Gateway Nursing Manager Presents on Medication-Assisted Treatment

James Blasko, nursing manager at Gateway Foundation treatment centers in Pekin, Springfield and Jacksonville, will present on Medication-Assisted Treatment at the Tazewell County Justice Center in Pekin on Thursday, June 28 from 12 to 2 p.m. The first 30 minutes will begin with a lunch, followed by Blasko’s presentation and a question and answer session. In his presentation, Blasko will review the medications and methods used to assist patients suffering with substance use disorder and how these medications address withdrawal symptoms, cravings and detoxification and ultimately save lives.

What is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) combines behavioral therapy and medications to treat substance use disorders. Gateway Foundation centers provide MAT as part of a comprehensive program that includes counseling and therapy to help individuals modify their behavior to make better lifestyle changes for long-term success.

MAT is an evidence-based treatment option proven to reduce or eliminate cravings, decrease withdrawal symptoms and reduce the risk of relapse.

Who is James Blasko?

After spending 16 years in the intensive care unit at a hospital, Blasko took a job with Gateway Foundation treatment center in Springfield and has been with Gateway ever since. He currently serves as the nursing manager for Gateway treatment centers in Springfield, Pekin and Jacksonville. He cites the patients, the family dynamic of the staff, the work he is doing and how many people it is helping as what he loves most about his job at Gateway.

Blasko is no stranger to MAT. He was one of the main forces behind Gateway’s initiative to offer Narcan to patients and their loved ones after treatment.

“I felt very strongly about helping our clients succeed and their families to feel a little more relief about taking them home and knowing if there was a relapse they could save their loved one’s life,” Blasko says.

Blasko’s commitment to patients goes beyond the sites’ walls. When Gateway patients cannot access the facilities in Springfield, he drives 45 minutes to Lincoln to provide it. He picks up medications from CVS and Walgreens for patients who are unable to pick them up. He also administers shots at area jails because MAT has been proven to reduce recidivism.

To learn more or attend the free event, click here.

The Trump Administration’s Opioid Action Plan

valentino-funghi-276005-unsplashDuring the 2016 presidential election, then Republican nominee Donald Trump took a tough stance on the opioid crisis, declaring he would help solve the crisis if he were elected. President Trump often cited his personal connection to addiction as a major motivator, as his oldest brother passed away after a battle with alcohol use disorder.

The first step the Trump administration took was to declare the opioid crisis a national public health emergency last October. In 2017, Trump also donated his third quarter salary to the Department of Health and Human Services in an effort to combat the opioid crisis.

During a speech on Monday in New Hampshire, President Trump released his plan to combat the opioid crisis, which he called “The Crisis Next Door.” The plan is broken into the following three sections: enforcement and interdiction, education and prevention through a federal advertising campaign, and employment assistance for those battling addiction:

Enforcement & Interdiction

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President Trump has mentioned numerous times a desire to implement the death penalty for drug traffickers when the Department of Justice (DOJ) deems it appropriate, which has stirred controversy. During today’s speech, Trump officially called for the use of the death penalty for high-level drug traffickers.

The DOJ is now leading a task force on major litigation against drug companies at the federal level. Trump called for these companies to be held responsible for their actions. The administration plans to cut the nationwide opioid prescriptions by one-third. Trump also stated federal funding will be invested in the development of non-addictive painkillers. In addition, within two years at least half of all federally employed healthcare providers will adopt best practices for opioid prescribing, and within five years all federally employed healthcare providers will do so in order to prevent over prescribing.

Trump also emphasized supplying emergency responders and law enforcement with the overdose-reversing medication Narcan. Some cities, including Chicago, have already put forth this policy.

Education & Prevention

children-403582_1280A major initiative will be a federal advertising campaign targeting young adults and children. The administration plans to spend money on commercials that depict the devastating effects of drugs to scare children away from ever using them.

During his speech, Trump highlighted Adapt Pharma and its work with colleges and high schools. Adapt provided colleges and universities across the country with four boxes and high schools with two boxes of Narcan in an effort to reduce student overdose deaths. Adapt has also provided education on Narcan to school staff.

Employment

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Another focal point is helping inmates with substance use disorders get the treatment they need and, further, helping them secure employment after they are released. Trump referenced the country’s low unemployment rate and strong economy as being beneficial to helping inmates get hired.

Additional Takeaways:

Although no financial plans were discussed during the speech, in his latest budget proposal released in February, Trump called for an allocation of nearly $17 billion in 2019 to fight the opioid epidemic. The money from the budget will mainly go to expanding coverage of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) and helping states monitor and track clinics that prescribe a large amount of opioids, which many public health officials deem necessary to resolving the crisis. Trump reiterated in his speech that the administration will dedicate resources to ensure the accessibility and affordability of medication-assisted treatments.

The administration will also waive a Medicaid rule that prevents treatment facilities with more than 16 beds from receiving reimbursements for addiction services. This initiative could prove instrumental for low-income individuals seeking treatment.

Shortly after the president’s speech, Congress released plans to introduce multiple bills to help end the opioid crisis. One of the bills is the Preventing Overdoses While in Emergency Rooms (POWER) act. This bipartisan bill aims to set up protocols for emergency rooms across the United States on best practices for discharging overdose patients, to ensure patients have the resources they need to succeed post-hospitalization. Measures of this act would ensure patients’ access to overdose-reversal medication and other medication-assisted treatments, as well as peer-support specialists and other types of treatment programs.

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.

Drug Rehab at Gateway Can Involve Medication Assisted Treatment

Expert Insight from Gilbert Lichstein, Program Director, Gateway Chicago West 3 in a Series of 4 Gateway Alcohol and Drug Treatment Centers employs evidenced-based practices to create meaningful, individualized treatment programs. We believe there is more than one pathway to recovery so we expose clients to a wide array of treatment methodologies. This series explores some of those methodologies.

Medication Assisted Treatment drug rehab, medication assisted treatment, substance abuse treatemnt, gateway treatment centersGateways’ comprehensive alcohol and drug rehab programs incorporate the ability to provide medication assisted treatment (MAT). MAT can be a valuable tool for effectively decreasing withdrawal symptoms, reducing or eliminating cravings, assisting with detoxification, and reducing the risk of relapse.

Freedom from withdrawal symptoms enables people to begin therapy sooner than later. With their cravings under control, individuals can more easily engage in their alcohol or drug rehab program and are more likely to stay in treatment.

Gateway offers medication assisted treatment in both outpatient drug treatment and inpatient treatment programs. The medications used by Gateway are closely monitored and, the way we use them, are not addictive. Options are available to alleviate various aspects of dependency on opiates, alcohol, benzodiazepine or other substances.

We administer the minimum effective dose and discontinue the use of medications as soon as possible. As with all Gateway methodologies, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to medication assisted treatment. Clients are individually assessed for the suitability and advisability of using MAT and not all are candidates.

We discuss the options with those who are candidates and work closely with them to develop a personalized treatment plan. People are always free to decline the option to use medications. Gateway’s cutting edge use of new medications and evidence-based programming sets us apart from the norm. What we are doing is measurable, and with doctors and psychiatrists on board, our treatment has evolved into a medical model.

Is someone you know is struggling with alcohol or drug use? Gateway Can Help. Don’t wait, call 800-971-HOPE (4673) or visit RecoverGateway.org today.

Medication Assisted Treatment Can be Key Piece in Treating Alcoholism

In recognition of Alcohol Awareness Month, founded by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence in 1987, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers aim to increase public awareness and understanding of alcoholism and the alcohol treatment options available for individuals and families who may need help.

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Kerry Henry
Executive Director
Gateway Treatment Centers in Springfield and Pekin

 Kerry Henry, Executive Director, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment in Springfield and Pekin, explains how Medication Assisted Treatment can play a key role in treatment for alcohol use disorders:

Treatment for alcohol use disorder, often referred to as alcoholism or alcohol abuse, calls for a multi-faceted approach that is personalized to the individual. Sometimes this approach includes medication assisted treatment (MAT).

For alcoholics, MAT initially consists of different treatment options that help them through the initial stages of detox withdrawal symptoms. Freedom from these symptoms enables people to participate in therapy sooner than later.

Skeptics of Medicated Assisted Treatment believe that it’s just substituting one drug for another, which is far from the case. The medications Gateway uses are not harmful, are closely monitored, treat symptoms and, the way we use them, are not addictive. We use the minimum effective dose and discontinue their use as soon as possible.

The ability to medically assist people with alcoholism has brought positive changes for those receiving treatment at Gateway. Read Full Article

To learn more about medication assisted treatment for alcoholism, or our free consultation, call Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers today at 800-971-HOPE (4673).

Addiction Treatment Expert Presents at 15th Annual Interdisciplinary Nephrology Conference

dr john larson, gateway alcohol and drug treatment, medication assisted treatmentOn Friday, October 24, 2014, addiction treatment expert, Dr. Larson (Medical Director, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers) presented, “Recent Advances in Medication Assisted Treatment of Addiction” at the 15th Annual Interdisciplinary Nephrology Conference. The conference was hosted by the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois in partnership with the Illinois Council of Nephrology Nurses and Technicians (ICNNT), the Illinois Council on Renal Nutrition (ICRN) and the Illinois Council of Nephrology Social Workers (ICNSW).

Mara Lidacis, Director of Community Health Education of National Kidney Foundation of Illinois, stated “We thank Dr. Larson for presenting to the social workers. From what I heard, the presentation was very well received. I know they appreciated having him share his expertise.”

Learn More:

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

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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