Prescription Drug Abuse and the Road to Heroin

Prescription drug abuse is a growing trend.
heroin abuse, prescription drurug treatmenway foundation, gateway alcohol and drug treatment centers, gateway alcohol and drug treatmentFollowing marijuana and alcohol, prescription and over-the-counter drugs have become the most commonly abused substances by Americans 14 and older.*

The process of becoming dependent on prescription drugs can begin easily and often, innocently. “Sometimes, people don’t finish their medication and might give it away to others who appear to need it, or the person’s children or other family members may come across it,” explains Carl Scroggins, Overdose Prevention Programs Supervisor at Gateway.

Link to Heroin
Research now shows addiction to prescription opioids such as Vicodin and Oxycontin may open the door to heroin abuse. Making the transition from one to the other is frequently a matter of economics and accessibility: The cost of prescription pills is $20 to $60, while the easier to access heroin sells for $3 to $10 a bag.

In the past five years, heroin use has increased by 75 percent** No longer a predominantly urban issue, heroin abuse has mushroomed in the Chicago suburbs, Springfield and throughout Central Illinois.

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In Plain Sight? Tools for Recognition and Management of Substance Abuse in the Primary Care Setting

Dr. John Larson Corporate Medical Director Gateway Treatment Cetners

Dr. John Larson
Corporate Medical Director
Gateway Treatment Cetners

Gateway Partnered with the SIU School of Medicine and the Illinois State Medical Society to present “In Plain Sight? Tools for Recognition and Management of Substance Abuse in the Primary Care Setting” on Wednesday, June 3, 2015. The event was very well received by an audience of over 90 doctors, nurses and clinicians. Feedback was very supportive of the need for more education on the topic of substance abuse and substance abuse treatment.

In an effort to further educate medical professionals on recognizing the signs and symptoms of Substance Abuse, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment’s  Corporate Medical Director, Dr. John Larson presented “”Identifying and Treating Substance Use Disorders” at the “In Plain Sight?” Conference.

Substance Abuse Screening toolsFor more information about the tools you can use to screening for substance abuse in a primary care setting, visit RecoverGateway.org.

The conference was held at the memorial center for Learning and Innovation in Springfield, Illinois.

Treat Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders Together

dual-diagnosis, co-occurring, gateway treatment centers

Article By:
Gilbert Lichstein, LCPC, M.S. Clinical Psychology
Program Director
Gateway Chicago West

Known as a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder, substance abuse and mental health issues frequently occur together. The likelihood of succeeding in treatment is greatly enhanced when both are treated simultaneously.

Clients arriving at Gateway receive a comprehensive assessment and those who are found to have an Axis 1 mental health disorder may be admitted to the dual diagnosis unit. Axis 1 disorders include depression, mania, excessive anxiety and psychosis. One of Gateway’s distinguishing features is the depth with which we are able to address these issues.

Dual diagnosis care involves creating an individualized, client-centered treatment plan, which is a hallmark of Gateway’s approach to all treatment. We work together with clients to develop mental health care that capitalizes on things that may have worked for them in the past.

During this process, we listen to strategies clients believe will work and synthesize this information with our expertise to provide feedback and enhance those strategies.Medication assisted treatment is offered, but not mandatory.

One aspect of treatment that sets Gateway programs apart from other programs is our co-occurring disorders group, which is a standard part of all our residential programs. The core curriculum is a mindfulness based sobriety curriculum that combines relapse therapy, motivational interviewing, and acceptance and commitment therapy, all of which are evidenced-based practices. Treatment for mental health disorders is built into the continuum of care, so discharge planning starts when the person enters treatment.

Patients may elect to have family and loved ones involved; our family group component is an evidence-based practice for mental health concerns.

Chicago-IL-West-Drug-Abuse-Psychologist-Office

Treatment Programs and Gateway Chicago West

Life Skills Treatment and Recovery: the LSTAR Program

The LSTAR program at Gateway’s Chicago West location is an enhanced co-ed residential treatment program for people with both substance abuse and moderate to severe mental health concerns. More robust than our standard dual diagnosis program, LSTAR has proven to be effective for clients who did not succeed in other programs.

LSTAR provides more one-on-one contact, addressing mental health concerns with greater concentration. Individual counseling, psychological consultation, monitoring, nursing, testing and assessment are ongoing.

Additional components of LSTAR include:

  • Co-occurring group which uses an evidenced-based cognitive behavioral therapy curriculum
  • Mindfulness based sobriety, motivational interviewing, and seeking safety, a curriculum for co-morbid trauma and substance abuse
  • Single and multi-family group counseling, 12-step facilitation and transition groups to help clients adjust to outside care
  • Recreational therapy and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) anger management curriculum

To learn more about the treatment of co-occurring disorders, or for a free consultation, call Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers today at 877-505-HOPE (4673) or visit RecoverGateway.org.

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.

Is it Time for an Alcohol or Drug Abuse Intervention?

What to do When Intoxication is Always the Scapegoat

motivational-interviewingIf the thought of approaching someone about alcohol or drug use concerns makes you cringe, you’re not alone. Certain topics are more “loaded” than others, and substance abuse certainly is one of them.

However, expressing concern for a loved one doesn’t have to turn ugly thanks to an approach inspired by a philosophy called motivational interviewing (MI). Rather than blaming or reciting past harms, a motivational interviewing intervention is empowering and encourages understanding, acceptance, and accountability in others.

Motivational interviewing interventions have an amazing ability to shift a person’s perspective from that of a helpless victim to one of a capable problem solver. When delivered with sincerity and respect, motivational interviewing interventions can awaken and inspire self-efficacy in others,” says Dr. Michael Nagelbach, Ph.D. Psy.D., Psychology Training Director, Gateway Treatment Centers.

Once people accept their alcohol and/or drug use is causing problems, it’s up to them to decide whether or not to change. However, when people feel supported oftentimes they begin to believe in their ability to change. It can take weeks or months for a person to decide if professional drug treatment is best for them. When ready, Gateway Treatment Centers offer a free, confidential substance abuse consultation to learn about personalized treatment options.

In the meantime, be patient, supportive, and educate yourself about substance abuse. Visit RecoverGateway.org/Motivate for more information about motivating someone for treatment, including more tips for positive motivational interviewing interventions.

Comprehensive Guide Offers Families Direction in Understanding Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Click to View Gateway's Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse: A Guide for Parents and Families

The more you know, the better you will understand down the road how to approach someone who may be abusing alcohol and/or drugs.  That’s why Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment created a handy Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse: A Guide for Parents and Families.

Rest assured you aren’t traveling this road alone. Gateway’s Roadmap for Understanding Substance Abuse is a booklet packed with useful information and tips for spouses, parents and friends to help identify whether or not substance abuse is a driving issue related to other problems and what to do about it.

Download “Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse to:

  • Learn about the risks associated with alcohol, marijuana and heroin use.
  • Discover tips for discussing alcohol and drug use with your children.
  • Find out about treatment options available for substance use disorders.

Click here for your free copy>

If someone you care about is struggling with substance abuse, Gateway can help. Visit RecoverGateway.org or call 877-505-4673 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

The DO’s of Encouraging Patient Self-Efficacy

As a healthcare professional, you’re in a unique position to encourage your patients to change certain behaviors that pose a risk to their health, such as smoking cigarettes, heavy drinking or drug abuse. But what’s the best approach when there’s evidence that substance abuse is taking a toll on a patients’ health?

First, let’s review some improper assumptions regarding behavior change for patients.

  • This person ought to change.
  • This person wants to change.
  • This patient’s health is the prime motivating factor for him/her.
  • If he or she does not decide to change, the consultation has failed.
  • Patients are either motivated to change, or not.
  • I’m the expert. He or she must follow my advice.

Responsibilities of the Patient

substance abuse patient, gateway treatment centersTo encourage patient enlightenment, it’s important to take the necessary time to clarify sensible drinking guidelines and health risks posed by drug use that patients disclose. However, when it comes to addressing change itself, motivational interviewing (MI) is extremely useful. MI promotes self-efficacy by placing responsibility of change on the patients themselves rather than advising patients to change. Indeed, trying to convince patients to change can actually undermine their self-efficacy. The DO’s of encouraging patient self-efficacy during health interventions:

  • DO elicit patient’s own thoughts, feelings, ambivalence, and motivation to change.
  • DO refine and practice your listening skills.
  • DO roll with resistance rather than confronting or opposing it.
  • DO use open-ended questions, which require patients to think and reflect.
  • DO use affirming statements to promote self-efficacy and acknowledge personal challenges.
  • DO use reflections to communicate respect and clarify exactly what the patient means.
  • DO summarize at conclusion of conversation to reinforce what patients said and prepare them to move forward.

It can take weeks or months for a patient to decide professional treatment for substance abuse is best for them. When they are ready, Gateway Treatment Centers offer a free, confidential consultation to help adults and teens understand their personalized substance abuse treatment options.

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

Red Ribbon Week Reminder: Teen Marijuana Use Opens Door to Addiction

Marijuana is the most common illicit drug used in the United States. Prior to 2007, marijuana use was on the decline however, since then, use of marijuana has increased. It was actually the most frequently identified drug seized in the St. Louis metro area in early to mid 2013.

marijuana use, gateway treatment centersThe growing belief that marijuana is a safe drug may be the result of public discussions about medical marijuana and the public debate over the drug’s legal status. Some naively assume marijuana cannot be harmful because it is “natural” but not all natural plants are good for you—take tobacco, for example.

Likewise, young people are less likely to disapprove of regular marijuana use, which indicates warnings regarding the risks associated with teen marijuana use have fallen on teens’ deaf ears. In fact, in the past 10 years the number of high schoolers who think regular marijuana use is risky has dropped dramatically according to 2013 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey. The change in attitudes is reflected by increasing rates of marijuana use among high schoolers. From 2008 to 2013, past-month use of marijuana increased:

  • From 13.8% to 18.0% among 10th graders.
  • From 19.4% to 22.7% among 12th graders.

The naked truth is teens using marijuana expose themselves to changes in brain chemistry, which can result in learning, memory problems and IQ loss. Another valid concern is that, contrary to common belief, marijuana can be addictive. In fact, marijuana addiction results in the withdrawal and craving symptoms that are at the root of addictive disorders. With the legalization of medical marijuana in Illinois this only supports the notion to teens throughout the St. Louis metro east area that smoking pot is not really bad for you.

About 1 in 10 people who try marijuana will become addicted to it. But here’s the kicker: The addiction rate jumps to about 1 in 6 among people who start using marijuana as teenagers, and up to 1 in 2 among daily users!

Oftentimes, even before parents, teens are the first to realize when friends use drugs. In honor of Red Ribbon Week from Oct. 23-30, 2014, I can offer tips for drama-free teen-to-teen interventions:

  • Simply telling a friend you’re concerned about drug and/or alcohol use can be a big help. Let your friend you’re worried their slipping grades and behavioral changes are related to drug abuse
  • Don’t be hurt if your concerns are dismissed as the effects of drug use may prevent your friend from “hearing” you or acting on your concerns.
  • Understand that it is never easy for anyone to admit that they have a drug problem.
  • Assure your friend that he/she is not alone no matter what. People with drug problems may hang out with the wrong crowd—and they don’t want to turn away from these so-called friends for fear of being alone.
  • Listen, encourage, share and support.
  • Read more tips for talking to teens about substance abuse > 
Gateway Treatment Centers Swansea

Article By: Mike Feaman, Program Director, Gateway Swansea

If a friend has been using drugs or alcohol for an extended period of time, it’s important to understand that addiction is a brain disease. Just like you wouldn’t expect someone with cancer to be able to recover without the help of a doctor, the right treatment and support from family and friends—you can’t expect your friends to heal themselves. If the problem appears to be too big for you to handle alone, turn to a school counselor or a responsible adult to get your friend help. I urge you to take this opportunity during Red Ribbon Week to talk to your friends and family about how to prevent substance abuse or get treatment if someone may need help.

 For more resources regarding marijuana use and its effect on brain chemistry, please visit RecoverGateway.org/Marijuana.

 

Todd Bridges, Star of “Diff’rent Strokes,” Inspires Residents of Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment in Springfield

Gateway alcohol and drug treatment springfield, Todd Bridges, different strokes, Addiction Treatment

Jan Ruby, Outreach Coordinator, Gateway Springfield; Dana Schanholtzer, Midwest DNA and Drug Testing; Todd Bridges; Kerry Henry, Executive Director, Gateway Springfield

Former child actor, Todd Bridges, provided inspiration and substance abuse recovery guidance to the residents of Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment  in Springfield, IL on Friday, September 19, 2014. Bridges was a long time child actor on the television show, Diff’rent Strokes, and remains active in various movies and television shows today.

Bridges discussed his personal struggle with drug addiction and the damaging effects it has had on his life. During his presentation, Bridges elaborated on his various substance abuse treatment episodes and what it finally took for him to get his life back on track. He shared with adults in the audience the importance of working on themselves; and encouraged those with children to remember the impact drug addiction has on the entire family.  Bridges also encouraged  teens in attendance to make better choices with their young lives; pointing out  they risk losing their freedom, families and possibly their lives. Bridges sprinkled his presentation with humor and laughter and encouraged questions from the substance abuse treatment facility residents.

Remaining gracious and humble, Bridges demonstrated a real life example of how to overcome addiction by meeting life on life’s terms; one day at a time.  Gateway Treatment Centers would like to thank Mr. Todd Bridges for sharing his story.

 

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