Safe Passage Program Hosts Recognition and Celebration Event

gold star trophy against blue background

On September 1, 2015, the Dixon Police Department in northwest Illinois launched the Safe Passage Program to help people addicted to opiates receive the proper treatment to get their lives back on track. Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers has partnered with the Dixon PD in the Safe Passage Program to help provide treatmen
t to those seeking help.

In honor of the one-year anniversary of the Safe Passage Program, the Dixon PD will be hosting a recognition and celebration event on Wednesday, September 21 at That Place on Palmyra in Dixon, IL. The event runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is open to the public. Awards will be provided to all treatment partners, including Gateway Treatment Centers.

The Dixon, IL website describes the program:

Safe Passage – Opiate Addiction Program

Are you addicted to heroin or other opioids? Do you know someone who is?

It’s time to get help!

The Dixon Police Department and Lee County Sheriff’s Department have a revolutionary new policing program aimed at getting people suffering from addiction the help they need, instead of putting them in handcuffs. Lee County is changing the way they handle addicts who request help with their addiction to opiates such as Morphine, Heroin, Fentanyl, Oxycodone, Percocet and Percodan and Hydrocodone as found in Vicodin.

Any Lee County resident who enters the police station or sheriff’s department and asks for help with their addiction to opiates will be placed into appropriate treatment.

The Safe Passage Initiative was created to help heroin and opiate addicts get into recovery. If you need help or know someone who needs help into recovery from addiction, you just need to come to one of the stations and ask for it. We are here to help with the steps towards recovery. There will be some paperwork that needs to be completed and then you will be paired with a volunteer who will help guide you through the process. We have partnered with treatment centers to ensure that our patients receive the care and treatment they deserve—not in days or weeks, but immediately.

You can bring drugs or drug paraphernalia with you to the police or sheriff’s department. We will dispose of it for you. You will not be arrested. You will not be charged with a crime. You will not be jailed. You will be directed to treatment.

All you have to do is come to the police station or sheriff’s department and ask for help. We are here to do just that.

Source: Dixon Police Department

If you know someone who is experiencing substance abuse, learn more at RecoverGateway.org or call Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers for a confidential consultation at 877-505-HOPE (4673).

Shame, Stigma, and Addiction

Individuals struggling with substance abuse may often feel a sense of shame or stigma and find that it is easier to lie and hide rather than seek treatment. However, more prevalent coverage of substance use disorder-related issues in media and depictions on television of individuals who are not only struggling with drugs and alcohol but also seeking treatment and sobriety, is helping reduce the shame and stigma associated with addiction.

THE FIX REPORTS:

With addiction, stigma can crush you. Stigma is what says your drug and alcohol use is a character flaw. It’s what says you’re a bad mother, it is what says you are a bad son, or a bad husband.

TheFix

It took me a while to get to rehab. I spent years bashing around, harming myself and the people around me before I finally went. I knew I had some serious issues with booze, drugs and sex that I could not get under control on my own, but still, at least people didn’t know I had those problems, and at the time that was all that mattered. It wasn’t like my parents, friends, employers, wives and lovers, knew I was a drunk, a freak and a loser. Sure, it might help if I went to rehab, but as ridiculous as it sounds to me now, the embarrassment of going, and the stigma attached to it, outweighed the fact that I actually might be able to get help. I was terrified of people finding out what my problems were. I had fallen victim to shame, that was perpetuated by stigma.

If you are suffering with an issue of addiction, stigma can crush you. Stigma is what says your drug and alcohol use is a character flaw. It’s what says you’re a bad mother, it is what says you are a bad son, or a bad husband. It is what says you are weak, that you are crazy, that you are a piece of crap. It is why you are afraid to tell your boss that you need some time off to go get help. It is why you would rather lie than tell someone that you are not doing okay. It was why I would rather steal than let people know I needed help.

That was ten years ago. Now, when I look around at the people I know who are struggling with similar issues, there seems to be much less stigma attached to addiction and getting help for one’s problems, at least when it comes to the younger people I know. I am a member of Generation X, my generation hid everything we could about our issues as a rule, but with the coming of Generation Y, otherwise known as millennials, things finally seem to be changing.

Mike Reis, CEO and Founder of DecisionPoint Wellness, had this to say to me about stigma and the younger generation over an email interview: “A big factor that prevents many people from getting the help they need is the stigma associated with being labeled an addict. This is especially true for older Americans who isolate and feel an overwhelming sense of shame. Surprisingly, millennials are leading the way to remove the social stigma. I’ve learned a lot from the millennials that have come through our intensive outpatient program at DecisionPoint in Johns Creek, Georgia. They are connecting to others in recovery through technology and social media. Millennials openly share their recovery stories and daily journey on the Internet too. Unlike previous generations that came into recovery through the anonymity of AA, millennials don’t feel the need to be shackled to those traditions. They are more focused being individuals, and building a community of support. It’s common to see them proudly posting their sober anniversary dates on Facebook. Millennials seem to understand that the way to maintain their sobriety long-term is to publicly share their personal stories as survivors, and bring truth to the spotlight while creating a community of support. In doing so, they help others realize that addiction is a disease, and it needs to be treated as such without shame.”

Many millennials just don’t care a whole lot about what anyone thinks. A good example of this is Kassia Kristoff, a 30-year-old woman who once went to rehab to get help with her heroin use. “Fortunately for me, I have never cared much if at all what ‘society’ thinks of me, and as a result, felt no shame going to rehab. My world by the end consisted of only other addicts, so the only shame might have been in throwing in the towel. What I do feel shame about is the fact that people in this country are judged so harshly for being addicts. As someone who now works in a rehab and works with addicts in my personal life as well, I have seen the devastation that addiction causes to all who suffer from it. Most addicts, when clean, are extremely loving, caring and productive people. They simply need to be taught how to live without using first. Rehab is very helpful in this regard, because it teaches addicts (a term I use for all who suffer from addiction to any substance, including alcohol) about their addiction, and ways to cope without the crutch of their substance. Rehab gives addicts an opportunity to temporarily thrive in a safe and compassionate controlled environment, and to allow their brains and bodies to ‘sober up.'”

According to Karen Wolownik Albert, LCSW, who is executive director of Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment, social and traditional media has a lot to do with this change. She said to me in an interview: “More prevalent coverage of substance use disorder-related issues in media and depictions on television of individuals who are not only struggling with drugs and alcohol but also seeking treatment and sobriety, is helping reduce the shame and stigma associated with addiction. Younger generations are more likely to openly discuss the topic and be more transparent with their families and friends about their desire to seek help, compared to previous generations that kept their struggles private due the negative stigma of being an ‘addict.'”

Of course, it isn’t easy to go to rehab, no matter what generation you are in. But the stigma is way harder to deal with when you are going to get help than it is once you come out on the other side. As an obvious example, I have gone from someone who was terrified about letting anyone know about my issues, to writing about them in forums such as this one. Someone else who has done that is Lindsey Hall, who writes for many websites about her experiences with her eating disorder, including her own.

She told me that “I do not feel stigma around my eating disorder. Not anymore, at least… but I also write about it publicly and have connected with hundreds of people who have been through what I experienced, and I think that has slowly worn away the fear of stigma. Also, we live in a world where opioid addiction and eating disorders are on the rise, so it’s more likely than ever that you have a loved one or you yourself have experienced addiction. Due to social media, people talk about their ‘issues’ more openly than ever and for an eating disorder, there are so many body positive Instagram accounts as well as recovery websites and essays and blogs (including mine) about this exact topic that make you feel like you’re actually in a community. However, before I went to rehab in 2013, I absolutely did feel stigma. I was terrified to tell people I was going. I wanted people to respect me and think of me as someone who had her life together, and I felt like rehab had this whole stigma of ‘Oh, you went to rehab? You must be like super messed up. You’re crazy. I can’t take you seriously anymore.’ At the end of the day, I’m not going to say it’s easy to proclaim, when meeting new people, that I’ve been in rehab. But, it’s just becoming more of an acceptable reality in a culture where drug addiction/binge drinking/and eating disorders are rampant.”

David Rosenbloom, PhD, is a professor of Public Health at Boston University where he directs Join Together, a program that helps communities prevent and reduce alcohol and drug problems.

Dr. Rosenbloom told me that he believes millennials are more tolerant of a much broader range of human conditions than their parents or prior generations. When I asked him what we could do as a society to decrease stigma, he said, “We need to significantly expand access to medication-assisted treatment and conduct a public education campaign in support of their long-term use. We also need to apologize for past excesses in the criminal justice system, and systematically review and release hundreds of thousands of people who are in prison or jail because of their substance use disorder. We should repeal all laws that prevent individuals with criminal records associated with drug or alcohol use from getting jobs, housing or education, and expand public investments to provide jobs for these people.”

When it comes right down to it, more and more people of the millennial generation are not only not ashamed of their seeking help for their issues, they make a point of that for all to see. One of those people is Seth Leaf Pruzansky, who is shopping a book about his spiritual awakening that came when he was incarcerated for a drug-related offense.

Seth told me that, “The stigma of being an addict shouldn’t stop anyone from getting help. Taking responsibility for getting it is squarely in the lap of the addict him or herself. Until they really own the fact that despite the circumstances leading to their addiction, they are the ones who ultimately made the choice of devolving into their current station in life, they will remain in a state of not believing that help is available. They will continue to play the victim card because in the short run, it’s a lot easier to stay in that rut rather than to get help and clean up. But in the long run, the continuing spiral into de-evolution and death is all but inevitable. I know. I personally climbed out of that hell.”

View article on TheFix.com >

If you know someone struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues, know that help is available. Visit RecoverGateway.org for more information or call Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers for a confidential consultation at 877-505-HOPE (4673).

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.

 

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.

fetanyl2

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).

 

Gateway Embraces Solutions to Heroin Overdose Epidemic

Pictured: Sitting - Patricia Kates-Collins, Deputy Director, Division of Program Services, Illinois Department of Human Services / Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse - Standing - Carl Scroggins, Program Director, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers, Heroin

Pictured: Sitting – Patricia Kates-Collins, Deputy Director, Division of Program Services, Illinois Department of Human Services / Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Standing – Carl Scroggins, Program Director, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers

To help further awareness surrounding the heroin overdose epidemic, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers participated in the first Drug Overdose Awareness Event hosted by the Illinois Department of Human Services / Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (IDHS/DASA) on Aug. 26, 2014, at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. Hundreds of attendees gleaned from expert presenters the physiological effects of opioid/heroin intoxication, the importance of adopting overdose prevention strategies and how to get involved with DASA Drug Overdose Prevention.

As part a concerted state-wide effort to save lives, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Program Supervisor Carl Scroggins encouraged other treatment providers to implement heroin and opioid overdose rescue strategies as Gateway has done. Scroggins stressed the importance of training to ensure that staff feel comfortable administering Naloxone in the event of an opioid overdose. He also encouraged attendees with family members who may be at risk for overdose to obtain Naloxone rescue kits and training through participating community agencies.

heroin problems, heroin overdose

According to The Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy, the Chicagoland area has the nation’s most severe heroin problem as measured by 2010 emergency room visits—24,360 heroin-related admissions—in comparison, the second highest recorded number of heroin-related emergency room visits was 12,226 in New York City.

“Most fatal overdoses are unintentional. That’s why it’s so important to get Naloxone in as many of ‘right hands’ as possible because it has proven to be an extremely effective solution—with the potential to  save thousands of  precious lives. Quick access to Naloxone can mean the difference between manageable drug relapse and death,” explains Dr. John Larson, Corporate Medical Director, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers.

To help individuals recover from heroin and opioid addiction, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers rely upon a personalized, integrated substnace abuse treatment approach. To manage the intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms that occur when heroin use stops, individuals under Gateway’s care have on-site access to medications like Suboxone® and Vivitrol along with substance abuse counseling, therapy and education offered at Gateway Treatment Centers.

For more facts and resources about heroin abuse and treatment options, please visit RecoverGateway.org/Heroin.

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