Together we are working with Lake County Drug Prevention Task Force and law enforcement to provide critical drug take-back boxes throughout Lake County. JMFF’s first box will be installed this month in Knollwood. Drug take-back boxes play a critical role in taking drugs out of medicine cabinets and away from harms’ reach….
HIPAA update incorporated into law signed by Obama
JMFF has worked with lobbyists and legislators to help secure lifesaving changes in HIPAA that were signed into law in July in the Family Mental Health Act. JMFF wording incorporated into law now allows licensed mental health professionals to share the diagnoses, treatment plans, medications and medication related instructions of a patient with a serious mental illness to an identified responsible caregiver if that information is necessary to protect the health, safety, or welfare of the individual or general public. It also allows educational agencies or institutions to disclose an education record to the caregiver of the student if a physician, psychologist, or other recognized mental health professional believes such disclosure to the caregiver is necessary to protect the health, safety, or welfare of such student or the safety of one or more other individuals. In the addiction fight, immediate notification of any change in a patient’s status is critical. The reality of patients fighting addictions like in Jordan’s case - as many others like him have- died because medical providers failed to notify his parents or doctors that he was in danger. These new changes will prevent further instances...
“We have to start recognizing addiction is a disease. We hope this will help patients come out of the shadows and get on the road to recovery as well. Heroin does not know socio-economics. Heroin does not know ZIP codes.”
DailyNorthShore.com. July 24, 2016
JMFF expands donation of BOTVIN life skills and education program to include District 109 and 112. This donation brings much needed information to all middle school students in the Highland Park, Deerfield, Highwood and Riverwoods communities.
We have earmarked an additional $25k to be used to match donations made towards our Nasal Narcan purchase.
To date, Compass Health has donated $1,000, Vernon Hills EMT’s have pledged $1875, and the Warren-Waukegan Fire District has donated $3,750 – (picture of Philip Runtz presenting ceremonial check)
These donations combined with JMFF’s matching contribution have allowed for the purchase of an additional 353 doses of nasal Narcan – and will save 353 lives!
JMFF is proud to announce its purchase of 1,000 doses of the lifesaving opioid overdose reversal medication Naloxone. Naloxone instantly block opioids from attaching to receptors in the brain and restores breathing - bringing overdose victims back to life.
This purchase, the first of its kind by a private foundation in Illinois, will be distributed to first responders in 65 areas throughout Lake, Cook and DuPage Counties identified by Senator Mark Kirk and Commissioner Richard Boykin as those whose residents are at greatest risk of overdose and death due to opioids. This donation is critical to solving the issue of Chicagoland's dwindling supply, yet rapidly growing demand. It is anticipated that JMFF's contribution will save 500+ lives....and greatly reduce the dangerous current statistic of 1 area death every 3 days.
To help ensure that no local child or individual dies of an opioid overdose, JMFF invites you to please join in our efforts to make sure each first responder arrives fully equipped to save a life. When overdose occurs, the difference between life and death can be measured in minutes. Lives are saved when responders carry Naloxone.
“Naloxone is saving lives across Illinois and should be readily available to help combat the opioid and heroin epidemic,” said Senator Mark Kirk. “With help from the Filler Foundation we have secured enough Narcan to equip every police department in Lake County along with seven departments in suburban Cook with this lifesaving drug.”
Each $100 donation puts Naloxone in the hands of one first responder.
JMFF is proud to match the first $25,000 in donations, so that together we can double the dosage and save 1,000 lives.
Are you enthusiastic and want to get involved? Do you have a passion for helping others and want to join in the fight against opiate abuse and addiction? Consider joining our Junior Board. (need link to a form for contact info)
Join our first gathering on October 13, 2016. Fill out the form below and we'll contact you with more information.
Neuroscience is giving us new insights into people who abuse drugs and alcohol and new hope for their treatment.
Can You Get Over An Addiction?
By MAIA SZALAVITZ
Read Original Article Here.
I SHOT heroin and cocaine while attending Columbia in the 1980s, sometimes injecting many times a day and leaving scars that are still visible. I kept using, even after I was suspended from school, after I overdosed and even after I was arrested for dealing, despite knowing that this could reduce my chances of staying out of prison.
My parents were devastated: They couldn’t understand what had happened to their “gifted” child who had always excelled academically. They kept hoping I would just somehow stop, even though every time I tried to quit, I relapsed within months.
There are, speaking broadly, two schools of thought on addiction: The first was that my brain had been chemically “hijacked” by drugs, leaving me no control over a chronic, progressive disease. The second was simply that I was a selfish criminal, with little regard for others, as much of the public still seems to believe. (When it’s our own loved ones who become addicted, we tend to favor the first explanation; when it’s someone else’s, we favor the second.)
We are long overdue for a new perspective — both because our understanding of the neuroscience underlying addiction has changed and because so many existing treatments simply don’t work.
Addiction is indeed a brain problem, but it’s not a degenerative pathology like Alzheimer’s disease or cancer, nor is it evidence of a criminal mind. Instead, it’s a learning disorder, a difference in the wiring of the brain that affects the way we process information about motivation, reward and punishment. And, as with many learning disorders, addictive behavior is shaped by genetic and environmental influences over the course of development.
Scientists have documented the connection between learning processes and addiction for decades. Now, through both animal research and imaging studies, neuroscientists are starting to recognize which brain regions are involved in addiction and how.
The studies show that addiction alters the interactions between midbrain regions like the ventral tegmentum and the nucleus accumbens, which are involved with motivation and pleasure, and parts of the prefrontal cortex that mediate decisions and help set priorities. Acting in concert, these networks determine what we value in order to ensure that we attain critical biological goals: namely, survival and reproduction.
In essence, addiction occurs when these brain systems are focused on the wrong objects: a drug or self-destructive behavior like excessive gambling instead of a new sexual partner or a baby. Once that happens, it can cause serious trouble.
If, like me, you grew up with a hyper-reactive nervous system that constantly made you feel overwhelmed, alienated and unlovable, finding a substance that eases social stress becomes a blessed escape. For me, heroin provided a sense of comfort, safety and love that I couldn’t get from other people (the key agent of addiction in these regions is the same for many pleasurable experiences: dopamine). Once I’d experienced the relief heroin gave me, I felt as though I couldn’t survive without it.Understanding addiction from this neurodevelopmental perspective offers a great deal of hope. First, like other learning disorders, for example, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or dyslexia, addiction doesn’t affect overall intelligence. Second, this view suggests that addiction skews choice — but doesn’t completely eliminate free will: after all, no one injects drugs in front of the police. This means that addicts can learn to take actions to improve our health, like using clean syringes, as I did. Research overwhelmingly shows such programs not only reduce H.I.V., but also aid recovery.
The learning perspective also explains why the compulsion for alcohol or drugs can be so strong and why people with addiction continue even when the damage far outweighs the pleasure they receive and why they can appear to be acting irrationally: If you believe that something is essential to your survival, your priorities won’t make sense to others.
Learning that drives urges like love and reproduction is quite different from learning dry facts. Unlike memorizing your sevens and nines, deep, emotional learning completely alters the way you determine what matters most, which is why you remember your high school crush better than high school math.
Recognizing addiction as a learning disorder can also help end the argument over whether addiction should be treated as a progressive illness, as experts contend, or as a moral problem, a belief that is reflected in our continuing criminalization of certain drugs. You’ve just learned a maladaptive way of coping.
Moreover, if addiction resides in the parts of the brain involved in love, then recovery is more like getting over a breakup than it is like facing a lifelong illness. Healing a broken heart is difficult and often involves relapses into obsessive behavior, but it’s not brain damage.
The implications for treatment here are profound. If addiction is like misguided love, then compassion is a far better approach than punishment. Indeed, a 2007 meta-analysis of dozens of studies over four decades found that empowering, empathetic treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational enhancement therapy, which nurture an internal willingness to change, work far better than the more traditional rehab approach of confronting denial and telling patients that they are powerless over their addiction.
This makes sense because the circuitry that normally connects us to one another socially has been channeled instead into drug seeking. To return our brains to normal then, we need more love, not more pain.
In fact, studies have not found evidence in favor of harsh, punitive approaches, like jail terms, humiliating forms of treatment and traditional “interventions” where families threaten to abandon addicted members. People with addictions are already driven to push through negative experiences by their brain circuitry; more punishment won’t change this.
In line with the idea that development matters, research also shows that half of all addictions — with the exception of tobacco — end by age 30, and the majority of people with alcohol and drug addictions overcome it, mostly without treatment. I stopped taking drugs when I was 23. I always thought that I had quit because I finally realized that my addiction was harming me.
But it’s equally possible that I kicked then because I had become biologically capable of doing so. During adolescence, the engine that drives desire and motivation grows stronger. But unfortunately, only in the mid-to-late 20s are we able to exert more control. This is why adolescence is the highest risk period for developing addiction — and simple maturation may be what helped me get better.
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At the time, nearly all treatment was based on 12-step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, which help only a minority of addicted people. Even today, most treatment available in rehab facilities involves instruction in the prayer, surrender to a higher power, confession and restitution prescribed by the steps.
We treat no other medical condition with such moralizing — people with other learning disorders aren’t pushed to apologize for their past behavior, nor are those affected by schizophrenia or depression.
Once we understand that addiction is neither a sin nor a progressive disease, just different brain wiring, we can stop persisting in policies that don’t work, and start teaching recovery.
Indeed, if the compulsive drive that sustains addiction is directed into healthier channels, this type of wiring can be a benefit, not just a disability. After all, persisting despite rejection didn’t only lead to addiction for me — it has also been indispensable to my survival as a writer. The ability to persevere is an asset: People with addiction just need to learn how to redirect it.
Narcan (naloxone) is an opiate antidote that reverses the effects of an overdose and saves lives when used in an emergency overdose situation. It is completely safe and highly effective. The FDA recently found the nasal spray version of Narcan to be so important, safe, and effective that it granted Narcan it's Fast Track designation with Priority Review. According to the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “this easy-to- use intranasal formulation will no doubt save many lives.” The Filler family saw this firsthand when Jordan overdosed in their home and survived only because a police officer arrived in minutes and administered Narcan.
The key to saving lives is to equip first responders with Narcan. Too many lives are lost due to the time it takes to transport an overdosing individual to a hospital for treatment. Current research shows that wide distribution of Narcan has reduced overdose deaths by 46%, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) counts 30,000 lives saved by non-hospital personnel using Narcan.
With 33,000 lives lost to opiates in 2015, one every 19 minutes, widespread distribution of Narcan will save countless lives. This initiative is a priority of the US Government and JMFF. Obama recently authorized $11 million for Narcan, but it's not nearly enough. Budget constraints at the federal, state, and local level make it impossible to get Narcan into the hands of all first responders, despite requests by most local governments. It is up to each of us to do more.
JMFF is today working closely with Senator Mark Kirk and state and local officials throughout the Chicagoland area, including Cook and Lake County, to get Narcan into the hands of every first responder. We are donating substantial funds and resources to make Narcan a reality and help save lives. In Lake County alone, Narcan has saved nearly 1 life per day in 2016. The need is great and the time is NOW.
Please join us in donating funds for this life saving initiative.
By Eric Berger, Staff writer
Read Original Article Here
In September 2011, Adrienne Eigles was preparing to attend Rosh Hashanah services at Congregation Shaare Emeth.
Her son Andrew was sleeping downstairs. He had been addicted to heroin and was taking monthly doses of Vivitrol to help keep him from relapsing.
It appeared to be working. He had been clean for nine months, said Eigles, who is among a growing number of Jewish families affected by heroin addiction.
Eigles, of Chesterfield, and others now share their stories to advocate for legislation on issues such as prescription drug monitoring and to try to remove some of the stigma that surrounds drug addiction. Their message is often simple: The disease of addiction does not discriminate. That means it is as prevalent in the Jewish community as it is among any other religious, racial or ethnic group.
“Heroin is known as an equal-opportunity destroyer,” said Howard Weissman, executive director of the National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse-St. Louis (NCADA). “It has taken lives in all corners of St. Louis and St. Louis County, and that certainly includes folks in the Jewish community.”
Politicians and public health officials describe heroin addiction as an epidemic in the United States. The heroin overdose death rate in this country more than tripled, from 2010 to 2014, to an average of 3.4 per 100,000 people, according to a study released by the St. Louis County Department of Public Health.
The problem is particularly acute in St. Louis County, where the heroin overdose death rate in 2013 was 10 per 100,000 people, almost four times the national average, according to the study.
Rabbi James Stone Goodman started to see an increase in the number of opiate addicts who attend his support groups about five years ago. He has been organizing groups that mix the 12-step program with Jewish spirituality since 1981.
“There has to be quicker, direct access and more possibilities for treatment,” said Goodman, who leads Neve Shalom congregation in Creve Coeur and Shalvah, a support group.
Other advocates point to a variety of reasons behind the epidemic. Missouri is the only state that does not have a prescription drug monitoring program. As such, law enforcement officials and health care providers are not able to tell whether someone has been traveling among different doctors or pharmacies to get prescription opioids, which is where heroin addiction often starts.
The Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery is pushing for legislation to provide third-party access to Narcan, an overdose antidote that in Missouri is limited to medical providers and first responders; a 911 good Samaritan law that provides limited immunity from possession and paraphernalia charges for those who make an emergency call in the event of an overdose; and expanded Medicaid coverage for people seeking treatment, said Chad Sabora, a recovering addict and founder of the organization.
Push for Missouri drug monitoring program
Sabora was raised Jewish and worked as a prosecuting attorney in Cook County, Ill., from 2005 to 2008, when he was arrested for possession of a controlled substance. His parents had died from cancer a few years earlier, and he spent six years abusing prescription opiates and heroin until getting clean in 2011.
He does not think that St. Louis County has a higher overdose rate than the national average because more people are using; rather, the state has a lack of “evidence-based, proven remedies.”
The Missouri Legislature earlier this month approved a bill that would allow physicians to prescribe naloxone (the generic of Narcan) to individuals rather than just first responders. Gov. Jay Nixon said he is weighing whether to sign the bill into law.
Efforts to pass a statewide prescription drug monitoring law have stalled because of some legislators’ concerns about patient privacy. St. Louis County passed legislation to implement a monitoring program in March.
Eigles has become an advocate for the monitoring program and shared her son’s story with the state Senate in 2014.
Andrew became addicted to opiates after tearing a ligament in a knee playing football during his senior year at Parkway Central High School. His doctor prescribed Oxycontin for the pain. He also had been suffering from depression, and then his father was arrested and sent to prison.
Before his downward spiral, “people just flocked to” Andrew, who grew up at Congregation Shaare Emeth, Eigles said.
“He loved football,” she said. “Not playing it as much as watching it. He loved the Seattle Seahawks —\don’t ask me why.”
On that Rosh Hashanah morning in 2011, Eigles went downstairs to wake Andrew, 22, and found him dead. He must have used heroin during the night, she said.
If there had been a monitoring program, Eigles said, it might have been more difficult for her son to obtain the prescription opiates that eventually led him to heroin, a cheaper alternative.
After his death, she started the Andrew Eigles Memorial Fund, which raises money for the NCADA to fight heroin and prescription drug addiction. It held its third annual trivia night in February at Shaare Emeth.
Eigles also attends a bereavement group at the synagogue, but she still thinks there is some denial in the Jewish community about the scope of the epidemic.
The NCADA’s Weissman said that two Jews under the age of 23, who had no connection, overdosed on heroin and died in one week in 2014.
Eigles said: “It’s a hush-hush kind of thing that nobody wants to acknowledge.”
The stigma of drug addiction
Jean Sokora, 54, a recovering addict, agrees. She deals in prevention and early intervention for Preferred Family Healthcare, a behavioral health nonprofit.
As a teen attending Ladue Horton Watkins High School, Sokora developed a $2,000 a week cocaine habit. She entered treatment at a Catholic hospital in Minnesota. A psychiatrist there told her mother: “A nice Jewish girl like (this), she couldn’t possibly have a problem.”
Sokora, who has been clean since 1979, thinks that is a still-prevailing attitude.
“I just feel like we’re in the closet in some way. There is so much stigma attached to addiction,” said Sokora, who also attends Shaare Emeth. “Jews are so freaking outspoken about everything, but we are not standing up and having forum after forum about something I see as the No. 1 public health issue.”
In the Orthodox community, there is sometimes “the shanda factor,” said Joseph Rosenfeld, who is Orthodox and works as a counselor at Harris House, a nonprofit substance abuse treatment center in downtown St. Louis.
“There used to be a song in Yiddish that was sung, ‘A shikker is a goy,’ that drunkenness or alcoholism was not part of our culture, was not part of our makeup,” said Rosenfeld, who moved to St. Louis from New York. “But when kids start dying over and over because of overdoses, (communities) have thankfully been opening themselves to the possibility that there needs to be a new way of treating it.”
Still Rosenfeld added, “For all the positive changes that are going on, there is still a drastic dereliction of focus on drug addiction in the Jewish community.”
Life as an addict
Gordon Dickler, who was raised Jewish and grew up attending Ladue schools, says there was no reason for him to start using painkillers.
“Like a lot of kids that got swept up in the suburban heroin epidemic, I grew up with two solid parents who did nothing but love me and support me,” said Dickler, 27. “There was no significant event or traumatizing experience to make me feel like I needed to self-medicate.”
He had been a competitive athlete in baseball and soccer and was a classically trained pianist. He had worked at summer camp at Temple Israel and attended Camp Sabra, the Jewish Community Center camp at Lake of the Ozarks.
But in middle school, he started smoking marijuana, and by the time he got to high school, he was using it habitually.
“I just got swept up in the culture, that was going to be my badge of honor, that I was going to have the most fun, have the best weed,” he recalls.
Justin Greenberg, like many teenagers, also drank and smoked weed in high school. Otherwise, he had many close friends at Parkway Central and worked hard. He was the guy at the Waterway Gas & Wash station asking people who were filling up whether they also wanted a car wash. And he was good at it, his mother said.
“He called me up one time and said, ‘I just sold a $100 car wash to a guy,’ and it was pouring down rain,’ ” Pam Greenberg recalled of her son, who was raised Jewish and attended the Shaare Emeth Sunday school.
His opioid addiction didn’t start until he began attending the University of Missouri-Columbia, his mother believes.
“All of a sudden, there was no ambition,” she said. “He isolated himself from all of his good friends. He didn’t want them to know.”
About the same time, Dickler also was at Mizzou and becoming increasingly addicted to opiates. In high school, he was smoking at a friend’s, tried Oxycontin and “pretty instantaneously fell in love. I pursued it with a zeal.”
By the time he started college, he was crushing it and snorting it daily. When he nearly ran out of money, he made the switch to heroin. And then he learned that if he used it intravenously, “it lasts longer and it feels better.”
“I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to do heroin,” Dickler said. “I discovered the fact that heroin is the same stuff and a fraction of the cost.”
The worst part of being addicted, he said, is not so much the physical withdrawal but the psychological effects.
“The drug becomes like a survival mechanism,” Dickler said. “When you don’t have it and you’re not getting high, this intense panic comes in. It’s like you’re drowning.”
He dropped out of college in 2008 and tried outpatient detox programs and Suboxone, a drug designed to reduce opioid cravings. But he continued to use and didn’t stop until his parents told him that he had to go to a drug treatment program in New Haven, Conn., or “get the hell out.”
“I couldn’t be more grateful that my parents essentially decided enough was enough and presented me with a clear ultimatum,” he said. “I didn’t raise my hand and say, ‘Yes, I am sick of this.’ I went kicking and screaming.”
Becoming clean and sober
Once the Greenbergs learned about Justin’s addiction in 2014, they first sent him to a local drug rehab facility for two weeks, but when he came out and continued to use, the family gave him a similar ultimatum and sent him to a longerterm program in Tucson, Ariz.
From there, he moved to a sober-living house in Austin, Texas, where he spent a few months as part of a gradual step-down program in which he was regularly drug tested and had to maintain a job. In December 2014, he told his parents that he was ready to “start putting my life back together.” He moved into an apartment with others who were in recovery and maintained a job.
Dickler, meanwhile, spent a year in a program in which he gradually gained more independence and was drug tested regularly. He has been clean for almost six years and has become “an exercise and nutrition enthusiast” and hopes to start playing music again. He is part of a “vibrant recovery community,” attending 12-step meetings, playing in softball leagues with others who are sober, and working as an admissions coordinator at Turnbridge, the drug treatment program he completed.
“My belief system is definitely rooted in this idea that just because I’m clean and sober does not mean I have to hide from the world,” he said. “In fact, I can participate on a much deeper level than I was able to in the past.”
Now a certified addiction counselor, Dickler is willing to share his story because he thinks that openness is what will help solve the epidemic.
“I think the best thing we can do is continue to keep this issue on people’s minds,” he said.
Pam Greenberg is certain that Justin wanted to get clean. But more than a month after moving into his own apartment, he relapsed. And in the next week, in February 2015, his mother got a call from a Texas number. She thought it was Justin, but it was the police. Justin had overdosed and died at age 27.
“I want people to know that this was a normal, happy kid who made a terrible decision probably one time, and heroin got him then,” said Greenberg, a health care consultant who also has a surviving son and daughter. Since Justin’s death, she has become involved with the Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery and plans to volunteer with the group as much as possible.
She and her husband, Martin, have also started talking with parents and children about the dangers of prescription drugs and heroin.
“I want parents to know what to look for, and I want kids to know how dangerous (heroin) is,” Greenberg said. “They need to run the other way.”
In an effort to combat the growing epidemic of prescription drug and heroin abuse, the FBI and DEA have released Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict, a documentary aimed at educating students and young adults about the dangers of addiction.
It's a powerful message. Please share it with the people you love.
Every day, the nation’s law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal levels—including the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)—use investigative resources to target the supply side in the war against drugs.
But even with numerous law enforcement successes in this area, the demand for drugs continues. And one of the more worrisome trends is a growing epidemic of prescription opiate and heroin abuse, especially among young people.
Today, in an effort to help educate students and young adults about the dangers of opioid addiction, the FBI and DEA unveiled a documentary called Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., before an audience of educational leaders from the region. The 45-minute film, whose title refers to the never-ending pursuit of the original or ultimate high, features stark first-person accounts told by individuals who have abused opioids or whose children have abused opioids, with tragic consequences.
“This film may be difficult to watch,” explains FBI Director James Comey, “but we hope it educates our students and young adults about the tragic consequences that come with abusing these drugs and that it will cause people to think twice before becoming its next victim.”
And according to Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg, “The numbers are appalling—tens of thousands of Americans will die this year from drug-related deaths, and more than half of these deaths are from heroin and prescription opioid overdoses. I hope this [documentary] will be a wakeup call for folks.”
The individuals featured in the film—a few of whom are highlighted below—chose to tell their stories to help stop others from going down the same destructive path.
As too many Illinois families have learned, addiction does not discriminate. Cheaper than cigarettes and more available than alcohol, heroin has become a plague on our communities. Nationwide, heroin deaths have increased by 244 percent over the past nine years, and in 2014 alone, more than 1,700 people in Illinois died of drug overdoses. One of those people was Jordan Filler, who spent eight years battling addiction and passed away at the age of 23 following a stay at a rehab facility in Utah.
President Obama's final State of the Union address on January 12th marked the second anniversary of Jordan's death. We attended the address together -- as a father who lost his son to heroin and set out trying to help families avoid this tragedy, and as a U.S. Senator who has seen too many constituents devastated by the heroin epidemic and is working to make lifesaving treatments more accessible.
We took the opportunity to share Jordan's story and shine a spotlight on the message that heroin is not just an inner-city problem -- it is affecting sons and daughters and parents of all ages in small towns and big cities across the country. Addiction is a medical disease, not a moral weakness or a lack of willpower. Understanding addiction is key to reducing the stigma and providing treatment options for those who are suffering.
More than 246,000 Illinois residents, including 35,000 teens aged 12-17, needed treatment for illegal drug use in 2014. That is why we are working together to spread awareness and share these stories with other families who are struggling to beat addiction.
After Jordan's passing, the Filler family started the Jordan Michael Filler Foundation to work with local schools and communities to protect other children and families from the dangers of heroin and drug addiction. One thing that unites us is the important role the medication naloxone plays in saving lives by reversing the effects of opioids and stopping an overdose. DuPage County police officers have reported saving over one hundred lives from overdose during the past three years when naloxone is administered, and many Illinois counties are expanding the use of naloxone by first responders.
Read the entire article at the Daily Herald.
Today, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a set of guidelines for primary care clinicians to follow when treating adult patients for chronic pain in out-patient settings. The recommendations established by CDC aim to provide safer, more effective care for patients with chronic pain, and ultimately reduce prescription opioid use disorder and overdose.
The "CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain" lays out specific instructions for the prescribing process from start to finish, advising clinicians to exercise caution when prescribing opioids and primarily focus on nonopioid therapy for most types of chronic pain. However, the Guideline reviews best practices for clinicians to follow when prescribing necessary opioid therapy, including open communication with the patient about the known risks and benefits, setting realistic goals for pain and function, and prescribing the lowest effective dose.
The 2016 Guideline, complete with clinical tools, patient/partner fact sheets, graphics, and a decision-making checklist for clinicians, is available here.
By Maia Szalavitz
Special To The Washington Post
Read this article directly from: ChicagoTribune.com
America’s epidemic of heroin and prescription-pain-reliever addiction has become a major issue in the 2016 election. The epidemic is worse than ever: Deaths from overdoses of opioids — the drug category that includes heroin and prescription analgesics such as Vicodin — reached an all-time high in 2014, rising 14 percent in a single year. But because drug policy has long been a political and cultural football, myths about opioid addiction abound. Here are some of the most dangerous — and how they do harm.
1. Most heroin addiction starts with a legitimate pain prescription, and most prescription opioid misuse leads to heroin addiction.
People who misuse prescription pain relievers are 40 times more likely to become addicted to heroin than those who don’t, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recent research also shows that 75 percent of patients in heroin treatment started their opioid use with prescription medications, not heroin. That sounds like pain treatment is at the root of the problem, and the CDC is targeting doctors with new guidelines aimed at reining in prescriptions.
But overwhelmingly, prescription-drug misusers are not pain patients. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 75 percent of recreational opioid users in 2013-14 got pills from sources other than doctors, mainly friends and relatives. And even among this group, moving on to heroin is quite rare: Only 4 percent do so within five years; just 0.2 percent of U.S. adults are current heroin users.
The proportion of patients who become newly addicted to opioid medications during pain treatment is also low. A 2010 Cochrane review — considered the gold standard for basing medical practice on evidence — found an addiction rate of less than 1 percent. A study of more than 135,000 emergency-room visits for opioid overdose found that just 13 percent of patients had a chronic pain diagnosis.
'Not many people just aspire to be heroin addicts. It just happens.'Further, a 2015 study showed that only 6 percent of those who received an initial prescription for opioids took the drugs for more than four months; the authors didn’t determine how many of those ongoing prescriptions were medically appropriate and what proportion were linked to addiction.
The real risk factor for opioid addiction is youth, not pain care. Like 90 percent of all addictions, the vast majority of prescription-drug problems start with experimentation in adolescence or early adulthood, typically after or alongside binge drinking, marijuana smoking and often cocaine use. Having a prior or current addiction to another drug is the best predictor of developing problems with prescription drugs - not pain care.
2. The best treatment for heroin addiction is inpatient rehab.
When the media covers addiction in the rich and famous, an inpatient stay at a plush rehab center is almost always involved. Indeed, Dr. Drew Pinsky’s “Celebrity Rehab” is typical of such programs. Pinsky, like many who run inpatient programs, rejects the ongoing use of anti-addiction medication (though Hazelden, the original model for the 28-day rehab center, began offering it to some patients in 2012 after experiencing record high death rates). Similarly, most drug courts and many state Medicaid programs also deny continuing access to the two best-studied maintenance medications, methadone and buprenorphine (Suboxone).
The position that residential treatment centers and their abstinence-only philosophies are superior to medication ignores overwhelming data and keeps families from seeking the best care. Let’s start with Dr. Drew’s patients: Nearly 13 percent who appeared on “Celebrity Rehab” died not long afterward; most had been addicted to opioids. While that may be an especially poor showing, research on more than 150,000 patients receiving treatment for opioid addiction in Britain found that people in abstinence-only care had double the death rate of those who received ongoing maintenance treatment. And other studies find that maintenance medication cuts death rates by 70 percent or more. Since untreated heroin addiction carries a mortality rate of 2 to 3 percent per year, the benefit is substantial.
This is why the World Health Organization, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Institute of Medicine and even the White House drug czar’s office all agree that maintenance treatment — indefinite, possibly lifelong medication use — is superior to abstinence rehab for opioid addiction. While some argue that total abstinence is a moral imperative, dead people can’t recover. Sadly, only a small proportion of people with opioid addiction are currently in medication-assisted treatment — largely because of limits placed on it by misguided ideology, government policies and insurers.
3. Recovery from heroin addiction is rare.
The prognosis for heroin addiction seems grim because of the high mortality rate and because rehabs typically report relapse rates of 60 percent or greater. However, the odds of recovery are better than they appear.
Early evidence for this idea came from studies of Vietnam veterans, who should have had particularly high addiction and relapse risk because young men are the group most at risk for addiction in general. Heroin and opium were cheap and easily available to American servicemen overseas; nearly half tried these drugs, and half of these soldiers became addicted. But upon returning home, just 12 percent of those who had been addicted relapsed within three years, and only 2 percent were still addicted at the end of the study — nowhere near 60 percent. Fewer than half got any treatment, and it didn’t make a difference in terms of who recovered.
This phenomenon, known as “natural recovery” or “maturing out” of addiction, is common with other drugs, too. Large population surveys show that most people who are addicted to alcohol or cocaine quit without treatment. The same type of study shows that around 60 percent of people who met the criteria for prescription opioid addiction at one time no longer do so — and one third of them never received any treatment. This research also finds that the average prescription opioid addiction lasts eight years; for heroin, the average is a decade. For alcohol, the average addiction lasts 15 years.
So why do heroin addicts appear so hopeless in the public imagination? Because people who quit on their own don’t show up for treatment — and so, while they are included in large epidemiological studies, they aren’t included in treatment research. This means that rehabs see only the worst cases, leading to an unduly pessimistic picture of recovery. Although opioid addiction certainly can be deadly, it doesn’t have to be - and those who struggle with it should absolutely seek help. Still, more research is needed to understand what people who recover without help can teach those who need it.
4. Tough love is the only thing that works. Programs that distribute clean needles and overdose-reversal drugs prolong addiction.
The idea that people with addiction must “hit bottom” — or experience the worst possible consequences — before they can get better is prevalent among parents and policy-makers. One drug court official told a researcher that “force is the best medicine” for treating addiction, and the 12-step program Al-Anon warns against “enabling” addiction by doing things like helping people avoid jail.
But research shows that the opposite is true. Like any other human beings, people with addiction respond best to being treated with dignity, care and respect. Programs that nonjudgmentally distribute clean needles, provide overdose-reversal drugs or offer safe spaces for injection do not prolong addiction; in fact, a Canadian study found that 57 percent of people who came to a safe injection facility to shoot up ultimately entered treatment. An approach for helping addicted family members that uses kindness, rather than confrontation or detachment, was found in another study to be twice as effective as a traditional confrontational “intervention” — and no studies show that harsh treatment or incarceration is superior to empathetic care.
Similarly, there is no evidence that naloxone programs, which provide users and their families with the overdose-reversal drug, prolong addiction. But they do prolong life: The overdose death rate was cut by nearly 50 percent in communities that fully implemented these programs.
5. Whites have recently become the majority of people with heroin addiction.
In an article headlined “In Heroin Crisis, White Families Seek Gentler War on Drugs,” The New York Times recently claimed that “today’s heroin crisis is different,” because it is not “based in poor, predominantly black urban areas” and because use “has skyrocketed among whites.” NPR, The Atlantic and other major media outlets have run similar stories, often citing a study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, which found that 90 percent of new heroin users in the past decade were white.
What most of them omit, however, is that the same study showed that whites have made up more than half of all people with heroin addiction since the early 1970s and hit 80 percent before 2000. In 1981, Newsweek panicked about a new wave of “middle-class junkies,” and in 2003, a Times headline read “Heroin’s New Generation: Young, White and Middle Class.” White people using heroin is nothing new.
The reason for the misperception is political: Politicians from the first “drug czar,” Harry Anslinger, in the 1930s to Ronald Reagan in the 1980s have portrayed heroin and other illegal drugs as a black or “foreign” problem in order to justify tough policies. In the early 1900s, when heroin was sold over the counter without warning labels, the typical user was a white middle-class woman, and she was seen as a victim of unscrupulous manufacturers, not a criminal. After heroin became illegal and was framed as a problem of the poor and minorities, law enforcement began to predominate. Only now are policymakers beginning to recognize the failure of criminalization.
Maia Szalavitz is the author of the forthcoming “Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addictions.”
Mark Filler Invited To Attend State of The Union by Senator Mark Kirk. His Goal...To Raise Awareness!
News coverage includes:
Ottawa Times – Kinzinger to President: Step up national security
…Kirk invited Mark Filler, of Highland Park, who founded the Jordan Michael Filler Foundation after losing his 23-year-old son Jordan to a heroin overdose, to attend the address as his guest.
“Mark is a reminder that no family is safe from the heroin epidemic taking lives across the country," Kirk said in a press statement. "Programs like the Jordan Michael Filler Foundation and my Anti-Heroin Task Force are shining a light on drug abuse and the life-saving drug naloxone, so we can prevent more families from losing a child."
WRSP – Lawmakers On Capitol Hill React To President's State Of The Union Address – by Lindsey Hess
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are reacting to President Obama's State of the Union address. There's mixed reaction coming from both republicans and democrats.
U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) released the following statement:
Senator Kirk invited Mark Filler of Highland Park, who founded the Jordan Michael Filler Foundation after losing his 23-year-old son Jordan to a heroin overdose, to attend the address as his guest.
"My guest tonight was Mark Filler of Highland Park, who lost his son Jordan to a heroin overdose two years ago today. Mark is a reminder that no family is safe from the heroin epidemic taking lives across the country. Programs like the Jordan Michael Filler Foundation and my Anti-Heroin Task Force are shining a light on drug abuse and the life-saving drug naloxone so we can prevent more families from losing a child.
Highland Park Patch – Kirk's State of the Union Guest Will Be Highland Park Man – by Tim Moran
A Highland Park man will be U.S. Senator Mark Kirk’s invited guest during President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night.
National Pain Report – Will Opioids Be Part of Obama’s State of the Union Address?
The topic of opioids, particularly as they relate to addiction and overdose (as opposed to treatment of chronic pain) has inserted itself in the fast-moving madness of politics.
… Sen. Mark Kirk (R-ILL) has invited Mark Filler, who lost is son to a heroin overdose in 2014, and is an advocate for increasing access to naloxone. Filler started the Jordan Michael Filler Foundation, which promotes the message that substance abuse is a medical disease that should be treated accordingly.
Mark Filler will be in Washington because he was invited by GOP senator Mark Kirk.
senator mark kirk plans to bring mark filler of highland park. filler lost his son jordan to a heroin overdose at 23. he wants entire country to see more to prevent other families from experiencing what he did. he hopes his attendance at state of union will do that.
Tribune – Local guests bring anti-drug, poverty message to State of the Union – by Karen Berkowitz
Highland Park father who lost his 23-year-old son to a heroin overdose two years ago has been invited to attend President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday as the invited guest of U.S.Sen. Mark Kirk.
Mark Filler has been working to prevent heroin deaths since his son, Jordan, overdosed in January 2014 after an eight-year battle with drug addiction.
… Filler said he met with Kirk last year in Washington, D.C., and discovered the senator was working to make naloxone more readily available to prevent heroin deaths. Naloxone, also known by the name narcan and the brand name Evzio, quickly reverses the effects of an opiate overdose.
Filler, who planned a two-day trip around the State of the Union speech, is scheduled to make appearances with Kirk to call attention to the epidemic of heroin-related deaths in the Chicago suburbs.
"The statistics are showing this problem is getting worse," Filler said Monday. "It is a huge, huge killer."
Kirk's press secretary, Britt Logan, said the senator also plans to call attention to a 2016 appropriations bill that increased funding for opioid overdose prevention. Logan said the $70 million appropriation represents a $38 million increase.
Kirk has asked the Food and Drug Administration to fast-track the approval of a nasal-spray form of naloxone that is less expensive and easier for first responders without medical training to administer, Logan said.
In a letter to the FDA, Kirk pointed out that if current trends continue, more than 1,000 residents of Chicago's suburbs could die from an opioid overdose during a more typical eight-year FDA approval process. Kirk also has advocated for medication-assisted therapy to treat opioid abuse and curb the side effects of withdrawal.
Daily Herald – Who will join suburban legislators for State of Union Address – by Mary Hansen
Mark and Julie Filler of Highland Park lost their 23-year-old son, Jordan, to a heroin overdose two years ago Tuesday. The experience transformed them into anti-heroin advocates.
… Mark Filler will attend President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address Tuesday as a guest of Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk. Through the Jordan Michael Filler Foundation, the family supports education and treatment programs on the North Shore.
WBBM – Chicago-Area Residents to Attend Obama's State of the Union – by Mary Ann Ahern
Two Chicago-area residents will be watching President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address Tuesday as guests of local politicians.
Mark Filler will attend the speech as Sen. Mark Kirk’s guest and Loretta Coleman will be Congressman Tammy Duckworth’s guest.
Peoria Journal Star – Be our guest: Area lawmakers announce State of the Union guests
Military service members and anti-heroin advocates will serve as guests for Peoria's two members of Congress and Illinois' two senators at the annual State of the Union address on Tuesday evening.
… U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk will host Mark Filler of Highland Park. Filler's son Jordan died of a heroin overdose in 2014, causing the family to start a foundation in his name to work with local schools and communities.
WBBM – Local Congress Members Make Statements With State Of The Union Guest Selections – by Craig Dellimore
Local Congress members seem to be trying to make statements in their selections of guests for President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday evening. In many cases, they are saying “Thank you”….and more, reports WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore.
… Senator Mark Kirk, also a Republican, is honoring the work of Mark Filler, who created a foundation to help prevent other young people from falling prey to heroin as his late son did. He’ll be at the Capitol too.
… Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth who’s running for Kirk’s senate seat has invited Loretta Coleman, manager of a VA food Pantry as her guest.
By Karen Berkowitz
A Highland Park father who lost his 23-year-old son to a heroin overdose attended President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Jan. 12 as the invited guest of U.S. Senator Mark Kirk.
Mark Filler has been working to prevent heroin deaths since his son Jordan overdosed in January 2014 after an eight-year battle with drug addiction. Coincidentally, the president's address fell on the two-year anniversary of Jordan's death.
Filler said Tuesday he was heartened that the President found the heroin epidemic important enough to mention at the beginning of his address to the nation.
"I am a political science junkie, so for me to just be in a room with all of Congress, the Supreme Court, the president, the vice president and the cabinet was pretty cool," Filler said.
Filler said his conversations with senators at a dinner before the speech confirmed that drugs are taking a toll across the country.
"Every one of the senators I spoke with, in their own states, have a major problem and it is definitely something they are talking about a lot," Filler said. "It touches everyone in a personal way," he said, adding, "They all have a story of a friend, a family member or important constituent who was deeply impacted by drugs."
Filler and his wife Julie brought the family's private battle into the open after their son died shortly after his release from a residential treatment facility in Arizona. They created the Jordan Michael Filler Foundation, which last year helped launch a Text-a-Tip program for students in Highland Park, Deerfield and Bannockburn. The service allows young people an anonymous means to intervene in a friend's drug problem or seek help for themselves.
Filler said he met with Kirk in Washington, D.C. last year while championing changes in health privacy rules so physicians and treatment facilities are able to communicate with parents when adult children over the age of 18. He discovered that Kirk was actively involved in the heroin issue as an advocate for making the drug naloxone more readily available. Naloxone can potentially save lives by reversing the effects of an opiate overdose.
Said Kirk in a prepared statement, "No family is safe from the heroin epidemic that is claiming a life, on average, every three days in the Chicago suburbs. Through programs like theJordan Michael Filler Foundation and my Anti-Heroin Task Force, we can make families more aware of the warning signs, prevent opioid prescription abuse and make naloxone more available."
Mark Filler, left, with daughter Jennifer, wife Julie and daughter Jessica. (Courtesy Filler family)In July, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration agreed to fast-track the approval of a nasal-spray form of naloxone that is less expensive and easier for first responders without medical training to administer, according to Kirk's press secretary. In a letter urging an accelerated approval process, Kirk pointed out that more than 1,000 residents of Chicago's suburbs could die from an opioid overdose during a typical, eight-year approval cycle.
Kirk also has advocated for medication-assisted therapy to treat opioid abuse and curb the side effects of withdrawal, according to his office.
Read the original article from the Chicago Tribune - Here.
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