Monday, September 7, 2015

Hillary Clinton's substance use initiative

On this Labor Day, I thought it fitting to highlight Hillary Clinton's newly unveiled proposal for how she would address alcohol and drug addiction as President.

We know that one of the best ways to help people achieve and maintain recovery is through treatment, often including a medication. When people are able to manage their chronic illness (or illnesses as if often the case), they are more likely to return to work or school, reconnect with their families, and improve their quality of life. All those things we celebrate today.

So please check out the attached story and the link to the complete proposal:

Complete proposal:

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Support the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery (CARA) Act

I just received the following message from Sean Clarkin at Partnership for Drug-Free Kids -- and I signed the petition to support the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act in Congress. Please check it out and see if you could support it too.

From Sean:

Hello friends,

The Partnership is one of many organizations – and I’ll be among many thousands of people – who will be present at an October 4 rally in Washington called “United to Face Addiction, aimed at mobilizing resources to prevent and treat substance use disorders and addiction.  Over 85 million Americans say they have been affected “a great deal” by addiction, and yet addiction remains ignored by mainstream healthcare while the majority of those suffering from addiction go untreated.

A major call to action of the rally is support for the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA),which has bi-partisan sponsorship in both the Senate and House.  The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2015 will:
  • Provide up to $80 million in funding for prevention, treatment, and recovery
  • Launch an evidence-based opioid and heroin treatment and interventions program.
  • Strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion and to help at-risk individuals access services
  • Expand prevention and educational efforts—particularly aimed at teens, parents and other caretakers, and aging populations
  • Expand the availability of naloxone to law enforcement agencies and other first responders to help in the reversal of overdoses to save lives
  • Expand resources to identify and treat incarcerated individuals suffering from addiction disorders promptly by collaborating with criminal justice stakeholders and by providing evidence-based treatment
  • Expand disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications to keep them out of the hands of children and adolescents
The Partnership has created a petition, urging members of both houses of Congress to vote for CARA.  This petition will be delivered to senators and congressmen on Monday, October 5, the day after the rally.
On behalf of myself and the Partnership, I ask you to please sign the petition, share it with friends and family, and post it on Facebook and Twitter using #howmanyfamilies:

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Congrats, David Z, on great media interview

Great interview and comments on addiction, recovery, and overdose prevention and response from David Z on Aljazeera America, starting at 23 minutes of this program:

Sunday, June 21, 2015

buprenorphine portrayal and response from Stop Stigma Now

Dr. Phil Paris from Stop Stigma Now comments on buprenorphine portrayal in the media. Education on and promotion of safe medication use for all medications is necessary; not just for opioids. 

What was the drug Dylann Roof was holding when arrested in February?
                                                       By BIANCA SEIDMAN  CBS NEWS  June 19, 2015

When Dylann Roof, the suspect in the deadly shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, was arrested last February on trespassing charges at a mall in Columbia, South Carolina, police said he was carrying the drug Suboxone, the brand name of a narcotic that's considered milder than others drugs in its class, such as oxycontin, heroin and vicodin. It is prescribed as a drug for the treatment of opiate and painkiller addictions

Suboxone has been a helpful tool in fighting opiate addictions without the need to send patients to methadone clinics."While its safer than heroin or methadone if you take it as directed, if you don't it's as dangerous as any of these other drugs," says Dr. Eric Wish, the Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Research at the University of Maryland.
Many people who use Suboxone are already opiate dependent and for them it's a milder drug.  But side effects of the drug may be greater for those who use it recreationally and not for its intended purpose of opiate recovery. Law enforcement seizures of buprenorphine drugs, which include Suboxone and generics, has increased from 90 to 10,537 packages between 2003 and 2010.
Response from Dr. Philip Paris, Stop Stigma Now
The introduction of Suboxone has been life saving for thousands of those suffering from opioid addiction.  But, like every other medication prescribed by doctors, when misused it can have serious side effects, including a fatal overdose.  This is true for each and every medication in our medicine cabinet from aspirin to Tylenol.  Unfortunately, the possible use of Suboxone by the accused killer of those praying in a Charleston church will surely be used by those who stand against the use of any medication in treating opioid addiction.  

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

ASAM's National Practice Guideline just released!

The American Society of Addiction Medicine just released its National Practice Guideline for the Use of Medications in the Treatment of Addiction Involving Opioid Use (Practice Guideline). According to ASAM's press release from June 2, 2015: "The Practice Guideline will assist clinicians prescribing pharmacotherapies to patients with addiction related to opioid use. It addresses knowledge gaps about the benefits of treatment medications and their role in recovery, while guiding evidence-based coverage standards by payers."

This is a much-needed resource that helps explain what is meant by treatment of opioid addiction with a medication.

Click here for a copy of the Practice Guideline:

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Visit with Director Botticelli

We had an amazing visit from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli yesterday -- he spent almost an hour speaking with a small group of patients at REACH about their experiences and recovery. They, and he, are unbelievably inspiring!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Botticelli's "coming out" and recovery

I just went to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy's website and found Director Michael Botticelli's post from Feb 9, 2015 upon his Senate confirmation as the country's Drug Czar. It gave me goosebumps as I read it -- I was a fan of the Director before, but this really sealed my fandom forever. I hope others will be equally inspired and respond to his Call to Action.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

WBAL Radio interview on heroin crisis and Gov Hogan's new initiative

Just finished an interview with Robert Lange of WBAL Radio on the heroin crisis in Maryland and Governor Hogan's recently announced initiative.

For more information on the budget cuts and the campaign to restore funding, check out the Keep The Doors Open campaign.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Solutions for the chronically homeless

Here's a great story on Housing First, the approach for housing chronically homeless individuals around the country that is being adopted in Baltimore. Worth the read......

Friday, February 13, 2015

New campaign to support funding for behavioral health services

Check out this website for the Keep the Door Open campaign led by the Behavioral Health Coalition in Maryland. They have done some great work to advocate for appropriate funding for behavioral health services in Maryland.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Amazing article in Huffington Post

Jason Cherkis, reporter for the Huffington Post, has written one of the best pieces I've ever read on heroin addiction and the current, tragic state of its treatment in the US. Very motivating and heart wrenching at the same time!