Comprehensive Addiction Bill Passes Senate

Addictions to painkillers, heroin and alcohol are chronic diseases just like diabetes or heart disease. Up until a few weeks ago, there was no legislation authorizing much-needed funding for this health crisis.

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On March 10 2016, the Senate approved the first standalone bill to pass the Senate in years. The Comprehensive Addictions and Recovery Act, also known as CARA, authorizes funding for evidence-based prevention, treatment and recovery programs to help Americans struggling with addiction. With a near-unanimous vote, the bill moves to the House for consideration.

CARA authorizes $600 million for grants to address the national prescription, opioid and heroin addiction epidemic. Authorized funds could be used for treatment and recovery services, alternatives to prison for nonviolent offenders, law enforcement initiatives and programs to prevent overdose deaths and improper prescriptions.

The National Council for Behavioral Health applauds the Senates approval of CARA. “It’s physically and emotionally crippling, wrecks families, jobs and local economies, and it takes millions of lives,” said Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO of the National Council. “The only way to attack a crisis of this magnitude is for the government, health care and law enforcement communities to attack the problem with adequate prevention, treatment and recovery services. Such an effort takes time, commitment, patience and yes, money. We are so gratified that the Senate has come to their aid.”

Seeking Help

Nearly 1 in 10 American adults and teens have a drug or alcohol dependence problem. That one person could be your neighbor, cousin, best friend or even your boss. The truth is – odds favor that someone you know is struggling with drug abuse or alcoholism.

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

Source: http://www.thenationalcouncil.org/

 

Fall into Drug Safety: Safeguard Unused Prescription Drugs

As the colder weather approaches, we start preparing to spend more time indoors. Now’s the time to make sure our windows and doors are in good shape, have the furnace inspected and cleaned, and take the car in for winterizing.

What many of us don’t think about, are the less visible dangers that may be present in our homes, specifically, prescription medications. In the wrong hands, prescription drugs can quickly turn from helpful to harmful.

Safeguard Your Prescription Drugs

prescription drugs, gateway alcohol and drug treatment centersPrescription pills in the household may “disappear” without the owner’s consent. If you have prescription drugs in your home, ask yourself:  What prescription drugs do I have? Where are they kept? Would I notice if some were missing?

You can take immediate steps to limit access to prescription and also over-the-counter medicines. Here’s how:

  • Conceal their location, monitor the quantities, and control access to them
  • Set clear rules for teens about drug use, including not sharing medicine and following the prescriber’s advice and dosage
  • Be a good role model – follow the above rules yourself
  • Discuss safeguarding medications with your friends and family
  • Properly dispose of old or unused medications

If taken accidentally, pharmaceutical and over-the-counter drugs can be especially harmful to a child, pet or anyone else. Possible harmful effects include breathing difficulties, heart problems, and possibly, death.

The experts at Gateway Treatment Centers are available to answer any questions you may have about substance abuse. We wish you a happy, healthy fall!

For More information about prescription drug abuse, visit RecoverGateway.org/RxDrugs

If you or someone you love is struggling with prescription drug abuse, Gateway can help. Call our 24-Hour Helpline at 877-505-HO{PE (4673).

In Honor of National Recovery Month, Gateway Alumnus Shares the Story of his Road to Recovery

In Honor of National Recovery Month in September, John Fields, Gateway Alumnus Shares His Recovery Story:

National Recovery Month, Gateway Alcohol and Drug Treatment CentersBy the time John Fields turned to Gateway, he was having a drink as soon as he woke up in the morning. He had become aware his drinking was out of control and that he needed help. “I knew I couldn’t quit on my own. I needed a safe place where I didn’t have access to drugs or alcohol,” John said.

John wanted to get his mind clear so he could begin to think rationally again. He also wanted to learn how to live on the outside without using alcohol

“Gateway gave me what I needed most, a safe place and the tools and knowledge I needed to live a sober life outside of treatment,” John explained.

John had been sent to drug treatment centers in the past by family members or managers at a job but he’d never gone to treatment for himself. Each time, he’d end up returning to his same routines. He never followed up with meetings or became involved in an alumni program, and he thought he could resume his old lifestyle with friends.

This time around, he was highly motivated and he also did his homework. John said, “Gateway is a much nicer facility than the others I looked at and the staff is great. These people know what they’re doing.”

Read John’s full story at RecoverGateway.org/AlumniSuccess>

Webinars for Healthcare Professionals: The Relationship between Grief and Addiction

Webinar Trainer: Jim Scarpace, Executive Director Gateway Aurora

Webinar Trainer: Jim Scarpace, Executive Director Gateway Aurora

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment will host two expert-led CEU webinars in May to help healthcare and medical professionals better understand the relationship between grief and addiction. Participants will learn how to recognize symptoms and behaviors an individual who struggles with grief and addiction issues may exhibit. The treatment strategies and intervention techniques used in addiction treatment to help those who may be using substances to cope with grief and loss issues will also be covered.

Healthcare professionals may earn one continuing education credit compliments of Gateway while increasing their understanding of the close relationship between grief and substance use disorders. Gateway’s webinars will only be offered Tuesday, May. 19 and Thursday, May 28, 2015 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

There is a strong relationship between substance use disorders and traumatic experiences, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). “Grief is one of the most difficult traumatic experiences to overcome and can lead to patterns of despair, depression and overwhelming feelings of emotion. Individuals struggling with grief will sometimes use drugs and alcohol to cope with these issues,” said Jim Scarpace, Executive Director, Gateway Aurora.  “This webinar was developed to help healthcare professionals identify trauma related issues, as well as to understand effective strategies and treatment approaches that are available to treat them.”

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

Binge Drinking and the Many Degrees of Alcoholism

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

Gateway’s substance abuse treatment Experts Patricia Ryding, Psy.D., and Paul Getzendanner explain binge drinking and the varying degrees of alcoholism: 

People tend to think of alcoholism as an all or nothing proposition. The perception is, if you can handle your liquor you are fine, as opposed to the drinker whose life is falling apart. The reality is, alcoholism is a progressive disease with many different degrees.

binge drinking

Substance abuse expert, Gilbert Lichstein explains binge drinking and the degrees of alcoholism.

Any level of alcohol abuse presents serious dangers. Consider: 60 percent of fatal burns, drownings and homicides involve alcohol; 50 percent of sexual assaults and 40 percent of fatal car crashes involve alcohol.

A prevalent and very deceptive form of alcohol abuse disorder is the functioning alcoholic. A functioning alcoholic can hold a job, take care of the children, and otherwise fulfill his or her roles in life. This ability to manage creates a false sense of security.

The question becomes first, “How well are they really doing these things?” and second, “How long can they keep it up?” It’s safe to say, any form of alcoholism eventually catches up, taking a toll on a person’s body that includes making changes to the brain.

Binge drinking presents another serious aspect of alcohol abuse…Read Full Article> 

To learn more about treatment options for alcoholism , or our free consultation, call Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers today at 877-505-HOPE (4673) or visit RecoverGateway.org

Gateway Names Thomas Britton as New President and CEO

Thomas P. Britton, President and CEO, Effective May 13, 2015, Gateway Treatment Centers

Thomas P. Britton, President and CEO, Effective May 13, 2015, Gateway Treatment Centers

Chicago-based Gateway Foundation, Inc. announces today that its Board of Directors named Dr. Thomas P. Britton as the company’s next President and Chief Executive Officer, effective May 13, 2015. Britton, (45) replaces outgoing President and CEO Michael J. Darcy (66), whose retirement was announced in July 2014.

“From the start, we knew finding a replacement for a CEO who had demonstrated exemplary leadership for three decades would not be an easy task,” says Glenn Baer Huebner, Chair of the Board, Gateway Foundation. “Our search was intense yet ultimately gave us the privilege of meeting a number of exceptionally talented individuals. In the end, the board concluded that Dr. Britton is the best person to propel Gateway’s strategic growth and maintain our strong reputation for delivering quality addiction treatment services in a variety of settings, thanks to his requisite drive, clinical expertise and demonstrated business acumen,” adds Huebner. Read More>

Confident in the board of director’s choice, current CEO Michael J. Darcy retiring on June 30, 2015, states, “I look forward to assisting Tom in making a successful transition into his role with Gateway. I’m confident his skillset and commitment to the field of addiction treatment will further the mission and strategic plans of Gateway Foundation.”

Read More> 

For more information about Gateway Foundation, visit RecoverGateway.org.

Is That an Elephant in Your Exam Room?: How to Talk to Patients About Substance Abuse Treatment

As a health care professional, your role is to collaborate with patients in regards to their state of health and wellness. Together, you search for clues and evidence to either identify or rule out potential health risks and discuss strategies to enhance wellness. Understanding your patients’ lifestyles as well as details about how they manage stressors, such as career, home, family or personal set-backs, is customary during an annual health check-up. But are you adequately addressing the elephant in the exam room?

“Let’s face it talking to patients about substance abuse can be tricky. Whether real or perceived, there are disincentives for doctors to talk with their patients about substance abuse, including time constraints and our society’s aversion to awkward encounters,” says Dr. John Larson, Corporate Medical Director, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment. “Yet, skipping the topic entirely is a huge disservice to your patients who depend on you to help keep them healthy.”

Bear in mind, there are plenty of myths about substance abuse and drug rehab that actually perpetuate avoidant behavior from patients who need help remaining sober, including:

  • A person can’t be forced into treatment, and has to have the desire to change for treatment to be work.
  • Addiction treatment didn’t work in the past, so there’s no point in trying again.
  • Overcoming addiction is merely a matter of willpower. People can choose to stop using drugs if they really want to change their lives for the better.

Help Inspire Self-Directed Change in Others

To overcome misperception as well as the societal stigma of substance abuse with your patients’, it’s important to motivational interviewing, substance abuse, gateway alcohol & Drug treatment centersset a positive tone from right off the bat. Simply advising patients to change if a problem is revealed often is unrewarding and ineffective. That’s why Gateway recommends using techniques of Motivational Interviewing (MI) to promote self-directed change. In fact, a recent meta-analysis* of 72 studies found that MI outperformed traditional medical advice-giving in 80% of the studies.

To clarify, Motivational Interviewing is an open-ended, non-confrontational approach for interacting with persons who are unsure, uncommitted or ambivalent about changing. The spirit of MI, which is prioritized over technique, includes partnership, acceptance, compassion and evocation…or P.A.C.E.:

  • Partnership refers to collaborating with patients on their journey of exploration and decision-making.
  • Acceptance involves acknowledging and respecting patients’ inherent worth or ability within and as ultimate decision makers.
  • Compassion involves demonstrating commitment and behavior supportive of patients’ best interests.
  • Evocation encompasses the use of reflections, open-ended questions and non-judgmental exploration to facilitate exchanges in which patients elicit their concerns and reasons for change.

Trying to impose motivation upon patients makes it less likely they will change. Rather, it’s the role of the patient to make needed changes in MI; and your responsibility as a physician is to educate and empower your patients to make well-informed decisions that satisfy their own personal health needs.

If you know someone that could benefit from a free, confidential substance abuse consultation, encourage them to call 800-971-HOPE, or visit RecoverGateway.org.

*US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15826439

A Doctor’s Note: How Self-Medicating Spirals into Addiction

By Dr. John Larson
Corporate Medical Director, Gateway Treatment Centers

 

John Larson Gateway Treatment Centers

Dr. John Larson
Corporate Medical Director
Gateway Treatment Centers

For many, addiction unwittingly begins with self-medicating, which is when a person uses substances, like alcohol, marijuana, cocaine or prescription medication, in an attempt to appease symptoms related to physical pain, social anxiety or depression.

For example, take social anxiety—in modest doses alcohol may initially produce a sense of relief because of the effect it has on brain chemistry. However, since alcohol metabolizes in the body very quickly, it soon loses its effect.  Plus, as tolerance develops, drugs or alcohol will become less and less effective. Indeed, with regular, continued use of alcohol or other drugs of choice, the chemistry of the brain will gradually change, worsening feelings of anxiety when alcohol and/or drugs aren’t present—even if an individual is not in a stressful social situation.

Once the occasional drink escalates in frequency and volume to appease the aggravated anxiety symptoms, physical dependence can develop.  Attempts to stop or cut back only result in symptoms of withdrawal, which results in an increased preoccupation with obtaining and using alcohol (or one’s drug of choice).

Actually, when an individual tries to cut back, the rebound of the original symptoms only intensifies the discomfort experienced during withdrawal, making it very difficult to stop using.  This often occurs with drugs, such as Valium and Xanax, sleeping medications and drugs used to treat acute and chronic pain.

depression, social anxiety, addictionUnfortunately, many are under the mistaken impression that addiction issues will disappear if the underlying problem is treated:  “If I can find some other way of treating my social anxiety, my alcohol problem will simply go away.” This is seldom the case.  When it reaches this point, the drug or alcohol use has a life of its own and the individual needs to be specifically evaluated and treated for addiction as well as for the underlying psychiatric or medical problem. Failure to treat both inevitably results in continued suffering and worsening health complications.

Wondering if you may have a problem with alcohol addiction? Take this Alcohol-Dependency Self-Test.

For more information about substance abuse treatment, call 877-505-HOPE (4673) or visit RecoverGateway.org.

Gateway Foundation Announces CEO Michael Darcy Retiring in June 2015

Global Recruiting firm Korn Ferry Engaged to Lead Executive Search

gateway foundation, michael darcy

Michael J. Darcy
President and CEO Gateway Foundation

Chicago-based Gateway Foundation, Inc. announces today Michael J. Darcy has decided to retire on June 30, 2015, and has engaged global executive search firm Korn Ferry to recruit its future President and CEO.

“We will always be grateful for Michael Darcy’s dedication to fostering a client-centered collaborative culture that will serve our organization for years to come,” explains Glenn Baer Huebner, Chairman of the Board, Gateway Foundation. “Under Michael Darcy’s leadership, Gateway has expanded its footprint throughout Illinois and into Delaware to ensure individuals have access to affordable, quality substance abuse treatment programs. Likewise, delivering specialized addiction treatment programs in correctional settings has resulted in reduced recidivism and safer communities in states like Missouri, New Jersey and Texas.”

Darcy, age 65, is retiring after nearly 30 years at Gateway’s helm, which caps a remarkable 46-year career at the non-profit organization that’s dedicated to offering hope and second chances to individuals and their families. Mr. Darcy has led Gateway’s evolution to a state-of-the-art substance abuse treatment provider and strengthened its market position with strategic expansion.

“Deservedly so, Michael will be long remembered for pushing the envelope in the field of addiction treatment and advocating for advancements such as the use of evidence-based practices to modernize patient care,” adds Glenn Baer Huebner.

Savvy executives with the fortitude to fulfill Gateway’s noble mission are encouraged to contact Korn Ferry’s Chicago office.

For more information about Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers visit RecoverGateway.org

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