AATOD Conference 2013 + Dr. Kreek = Inspiration
by Zac Talbott, BA, CMA
Behavioral Health Group (BHG) acquires Midsouth Treatment Center in Dyersburg, Tennessee
When Facing An Epidemic, Advocacy Is Key
Part 1 of 2
changes come about because of people becoming involved. It is these who are the real heroes
in all this. Without advocacy, changes will not come about within the present system."
Dr. Vincent Dole
Celebrate Recovery Month 2013
Dr. Jana Burson Knocks It Out of the Park
in Recent Book
I have never made an entry on the NAMA-R TN Blog specifically to recommend a particular book or other resource, and I am certainly overdue in writing an entry & publishing an update for our readers and supporters (I promise it is forthcoming within the next 6-7 days). However, I picked up Dr. Jana Burson's book, Pain Pill Addiction: A Prescription for Hope, earlier this evening that I ordered some weeks ago but have just been too busy to sit down & have any "me time" during which to enjoy a good book, and I simply could not put it down!
The Words We Choose Can Shape Attitudes and Perceptions About the Disease of Addiction and its Treatment with Medicine
I don't understand terminology like "clean time" when speaking clinically about a chronic relapsing metabolic disorder. (How long since a patient's last shower?) It's important that we recognize just how much language matters when we're referring to an already extremely stigmatized and misunderstood disease.
The 2nd meeting of the NAMA Recovery of Tennessee and Private Clinic North jointly-sponsored Patient Advisory Committee to be held on Monday July 22nd at 11:00am!
"Doing drugs can be plenty harmful. The same goes for other activities, from big wave surfing to heli-skiing. But our tendency to overestimate the risks of drugs hampers our ability to tackle addiction."
This video does a tremendous job of showing the human angle of harm reduction efforts and medication-assisted treatment. With all the issues we face and areas in which improvements are needed here in the United States, sometimes it is important to step back and recognize just how thankful we should be for what we do have. This video features a patient from an area of Eastern Europe where methadone therapy for opioid addiction is mostly unavailable. Political leaders of the world’s nations too often forget the factual angle that is most important when they block access to harm reduction initiatives and/or addiction medicines: Exposure to diseases, attack on the street, overdose, and so forth are all reduced substantially for most patients on methadone. They have a better chance to stay alive. Critics of methadone, in their pursuit of the wickedness of being "on" something, some seem too often to forget this human angle. The death rate, arrest rate, illness rate of the opioid addicted patient drops substantially when they enroll in methadone treatment. Their legitimate employment rate, the taxes they pay, and their immune system functioning, all rise.
The video also features a patient from Vietnam who attests to the miracles of methadone maintenance treatment. The human angle of which I continue to speak is evident in this Vietnamese man’s testimony. His life and his normalcy have been restored. He is once again a productive, contributing member of society.
And while we do largely have access to methadone maintenance treatment and other harm reduction initiatives and projects in the United States, there are still people suffering from the disease of opioid addiction right here in Tennessee who can not access treatment. Many Tennessee residents have no better access to this evidence-based and proven effective treatment than patients in countries that have largely banned methadone for maintenance treatment like Russia and Japan. We have more than 40 years of research and data proving the effectiveness of medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction yet the State of Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency just denied a Certificate of Need for a proposed medication-assisted opioid treatment program in Johnson City, Tennessee and the Tri Cities area. The chairman of the committee seems to think that people can still receive treatment “if they want it,” acknowledging the 100+ miles round-trip trip to the nearest opioid treatment program, because “they can drive.”
What about those patients who, due to a disability or other condition, are unable to drive? What about patients whose socio-economic situation is such that they do not have the resources for the gas such a drive, on a daily basis for the first several months of treatment, would require? Or those patients who do not have access to a reliable, dependable vehicle that could make such a trip on a daily basis? Even more of a moral outrage is the thought of opioid addicted pregnant women, knowing that methadone treatment is the standard of care for pregnant patients, having to make such a trip on a daily basis in the last months and weeks of gestation when many pregnant women should stay as close as possible to their healthcare provider(s) in the event of labor or emergency complications. The six people who voted “no” to this Certificate of Need seem to have forgotten, or at the very least ignored, the human angle, as they have shown that personal biases and politics trump the influence of science and medical facts in their decision making. The State of Tennessee Health Services & Development Agency has made it abundantly clear that they could care less about the opioid addiction and overdose epidemic and related deaths as they have effectively blocked the opening of a treatment center that would provider the most evidence-based and effective treatment and solution for this crisis that is currently available.
Why is the State of Tennessee “punishing” its residents in the upper eastern part of the state instead of doing all they can to “support” these people? I wish I had the answer.
“Support. Don’t Punish.” is a global advocacy campaign and you can visit their website by clicking HERE.
This is your chance to have YOUR say and give YOUR input on the federal guidelines for opioid treatment programs and accreditation organizations!
See the announcement from SAMHSA below:
Help Influence Federal Guidelines for Opioid Treatment
You can now comment on the Federal Guidelines for Opioid Treatment. This preliminary set of guidelines provides detailed information to opioid treatment programs (OTPs) and accreditation organizations about what they need to comply with new requirements under the Code of Federal Regulations (42 CFR Part 8).
As part of efforts to finalize the guidelines, representatives from OTPs, accreditation organizations, patient groups, the medical community, and interested members of the public are asked to review and comment on these preliminary guidelines.
All comments submitted by the deadline, July 16, 2013, will be carefully considered.
Mailing Your Comments
Please allow sufficient time for mailed comments to be received before the close of the comment period. Written comments should be mailed to the following address only:
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Attention: DPT Federal Register Representative
Division of Pharmacologic Therapies
1 Choke Cherry Road, Room 7-1044
Rockville, MD 20857
The Certificate of Need for the proposed opioid treatment program by Tri Cities Holding LLC in Johnson City, Tennessee has been denied by the State of Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency.
Have you ever wondered which substance, drug or addictive disorder is the most deadly of all? Unfortunately, the answer is in: Opioid addicts have a higher risk of death compared to other drugs and alcohol according to a new research study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) that was published in the Drug and Alcohol Dependence journal.
A reminder to all patients of Private Clinic North in Rossville, Georgia/metro-Chattanooga, Tennessee that the PCN PATIENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE kick-off Group is tomorrow morning, Monday June 17th at 11:00am in the Private Clinic North Group Room. Be there!
Patient Advisory Committee/Advocacy interest meeting/group to be held on Monday June 17th at 11:00am
An important part of recovery is getting back into a routine & whatever normal is to you. I also think it's equally important for MMT patients living in recovery to focus on living a more healthy lifestyle over all - We all certainly did plenty of damage and likely some irreprable harm to our bodies & souls during years of active addiction. Some patients with which my path has crossed that are the stongest in their sobriety as they journey the road to recovery are also some of the patients who focus more wholy on their physical and mental health overall.
Being active (even just taking a stroll or going to water exercise at the pool) goes a LONG way in combatting some of the side effects from a long term daily maintenance dose of methadone - more than nearly any other super food, supplement or multivitamin regardless of their miraculous claims. We have to own our recovery, and for me that has also meant owning my physical and mental health.
Get out and enjoy life. Have some fun in the sun. Sometimes it can make me realize just how much I have overcome since my treatment intake all those many moons ago just to be able to wear short sleeves in the summer and not having to worry about visible track marks! We have earned our recovery, our normalcy... so get out & enjoy life in recovery this summer! We deserve it.
Just a friendly reminder....
There is a Public Hearing at the Jones Meeting Center in the Johnson City Public Library this evening, May 28th, at 5:00pm.
This is quite the day on the road for me, as I am currently about to pull out of Private Clinic North in Rossville, GA of the metro-Chattanooga area. I'm headed to the Knoxville area for a couple hours then on up to the hearing in JC before 5pm.
Are 12-step groups like NA and MAT modalities exclusive of each other?
Understanding Medication-Assisted Treatment
CALLING ALL SUPPORTERS TO JOHNSON CITY, TENNESSEE ON MAY 28th 5:00pm
Are we facing a heroin epidemic?
CORRECTION: MMT Clinic in Johnson City, Tennessee's Certificate of Need *ACCEPTED,* not approved
- When staff members reported lower levels of stress, patients reported more active participation in treatment.
- Treatment programs may reduce staff stress by giving employees a voice in organizational policies and procedures.
- Staff with a higher level of influence in the organization within which they work displayed a better tolerance of stress and burnout than staff with lower levels of influence.
- **Staff stress and burnout was less prevalent in programs with higher patient caseloads than those with lower patient caseloads.**
~Rest in Peace~
OPIATE-DEPENDENT PATIENTS ON A WAITING LIST FOR METHADONE MAINTENANCE TREATMENT ARE AT HIGH RISK FOR MORTALITY UNTIL TREATMENT ENTRY
OPIATE-DEPENDENT PATIENTS ON A WAITING LIST FOR METHADONE MAINTENANCE TREATMENT ARE AT HIGH RISK FOR MORTALITY UNTIL TREATMENT ENTRY
What We Say Matters
Let me talk about language for a second. In our society, the way we phrase things has a major effect on the perception of what we say. That's why, when talking about something as controversial as methadone treatment, it's important to use language that is beneficial to our cause. Terms such as "medication assisted treatment" help communicate the idea that methadone maintenance is a legitimate therapy that is medically necessary.
Language is most important when it comes to how we describe our treatment. Methadone opponents, the news media, and sometimes even patients themselves often fall in to the trap of referring to methadone as "meth". While calling it "meth" may seem like simple shorthand, the word also refers to an illegal drug with major negative perceptions. So much of language's effect is subtle and unconscious. When a newspaper refers to a new "meth" clinic opening, it misrepresents a treatment that is already disliked by many.
Using the correct language is only of the necessary steps we must all take to legitimize methadone treatment in people's minds. Every time a patient is caught selling drugs at a clinic, every time a methadone patient gets in to an auto accident, every time someone sees methadone patients milling around the clinic in their pajamas, smoking cigarettes -- all these things add to the public's negative perception of methadone.
Using the right language when describing our treatment is one easy thing we can do to make it more acceptable in people's minds.
Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) May Not Be as Safe as Previously Thought
One way I get material for this blog, and something I hope to use more in the future, is to go through the Pubmed website and read studies. While looking through it today, I happened upon an interesting study dealing with buprenorphine/Suboxone.
Suboxone is often held out to be safer than methadone. Methadone is known to stop breathing when taken in high doses or when taken in moderate doses and mixed with benzodiazepines. Suboxone, due to its status as an opiate agonist/antagonist and its "ceiling effect", is presumed to be much less deadly than methadone. The conventional wisdom is that it is nearly impossible to overdose on Suboxone alone. This may very well be so. However, a new study I happened upon showed that, at least when mixed with benzos, Suboxone is not without risk.
This study examined autopsy results where buprenorphine was present in the blood of the deceased. The autopsies showed alprazolam (Xanax) present in a full 40% of the dead, and it found some other benzo or sedative in 75% of the cases. Perhaps even more surprising, buprenorphine was the only drug found in 10% of the cases.
We can conclude two things from this study: like methadone, mixing benzos with Suboxone can kill. Furthermore, the presence of buprenorphine alone in 10% of the samples shows that it might be easier to overdose on Suboxone than is commonly thought.
I encourage people on methadone to stay away from recreational use of benzos, especially if they're taken in high doses or mixed with alcohol. This study shows that the same advice may go for those on Suboxone.