Prince’s Death Puts Opioid Fentanyl Overdose under Spotlight

According to a Minnesota medical examiner report, musician Prince passed away after a self-administered dose of fentanyl. (Forbes, 2016)

It is not clear whether Prince habitually used fentanyl or other prescription opioids or how long he used such medication; there is not enough information to classify this as an addiction. Nevertheless, this tragic and untimely loss is increasing awareness of the ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States – and more specifically, fentanyl abuse. During this devastating time, Gateway hopes to educate individuals on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse and help a loved one who may be struggling.

Addressing the Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic

Medicine pill capsules with medicine bottleStudies show that more than 28,000 people died from opioids, which includes heroin and painkillers, in 2014, and 4.3 million people were taking pain medication for non-medical purposes that year. (NY Times, 2016)

In March of 2015, the DEA issued a nationwide alert regarding fentanyl. “Drug incidents and overdoses related to fentanyl are occurring at an alarming rate throughout the United States and represent a significant threat to public health and safety,” wrote DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart.

Fortunately, there is hope. Treatment is available for those who wish to seek help for prescription drug abuse.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a powerful prescription opioid. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that fentanyl is nearly one hundred times as strong as morphine and hundreds of times more potent than heroin.

Fentanyl is typically prescribed to treat severe pain, or to manage pain after surgery. Like heroin, morphine, and other opioids, fentanyl binds to the body’s opiate receptors – driving up dopamine levels in the brain’s reward areas and producing a state of euphoria and relaxation.

When prescribed by a physician, fentanyl is often administered via injection, transdermal patch, or in lozenge form. However, the type of fentanyl associated with most overdoses is produced in underground laboratories and mixed with heroin or other substances in a powder form.

Mixing fentanyl with street drugs such as heroin or cocaine increases potency and potential dangers. (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2016)

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Fentanyl Abuse?
If your loved one is prescribed an opioid painkiller, keep a watchful eye and ensure he or she takes the medication as directed. Some warning signs of prescription drug abuse to watch for include:

  • Appearing drowsy or intoxicated
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Not performing well at work or school (or just not attending at all)
  • Running out of medication too early
  • Changing doctors often

Effects of Fentanyl Abuse
There are serious mental and physical effects of prolonged fentanyl abuse in addition to the signs and symptoms of abuse listed above. Physical side effects include severe gastrointestinal problems, weakened immune system, difficulty breathing and seizures. Mental effects may include paranoia, lack of motivation, personality changes and social withdrawal. When combined with street drugs, the depression of the central nervous system can lead to respiratory distress, coma and even death. (DrugAbuse.com)

To learn more about prescription drug abuse and treatment visit RecoverGateway.org/RxDrugs.

 

Durbin Introduces Bill to Expand Access to Substance Abuse Treatment Under Medicaid

Source: http://www.durbin.senate.gov

2.29.16 – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today joined doctors (including those from Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers) and substance abuse treatment clients at Haymarket Center to discuss legislation he is introducing this week that will expand access to treatment for vulnerable populations who currently are not receiving the addiction care they need while the heroin and opioid prescription drug abuse epidemic continues to grow. The Medicaid Coverage for Addiction Recovery Expansion (Medicaid CARE) Act would modify the Medicaid Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD) Exclusion policy—a decades-old Medicaid policy that has had the unintended consequence of limiting treatment for our most at-risk populations.  The measure would allow more than 2,000 additional Illinois Medicaid recipients in Illinois to receive care annually.

 “Too many substance abuse centers do not qualify for Medicaid because of an outdated understanding of addiction, which restricts access to care. Less than 12 percent of Illinoisans in need of substance abuse treatment actually receive it.  That unacceptable treatment rate is hindering our ability to help these individuals turn their lives around and start curtailing this public health epidemic that’s feeding on our state’s youth,” Durbin said. “That’s why I am introducing a bill to change this outdated and ill-advised policy to ensure that patients in need of substance abuse care can get it.”

 Currently, the IMD Exclusion prohibits the use of federal Medicaid financing for care provided to most patients in residential mental health and substance use disorder residential treatment facilities larger than 16 beds. Illinois has 585 residential addiction treatment beds across 15 facilities that are larger than the 16-bed threshold and thus ineligible for Medicaid payments.

Under the Medicaid CARE Act, residential addiction treatment facilities across the nation and here in Illinois would qualify if they:

  • Provide substance use disorder treatment services;
  • Are accredited by a national agency;
  • Have less than 40 beds; and
  • Provide services to adults for up to 60 consecutive days

The legislation also establishes a new $50 million youth grant program to fund inpatient substance abuse treatment to Medicaid beneficiaries younger than 21 in underserved, high-risk and rural communities.

Durbin is introducing the Medicaid CARE Act as the Senate this week begins debate on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2015—of which Durbin is a cosponsor.  The CARA legislation authorizes grants to help states adopt a comprehensive approach to the opiate crisis that involves law enforcement, the criminal justice system, the public health system and the recovery support community

The bill would:

  • Require the establishment of a federal interagency task force to develop best practices for pain management and pain medication prescribing;
  • Require a national drug awareness campaign on the risks of opioid abuse;
  • Authorize the Justice Department, in coordination with other federal agencies like the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to make grants to states, locals, and non-profits to:
    • expand education campaigns and prevention strategies to combat opiate abuse;
    • fund treatment alternatives to incarceration for addicts;
    • provide training for first responders for naloxone use;
    • make grants to help develop disposal sites for unwanted prescription drugs;
    • fund heroin and methamphetamine law enforcement task forces
    • implement medication-assisted treatment programs;
    • provide for school-based programs to support recovery from substance abuse;
    • expand education opportunities for offenders in jails or juvenile detention facilities
    • expand family-based substance abuse treatment programs, and expand services for pregnant substance abusers and those with young children;
    • support veterans treatment courts

Illinois experienced 1,652 overdose deaths in 2014 – a nearly 30 percent increase since 2010. Forty percent of those deaths were associated with heroin. Illinois is ranked number one in the nation for a decline in treatment capacity between 2007 and 2012 – and is now ranked the third worst in the country for state-funded treatment capacity.

Nationally, the number of deaths from heroin overdoses more than tripled since 2010. Yet according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, less than 12 percent of the 21.5 million Americans suffering with a substance use disorder received specialty treatment in 2014.

Durbin was joined at today’s announcement by doctors from the Haymarket Center and the Gateway Foundation.  The Haymarket Center is the largest substance use and mental health disorder treatment facility in Chicago.  Founded in 1975, it is one of the only treatment centers in the state that offers all levels of care as defined by the American Society of Addictions Medicine.  Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment was founded in 1968 and is the largest provider of substance abuse treatment in Illinois, with locations throughout the state. 

Gateway Carbondale’s Executive Director Shares Concern Regarding Suicide Rates in Southern Illinois

Suicide is a Growing Concern

In the wake of recent suicides in Southern Illinois, especially Franklin and Williamson counties we realize our communities are not alone.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of suicide in the U.S. is the highest it has been in 25 years. It is among the top ten causes of death in the U.S., and the only cause within the top ten that has increased.[1]

Some researchers believe an important contributing factor to this rise is the surge in the abuse of prescription painkillers. Others point to our improved ability to manage health conditions, yet still inferior inability to manage mental health.[2]

Suicide and Substance Abuse Are Often Related

Many people are unaware of the high correlation between suicide and substance abuse. According to Psychologytoday.com, 45 percent of patients with untreated substance abuse disorders commit suicide. It is suicide and substance abuse, drug abusealso telling that 24 percent of suicide victims in the United States are legally drunk when they commit suicide.[3] At the Gateway center in Carbondale these statistics seem on target – we work with individuals whose use of drugs and alcohol have contributed to negative life factors that may become so severe as to lead to suicide.

Did you know it’s not uncommon for people to have a mental health issue that exists in tandem with their drug use? At Gateway, we see a high level of depression alongside of addictions, particularly with alcohol. Such situations can become cyclical where, as the depression or anxiety becomes increasingly severe, the person tries to manage it with more alcohol, opiates or other substances.

When treating individuals who manifest signs of having mental health and substance abuse issues (known as having co-occurring disorders), a multi-pronged, individualized approach to intervention is recommended. Otherwise, the risk of either or both disorders reoccurring is much higher.

Taking Action

The topic of suicide is not one that is generally talked about and most people don’t understand it or its connection to mental illness and substance abuse. Fortunately, progress is being made in the realm of scientific research towards potential interventions, medications and psychotherapies targeted specifically at reducing suicide.[4] Efforts such as these, combined with national awareness-raising efforts and those throughout southern Illinois, provide hope that members of our community may find the ability to address suicide in more meaningful ways.

We are saddened by the tragedy of the suicides that have occurred over the past several months, and would like to remind our community that Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Center in Carbondale is available to provide information and support. We encourage you to take advantage of our no-cost resources such as free consultations, online resources and a family guide.

If you or someone you love are experiencing feelings of depression, anxiety or other issues that may become overwhelming, know that help is available via suicide hotlines such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If drugs or alcohol are also involved, please don’t hesitate to call Gateway’s 24-hour hotline 877-505 HOPE (4673).

Lori Dammermann
Executive Director
Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Carbondale

[1] http://www.usnews.com/news/newsgram/articles/2014/10/08/us-suicides-hit-highest-rate-in-25-years

[2] Ibid.

[3] DrugFree.org

[4] http://commonhealth.wbur.org/2015/03/suicide-insel

Gateway Treatment Centers Support Red Ribbon Week with Free Family Guides

substance abuse, gateway treatment centers

Click for a Free Copy of Gateway’s Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse

In support of Red Ribbon Week’s drug awareness campaign, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers will distribute red ribbons and free Family Guides on how parents can talk to their kids about drugs and alcohol.

The goal of Red Ribbon Week is to promote drug awareness among parents and teens to keep young people drug free. Children whose parents regularly talk to them about drugs and are 42 percent less likely to use them, according to the Red Ribbon campaign, yet only a quarter of teens report having these conversations.

“Most parents are already aware they should be talking to their children about the risks of drug and alcohol use, but they might be unsure of how to handle such a topic,” said Lori Dammermann, Executive Director of Gateway’s Carbondale center. “The Family Guide offers advice on how parents can initiate and maintain an ongoing conversation with their kids to help keep them drug free.”

The guides will be distributed in schools and other public places throughout Illinois. They cover such topics as talking to your children about drugs and alcohol, understanding substance abuse, information on drug treatment and signs of potential trouble that parents should watch out for.

The ribbons declare this year’s theme for Red Ribbon Week: “Respect Yourself. Be Drug Free.”

Information is also available on the “Getting Help” section of the Gateway website at RecoverGateway.org. This includes the Family Guide, drug treatment options and how families can cope with a loved one who needs help.

The Red Ribbon Campaign, begun in 1985, is an effort by the National Family Partnership to promote drug prevention, education and advocacy.

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers offer a comprehensive approach to drug rehab. With facilities throughout the state, including Lake County, Chicago, St. Louis Metro East, and Carbondale, its staff creates personalized treatment plans for each client, one that treats the underlying causes of substance abuse—not just their addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Services include substance-abuse education, group and individual counseling, medical treatment of withdrawal symptoms and integrated therapy for underlying mental health concerns. Gateway also provides family counseling and education, relapse prevention and aftercare recovery support programs for teens and adults.

National Suicide Prevention Month in September: Suicide and Substance Abuse

In Honor of National Suicide Prevention Month in September and World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th, Gateway aims to educate individuals on the relationship between suicide ans substance use disorders:

Article Written by Dr. Greg Tierney, Program Supervisor, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers

Suicide and Substance Abuse: Is There a Connection?

After depression, substance use disorders are the most common risk factors of suicide. Based on findings from psychological autopsies, 90% of those who complete suicide have one or more diagnosable psychiatric disorders at the time of death.

Roughly 1 in 3 people who commit suicide have substance use disorder.For those with a Substance Use Disorder, over 20% also have a diagnosed Depressive Disorder. The co-occurrence of these disorders relate to higher risk of suicide, greater functional impairment, and risk of having additional psychiatric conditions. The development and escalation of a substance use issue brings about consequences in all areas of an individual’s life.

Increasingly severe use of drugs or alcohol can cause losses such as losing a job, divorce, legal and financial problems, health issues, and others. Therefore, as a substance use issue becomes more severe, the rate of diagnosable Depressive Disorders increases significantly. Of the individuals entering substance abuse treatment, 40% have a Co-occurring Depressive Disorder.

Read Full Article at  RecoverGateway.org/Suicide

It’s Not Your Grandmother’s Marijuana

marijuanaIn keeping with National Safety Month this June, Gateway aims to remind everyone of the dangers of marijuana use.

The use of marijuana has become increasingly accepted and is widely considered to be safe. A closer look reveals that may not always be the case. Individuals in the Baby Boom generation are often among those who consider marijuana to be harmless. What they may not realize is, today’s pot packs a mightier punch that their “weed” did. New growing and harvesting techniques produce pot that’s about 275 percent more potent than it was even 10 years ago.

Of further concern, it’s possible that some marijuana is laced with more dangerous substances including cocaine, crack, PCP or even embalming fluid.

Many people don’t realize the use of marijuana is associated with health and developmental risks for both adults and teens. The harm is even greater in young people whose brains are still developing. Its effects may include learning and memory problems as well as IQ loss.

The long-term effects of marijuana use may include impaired learning, memory, perception and judgment. Established users can also develop difficulty speaking, listening effectively, retaining knowledge, problem solving and forming new concepts.

It’s never safe to assume that any mind-altering drug is safe to use. A little education can go a long way toward keeping your body and mind in good shape.

To learn more about the dangers of marijuana use visit RecoverGateway.org/Marijuana.

National Safety Month a Good Time to Talk to Teens about Drinking Alcohol and Drug Use

talking to teens, drinking alcohol, drug useJune is National Safety Month, which also coincides with the end of the school year. It’s a time of year when many young people have extra time on their hands and for some, temptation can be right around the corner.

In keeping with National Safety Month, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers would like to remind parents to talk with their kids about drinking alcohol and drug use.

Start the Conversation

The power of conversation should not be underestimated – adolescents really do listen to what their parents say about smoking, drinking alcohol and drug use. It can be a challenge to find the time to have a sit-down, face-to-face conversation with your children, but it’s well worth the effort. Once a conversation has been initiated, it should become an ongoing dialogue that you will revisit and reinforce over the years.

Communicating Effectively

Parents may be unsure how to begin talking to their children about alcohol and drugs. The following tips can help:

  • Listen to your child and respect what he or she has to say. A child who feels judged is less likely to share their concerns with you.
  • Be clear about your expectations of no drinking alcohol or drug use and let your child know these expectations will be enforced.
  • Talk about the dangers of drinking alcohol and drug use, including laws, potential repercussions and health-related outcomes.

Know the Dangers

The brain of an adolescent is not yet fully developed. Drinking alcohol damages the development of the executive function of the brain, which is how we make decisions, defer gratification, and plan now for a reward that’s down the road.

Marijuana also affects the development of the adolescent brain, causing changes that may result in learning issues, memory problems and IQ loss.

“If parents want their children to grow up to realize their full potential, they should not condone drinking alcohol or smoking pot,” explained Dr. John Larson, Gateway’s Corporate Medical Director.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), following marijuana and alcohol, prescription and over-the-counter drugs have become the most commonly abused substances by Americans 14 and older. Once a person becomes dependent on opioids such as Vicodin and Oxycontin they may eventually switch to heroin because it is easier to access and much less expensive.

Many parents like to believe their child is not vulnerable to alcohol or drug abuse, but sadly, this isn’t so. There is a wide variety of alcohol and drugs available to young people, who are often just looking to have some fun. Establishing open communication is one of the most powerful tools parents have to positively influence their kids’ decisions, during National Safety Month, and throughout the year.

For a Parent’s Checklist for Talking to Teens about Drugs & Alcohol visit RecoverGateway.org/ParentChecklist

Effective and Flexible Outpatient Treatment for Alcoholism

In recognition of Alcohol Awareness Month in April, Gateway expert, Stacy Lott shares how outpatient alcoholism treatment can be highly effective.

By: Stacy Lott, PsyD, CADC
Clinical Supervisor Outpatient Programs
Gateway Chicago West

Outpatient Alcohol TreatmentMany people don’t realize they can receive effective alcohol treatment in outpatient drug rehabilitation. The reality is, alcohol is a drug and outpatient therapy is very beneficial for treating the many forms of alcoholism.

Outpatient drug rehab is a flexible option for people who are unable to commit to a residential program. Many have jobs from which they cannot take time away or have children they must care for.

In addition to flexibility, outpatient treatment enables people to come in, learn new skills, and immediately utilize them in the real world. People can see what works and doesn’t, come back in, process that and build upon it.

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers’ outpatient drug rehab program utilizes evidenced-based treatment, which has been shown through research to be the most effective. More than a support group, our program helps participants build the most effective coping skills….Read More>

Visit RecoverGateway.org/Alcohol to learn more about Gateway’s Outpatient Alcoholism Treatment programs.

Did You Know? Insurance Carriers and Medicaid Now Cover Drug Treatment

insurance drug treatmentSince the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) went into effect on Jan. 1 2014, all insurance carriers and Medicaid are required to cover the costs associated with treatment for substance use disorders on their insureds’ behalf. As a result, a significant financial barrier for treatment is now lifted for millions of Americans who deserve the chance to get life back on track.

If you know individuals who have been denied insurance benefits for substance abuse and mental health treatment in the past, please let them know the financial hurdle standing in the way of their recovery is no longer an issue.

Gateway Treatment Centers: More Convenient and Better Than Ever

While your life has experienced positive growth, so has Gateway! It was a very busy 2013, opening two new, state-of-the-art Gateway outpatient treatment centers and completing a major makeover at our Lake Villa residential treatment center.

Gateway Chicago River North: To better serve the needs of the Chicago area, a Gateway center specializing in Adult Outpatient Treatment is now located in Chicago’s River North district near the Merchandise Mart.

Gateway Swansea: In the St. Louis Metro East area, we relocated to Swansea from Belleville, IL. The center provides Outpatient Treatment for adults and adolescents in addition to family counseling and medication assisted treatment as part of an integrated approach to treatment.

Gateway Lake Villa: Last but not least, our Lake Villa residential center underwent major cosmetic renovations to provide a more comfortable, relaxed atmosphere for recovery. The renovated public spaces, corridors and guest rooms feature a soothing, natural palette. Lunge area updates included access to areas dedicated to studying, meditating and DIY laundry.

For more information about the programs offered at Gateway Alcohol and Drug Treatment Centers, call 877-505-HOPE (4673).

Integrated Treatment for Co-Occurring Substance Abuse And Mental Health Issues

drug abuse treatment carbondale

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment
Carbondale, IL

For men and teens with dual-diagnosis or co-occurring disorders, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers provide the kind of experience and knowledge needed to help them get life back on track. Our Carbondale center has expertise in integrated treatment, which means our clinical professionals treat both issues—addiction and mental health—at the same time, in the same program, by the same clinical team. Research supports that integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders is the most effective approach— more so than concurrent or sequential treatment models—and decreases one’s chances for relapse.

In addition to understanding the impact of mental illness and addiction issues on them and their loved ones, men and teens with co-occurring disorders will learn
how to:

  • Manage their condition and unique circumstances with a healthy lifestyle and prescribed medications.
  • Regulate their emotions using techniques like mindfulness.
  • Nurture gratifying relationships by improving communication and coping skills.

What is a Co-Occurring Disorder?
Often times people abuse alcohol or drugs in an attempt to escape their distressing thoughts and painful feelings created by an underlying mental health concern. In fact, it’s more common than not for people with a substance abuse problem to also have a mental health issue, such as depression, bipolar disorder or anxiety. When someone has both issues it is referred to as a co-occurring disorder.

For lasting recovery, it’s extremely important for people with co-occurring disorders to take the necessary measures to manage both concerns. That’s because untreated mental health problems increase the likelihood for substance relapse.

SPECIALIZED DRUG TREATMENT FOR MEN

The Men’s Residential Co-Occurring Treatment Program caters to the unique challenges confronting men who struggle with co-occurring disorders. With increased staffing ratios, our clinical team seamlessly addresses the intricacies involved with co-occurring disorders, such as medication management,
behavior modification therapy and post-treatment recovery planning.

Grounded in Gateway’s empowering treatment philosophy, men in this program get the responsiveness they need in order to thoroughly understand substance abuse as well as their mental health diagnoses. While treatment is personalized based on individual needs, men in drug treatment experience enhanced self-awareness and improved coping/social skills through classroom work, individual counseling and group therapy. Activities in group may include tasks like recreating a negative experience with a positive outcome and/or practicing difficult conversations in a safe environment. When the time is right, men can invite their loved ones to family counseling sessions where problems may be addressed through honest yet respectful dialogue moderated by solution-seeking counselors.

ENHANCED CARE FOR TEENS STRUGGLING WITH MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS

Gateway’s Carbondale center has the specialized expertise to instill in teens the tools and knowledge needed to manage their addiction and mental health concerns on an on-going basis. In fact, both our Male and our Female Adolescent Residential Programs at Carbondale have been independently rated as Dual-Diagnosis Capable (DDC) to Dual-Diagnosis Enhanced (DDE). This esteemed designation underscores the expertise of Carbondale’s clinical team and the organization’s dedication to evolving treatment of alcohol and drug abuse.

For more information about the Co-Occurring Treatment program for Men and Teens at Gateway Carbondale, call 877-505-HOPE (4673).

 

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