Dr. Britton and Gateway Alum Broadcast Insights on Opioid Crisis

Gateway Foundation President and CEO Dr. Thomas Britton and Gateway alum Spencer spoke to Justin Kaufmann on WGN’s “The Download” about the opioid crisis, how we can combat it, and Spencer’s journey to recovery.

Biggest takeaways:

“A criminal problem rather than a public health problem

Dr. Britton mentions how more government funding is being allocated to law enforcement compared to treatment options. He says of the estimated 30-60 million people who need treatment, only 3 million get it, and those who do often don’t get enough to be successful. He advocates for a multi-pronged policy approach.

“A bridge to recovery”

Dr. Britton speaks to the importance of medication assisted treatment (MAT) and how it saves lives every day. However, he warns MAT is not the cure for addiction, but one of the methods used to help people with substance use disorders. Other measures still need to be taken.

“All my morals out the window”

In an effort to support his habits, Spencer talks about stealing from his parents, relatives, neighbors, and even kids to pay for drugs and alcohol.

“Mentally in love with the drug”

While in treatment for the first time, Spencer counted down the days until he could use again. This happens again while he is in his hospital bed following his heart attack, counting down the days until he could have a drink.

“The flu on steroids”

Spencer describes the withdrawals every time he tried to quit by himself: the muscle aches, nausea, suicidal thoughts.

“Learn my parents’ names again”

Following his heart attack at age 25, Spencer fell into a coma. After waking up a couple months later, he had to relearn the basics, like how to say his parents’ names, how to use a fork, how to use the bathroom.

“Like trying to swim against the current”

Spencer relates his experiences of quitting by himself to a person drowning. He needed a lifeguard, which in this case was Gateway’s support system, to help him to recovery.

“A silent killer”

Due to the stigma surrounding addiction, many people feel ashamed to ask for help and spend their lives hiding their struggle from their loved ones. Addressing this stigma could change the conversation and increase the number of success stories.

“I wouldn’t say [addiction] defines me; I’d say it definitely has taken a lot out of me… It’s like a soldier that has gone to war. You have the stories but you just gotta keep going forward. Now, I love volleyball. I’d say that defines me. I love my sister, my parents. I love life.”

If you or someone you know would like to tell your Gateway recovery story, please contact us. We’d love to interview you and inspire others. 

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.

%d bloggers like this: