Parents: How to Prepare for Prom

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It’s warming up (unless you’re in Chicago), finals are looming, bank statements are lowering, meaning one thing for high schoolers and their parents: prom.

For many, prom marks the end of high school and a transition into uncharted territory. Students may be leaving home for college, entering the workforce full-time, or struggling to figure out their next step, all of which may increase susceptibility to peer pressure and substance use. Studies show more than 75 percent of underage drinkers reported drinking in a group. And although adolescents and young adults drink less often than adults, they tend to binge drink, leading to consequences like visits to the emergency room or even death.

Gloom and doom aside, prom season can be fun; it can also an opportunity to start a conversation with your teens about substance use. Two of our Gateway experts, Aurora and Joliet’s Jim Scarpace and Lake County’s Karen Wolownik-Albert, share their tips for a safe prom:

Allow them to ask questions and be open to hearing their experiences with peers and even with drinking and using drugs. Help them understand the dangers and risks associated with using drugs and drinking, like the increased likelihood of unsafe sexual behaviors or victimization

  • Prepare them for what they may be exposed to on prom night.

Talk to your teen about the dangers of binge drinking and drunk driving or riding with an intoxicated driver. About a third of alcohol-related traffic deaths involving teens occur between April and June, the most popular months for prom. Try practicing their responses to different scenarios.

  • Establish a back-up plan.

Let your teen know they can call you immediately, regardless of the time or situation, and you will be willing to come get them. Develop a code word. Let them know they can text you instead of calling, if that is easier for them.

  • Figure out a structured and supervised post-prom event.

If this is not possible, be sure to meet or speak to the parents at any home where your teen may be hanging out after prom.

  • Do not provide alcohol to teenagers in your home.

Although it may seem safe, social hosting laws have established significant legal consequences for adults who allow alcohol or drug use in their home.

If your teen is struggling with substance use, be sure to express your support in overcoming the problem with them and reach out to professional resources and treatment.

If you’re a parent and have other questions about your children’s substance use or mental health, please contact us at Marketing@GatewayFoundation.org and we will work with our experts to answer them.

Biting the Hands that Feed Each Other: Stress and Alcohol

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Your boss wants the project on their desk first thing tomorrow morning. Your rent is due and you’re short, again. You forgot about your anniversary. It’s Monday.

When you finally get home, you have a drink or two to wind down, which isn’t necessarily a problem, not yet. According to Gateway Aurora Executive Director Jim Scarpace, stress-related drinking becomes a problem when someone starts relying on alcohol as a way to self-medicate, when alcohol becomes the only form of stress-relief.

To be clear, stress and anxiety are different from stress and anxiety disorders. We all experience stress and anxiety to a degree. Stress is sometimes even healthy. It tells our body and our brain to react to a threat. It can kick-start our body to fight off an infection or help us perform better under pressure. However, unmanaged and acute or long-term stress can damage our bodies and our minds.

Although alcohol in small doses acts like a stimulant, or a pick-me-up, alcohol is a depressant, meaning it lowers activity of the central nervous system; simply put, it relaxes us. If someone turns to the bottle time and time again under stress, however, they will likely develop an association between the two, a habit, and then a tolerance to its stress-alleviating properties. It will take more alcohol to feel the same level of relief, increasing vulnerability to addiction.

Despite alcohol’s ability to diminish stress, studies have shown it dually extends the negative experience of stressors and decreases alcohol’s positive effects. So the negative emotion associated with that project – still due tomorrow – may be even worse when you present it to your boss the next day.

People in recovery may need to overcome more hurdles to cope with stressors without the help of alcohol. Studies have also indicated people in recovery experience increased rates of relapse in the face of life stressors.

However, finding support and healthy coping mechanisms can reduce alcohol misuse, relapse rates, and stress levels.

Alternative ways to relieve stress:
– Exercise or go for a walk
– Laugh – at a video, TV show, or meme (here’s one to get you started)
– Listen to music
– Journal or craft
– Take a nap
– Spend time with pets or people you love

“If you’re struggling to stop using alcohol and not getting any relief from your coping mechanisms, then you really need to get support through medically assisted treatment or counseling or both,” Scarpace advises, “and that’s where treatment comes in.”

How do you deal with stress? Share your healthy stress relievers with us this month @RecoverGateway on Facebook and Twitter.

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. 

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.

Mental health and alcohol abuse: Is there a connection?

During the month of May, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers, Mental Health America and countless other organizations across the country are bringing awareness to mental health. Mental Health Awareness Month aims to fight the stigma associated with mental health issues as well as provide support to those who may be struggling.

While we support mental health awareness year round, this May, GatewayiStock_000059997060_Medium Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers would like to highlight the strong correlation between mental health issues and alcohol abuse.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA), 80 percent of individuals with addiction issues have a co-occurring mental health issue. These can include depression, mood disorder, ADD, among others.  “In our experience the number of people with a dual diagnosis may be even higher,” says Jim Scarpace, Executive Director, Gateway Aurora.

Alcohol abuse and mental health issues go hand in hand because both are tied to similar centers of the brain. Alcohol temporarily energizes the center of the brain responsible for depression and anxiety, decreasing those symptoms for a person.

The effects of using alcohol to self-medicate are fleeting, leaving a person feeling substantially worse than prior to using. Still, many use this “band aid” approach because it helps them obtain some manner of immediate relief. However, when a person drinks to make them self feel better, they create a cycle that repeats, so both the alcohol abuse and mental health issue worsen.

Caught in the spiral, it is almost impossible to stop the cycle without help and support. To learn more visit RecoverGateway.org/MentalHealth

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).

 

Kane County Cougars “Pitch in” to Help Gateway!

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Gateway’s Fox Valley drug treatment center receives the charitable proceeds from this season’s Kane County Cougars “Pitch in for Charity” promotion. L to R: Jamie Horner, L.S.W., C.A.D.C., Counselor, Gateway Aurora, Sherman Fields, “Ozzie,” Kane County Cougars’ Mascot, Jim Scarpace, Executive Director, Gateway Aurora

Gateway’s Alcohol & Drug Treatment Center in the Fox Valley area has been chosen to receive the charitable proceeds from this season’s Kane County Cougars “Pitch in for Charity” promotion. “Pitch in for Charity” is a contest held before the fireworks following select Cougars baseball games and involves fans who purchase and throw numbered tennis balls onto a target to win prizes.

“The significance of the donation is twofold” said  Jamie Horner, L.S.W., C.A.D.C., Counselor, Gateway Aurora,  explaining that people often face financial limitations even if they have insurance coverage. “I am so happy that Gateway Aurora will use this donation to assist individuals in covering costs to enter recovery homes after they complete our treatment programs,” said Jamie.

Second, substance abuse treatment is often overlooked when companies choose to donate to a not-for-profit organization. “Often times, organizations are uncomfortable donating to substance abuse treatment centers due to the stigma associated with addiction and mental illness. This donation helps reduce that stigma.” Jamie said.

In her role as a counselor at Gateway’s Fox Valley drug treatment center, Jamie had discussed her passion for helping people recover and Gateway’s mission many times with her dad, Sherman Fields. Through his affiliation with the Kane County Cougars, Mr. Fields recommended Gateway for the “Pitch in for Charity” promotion because he is not only proud of his daughter’s work, he respects the good work performed by Gateway Treatment Centers.

Drug Rehab Expansion Advances Fox Valley Response to Heroin Epidemic

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Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers announces today it has been approved by Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to receive a $500,000 grant, which will help fund the investment surrounding a 10-bed expansion construction project at its drug rehab center located in the Aurora, IL. As heroin continues to lure a following of young adult users from the Fox Valley area, the additional capacity will help Gateway meet the escalating demand for inpatient substance abuse treatment services.

“The reality is the surge in heroin use in DuPage and Kane counties have caused a bleak “no vacancy” status quo for inpatient treatment services since providers, for the most part, have been working at full capacity. Thanks to the financial backing from DCEO, more individuals who struggle with addiction issues will have access to life-saving treatment and the kind of emotional support needed, when they are ready to get life back on track,” explains Jim Scarpace, Executive Director, Gateway Aurora.

Gateway Aurora also is an active participant in solution-minded community coalitions, which bring together elected officials, businesses leaders and concerned citizens to collaborate on strategies to address the area’s heroin problem. Thanks to unwavering support from State Representative Linda Chapa LaVia, state Sen. Jim Oberweis, Congressman Bill Foster (IL-11) and Congressman Randy Hultgren (IL-14), progress has been made in alleviating vulnerabilities, educating the public and saving lives. For example, Naperville police now carry Narcan nasal spray to be administered in the event of an overdose, which has resulted in 25 lives saved in one year alone according to Chicago Tribune story published on Oct. 17, 2014.

“During my time in Congress, I have looked for ways to attack from head-on the problem of substance abuse. Healthcare providers know the best way to fight addiction is to provide in-patient treatment, like the services provided by Gateway Alcohol and Drug Treatment Centers. This grant funding will go a long way in the fight against substance abuse in the Fox Valley and the surrounding area. Ten more beds at this facility mean more people will get the help they need and be on the road to recovery,” says Congressman Bill Foster.

When complete in July 2015, Gateway Aurora’s renovated inpatient annex will include a total of 44 beds, increasing client capacity by about 22 percent. The Aurora center also offers step-down services, Outpatient and Aftercare programs; please visit RecoverGateway.org/Aurora for more information.

Joint Commission Films Video at Gateway’s Aurora Treatment Center

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