Sunday, June 22, 2008

New Asheville clinic offers safer treatment of opioid addiction

A new clinic is making a safer alternative treatment for opioid addiction more widely available in Western North Carolina.

Crossroads Treatment Center opened in April and specializes in treating people with suboxone, a drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2002.

The biggest advantage of the drug over methadone, which has traditionally been used to treat opioid addiction, may be its safety. A person cannot overdose on suboxone, and because it does not provide the same high as methadone, it is less likely to be abused.

“There are some people who do very well with methadone,” said Dr. Karl Schroeder, a psychiatrist at the VA Medical Center in Asheville. “But because it is a full-on narcotic, if you want to abuse methadone, you can take extra high doses to get blitzed on it. Methadone is one of the more dangerous things for death by overdose. With suboxone, the advantage is in safety. By itself you can’t overdose and kill yourself.”

The increased availability of the drug, a pill that can be prescribed by a doctor, may mean more people in WNC who are addicted to opioids seek treatment. The region is home to a high number of people addicted to the drugs.

Schroeder said he has prescribed suboxone to about two dozen patients at the VA. While it may be too costly for some patients, for others, suboxone helps them break their addiction.

“For many people it’s wonderful,” he said. “They talk about it as being a small miracle in their lives. … They get on suboxone, and they feel normal, and they don’t think about drugs all the time.”

Need for treatment

Dr. Elizabeth Stanton and Vicki Ittel, the former director of the Buncombe County Health Center, opened the new center to offer more treatment options for people addicted to opioids.

“There are just not enough of us,” Stanton said. “I think there’s a huge need in this community.”

WNC is home to many people addicted to prescription painkillers, and the number of people abusing these drugs nationwide increases every year.

Opioids are drugs derived from opium, like morphine, codeine and heroin, and some prescription drugs that have similar chemical properties, including oxycodone, hydrocodone and fentanyl.

“In WNC, we clearly have an increased incidence of narcotic addiction over the general population,” said Dr. Paul Martin, head of the Asheville Buncombe Drug Commission and a specialist in addiction medication.

Martin said he and others who study addiction don’t really know why more people in WNC are addicted to drugs, but what is clear is that there is a need for treatment.

Nick Reuter, a senior public health analyst at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, said less than half of people who need treatment are getting it.

Treatment for addiction to opioids typically involved methadone. Both methadone clinics in Asheville are operating at capacity and have waiting lists, Martin said.

“We know clearly that the capacity of the methadone programs around the country are not nearly sufficient to meet the need for narcotic addiction,” he said.

Advantages of suboxone

Methadone was the prescribed treatment for opioid addiction until the Food and Drug Administration in 2002 approved two products, suboxone and subutex, which contain buprenorphine, a long-acting opioid.

In 2007, the number of patients being treated for opioid addiction with buprenorphine surpassed the number of patients being treated with methadone, Reuter said.

Methadone patients must visit a clinic daily for treatment, and some stay on methadone for the rest of their lives.

But buprenorphine-containing drugs can be prescribed by a family doctor, are taken in pill form at home and have fewer side effects. Some patients can stop taking the drugs after a few months. This makes these drugs not only more accessible for some people seeking treatment, but also a more appealing choice for some patients.

Reuter said the increased availability of suboxone and subutex has gotten more people into treatment for their addiction. He said 60 percent of patients using the drugs for treatment report never having accessed drug treatment before.

Woodlands Treatment Center in Greenville, S.C., has seen a 92 percent success rate in keeping people off of opioids over its four years of operation, Stanton said.

While some physicians in WNC are licensed to prescribe the drug, not many treat patients in large numbers, Ittel said. The required counseling that goes along with prescribing the drug can be time-consuming and hard to work into a regular medical practice, she said.

For that reason, she said Crossroads is filling a niche market in the region. The clinic is seeing about 50 patients. That number is expected to increase as more people learn about the treatment.

Potential for abuse

Although there have been reports of abuse of buprenorphine, they are fewer than abuse of other drugs in the same class, Reuter said.

Buprenorphine-containing drugs are less appealing to addicts than heroin and methadone because they don’t produce the same kind of euphoria, and when injected at high doses, the drugs can precipitate withdrawal symptoms.

“Two recent studies seem to suggest that (suboxone abuse) has leveled off and started to decrease, but the amount of suboxone dispensed every year continues to increase,” Reuter said.

Methadone still around

While buprenorphine-containing drugs have expanded treatment options, Reuter said there is a need for methadone to stay around. He said methadone is useful for people who are more highly dependent on opioids.

Suboxone also comes at a price. Reuter said suboxone treatment costs around $300 a month, compared with about $30 a month for methadone.

The Crossroads clinic charges around $275 a month, which does not cover the cost of the drug, and they do not take insurance, Stanton said.

The pill, which costs around $5 a day, is covered by insurance and government programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

Ittel said the treatment costs far less than what some people are paying to get their drugs on the street.

“It will be a nice option for a niche population, but as it is prescribed now, it won’t replace methadone programs,” he said.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

SouthCoast Recovery Debuts Gay and Lesbian Track Program

SouthCoast Recovery, a premier California alcohol and drug rehab center, announces the addition of a Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, and Trans-gender (LGBT) Track to its 30, 60, 90-day and six month residential treatment programs.

SouthCoast Recovery recognizes the need for specialized drug rehab and alcohol treatment programs that address and provide support to the gay and lesbian community. Regardless of age, race or sexuality, people from all walks of life seek help for alcohol and drug addiction. Men and women in the LGBT community may struggle with issues pertinent to their sexuality that could contribute to alcohol or drug abuse. SouthCoast Recovery recognizes the need for specialized programs in drug and alcohol treatment tailored to the individual. SouthCoast Recovery provides the leading gay rehab treatment program in California, with a safe and supportive environment for those in the LGBT community, offering an assigned LGBT counselor for one-on-one sessions, individual therapy treatment targeting LGBT issues. Drug and alcohol dependency is often a symptom of underlying issues that need to be addressed on an individual basis. At our state-of-the-art facility, the finest clinical and medical physicians work together with skilled practitioners in advanced Eastern holistic therapies for the most comprehensive physical, emotional and spiritual renewal of each person.

We offer seven residential facilities, a clinical therapist, marriage & family therapist, certified drug & alcohol counselors, a medical physician, a licensed acupuncturist with a Masters in Oriental Medicine, a licensed massage therapist, sessions in primordial sound meditation, as well as, group support in the local 12-step community as a part of our gay addiction treatment program.

At SouthCoast Recovery, we believe that recovery from addiction is a transformation in all areas of life. Our Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, and Trans-gender Track Program is now available during 30, 60 and 90-day residential treatment. For more information, please call Tom Petersen at (866) 847-4506 or visit

Like many noteworthy companies, SouthCoast Recovery started out of a garage in 1994 and today is one of the leading recovery centers in the nation offering advanced clinical, medical and holistic therapies in the individual treatment of drug and alcohol addiction.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Savings in alcohol, drug addiction treatment an Illusion

Nearly $18 million in state funds earmarked for alcohol and drug treatment was diverted to other uses in 2006, according to a watchdog agency report released last week.

If that sounds like a cost savings, think again.

In the same year, 1,185 men and women were sent back to prison because of probation violations. Fifty-seven percent are drug users, according to the Virginia Department of Corrections. The department expects these "technical violators" to increase to 3,000 inmates over the next five years.

This trend is one factor contributing to growth in the state's prison population, which will require Virginia to build one new prison a year for six years. Each new 1,000-bed prison will cost about $100 million to build and $25 million annually to operate.

Suddenly, an extra $18 million to help drug addicts kick the habit sounds like a good deal.

Analysts with the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission said the state is doing a poor job in evaluating which treatment and prevention programs are most effective, but it did find evidence that recidivism is lower among inmates who complete drug programs.

But drug treatment is not just for criminals behind bars. JLARC said few services are available for school dropouts and children of substance abusers. Adults indicated in a survey that they have trouble finding transportation and someone to watch their children so they can obtain drug treatment. Providers are unwilling to treat low-income people because the government-funded Medicaid program reimburses only a fraction of the true costs.

Drug treatment programs shouldn't be just about saving money. They should be motivated by the desire to save men, women and children from the misery of addiction. However, the financial benefits are clear. Eighteen million dollars won't solve all of the problems, but that money does nothing if it is left unused. A penny saved will cost Virginia far more in dollars and lives.
source: The Virginian Pilot

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Rehab center tries new therapies

Alice holds two collages that she's just pulled down from a wall in the hallway.

The collages are covered with magazine cutouts, drawings and handwritten poems representing two sides of her life.

One shows her childhood experiences with sexual abuse and her drug-ridden adulthood. The other depicts the future she's working toward during her stay at the new Guilford County Substance Abuse Treatment Center.

Alice's collages are part of the larger, creative aim of the drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility on West Wendover Avenue in High Point.

The center doesn't allow clients to identify themselves to reporters, so the News and Record could not provide their real names.

"It's amazing what you can do with a crayon," said Courtnaye Adams, who leads the treatment center's creative-therapy programs. She teaches art classes, yoga, leads meditation, facilitates group hikes and even brings in her dog for what she calls pet therapy.

"Sometimes the simplest things can help us more than we realize."

The 56-bed facility, funded by Guilford County, began opening in stages in March and will be fully operational when the last wing opens at the end of this month.

A nontraditional center run by Missouri-based Bridgeway Behavioral Health, the center only accepts addicts with no insurance and can keep clients much longer than the standard 28 days.

"One of our goals is to reduce the revolving door practice of alcoholics and addicts who seem to frequent emergency facilities," site director Mary Jane McGill said.

"If we can do that and we can help give them the long-term treatment, then our goal is to get them out there working and being taxpayers ... instead of draining the tax base."

One of the benefits of the longer rehabilitation time is that — in addition to offering traditional therapy — the center can experiment with solutions such as Adams' classes.

Adams, who has worked at the substance abuse center since April, knows from experience the value of such activities for rehabilitation. A recovered alcoholic, she said she discovered that she felt herself heal when she gardened.

"When I got in the dirt, I was OK," she said. "I would have these moments of serenity. My choices were drink, die or heal, and I chose to heal."

She said she provides a variety of creative activities for patients because each person responds to different activities.

Some of the center's other classes focus on more concrete topics. One client said classes about the brain and what drugs and alcohol do to the human body helped her understand the effects of her addiction and depression.

"I've learned how to clean out the garbage and put in the healthy stuff," she said. "They help you in every area to get you out there and back on your feet."

To prepare clients to contribute to society upon their release, the center offers classes in GED preparation, computer skills and other areas.

Staff also help patients find places to live and work after they leave.

McGill said a highly qualified and diverse staff help prepare patients to go on with their lives. One patient said he wants to go to college and become a substance-abuse counselor after he finishes treatment.

Another client said the message of the center is that patients can learn to take charge of their own futures.

"We don't have to go back to the past," she said. "We don't have to begin our lives in the past."

Monday, June 16, 2008

Freedom From Drug Addiction

He went from a cocaine and alcohol addiction, to a successful drywall businessman in Sioux Falls and Rapid City.

Greg Sands overcame his demons with a little help and a lot of determination. Now he's being honored with his name on a brand new treatment center for meth-addicted women.

His business is drywall, the company he built from the ground-up. But his passion is helping those with addiction.
"Addiction's a very subtle thing,” said Greg Sands, owner of Sands Drywall of Sioux Falls and Rapid City. “It's a process, not an event. Eventually, the addict ends up with problems in his life because of the addiction. For me, it was incarceration."

In 1989, at 31 years old, Sands was arrested for conspiring to deal cocaine, and spent two years in prison. Afterward, he moved into the Glory House in Sioux Falls.

"Have a warm spot in my heart because they helped me change my life," said Sands.

The facility is a halfway house that helps drug users shift back into the community. Sands says there's always a need for such facilities; in fact, the Glory House is now celebrating 40 years in business.

"The transition is extremely important,” he said. “If they leave incarceration and go straight to the streets, or go to a halfway house, it lowers their chance of violating by like 50%. It's a huge number."

And now, the Glory House is about to open the Sands Freedom Center, in September. It will specifically treat women addicted to meth, a fast-growing problem across the country.

"I believe the statistic is they go to prison at a rate of two to one over men."

Sands says the Freedom Center will be a top-notch facility, with both inpatient treatment for women and outpatient treatment for anyone battling meth. Between 300 and 400 people will walk through the doors every year.

"If we can teach people how to live a new way of life, it's better for society, better for our state as a whole because they're out becoming responsible, productive members of society," said Sands.

The facility is just another way Sands can reach out to people who are in the same place he was nearly 30 years ago.

His story has inspired many, and even earned him a presidential pardon from the Clinton administration back in 2001.

Since his record has been wiped clean, Sands can enter almost any institution and speak to prisoners about his experience.

"The best thing about that was that it carried a message of hope that you can change your life and you can do this too, if you're willing to do the work," Sands said.

Sands still works every day to keep his life on track, but doesn't have any regrets about the past.

"Everyone makes mistakes in their life and no one likes to experience that pain,” said Sands, “but it's those things I went through that got me to where I'm at today."

Sands says the project is close to his heart, but wouldn't have been possible without some outside help. He says Governor Mike Rounds, Senator Tim Johnson, the Glory House board of directors, staff, and volunteers, along with community leaders and businessmen all contributed in some way.

The Glory House is still raising money for the Sands Freedom Center, expected to open September 1st.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Why Is Mom in Rehab?

The actress Tatum O’Neal was arrested recently on charges of buying crack cocaine from a man on the street near her New York City home. She is a 44-year-old mother of three. She has spent years in and out of drug abuse treatment (which she chronicled in her 2004 memoir), and according to her publicist she will continue to “attend meetings” for drug and alcohol abuse.

Ms. O’Neal illustrates a disturbing trend among those being admitted to substance abuse treatment services: a growing percentage of older women are being treated for harder drugs.

Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration revealed that the total number of admissions to treatment services from 1996 to 2005 (the last year for which detailed data are available) stayed about the same among people under 40, but jumped 52 percent among those 40 and older. Of the 40 and older group, the rise in admissions among men was 44 percent. Among women, it was 82 percent.

(During the same span, the population in the United States age 40 and older grew by only 19 percent.)

Of these women, admissions for nonsmoked cocaine have doubled; admissions for crack cocaine have tripled; admissions for opiates other than heroin have nearly quadrupled; and admissions for methamphetamines have increased sevenfold.

These trends could grow stronger. A 2006 report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse focused on drug use among baby boomers, all of whom were 41 to 59 years old in 2005. It concluded that “the large size of this cohort, coupled with greater lifetime rates of drug use than previous generations, might result in unprecedented high numbers of older drug users in the next 15 to 20 years.”

There was a time when we thought that the biggest substance abuse threat to older women was alcoholism and abuse of prescription drugs.

Ten years ago this month, Betty Ford and the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University issued a report called “Under the Rug: Substance Abuse and the Mature Woman.” At the time, Joseph Califano, president of the center said: “Abuse and addiction to alcohol and psychoactive drugs and tobacco by women 60 and older is an inexcusable area of neglect.”

But since boomers can’t seem to shake their street-drug demons, the focus needs to shift.
source: The new York Times op-ed page.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Drug Treatment Center marks first anniversary

It’s a year to the day since eight drug addicts serving time became the first clients of Mesa County’s Summit View Drug Treatment Center.

Located on the third floor of the community corrections building in Grand Junction, the residential treatment center has seen more than 100 clients in its first year.

They’re clients like Brandon Burns, who volunteered for treatment because he kept using meth and marijuana while he was on probation. He’s coping with his past in treatment, picking at the things he’s hidden from with drugs since he was a preteen and learning how to deal with those problems sober.

“This is the longest I’ve been sober since I was 12 years old,” Burns said. “I’ve never felt this good in my life ever.”

Burns was ready to come, but Jason Thomas, who didn’t know his court sentence would bring him to the center, came in “kicking and screaming.” This was his fourth rehabilitation experience.

“I was going to fake it,” he said. He changed his mind when he saw this treatment center had more group participation and less staff control than other centers.

Group meetings with the 16-20 men living six to a room on the treatment floor happen every morning and afternoon. Clients write in a series of workbooks on topics from the connection between drugs and criminal behavior to anger management to communicating with family. Discussions are about discovering why they use drugs so they can live without drugs.

“It’s not the drugs, it’s you as a person you’re changing,” said Justin Ringold, who is transitioning out of the center.

The program isn’t for pretenders, said client Matt Onstott.

“If you do it for your sentence, it’s not going to work, you’re going to get called on it,” he said.

Optimism is common in the center, but that can wane when clients go to a community corrections floor to finish a sentence and when they get a place of their own. Justin Bohannon graduated from the center Nov. 5. He started going to the gym, took GED classes and got two jobs. But temptations outside get stronger, he said, and he ended up relapsing. He told the center he got high, and they worked with him to get him back on track.

“I knew if I went to prison I’d be in and out of prison for the rest of my life. The time comes when enough is enough,” he said. Still, it’s been “rough” to stay clean.

Helping clients transition from the center into the workforce has been a challenge, said Treatment Coordinator Jason Talley. The center now includes a short-term program, an enhanced outpatient program and a transition program to help with that, and case workers keep up with graduates and encourage them to meet new people and volunteer in the community. Talley said recidivism is low and the completion rate was 74 percent as of December.

Burton Shoebridge Jr. graduated treatment Nov. 26 and will move out of community corrections today. After spending nearly three decades in an out of prison, jail was the easy thing for Shoebridge. Living drug free in the real world was the struggle. But after treatment, he says he’s ready to try it.

“Things are going great and I’m not willing to give that up,” he said.

Counselor Bill Wimsatt said he’s heard no regrets from graduates.

“The ones I see are happy to be sober, happy to be clean. They walk up and they have a smile on their face, and that tells me enough. That tells me they’re happy to be living the life they choose to live,” he said.

The next step for the center could be incorporating clients under the age of 18. Talley said the need is greater to give youth a place to go than women and their children because the center isn’t “ideal” for families and there are two local in-patient treatment options for women, whereas the only nearby center for youth is in Glenwood Springs.
source: Grand Junction Colorado Free Press

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hanley Center Names Dr. Barbara Krantz CEO and Medical Director

Dr. Barbara Krantz, has been named Chief Executive Officer and Medical Director of Hanley Center, a noted nonprofit addiction treatment facility in West Palm Beach, Florida. Prior to accepting this position she served as Hanley’s Chief of Medical Services.

Dr. Krantz joined Hanley Center in 2001 with a strong clinical and management background in addiction and family medicine. She has worked in a number of settings including the substance abuse treatment field, hospitals and in teaching positions at the university level. She is well known in the field of addiction medicine and was honored by the Palm Beach County Medical Society in 2008 as a Heroes in Medicine award recipient for her leadership, active community philanthropy and commitment to the field of medicine.

“The addiction profile of today’s patient is complex, and it has become increasingly important that addiction treatment of this neurobiological disease is treated with an integrated approach,” said Dr. Krantz, who is part of the multidisciplinary team at Hanley Center. Dr. Krantz points to the prevalence of dual diagnosis, complications of chemical and concurrent alcohol abuse and the advanced medical therapies that address seriously ill patients.

Hanley Center, located on a 16-acre campus in West Palm Beach, specializes in holistic age and gender-specific treatment based on the Twelve-Step model. The Center pioneered the industry model for older adult treatment, and continues to lead the industry.

Hanley Center offers premiere gender and age specific treatment for men and women, as well as family and prevention programs that have been proven effective. For more information call (561) 841-1000, 1-800-444-7008 or visit

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Medical wellness and fitness center coming to Water Valley

Poudre Valley Health System announced today that it plans to open a medical wellness and fitness center in Water Valley, northern Colorado’s premier resort-style community located in Windsor. This will be the first medical wellness and fitness center in northern Colorado.

The 2-story center will offer physical therapy and cardiac rehabilitation for patients; classes on health care; wellness counseling; spa services; orthopedic care; radiology; and exercise opportunities with fitness equipment and a therapeutic pool.

In addition, medical office space will be available for physicians who practice specialty or primary care.

Rulon Stacey, PVHS president and CEO, said Windsor is an ideal setting for a medical wellness and fitness center due to the community’s location in the epicenter of northern Colorado’s rapid population growth.

“Our goal is to offer high-quality health care that is easily accessible,” he said. “The unparalleled quality and accessibility of Water Valley and its beautiful setting add beneficial dimensions that will complement the medical wellness and fitness center.”

Martin Lind, Water Valley’s owner and president, said the PVHS presence will be a valuable addition to the community.

“Having a medical and health icon like PVHS believe and invest in Water Valley solidifies our vision and motto of “Life’s Better Here!,” Lind said.

“The medical wellness and fitness center, combined with our existing resort atmosphere, will prove to be a regional destination for those seeking medical-based lifestyle changes,” he continued. “In addition to the obvious benefit for Water Valley residents, the center will benefit all of northern Colorado. Water Valley could very well become the Broadmoar of the north by offering world-class wellness, golf and a resort atmosphere.”

The medical wellness and fitness center will be the center piece of Water Valley’s Marina Plaza project that will soon begin development in the 1,500-acre Water Valley community. Water Valley encompasses five lakes; Pelican Lakes Golf Course and Country Club; and residential areas where about 3,000 people reside. Plans for the Marina Plaza include a hotel and conference center, retail space, salon and spa, restaurant, and office complex in addition to the medical wellness and fitness center.
Construction of the medical wellness and fitness center, now in the early design stage, is expected to begin later this year.

The center is slated to open in the fall of 2009.

PVHS will lease about 16,000 square feet of the Marina Plaza to house the medical wellness and fitness services, and another 9,000 square feet will be occupied by physician offices.

Stacey said the center will work closely with physicians who occupy medical office space there.

“Physicians will be able to refer patients to the center for rehabilitation, health classes and other services,” he said. “This will be a significant convenience for patients.”

Stacey said other medical wellness and fitness centers in the U.S. have found that clients tend more often to be adults who prefer the facilities rather than more traditional health clubs.

“Medical wellness and fitness centers combine the outpatient care from rehab centers and primary and specialty care providers with the prevention and educational aspects of a health club—all in one location,” he said. “Very often older adults who want to condition their bodies or undergo rehabilitation feel more comfortable at a medical wellness and fitness center because of the medical presence there.”
source: Windsor Beacon,

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


The report by the Scottish Parliament-backed Scotland’s Futures Forum yesterday called for radical new ways to tackle the drug problem.

But critics immediately dismissed it as “recycling failed ideas”.

Key recommendations include setting up “consumption rooms” where addicts could take drugs safely and for heroin to be prescribed.

It also suggested taxing cannabis to enable it to be more tightly regulated.

Of an estimated 51,000 heroin users in Scotland, about 21,000 are thought to use methadone to help with their addiction.

In 2006 there were 421 drug-related deaths in Scotland, the highest rate in Europe.

The think tank was established by the Scottish Parliament in 2005.

In its latest report it asked how the damage caused by alcohol and drugs in Scotland could be halved by 2025.

On the idea of “consumption rooms” chairman Frank Pignatelli said: “I don’t think the public are ready for it. But I think they could be convinced with strong evidence.”

Mr Pignatelli, a former education chief and civil servant, added: “When everything else has failed, when no one knows how to solve this health problem, under very controlled conditions we should possibly be thinking why not experiment as other countries have done with this controlled environment where there are health professionals on site. Some people are led away from that lifestyle and, in terms of public order, you don’t have people shooting up in the street and causing alarm.”

The report comes just two weeks after the Scottish Gov-ernment launched the first drugs strategy in a decade, with the emphasis on getting people off drugs.

The report’s vice chairman Tom Wood, former Deputy Chief Constable of Lothian and Borders Police, said it was based on evidence of successful initiatives elsewhere.

But Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie said: “So-called shooting galleries and the legalisation of cannabis are ideas of the last two decades. Fortunately in Scotland we’ve moved forward.

“The new National Drugs Strategy for Scotland, which received the unanimous backing of the Scottish Parliament last week, demonstrates a new political will in Scotland. We believe that people should be assisted to get off drugs, not helped to take them.

A spokesman for the Scot-tish Government said: “We have no current plans to introduce drug consumption rooms.

“There are complex legal and ethical issues that can’t be easily resolved.”

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Addiction Recovery Center, Moving To North Texas

People from all of the country will be coming to our area. A new drug and alcohol addiction center is opening it's doors this fall with hopes to attract people from across the United States. Only a handful of progressive recovery centers, exist in Texas, and now one is moving into Van Alstyne. KTEN's Whitney Allen was on site and has the story.

Enterhealth, a company from Dallas is opening an addiction recovery center to meet the growing demand for progressive treatment. The program is designed to strengthen the brain, body, and soul.

Dr. Harold Urschell III, with Enterhealth says, "The patients that come to us for help and treating their specific addiction, come from all walks of life."

Enterhealth has a progressive approach which includes, cutting-edge medication therapies that treat the physical aspects of addiction, including cravings.

Dr. Urshell goes on to say, "Society views an addiction as a moral weakness or a sin. At enterhealth we view it as a disease, no different then high blood pressure."

Enterhealth's program will be personalized for each client, providing residential treatment services and outpatient support. The center can serve 14 clients. They will have 3 physicians on hand during the day, and 24 hour nurses on site.

"Our job here is to treat them as a whole person, nutrition, health, exercise, and stress management," says Dr. Urshell. On site they will also have a ropes course for team building, cooking classes, art therapy, a swimming pool, and running trails along with gym.

Dr. Urshell says, "The average length of stay will be 6 weeks and we will address multipul levels of their life."

Enterhealth says the reason they chose Van Alstyne was, because of the community and the proximaty from Dallas and Southern Oklahoma. "It's a rural and residential area for people to focus," says Dr. Urshell.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A clear vision

A little girl with a big dream. That’s what Tabitha Hall Pennon of Ennis was when she started the outreach shelter, Texas Vision House.

“I knew from the time I was seven-years old that this was something I wanted to do,” she said. “In my simplistic take on it all, I just wanted to provide a house for people who didn’t have one and that is what I set out to do.”
Pennon’s initial plan of temporary housing for those in need went beyond mere thought; she said she obsessed over it, even drew up a blueprint for the center on poster board.

“My grandmother used to sew and she would have those huge books with patterns in them,” Pennon explained. “I would cut out the pictures of quilts and glue them on the beds in the rooms of the house I made and when I finally did get to build the facility I dreamed of, it was modeled from that poster board blueprint.”
After graduating from Ennis High in 1986, her brainchild was put on hold as she battled doubts and fears of putting into place the resources she would need to realize the project. While working at a correctional facility, she learned first hand the needs of the people she would serve in what would soon become her life’s work.
“At the correctional home I saw many people who had made the wrong choices in life but who were good people underneath it all,” she said. “I knew that sometimes in life people just need a second chance and I wanted to give them that.”

The path for second chances she chose was in the form of an interim housing center for women recovering from substance abuse. This facility would be a place for women to get back on their feet as they struggled through the first stages of being drug free; it would also be a place where they could develop skills that would serve them when they left the house to return to living on their own. The name of the outreach had always been clear to Pennon: Vision House.

Established in 1999, the center was the embodiment of the dream she had once put aside, but had come back to. She now dedicates her life to Vision House.
Due to the nature of residents’ issues, including alcoholism and drug abuse, and the specialized recovery methods needed to aid them in their transition from the facility to living independently, Pennon went back to school, earning a degree in social work and substance abuse counseling. Her no-nonsense approach to the women and the responsibilities they are expected to take on at Vision House allows her to help them with their problems while still supplying a shoulder for them to lean on.

“There is no free ride here,” she said. “I am always telling the ladies that the world does not owe them anything and if they want something they have to work for it, so that is what we put into practice here. They each have their roles to play at the house and they also take part in the work program that we have where we set up booths at the American Airlines Center and the Ball Park in Arlington to sell food. The work program also teaches them about giving back to those less fortunate because the money raised from the booth goes to the Canning Hunger project to help fight hunger in the world.”

Residents who stay at the facility –– from upwards of a year to 18 months ––attend four Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings a week. They are also asked to attend church at the chapel located on the property. Pennon feels it’s important to heal the mind, body and spirit when dealing with recovery.
“These women must have healing in all aspects of their lives in order to function when they leave us,” she said. “We don’t make going to church a pre-requisite but we do encourage it.”

Although some residents leave Vision House only to return to old ways, there are many success stories.

“We have had people who got out of the program because they weren’t ready for the help and that is their decision,” she said. “I pray for them and work to help the rest of the group so they won’t follow suit. However, I have seen the change that can happen if the residents work toward it. and some of the best cases actually ended up cleaning up their lives and coming to work for us or volunteer with us after they left to reclaim their lives. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, those ladies remind me why it is I do what God has called me to do.”

Vision House, which operates on donations, has been chosen as the recipient of funds raised from a fashion show organized by fellow Ennisite, Charlotte Watson. The event is part of a program called “Meet me in the Boardroom,:” which is focused on helping women find the information they need to help with finances, health care and jobs. Part of the two-day workshop, to be held June 13-14, will feature a style show with some of the residents at Vision House acting as models.
Pennon said she’s thankful for the opportunity and that her residents are thrilled.
“The ladies are so excited and have been looking forward to this since they found out about it,” Pennon said.

“This will be a real ego boost for them and I’m so glad Charlotte thought of us for helping with the fashion show and receiving some of the proceeds.”
For more information about Vision House or to donate visit or call 214-257-0207.
source: Ennis News Daily

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Tough pill to swallow: Most overdose deaths involve prescription drugs

Data released last week show 154 people died in Maine from drug overdoses in 2007, and 86 percent of those deaths involved pharmaceuticals — many obtained with a legitimate prescription often paid for by Medicaid or private insurance and taken improperly or turned around for cash.

At the same time, the Prescription Monitoring Program approved by the Legislature in 2003 is being “grossly underutilized,” according to Maine’s U.S. Attorney Paula Silsby, and opportunities are being missed to prevent abuse, including fraud of the Medicaid system.

Adding to the problem is the fact Maine doctors and other providers write more prescriptions per capita for narcotic painkillers than in most other states.

Methadone was the leading killer, involved in 58 of the deaths last year, followed by oxycodone, involved in 38 deaths, and, benzodiazepine or prescription tranquilizers, involved in 36 deaths, according to statistics presented last week at the Maine Medical Association’s annual education seminar.

Heroin or morphine was also found in the blood stream of 25 who died, and the culprit could have been either, since heroin breaks down into morphine after death. Cocaine, an illegal drug becoming popular once again, was cited in 30 deaths. The drugs are often taken in combination and used with alcohol.

Marcella Sorg, director of the Rural Drug and Alcohol Research program at the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine, said more than 50 percent of those who died from oxycodone, which includes the infamous OxyContin, had a prescription for the drug, as did those who died from benzodiazepine.

The bulk of methadone deaths, however, appear to come from methadone tablets resold on the street and most likely initially prescribed as pain killers. Methadone is now used to treat pain more often than OxyContin because it is cheaper and relatively less controversial.

“It’s not the clinics,” providing the drugs on the street, Sorg said, separating the methadone given out by clinics in liquid form to treat narcotic addiction from the now prevalent tablets prescribed for pain.

While the death toll in 2007 is slightly better than 2006, when 167 people died from drug overdoses, the numbers have more than quadrupled since 1997 when 34 people in Maine died from overdoses.

Yet the state-run Prescription Monitoring Program set up in 2004 to help prevent prescription drug abuse and illegal resale by tracking how many controlled substances are being prescribed to an individual is only being used by 28 percent of eligible providers, according to Silsby.

“The very system that was developed to address this issue is simply not being used by the overwhelming majority of prescribers and pharmacists, and for me, that’s a problem,” said Silsby, who spoke last week along with Sorg to doctors gathered at the Augusta Civic Center.

That system lists all the controlled substances sold by pharmacists to an individual and would allow a doctor to see what a patient already has been prescribed. It helps prevent “doctor shopping,” where a patient goes to multiple physicians to get drugs.

Silsby also believes it could help raise some red flags on abuse of the state’s Medicaid system, which she said is a big part of the problem.

“A substantial amount of prescription drug abuse is associated with the Medicaid community,” Silsby said. “If they don’t pay for them with cash, then they’re all paid for by Medicaid, and then they can turn around and have 100-percent profit.”

Sorg said her research doesn’t show how many of the drugs that killed people were issued through the Medicaid program, but common sense shows it is part of the problem.

“We’re talking about rural poor people,” she said, who could sell just part of their prescription and make money, while still having enough pills to treat themselves.

In Maine, nearly 20 percent of the population is on Medicaid, so the sheer size of the program also assures it has a part in prescription drug abuse.

Roy McKinney, head of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, said whether it’s public or private insurance that buys the drugs, money is the motivator.

“Money is the root of it,” McKinney said, because drugs like OxyContin sell for $1 per milligram, making a 30-day supply of 40 milligram tablets worth $1,200 on the street.

Overmedicated Maine?

Sorg said the broader issue is more narcotics are being prescribed to treat pain nationwide, and Maine providers write more prescriptions than most.

According to the federal drug data base that tracks prescriptions of controlled substances, Maine ranked sixth in the country for morphine and methadone, and eighth for oxycodone.

Sorg said it is indicative of Maine’s aging population, and that the state has many manual laborers in dangerous jobs like wood harvesting. “We’re old, with a high number of laborers, who have a high number of injuries,” she said.

The typical overdose fatality is not a young person, although teenage abuse of pharmaceutical drugs has surpassed marijuana, according to McKinney.

Rather, the average victim is a male between 38 and 40 years old, whose body has been depleted through years of drug and alcohol abuse and the chronic diseases that go along with that behavior. “They’re not trying to recreationally get high,” Sorg said. “They’re addicted, and they absolutely have to have the drug.”

Gordon Smith, executive vice president of the Maine Medical Association, invited Sorg and Silsby as presenters at this year’s education seminar to raise awareness about the problem, and the use of the Prescription Monitoring Program.

“We’ve done a lot of education, but it is a difficult audience to get to,” Smith said. “They’re too busy and they can’t delegate this to their practice manager. They have to do this themselves.”

“In my opinion, the Board of Medicine and U.S. Attorney and DEA are going to come down quite hard on those, who after three years, are not utilizing this information,” he said.

Silsby agreed it’s hard for doctors. “In the medical profession, it’s ‘Do no harm. Do no harm.’ And now they find themselves having to be vigilant that they are not being scammed by their patients,” she said.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A new National Directory of addiction and alcoholism treatment centers, therapists and specialists.

Most addicted people need help to find a way to live clean, sober lives. Treatment Centers, therapists and specialists are often the last stop in the vicious cycle that is substance addiction.

Maryland 6/03/2008 07:29 PM GMT (TransWorldNews) is a national directory for treatment centers, therapists and specialists. We offer a free, simple and comprehensive index that provides assistance and guidance for those seeking help regarding alcohol addiction, drug addiction, eating disorders, cancer and many other conditions that affect the mind, body and soul. We also offer a wide variety of addiction and illness treatment centers, as well as individual counselors that can address your specific needs. We include peer support and detoxification programs. In addition, we can provide you with many resources for outpatient and residential programs.

Making the choice to seek treatment for an illness or addiction can be challenging. Our goal at is to make that job easier for you. We provide a bridge between people seeking treatment and the centers, physicians and counselors who provide that treatment. Keeping in mind that any disorder can affect the entire family, we provide resources and information for friends and family members as well. If you are a person seeking treatment, you will find a vast number of resources on our site.

If you are a professional offering services, we provide a first class showcase for what you have to offer. Our site consists of an easy to use search center that will match your needs to the services provided by professionals in your area. We also offer discussion forums where you can dialogue with others about various relevant topics. We provide cutting edge news on a variety of treatment related topics and offer a blog section in which you can journal about your personal experience.

Many individuals will not seek treatment for various reasons. It has been our experience that 'active' addicts and alcoholics, as well as people afflicted with different addictions or physical conditions can sometimes lose the ability to reason. A therapist or specialist for a specific illness or addiction issue, or a full-fledged residential treatment center can and will help. You, and/or your loved one, can find it at

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Our motto "Hope, Help, Heal, and Happiness" shows the path.
You provide the hope. We provide the help is a national directory for treatment centers, therapists and specialists. We offer a free, simple and comprehensive index that provides assistance and guidance for those seeking help regarding alcohol addiction, drug addiction, eating disorders, cancer and many other conditions that affect the mind, body and soul.

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source: TransWorld News

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Drug Rehab Centers in South Florida Cutting Back

Last week, Broward County auditors made a report that states Broward Addiction Recovery Center is being overspent upon immensely. Broward Addiction Recovery Center is a group of addiction treatment centers throughout the county. These drug rehab centers service people not just from Broward, but the entire South East Florida area. The auditors for the county determined that Broward Addiction Recovery Center is spending almost twice the national average on both round-the-clock inpatient care, and residential treatment programs.

The Broward Addiction Recovery Center insists that it is expenditures are warranted, due to higher drug abuse in Broward County and treatments that are more comprehensive. Because of this, the Florida substance abuse center is calling for a private auditor to conduct a new review of their programs. However, this news comes at a time when Broward County must cut $100 million in its budget.

Another factor facing South Florida drug rehab centers comes in the form of state cutbacks. As soon as July 1, substance abuse treatment centers all across Florida will be experiencing the effects of state budget cuts. Many will be forced to close their doors if they do not find private funding.

South Florida drug rehab centers will be feeling the effects of these fiscal cutbacks in the coming months. Centers like C.A.R.E. Florida in North Palm Beach could experience a large influx of those needing substance abuse treatment and counseling. Overcrowding could occur in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties.

If you or someone you know is battling substance abuse, seek help. C.A.R.E. Florida is an innovative residential Florida drug rehab facility. Contact them 24 hours a day by calling 1-866-494-0866.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Valley Forge Medical Center and Hospital to Become the First Addiction-Free Pain Management Center of Excellence on the East Coast

Valley Forge Medical Center and Hospital is the first facility on the East Coast to obtain the Addiction-Free Pain Management (APM) Center of Excellence provisional designation, providing cutting edge treatment for people suffering with chronic pain and prescription drug abuse. They are hosting a 3-day professional training seminar June 4-6, 2008 as part of The APM Center of Excellence requirements. The training, Denial Management for Chronic Pain Patients with Substance Use Disorders, is open to the public and will focus on how to deal more effectively with clients exhibiting denial and treatment resistance.

The number of people experiencing chronic pain and coexisting psychological disorders, including addiction, have been increasing significantly. According to the International Association for the Study of Pain, in 1999 there were approximately 86 million Americans suffering from chronic pain. In 2003, Peter D. Hart Research Associates found that the number increased to over 117 million adults. Of that number, at least 10% had abuse/addiction problems. According to research published in the 2006 issue of Pain Physician Journal, 90% of people in the US receiving treatment for pain management are prescribed opiate medication of which 9%-41% had opiate abuse/addiction issues. What is harder to quantify is the emotional cost to family systems when one or more members suffer with a chronic pain condition and other disorders, including addiction.

Dr. Stephen F. Grinstead, Owner and Developer of The Addiction-Free Pain Management (APM) System said: "The APM Treatment System was designed to meet the specific needs of this population by addressing both the addictive disorder and the pain disorder concurrently using a multi-disciplinary treatment plan. The physical, psychological, and social implications of these disorders are critical components of the APM System which uses a three part approach and a collaborative multi-disciplinary treatment team. These components include: (1) A medication management plan; (2) A cognitive-behavioral treatment plan; and (3) A non-pharmacological pain management plan for developing safer medication-free ways to manage pain."

The APM Center of Excellence (COE) designation recognizes treatment providers who have demonstrated skilled pain management and addiction treatment services through the use of the Addiction-Free Pain Management System and the Gorski-CENAPS Model of Treatment. The COE process was developed by Dr. Stephen F. Grinstead in collaboration with Terence T. Gorski and the Gorski-CENAPS Corporation. Providers must meet the rigorous standards for endorsement to be officially recognized and Valley Forge Medical Center's Pain Management Program will be one step closer to receiving the full designation after the Denial Management training.

About Valley Forge Medical Center: Since 1973, Valley Forge Medical Center and Hospital has provided comprehensive treatment to adults with substance abuse and associated physical, social, and psychological disorders. Valley Forge Medical Center and Hospital is a licensed, general hospital approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Programs and accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation for Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). For more information, please call (888)539-8500 or visit

About Dr. Stephen F. Grinstead, LMFT, ACRPS, CADC-II: Dr. Grinstead is an author and internationally recognized expert in preventing relapse related to chronic pain disorders. He and his wife Ellen Grinstead own and operate Grinstead Consulting, Training & Coaching Services dedicated to assisting in the treatment of chronic pain and co-existing addictive disorders. Dr. Grinstead developed the Addiction-Free Pain Management System to provide healthcare professionals with specific tools and evidence-based manualized treatment to support them and patients seeking their help. For more information please call (916) 575-9961 or visit

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Treatment backlog for addicts rises

ABU DHABI // A multimillion-dirham drugs awareness campaign has encouraged people to seek help for their addictions.

In a two-week period after the campaign’s launch in April, eight patients were admitted to the National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC), in contrast to a previous average of one case a month. There are 26 people on the waiting list and a further 120 people have indicated they would like to seek treatment.

The growing number of Emiratis addicted to drugs and alcohol prompted the NRC, a government agency, to launch the “Yes to Life” campaign, which aims to make people aware that drug addiction “is like any other disease and that there is treatment”.

“We have had a very large response to the campaign,” said Noura al Hosani, the campaign manager. “We really didn’t expect that much because this is a traditional society and it is difficult to talk publicly about drug addiction.”

To cope with the growing demand for treatment, 10 beds will be added by the end of the year.

“The last thing we want to do is launch such a campaign and then not have the capacity to help the people who are coming forward,” Ms Hosani said.

NRC social workers are fielding an average of 30 calls per day to the confidential helpline, and the centre also provides outpatient services and consultations to people on the waiting list until a space is available.

“We have to maintain this relationship with them,” Ms Hosani said. “We need to keep assuring these patients they will get the treatment and encourage them further.”

Addiction to alcohol has been the most common reason for admission, followed by cannabis, according to the NRC, while some have sought treatment for addiction to drugs such as heroin.

“The response to the campaign has been very positive,” she said. “People seem really appreciative that we are providing this treatment.”

However, not everyone has been willing to be brought into the public discussion on addiction.

Ms Hosani said some had shied away from accepting brochures or visiting exhibitions that had been set up in shopping malls.

“Some people don’t want to take part because of the association with the word ‘addiction’,” she said. “All we want to do is provide the right information, but maybe they are afraid someone might see them at the exhibition.”

“Yes to Life” was launched in the capital on April 1 and in Al Ain on May 15. Centres were expected to be in place across the emirate by 2012, Ms Hosani said. “It is our plan to cover all of Abu Dhabi emirate before 2012.”

The Al Ain campaign included an exhibition, a question-and-answer session for adults, public outreach efforts and a musical for children.

Plans are under way to extend the campaign to Al Gharbia in August and the NRC will also take part in summer camps for children over the holiday period.

The NRC is collecting data to measure the level of drug-abuse awareness, the impact of the campaign and whether attitudes towards addiction have changed.