A Little Empathy Goes a Long Way

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Today is “Day4Empathy” in Chicago as the Ebert Foundation honors late, beloved film critic Roger Ebert on the fifth anniversary of his death. Coincidentally, it is also the 50th anniversary of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s death.

The day is more than an observance; it is a call to action to people across the city, and even across the country, to show more kindness and work towards more understanding with one another. Throughout the day in Chicago, ambassadors from the Ebert Foundation will pass out cards and bracelets to call on people to perform random acts of kindness for others. In addition, Roger Ebert’s wife, Chaz, will take an empathy truck around the city and stop to interview people about what empathy means to them.

On a number of occasions, Ebert spoke about empathy as one of the cornerstones of civilization. This is especially true when thinking about people who are facing difficult battles, like addiction. People fighting addiction who have the support of a strong community demonstrate much higher rates of success. Developing an understanding of where another person might be coming from is necessary to build such communities; it is critical in the journey of recovery.

In his reviews, Ebert talked about the ability of movies to bring about empathy. “When I go to a great movie I can live somebody else’s life for a while. I can walk in somebody else’s shoes,” Ebert once said. “I can see what it feels like to be a member of a different gender, a different race, a different economic class, to live in a different time, to have a different belief.”

That is what great movies do – they transport us to places and situations we never dreamed of experiencing, developing our understanding of the characters, others, and ourselves.

Today, remember to practice empathy more days in our lives.

Lurie Children’s Hospital Cautions Parents of the Dangers of Teen Binge Drinking at Lollapalooza

iStock_46778544_SMALL.jpgThis weekend kicks off the annual music festival in ChicagoLollapalooza. While popular for its music, it is also a popular event for teen drinking. Nearly 100 teenagers were treated for alcohol poisoning during this event last year.

At Lurie Children’s Hospital, doctors and nurses push a young woman on a stretcher down a hall as she demonstrates expected behavior from a typical teenage patient who is intoxicated: mumbling and crying, as well as vomiting and dehydration. It may be a common sight starting on July 28 when Lollapalooza comes to town.

“We have to staff the ER with higher numbers. We need a lot more acute care for these children,” says Dr. Nina Arfieri.

The patient, Gabi Sel, is actually a hospital intern who is helping with the drill so that staff can be better prepared for when real patients come. And they will come; according to a hospital study, in 2015 Lollapalooza weekend saw hospitals receiving more intoxicated patients than the next three busiest weekends of the year combined.

Nurses are going over the protocol for handling those patients. For her part, Gabi is glad this is only a drill.

“Being in this bed is very scary and it feels very real when you’re in it, even if it’s just a scene,” she says.

The study finds that the majority of patients are 16 to 18 years old, female and from the suburbs. But the authors of the study say they’re not trying to discourage people from going to Lollapalooza.

“I think it’s important for kids to go out and enjoy music, and get outside, but I think there’s a safe way to do it, and I think we can do this without having them risk their lives,” says Dr. Arfieri.

The news isn’t all bad though: the study found the number of teenagers going to the emergency room for intoxication dropped significantly in 2015 compared to 2014. Doctors are hoping that trend continues.

TALKING TO TEENS ABOUT DRINKING AND DRUG USE

In honor of “Purposeful Parenting Month” in July, and with Chicago’s Lollapalooza right around the corner, take a moment to talk to your teen about the dangers of drinking and drug use. At Gateway, we know starting this conversation isn’t always easy. Use the Parent Tools Below to help you start the conversation about binge drinking and teen drug use.

PARENT TOOLS FROM GATEWAY ALCOHOL AND DRUG TREATMENT CENTERS:

Still have questions? Gateway has answers. Learn more about teen substance abuse by downloading our free resource guide at Recovergateway.org/teens or call 877-505-HOPE (4673).

 

Co-Occurring Disorders: The Chicken or the Egg?

Known as a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder, substance abuse and mental health issues frequently occur together. In fact, 80% of individuals with addiction issues have a co-occurring mental health issue according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The question comes down to the chicken or the egg – which came first and which do we treat first? The mental health issue or the substance abuse issue? “The likelihood of succeeding in treatment is greatly enhanced when both are treated simultaneously. Integrated treatment approaches coordinate substance abuse and mental health interventions to treat the whole person,” said Sally Thoren, Executive Director of Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment in Chicago.

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Individuals arriving at Gateway receive a comprehensive assessment and those who are found to have a mental health disorder may be admitted into our specialized dual diagnosis program. “We use a variety of clinically proved treatment methods to address co-occurring substance abuse and mental health problems at the same time, in the same program by the same treatment team,” said Thoren.

As each individual is unique, so should be their treatment plan. We work together with individuals to develop a customized treatment plan that capitalizes on methods that may have worked for them in the past. In addition, medication assisted treatment may be used if deemed appropriate for the individual.

If you know someone struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues, know that help is available. Visit RecoverGateway.org for more information.

Gateway Featured in ABC News Segment: “Fentanyl deaths spike in Chicago area”

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers was featured in an ABC News segment addressing the spike in fentanyl deaths in the Chicago area. According to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, more than 100 deaths last year were attributed to new varieties of fentanyl.

Gateway is here to help individuals struggling with opioid addiction by offering customized treatment plans and providing highly qualified substance abuse specialists.

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Photo Credit: ABC News

 

ABC News Article: “FENTANYL DEATHS SPIKE IN CHICAGO AREA”

Chicago area public health officials are grappling with an increase in deaths due to overdoses of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid.

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Photo Credit: ABC News

On Monday, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office reported a sharp increase in fentanyl-related deaths. They join officials in Will and DuPage counties who are also troubled by more overdoses related to strong new batches of fentanyl.

Now, a new FBI campaign hopes to education people about the threat.

Fentanyl is a drug commonly used for surgeries and post-operative care. The drug is in the family of opioids, which includes morphine and heroin.

At Gateway Treatment Centers in Naperville, patient service representatives take calls around the clock. Most of their concerns are opioid addiction.

“We know treatment works, but if we can’t get people to treatment it’s really hard to help them change their behavior as well as their use of medicines,” said Jim Scarpace, executive director of Gateway Aurora.

Making the heroin epidemic worse is the use of synthetic drugs such as fentanyl.

“Fentanyl is something that we use during surgery or during procedures,” said Dr. Steven Aks, of Stroger Hospital of Cook County. “It’s routinely used in the hospital every day. It is an ultra-potent pain medication.”

Staff at Stroger Hospital of Cook County in Chicago also have seen increases in fentanyl overdoses – some of them fatal.

More than 100 deaths last year are attributed to new varieties of fentanyl, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

“We really started seeing a big spike back in September. We had one day where we had nine victims come in at once,” Aks said.

Efforts to prevent opioid use now coming from a partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

The federal agencies will premiere their new documentary in the Chicago area at Westmont High School on Wednesday.

WATCH: Clips of FBI/DEA documentary about opiate addiction

However, John Roberts – whose son Billy Roberts died of a heroin overdose — worries that new, powerful illegal opioids will lead to more grieving families.

“If anybody were to take a pure dose of fentanyl, it would kill them on the spot,” Roberts said.

After Billy Roberts died seven years ago, his father started Heroin Epidemic Relief Organization (H.E.R.O).

“Until I join my little boy, I will fight this battle until that day,” Roberts said.

Treatment experts suspect those using heroin may mistake fentanyl as heroin, but the drug is much more powerful and can take several does of the antidote to revive a patient.

Anyone concerned about a loved one can now be trained and get naloxone from a pharmacy or recovery advocacy organizations.

H.E.R.O. is hosting an event on April 29 at Edwards Hospital in Naperville.

Source: ABC News

Are you concerned a loved one may be addicted to opioids? Learn more about prescription drug abuse online at RecoverGateway.org or call Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers for a free consultation at 877-505-HOPE (4673).

 

Gateway Expert Comments on Powdered Alcohol or ‘Palcohol’

powdered alcohol, palcoholA Columbia Chronicle article states that “While powdered alcohol could conceivably be sold in Chicago this summer, legislators, mirroring the concerns of health professionals, are working to keep this from happening. The state legislature is considering  a bill that would make its use a crime.

Gateway’s Substance Abuse Treatment Expert, Paul Getzendanner comments on powdered alcohol:

“The risks so clearly outweigh the benefits,” said Paul Getzendanner, program director for Gateway Foundation, an alcohol and drug treatment center in Chicago. “The creator of Palcohol says that you can take it camping because it is lighter, which is a limited need and catered to a very specific audience.”

Getzendanner said, “The sale and invention of alcohol is another way for distributors to profit off an idea and that the product is targeted to underage drinkers.”

View Full Article from the Columbia Chronicle

Source: Columbia College, Columbia Chronicle

Gateway Chicago River North Provides Lifetime Addiction Recovery Support

Gateway Chicago River North

Gateway Chicago River North
Located at 444 N. Orleans, near the Merchandise Mart, our center offers easy access to parking and public transportation
(Metra and CTA)
Merchandise Mart (Brown Line, Purple Line)
Clark/Lake (Blue Line subway)
Clinton/Lake (Green Line, Pink Line)
State/Grand (Red Line subway)

Fresh out of treatment, life in early recovery is bombarded with change. To help our former clients remain firmly grounded in addiction recovery, Gateway Chicago River North provides structured ongoing support and sober fun at no additional cost through our Alumni Program.

Our Alumni Support Specialist, Taylor Evers, is dedicated to ensuring former clients have access to fellowship and resources for lasting recovery. The Alumni Program meets the last Wednesday of every month at our River North Treatment Center from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m.

Gateway’s River North center is located near the Merchandise Mart and is easily accessible via public transportation. Our Outpatient Treatment Programs are offered in the evening to accommodate the schedules of busy, working adult men and women.

For questions about Gateway Chicago River North’s Alumni Recovery Support Programs, contact Taylor Evers at tlevers@gatewayfoundation.org.

To learn more about treatment options at Gateway Chicago River North, visit Recovergateway.org/ChicagoRiverNorth.

Better Addiction Treatment Results with Evidence-Based Practices

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Group Therapy Room at Gateway Chicago River North

Adults in Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment at Gateway Chicago River North are discovering how satisfying life can be in recovery through the use of evidence-based practices, such as Mindfulness-Based Sobriety and SMART Recovery.

Addiction typically derails one’s priorities and goals. With the support of a dedicated counselor, individuals re-connect with their core values, set and attain goals, and work through issues holding them back.

Evidence-based practices are treatments that integrate professional research and clinical expertise to achieve the best outcome for an individual. Gateway is a recognized leader in the use of evidence-based practices, treatment models that work.

To learn more about evidence-based practices used in outpatient treatment at Gateway Chicago River North, visit RecoverGateway.org or call 877-971-HOPE (4673).

 

Congressman Bill Foster Addresses Heroin Issues in Our Community

congressman bill foster, gateway, heroin issues, illinois

Pictured (l to r): Pam Davis, Silver Cross Hospital; Larry Dunbar, Bremen Youth Center; Gloria Bloodsaw, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers; Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL11); Katheryn Wiedman, Stepping Stones; Mardi Wunderlich, Joliet Police Department; and Maria De Leon, Office of Congressman Bill Foster.

Gloria Bloodsaw, Outreach Coordinator, represented Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers at the Southwest Coalition’s holiday luncheon on December 17, 2014. Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL11) presented on the heroin use issues the Chicago suburban communities are facing.

According to Illinois Consortium of Drug Policy at Roosevelt University, in the past 5 years heroin use has increased 75 percent; and the Illinois State Crime Commission reports heroin use in Illinois is an epidemic. To enhance public awareness, Gateway offers a host of reliable resources on this dangerous drug trend at RecoverGateway.org/Heroin.

Drug Treatment Center Opens in Chicago’s River North District

Gateway Foundation’s Outpatient Drug Treatment Includes Mindfulness and Medicine to Manage Addiction

Chicago River North Drug Treatment

Gateway Foundation has expanded its Illinois rehab network with the opening of a new outpatient center providing adult alcohol and drug rehab treatment in Chicago’s River North district. Conveniently located at 444 N. Orleans near the Merchandise Mart, the center provides outpatient treatment services in the evening after traditional work hours. Gateway Foundation Chicago River North will be under the Medical Directorship of Dr. Anjali Gupta.

“We want individuals to realize that life can be about more than drinking or using drugs. Typically, when substance abuse takes over, one’s priorities change and it comprises things that are important, like relationships, work and health. Learning about mindfulness-based sobriety and value-based living is intended to help those with substance abuse issues live a more purposeful and fulfilling life,” explains Gateway Foundation Clinical Supervisor Nick Turner.

Using mindfulness-based therapy while in treatment, individuals will focus on improving awareness, recognizing one’s strengths and truer personal values, learning strategies to avoid or cope with high-risk situations, enhancing motivation and developing coping skills. The new center also provides treatment for individuals that may have co-occurring mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, grief or relationship problems in conjunction with substance abuse or addiction issues, as well as aftercare for on-going support once treatment is completed.

The outpatient treatment programs at the Chicago River North drug rehab center are not one-size-fits-all. Treatment is person-centered, which involves individualized treatment planning that helps give individuals the highest chance for successful outcomes. The programs include substance abuse education and group counseling tailored to the needs of adults utilizing evidence-based relapse prevention curriculums as well as individual and family counseling as needed.

Adult outpatient treatment is offered at River North for Monday through Thursday after work from 6-9 p.m. For more information, please visit RecoverGateway.org.

An official ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house will be held on Friday, May 17, 2013, from 2- 5 p.m. at the new River North center. Event activities include:

 

Gateway Foundation Alumni Support Others in Early Recovery

Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment

Gateway Foundation Chicago West

At Gateway Foundation Chicago West, three dedicated Alumni women are bonding with others in early recovery on a regular basis. The threesome takes turns, visiting Gateway Foundation support groups every week to share their stories and connect with women in treatment.

“I keep going to the support groups to give back to where I came from—my foundation,” says Kelli, an Alumnus who volunteers at Gateway Foundation Chicago West. “I am showing newcomers that they can do it no matter what. I encourage them to give themselves a chance and to stay strong.”

“I believe it is particularly powerful when Alumni come to talk to others in treatment. The Alumni have walked the walk. They have worked with our counselors, followed the rules and lived with 15 other women (not easy to do),” explains Gabriela Raijer, Clinical Supervisor at the Chicago West Treatment Center. “Their experience is validated by the Alumni and they can see that early recovery can lead to long-term recovery.”

Supporting others is a great way for people in recovery to enhance their own recovery efforts as well. Ms. Raijer points out that assisting others keeps individuals in recovery grounded and creates an opportunity to reconnect with counselors if needed. What’s more, visiting Gateway Foundation acts as a reminder of where they came from and how challenging it was when they were first getting into recovery.

“It is dangerous to disconnect. I have to give it, for me to keep it,” states Novi, an Alumnus who is active in leading recovery groups at Gateway Foundation Chicago West.

“About a month ago, one of our clients was walking out the door, dragging her clothes with her. Novi, a Gateway Foundation Alumnus, happened to be waiting to start the Saturday monthly Alumni meeting in the lobby when she noticed the woman leaving. Novi pulled the client to the side, told her to ‘hold on’ and next thing we know, Novi convinced the woman to stay. Novi was in the right place at the right time and I was grateful to have her here,” explains Ms. Raijer.

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