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.

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.

Gateway Presents New Program at National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit

The National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit took place in Atlanta this week, and two of Gateway’s own attended to speak about a new program on Thursday. Also in attendance were special speakers President Bill Clinton, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams.

Karen Wolownik-Albert, Gateway Lake Villa executive director, and Sally Thoren, Chicago-Independence executive director, presented on Project Warm Hand Off. This federally funded initiative targets those struggling with opioid use and works to remove barriers to treatment. Using the Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) model, this program aims to connect people struggling with opioid use disorders to treatment directly from emergency departments. Recovery coaches follow up with patients to ensure the Warm Hand Off is completed, and also with patients who initially declined assistance. “We call it ‘intercepting’ those in crisis and shepherding them to care,” Thoren says.

Biggest takeaways

“We were thrilled to find our room full of interested attendees,” Thoren says. “We found that the challenges we faced in implementation have been experienced by most others as well, including delays in hospitals agreeing to partner, capacity issues, and challenges with the Medicaid changes.”

Thoren left the conference struck by New York’s coordinated, state-wide efforts against the opioid crisis.

“They have obtained the waiver that allows for more services to be paid by Medicaid, so they don’t have the capacity challenges we face in Illinois,” she elaborates. “They have robust needle exchange programs, embracing a harm-reduction approach. They have outstanding data demonstrating their effectiveness.”

Dr. Adams’ presentation garnered most of the national attention: He issued the first surgeon general national public health advisory in 13 years, urging more Americans to carry naloxone, an antidote that blocks the effects of opioids and reverses overdoses.

“We fully support the surgeon general’s advisory,” Wolownik-Albert says. “At Gateway, we have been working for several years to increase naloxone access and provide education to clients, alumni, and family. Our goal is to ensure that everyone in need of naloxone has access to this life-saving medication. We train all of our staff on overdose prevention and administering naloxone.”

“In northern Illinois, we are very fortunate in comparison to other areas of the country, to have many programs and collaborations to combat the Opioid Epidemic,” Wolownik-Albert says.

Dr. Adams stated that more access to naloxone alone will not solve this crisis – access to evidence-based treatment also must be expanded.

“The ‘tone’ was one of action, not a ‘call to action,’” Thoren says. “That is, since there is universal agreement that this crisis is real, the need is great, the tone was ‘we are doing’ as opposed to ‘we must do.’”

 

Fake Weed-Related Injuries and Deaths Break Out in Illinois

K2An outbreak of synthetic marijuana, starting in Chicago and fanning out in Illinois, has caused more than 50 cases of serious bleeding–including two deaths–and those numbers are rising.

“This is the first time we’ve seen an outbreak of this magnitude in the area,” Melaney Arnold, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Public Health, announces.

Its effects can be up to 10 times more intense than marijuana; as a result, it’s more dangerous. And its longterm effects on the brain and body are still unknown.

“Synthetic cannabinoids have been touted as ‘safe, legal’ alternatives to marijuana and other illicit substances, but they are neither,” says Gateway Lake Villa Executive Director Karen Wolownik-Albert. “Patients in treatment who are withdrawing from these unknown chemicals experience extreme agitation, language and perceptual disturbances, paranoia, hallucinations, and significant physical discomfort.”

What is synthetic marijuana?

Synthetic marijuana, often referred to as K2, consists of human-made chemicals that are either sprayed on dried, shredded plant material and smoked, or liquids that are vaporized and inhaled in e-cigarettes and other devices.

What are the signs?

  • Feeling lightheaded and having trouble walking
  • Vomiting
  • Agitation, confusion, paranoia, and panic attacks
  • Hallucinations
  • Rapid heart rate and over-stimulation of the central nervous system

What should you do?

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

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. 

Free Webinar for Healthcare Professionals: How to Motivate Patients to Enter Substance Abuse Treatment

Doctors, nurses, practice managers and counselors all play a key role in talking to patients about their overall healthcare, which should include discussing use of drugs or alcohol.” Patricia Ryding Psy.D., Executive Director, Gateway Lake Villa

Doctors, nurses, practice managers and counselors all play a key role in talking to patients about their overall healthcare, which should include discussing use of drugs or alcohol.” Patricia Ryding Psy.D., Executive Director, Gateway Lake Villa

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment will host two expert-led CEU webinars in March to assist healthcare and medical professionals with developing skills they can use to encourage patients to engage in substance abuse treatment. Participants will learn how to recognize signs and symptoms of a possible addictive disorder and assess their patients’ readiness for change. Motivational Interviewing, an evidence-based intervention method, also will be covered in the training.

Healthcare professionals may earn one continuing education credit compliments of Gateway while increasing their understanding of how to assist patients regarding substance abuse issues.  Gateway’s webinars will only be offered Thursday, Mar. 26 and Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2015 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, nearly one in 10 Americans over age 12 is classified with substance abuse or dependence. “Doctors, nurses, practice managers and counselors all play a key role in talking to patients about their overall healthcare, which should include discussing use of drugs or alcohol,” said Patricia Ryding Psy.D., Executive Director, Gateway Lake Villa.  “We designed this new training based on what healthcare professionals said they needed most, they need to better understand what tools are most effective for motivating their patients to consider treatment for alcoholism or drug abuse.”

Gateway’s webinars will cover important topics, like how to identify symptoms of a substance abuse disorder and understanding motivation and clinical intervention concepts.

To sign up for a webinar, please visit RecoverGateway.org/Training.

National Recovery Month: A Closer Look at Substance Abuse

Insight from Gateway Expert: Patricia Ryding

Patricia Ryding gateway lake villa

Dr. Patricia Ryding
Executive Director
Gateway Lake Villa

Did you know that nearly one in 10 Americans over the age of 12 are classified has having a substance abuse or dependency problem?  At that rate, nearly 6,400 of the 64,000 Lake County community residents have a problem abusing drugs or alcohol, or both.  As you might assume, substance abuse negatively impacts those immediately around the person in need of help. In fact, the impact of substance abuse goes far beyond one’s friends and family members. Annually, thousands of dollars throughout Lake County go toward substance abuse in terms of higher costs for healthcare, the criminal justice system, welfare, taxes and in lives taken or damaged by substance abuse related violence, stealing or impaired driving.

September is National Recovery Month, and is a time I encourage you to speak openly about substance abuse and the realities around it with your family, friends and co-workers. Did you know that studies show when parents talk to their kids about the dangers of using drugs or alcohol, the message sticks? Visit RecoverGateway.org/Prevention to access a free toolkit designed to help parents start the conversation about prevention with their kids.

If you have a friend or family member that you think may be struggling with some sort of alcohol or drug abuse problem, please encourage them to get treatment. They may simply not know where to get help or what first step to take. If you aren’t sure about the first step to take, I want to share a few good places start. You may not realize it, but a Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Center, located in Lake Villa provides free consultations and resources to help you better understand substance abuse and answer any questions you may have. Visit RecoverGateway.org to talk via live chat with a person who can tell you about substance abuse treatment options available in our community. This National Recovery month, so why should you wait? I urge you to talk to your friends and family about how to prevent substance abuse or get treatment if someone may need help.

Gateway Sponsors DSM-5 Training at University of Illinois Rockford

DSM 5 Training, Gateway Treatment Centers

Michael A. Nagelbach, PhD, Psyd
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Gateway Treatment Centers

On Wednesday, December 4, 2013, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers sponsored an introductory workshop on The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), which was held at the University of Illinois Rockford. Gateway’s own Michael A. Nagelbach, PhD, PsyD, Director of the university’s Psychology Training Program and licensed clinical psychologist at Gateway Lake Villa, shared his experience and insight into DSM-5.

Through the event, continuing education and valuable training was provided to nearly 300 professionals from industries, such as legal, behavioral health, health care and human services.

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