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.

25-Year Old Woman Enjoys Life Free of Alcohol and Heroin Addiction

heroin addiction, substance abuse treatment, drug addiction treatment, drug treatment programs, “It’s really important to be aware. When see you personality changes or when someone withdrawals from you, the sooner you intervene, the better the odds you won’t lose a loved one,” explains Angela, a 25-year-old female from a suburban town in Illinois who got help for alcohol and heroin addiction following a heroin overdose.

Like many Americans who suffer with depression and anxiety, Angela abused alcohol and prescription drugs like Vicodin and benzodiazepines to escape her uncomfortable feelings and unresolved emotions, which also chipped away at her self-esteem. She eventually sought out the “ultimate high” of heroin.

A study published in JAMA Psychiatry* reveals Angela’s experience is representative of a growing trend in America: Today’s typical heroin user who has sought treatment is more likely a 20-something white woman from the suburbs. Researchers have concluded that this represents a shift in the demographics of users seeking out treatment over the past few decades.

The study says that Caucasian men and women have turned to prescription pills as their drug of choice, but heroin eventually becomes more attractive to them, as it is much cheaper. According to lead study author, neuropharmacologist Theodore Cicero of Washington University, heroin use in women has rose from 20 percent in the 50s to around 52 percent of heroin users today.

Angela, who is now 73 days sober, is enjoying a very different life since first walking into a Gateway Treatment Center. No longer aching to escape reality, she’s working full-time as a cook and genuinely enjoys appeasing her diners’ hunger. When she isn’t working, Angela likes to unwind by hula hooping, creating music and hanging out with her family.

To get to a better state, Amanda’s integrated treatment for addiction and mental health issues included medication assisted treatment services that addressed withdrawal symptoms as well as cravings for opiates and alcohol. She worked with a dedicated counselor along with other substance abuse experts to create her own personalized treatment plan, one grounded in her own values and life goals. Through individual and group therapy sessions along with education about substance abuse and mental health, Amanda was able to unravel her painful past, working through haunting problems that she had buried and avoided.

“For me, the best thing about going through treatment at Gateway is I discovered the beauty I have inside me and what I have to offer the world. Treatment is all about rebuilding self-esteem,” she explains. “It’s empowering to feel confident in my abilities and positive about my future—I feel so lucky to be alive.”

Gateway Treatment Centers are located throughout the state of Illinois and offer Residential Treatment Programs and Intensive Outpatient Programs for adults and teens struggling with alcoholism and drug abuse. Call today to learn about our free, confidential consultation at (877) 505-HOPE.

*JAMA Psychiatry. Published online May 28, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.366

HEROIN USE SPIKES AMONG 18-22 YEAR OLDS

Today’s portrait of a typical heroin user probably isn’t what most people imagine. The growth in heroin use is primarily among white, middle and upper class 18-22 year olds, living in America’s suburbs and rural areas.

The heroin concern is an unfortunate outcome of another sweeping drug abuse trend among affluent teens: abuse of prescription pain medications, such as Vicodin and Oxycontin. According to Partnership for Drug Free America, 24 % of high school students have abused addictive prescription drugs, a 33% increase in 5 years. 

However, prescription opioids have become harder to obtain and more expensive, therefore opioid abusers are migrating to a cheaper, stronger alternative to prescription pills: heroin.

It’s important to recognize the physical signs and symptoms of heroin use, which include:

  • Shallow breathing and shortness of breath.
  • Clouded mental functioning.
  • Decreased pain from either physical conditions or emotional challenges.
  • Uncontrollable feelings of itching.
  • Constricted pupils.

As well as behavioral signs of heroin abuse, such as:

  • Lying or other deceptive behavior.
  • Substantial increase in time spent sleeping.
  • Increase in slurred or incoherent speech.
  • Poor performance in school or work, including expulsion or loss of jobs.
  • Decreasing attention to hygiene and physical appearance.
  • Loss of motivation and apathy toward future goals and interests.
  • Withdrawal from friends and family, instead spending time with new friends with no natural tie.
  • Repeatedly stealing or borrowing money from loved ones, or unexplained absence of valuables.
  • Wearing long pants or long sleeves to hide needle marks, even in very warm weather.

If you know someone who needs help breaking free from opioids, Gateway Foundation can help. For a free and confidential consultation, please call 877-505-4673.

Gateway Unites Medicine and Therapy to Treat Drug Addiction

Individuals in Alcohol and Drug Treatment See Favorable Results with Medication Assisted Therapy

medication assisted therapy, drug addiction, drug treatmentJordan never planned for his life to turn down a path of drug addiction. At a young age, his life became more difficult after a life-changing tragedy: the sudden passing of Jordan’s father. Consequently, Jordan’s family started to move from place to place and his mother began dating. Feeling abandoned, by the age of 13 Jordan began using drugs to escape his unhappiness. After years of drug experimentation, Jordan first tried heroin when he was 18-years old.

 “Once I started using heroin, there was no stopping it. Within six months, my heroin dosage multiplied by three times,” explains Jordan.

According to the Centers of Disease Control, 100 people die from drug overdoses every day in the United States. Lucky for Jordan, he grew tired of living the way he was before becoming a statistic.

Today, Jordan sees things much differently. After seven years of heavy drug abuse, from marijuana and crystal meth to crack and heroin, and trouble with his relationships, work and the law, he turned to the Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment Center in Caseyville, IL, to help him put the use of heroin and other drugs behind him. Jordan is now 20-years-old and in recovery.

Jordan chose Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment to help him with his drug addiction because of its integrated treatment approach, which includes medication assisted therapy. To manage the intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms that occur when heroin use stops, Jordan was prescribed a medication called Suboxone® along with the substance abuse counseling, therapy and education he received at Gateway Foundation.

“Using Suboxone® was a tremendous help. My mind wasn’t focused on getting heroin, and it helped me through the symptoms of physical withdrawal. Getting the medicine, therapy and counseling at the same place, from the same team was both reassuring and convenient,” says Jordan.

Reducing the Likelihood for Relapse

When medication assisted treatment is part of an integrated drug treatment program, the likelihood of a person staying in treatment and remaining drug free is increased. Treatment for dependency on opiates, alcohol or other substances can include the use of a few medications, including Vivitrol® and Suboxone. Gateway physicians and clinicians work closely with individuals to help determine the most appropriate drug treatment plan for them.

“At Gateway Foundation, we educate people like Jordan in intensive outpatient and residential treatment about medication assisted treatment options because they work and save lives. We make our clients aware of their options, benefits and potential risks. As a result, we are seeing that clients are considerably more receptive to how medication assisted treatment might work in their circumstances,” explains Gateway Foundation Caseyville Executive Director Don Bushnell.

In addition to prescribed medications, counseling helps individuals increase their motivation for recovery and enhance their overall quality of life. It also helps people develop the skills they need to recognize events that may trigger their use of drugs or alcohol and how to cope with those situations in a healthy way.

For questions regarding Gateway Foundation’s integrated treatment programs, including medication assisted treatment, please call the 24-Hour Helpline at 877-505-HOPE (4673) or visit RecoverGateway.org.

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