the knowledge. Ensuring the staff is properly prepared to treat both disorders allows for patients to have the best chance at lifelong recovery.

What is ASPIRE?

The ASPIRE program was first implemented six years ago and provides evidence-based treatment for women suffering from substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions. While addiction does not discriminate based on gender, addiction has often been painted as a male issue. In reality, millions of women in the United States are also battling addiction. A program like ASPIRE helps bridge the gender gap of addiction while still ensuring women receive a tailored, personalized treatment plan for their individual needs.

“The program gives women everything that exists in the best non-gender specific programs, with the added benefit of women-specific programming that addresses how gender roles impact substance use disorders and related co-morbid conditions, such as trauma,” says Chicago Independence Clinical Director Gilbert Lichstein. “The program is a safe space where participants are not addressed in a confrontational manner or judged.”

ASPIRE is one of many Gateway initiatives that demonstrates our commitment to treating not only substance use disorders but the underlying causes of addiction.

Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital and Gateway Foundation Work to Address Opioid Crisis

Gateway Foundation has entered into an agreement with Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, a leader in delivering advanced medical technologies and comprehensive health care services, to address the opioid crisis in Lake County and McHenry County.

In coordination with Good Shepherd Hospital staff, Gateway Foundation is placing a full-time, credentialed engagement specialist in the hospital’s emergency department. The specialist will work with patients presenting with medical issues related to Opioid Use Disorder. The engagement specialist also will work closely with emergency department social workers and care managers, and completes a clinical assessment and continuing care plan with the patient. The goal is to make sure patients are directly transferred or referred into opioid addiction treatment. Gateway Foundation also provides recovery coaches who continue to support these individuals seeking treatment or while in recovery.

Marc“For fifty years, Gateway Foundation has been leading the way towards quality interventions that have saved the lives of thousands of individuals impacted by substance use disorder. Today we take another step forward by partnering with colleagues in the health system to provide enhanced and integrated care to those most in need – the members of our communities that are negatively impacted by opioid use,” said Marc Turner, President of Gateway’s Community Services Division.  “We expect this collaboration will be the first of many as we expand our reach across Illinois to be part of the solution for as many families as possible.”

There is much evidence of the impact of the opioid crisis seen every day at Good Shepherd and hospitals throughout the state. From 2009 to 2014, Illinois was the seventh highest among the 50 states for opiate-related inpatient hospital stays. For Good Shepherd’s primary service area, the age-adjusted emergency department rate due to substance abuse has consistently climbed, from 9.5 visits per 10,000 population in 2010-2012, to 12.4 visits per 10,000 population in 2012-2014.

About Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment: Since 1968 our goal has been straightforward: to help clients get their life back on track and achieve a life of sobriety, free from drug use and symptoms of mental illness, that is productive, socially responsible, and healthy. Gateway Foundation is the largest nonprofit treatment provider in the country that specializes in the treatment of substance use disorders, providing treatment for men, women, adolescents, and clients diagnosed with co-occurring mental health disorders. Gateway’s professional clinicians help thousands of individuals successfully complete treatment by developing a personalized plan that treats the underlying causes of substance abuse—not just addiction to drugs or alcohol.

About Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital: Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Illinois, is a 176-bed, acute care hospital with more than 700 physicians. It is a leader in delivering the most advanced medical technologies and comprehensive health care services available in the northwest suburbs. In 2017, Good Shepherd Hospital completed a four-year modernization project, ensuring that care delivery remains outstanding and attuned to the community’s evolving needs. Good Shepherd Hospital is part of Downers Grove-based Advocate Health Care, the largest health system in Illinois and one of the largest health care providers in the Midwest.

The Relationship of Substance Use Disorder and Mental Illness

suicide and substance abuse, gateway treatment centersAt Gateway, we recognize that mental illness and Substance Use Disorder (SUD) often coincide. In fact, the presence of a co-occurring diagnosis is more the “rule” than the exception. The terms “dual diagnosis” or “co-occurring” refer to an individual that is affected by two or more disorders or illnesses.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that 37% of individuals with alcohol use disorder and 53% of those with a drug use disorder also have at least one serious mental illness.

It is difficult to diagnose which came first – the SUD or the mental health disorder. Drug use can cause one to experience symptoms of mental illness. However, mental illness can also lead to drug use as a form of self-medication to manage symptoms. There are many overlapping factors that can make it difficult to detect the initial issue.

“There is no question that no matter which came first; both issues need to be addressed in treatment,” said Katie Stout, Executive Director at Gateway. According to reports from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the most common reason for relapse is an untreated mental health problem.

“The best chance of recovery is through an integrated treatment program that includes treatment of the SUD and the mental health illness,” said Katie Stout.

Evidence-based treatment for co-occurring disorders includes: motivational interviewing, mindfulness based therapy, trauma informed therapy and 12 step facilitation.

Gateway is a recognized leader among behavioral health care providers in offering substance use disorder treatment, as well as treatment for individuals that are diagnosed with a co-occurring mental illness. To learn more about our treatment programs visit us at RecoverGateway.org.

A Note of Appreciation for the Hospital Worker

Portrait Of Medical Staff Standing In Lobby Of Hospital

In recognition of National Hospital Week, Gateway  expresses sincere gratitude for all hospital workers.

A stay in the hospital can be scary and let’s be honest, unpleasant to even think about. It’s the hospital workers who change this to a more pleasant experience.  The teamwork of a hospital’s clinical and support workers is essential for the healing of a patient. It could be the doctor with the great bedside manner, the social worker who took the time to listen, or the custodian that made sure your window was clean and clear so that you could see the sunshine; all of these people made an impact on your experience.

As a healthcare provider in substance use disorder treatment, Gateway recognizes the important role that hospital workers play in assisting with the detection and guidance of patients with a substance use disorder.

“The collaboration we have with hospitals is crucial in our mission of reducing substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health problems through effective and efficient treatment programs. Gateway extends its’ sincere gratitude to all hospital workers for the impact they have in the lives of those persons struggling with mental illness and substance use disorders,” said Dr. Thomas Britton, President and CEO of Gateway Foundation.

Stress on the Road to Recovery

April is Natiroadonal Stress Awareness Month. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), medical specialists believe that stress is the leading cause of relapse back into drug use. Research shows that the brain of those with substance use disorder is more hypersensitive to stress, which may provoke them to relieve their stress by returning to drugs.

 

 

For those in recovery, many stressors arise such as family/relationship conflicts, work, money and health concerns. It is important to pay attention to the signs your body is giving you to recognize stress.

  • Headaches
  • Neck or back pain
  • Stomach upset
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Change in appetite
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

Stress is often unavoidable. However, you can take a proactive role in acknowledging and calming the stress to avoid relapse. There are many healthy and practical ways to reduce stress and increase your chance of staying sober. Among these are: Exercise, talking it out (or write about it), breathing with purpose (yoga/meditation), and of course good old laughter.

Most important is to recognize when you are experiencing stress and find your most healthy way to cope with it.

What Is the Difference Between Alcoholics Anonymous and an Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment Program?

In Honor of Alcohol Awareness Month in April, Gateway highlights the differences between 12-Step Meetings (such as Alcoholics Anonymous) and an Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment Program.
What is Alcoholics Anonymous or 12-Step?

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a 12-Step group for those struggling with alcohol use disorder. Led by peers, this group allows participants to follow a set of recovery steps to achieve and maintain abstinence from alcohol.

The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking. AA works through members telling their stories of recovery from alcohol use disorder. AA is nonprofessional – it doesn’t have clinics, doctors, counselors or psychologists. All members are themselves recovering from alcoholism. There is no central authority controlling how AA groups operate. It is up to the members of each group to decide what they do. However, the AA program of recovery has proven to be very successful and almost every group follows it in very similar ways.

How is an Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment Program Different from AA?

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment believes 12-step groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and other kinds of recovery support groups play a valuable role in substance abuse treatment, but they only comprise part of the picture.

Gateway believes that a substance use disorder treatment program should include the use of evidence-based practices – drug and alcohol disorder treatments that integrate professional research and clinical expertise to achieve the best outcome for an individual.  The clinical professionals at Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers employ evidenced-based practices to create meaningful, individualized treatment programs. We believe there is more than one pathway to recovery so we expose clients to a wide array of treatment methodologies. The greatest benefit can be derived from experiencing 12-step programs in conjunction with evidenced-based treatment.

Gateway engages both adults and teens through a variety of highly effective clinical approaches and therapies to help them get life back on track. On average, Gateway’s drug rehab programs have a 10% higher successful treatment completion rate when compared to other Treatment Providers.

12-Step as Part of Gateway’s Integrated Treatment Programs

“It’s a Personal Choice – Some individuals come to Gateway convinced that a 12-step program is the only thing that will work for them, while others have equally strong reservations about them. We make it a priority to accommodate the needs of clients who are of either mindset and implement the 12-steps accordingly,” said Gilbert Lichstein, LCPC, MS Clinical Psychology, Program Manager at Gateway Chicago.

Gradual Exposure- Our experienced staff utilizes a targeted approach that provides clients with an in-depth understanding of 12-step principles. Our curriculum is designed to break down barriers to participation and “kick start” the process of attending meetings and finding a sponsor.

12-step meetings can not only be challenging for some, they also vary from group to group and meeting to meeting. In order to give clients a good idea of what to expect out of support groups like these after leaving treatment, Gateway provides exposure to 12-steps in multiple settings. To offer our full support, we accompany individuals in our treatment programs to both on-site and off-site 12-step meetings.

For those who prefer not to use 12-step techniques, many Gateway treatment locations offer on-site SMART recovery groups and linkage to other peer support options such as Dual Recovery Anonymous.

To learn more about Gateway’s alcohol and drug treatment programs, visit RecoverGateway.org

Appreciate a Social Worker: Social Worker Appreciation Month

Young Woman Having Counselling SessionMarch is National Professional Social Work Month as recognized by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). According to the NASW our nation has more than 600,000 social workers, yet many people still misunderstand who social workers are and the invaluable contributions they bring to society.

Social workers are responsible for helping individuals, families, and groups of people to cope with problems they’re facing in their lives. Being a social worker is often a challenging, yet gratifying career.

As a part of this role, social workers regularly encounter individuals and families affected by substance use disorders (SUDs). Social workers must be knowledgeable about the dynamics of substance use, dependency, and recovery.

Working with clients with SUDs, a social worker must possess specialized knowledge and understanding of psychological and emotional factors, physiological issues, legal considerations, and the co-occurrence of mental health disorders that can coincide with substance use.

“Gateway’s collaboration with the social work profession is key in ensuring that our clients receive the highest quality of coordinated care,” said Katie Stout, Executive Director at Gateway Foundation in Carbondale, IL. “Social workers are instrumental to the evidence-based treatment offered by our programs.”

Social workers begin at the frontline of treatment continuum and are the advocate for their client. As part of this advocacy social workers help their clients gain access to the proper resources and treatment; from start to finish.

Please join Gateway in celebrating this month by honoring a social worker today!

Gateway Treatment Centers Offers Two Free CEU Webinars: “Understanding Addiction: Why Can’t Those Affected Just Say No”

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Addiction has a stigma attached to it, causing many to blame the struggling individual for their problems and assume that they should just be able to stop using if they want to. But the effects of substance use can change the chemistry of the brain, making the task of “Just Saying No” seem inaccessible.

This February, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers will offer two free webinars “Understanding Addiction: Why Can’t Those Affected Just Say No?” giving participants the opportunity to earn one continuing education unit (CEU) and learn about the brain processes that develop under the grips of addiction.

The webinar presenter is A’nna Jurich, LCPC, a Program Director at Gateway Treatment Centers. A’nna has worked with Gateway since 1994 and has worked as a clinician in addictions and mental health for the past 24 years. She is trained in Motivational Interviewing and EMDR.

Because of the way drugs work in the brain, addiction can form, causing compulsive behavior and a lack of control over seeking and taking the drug. “Addiction is a lifelong, chronic disease that affects millions of individuals. The more understanding and acceptance we are able to gain, the better prepared we are to treat and support those who suffer,” Jurich said.

The webinar will be offered on two occasions: Wednesday February 15th, 2017 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. and Thursday February 23rd, 2017 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Participants can receive one CEU – NAADAC, Illinois: LCSW, LSW, LCPC, LPC, Nursing, Psychologist, IAODAPCA (Counselor I, Preventionist I, CARS I, MISA I, PCGC II, CCJP II, CAAP I, CRSS II, MAATP I, NCRS II, CFPP II)

For more details regarding the webinar, please visit Recovergatway.org/Training.

Registration in advance is required and space is limited.

 

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