Addiction Policy Forum Blog

2 min read

Mosaic Group, Addiction Policy Forum and the State of North Dakota Announce Joint Effort to Support Families Impacted by Addiction

By Addiction Policy Forum on November 12, 2019

North Dakotans can now participate in Families Strong, a program for families impacted by substance use disorder

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9 min read

Is our addiction crisis fueling the all-time high in reported STD cases?

By Mark Gold, MD on November 7, 2019

The French and Italians once blamed each other for the creation of syphilis, officials viewed it as a moral incentive to maintain sexual propriety, and California required cases to be reported by number rather than name to conceal the identities of “ sinful” sufferers.1 The infection often went undetected, causing neurological and psychiatric problems chronicled in the lives of the rich and famous: Eduard Manet, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Ludwig van Beethoven, Robert Schumann, Franz Schubert, Al Capone, Keats, Baudelaire, Dostoyevsky, and Oscar Wilde.2 Later, diagnosis and treatment changed. Advances in science and medicine, if not in the reduction of stigma, dramatically cut reported rates of syphilis,3 and public health authorities had major successes in curbing Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) over the second half of the twentieth century. In 2018, 1,306 infants in the United States contracted syphilis, a 185 percent rise since 2014. 

The CDC, in a recent report, is now sounding the alarm over astonishingly large increases in the prevalence of STDs. Cases have now increased for the fifth straight year and reached another all-time high. One contributing factor is substance use and substance use disorders (SUDs), which are linked to unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners, and other behaviors increasing the risk of STDs. As the CDC predicted, needle use and substance-seeking sex have had major impacts on STD rates: a 2016 report spotlighted 220 counties at elevated risk of HIV from high levels of intravenous drug use. Drinking and use of other substances, which can alter judgment and risk calculations, are also associated with increased chances of contracting STDs. 

But in some STD cases, the problem is not a complex one linked to a variety of nuanced and complicatedly intertwined variables. It’s simply a function of not trying. As the CDC’s Director of STD Prevention Gail Bolan notes of infants with syphilis, “This goes beyond data and surveillance, beyond numbers and calculations—we lost 94 lives before they began to an entirely preventable infection.”4

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28 min read

FY 2020 Appropriations Update

By Addiction Policy Forum on November 6, 2019

The House has passed 10 out of 12 appropriations bills, sending two appropriation bill packages (also known as minibuses) to the Senate. Last week, on October 31, the Senate approved one minibuses (H.R.3055), which includes FY20 funding for four appropriation bills: Commerce-Justice-Science, Agriculture, Interior-Environment, and Transportation-HUD. Congress is now reconciling the House and Senate passed bills.

The table below compares actual funding for FY 2019 with the FY 2020 marks from the House and Senate.

Topics: Advocacy
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6 min read

Winning the Race Against Addiction

By Kimberly Lohman Clapp on November 6, 2019

Four Kentuckians die each day from a preventable and treatable disease: addiction. In 2017, Kentucky lost 1,566 loved ones to overdose, leaving empty spaces at dinner tables, in classrooms, and in hearts.

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2 min read

Hope for Recovery

By Mark Powell on November 6, 2019

 

It was a quick spiral down. Alex Elswick’s addiction began with a prescription to opioids following surgery at age 18. Over the next five years, his addiction took him to jail, to numerous treatment centers, to being homeless in four different cities, and eventually, to sleeping under a bridge in Dayton, Ohio and heroin use.

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3 min read

Recovering Out Loud

By Mark Powell on November 6, 2019

 

Tara Moseley Hyde made an interesting discovery when she underwent treatment for her addiction at age 23. “Being in recovery at such a young age was not the social norm,” she recalls. “I felt like the odd man out being young and in recovery. I knew I needed resources and I knew there were other people out there who needed them, too.”

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2 min read

Addiction’s Rough Waters

By Simone Greene on November 6, 2019

 

“Thank God my story doesn’t start with ‘I lost my son to addiction,’” says Jennifer “Punkin” Stepp. While her story ends with her son in recovery, it doesn’t mean the road was easy. Stepp’s son, Sammy, was introduced to drugs at an early age. As his addiction deepened, Stepp began to look for help in her community. However, resources in Bullitt County were few. “After a while, you start getting tired of people saying you are a bad parent or your child is defective. 

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2 min read

“Doing Time” In Treatment, Not Prison

By Mark Powell on November 6, 2019

 

As the opioid crisis worsened, many judges in Kentucky began noticing a disturbing pattern. A growing number of criminal defendants were overdosing and dying before their cases could be concluded. The judges figured keeping them behind bars and alive was better than the alternative. So, they increased cash bonds. That sent the jail population soaring. Clearly, another approach was needed.

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3 min read

Addiction Treatment Behind Bars

By Mark Powell on November 6, 2019

 
Terry Carl didn’t like what he saw. Addiction was spreading rampantly through his native Northern Kentucky, bringing death and destruction with it. As the Kenton County jailer, he teamed up with Addiction Services Director Jason Merrick to do something about it.
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2 min read

Freedom From Addiction

By Mark Powell on November 6, 2019

 
Back in 1993, a serious situation existed. The unique needs of moms with children were preventing many from seeking treatment. The recovery community realized it was too great a barrier to expect a woman to choose between caring for her children and undergoing treatment. She should have the freedom to have both.
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2 min read

Life-Changing Food

By Kelsey Trotter on November 6, 2019

 

Mark Twain said, “An antidote to prejudice is travel.” If you go to a foreign country, you eat their food, talk with their people, and immerse yourself in a new culture. You start to have a better understanding of their way of life. Twain’s wisdom works as an antidote to the stigma surrounding addiction, too.

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5 min read

A Healthy START for Children

By Mark Powell on November 6, 2019

 
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2 min read

Good Judgement

By Mark Powell on November 6, 2019

 

A paramedic and social worker with a background in addiction respond to overdose cases at local hospitals and engage individuals before they can flee. People are transported to treatment when needed. An outreach team follows up with those who refuse help. 

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4 min read

Critical Links in the Prevention Chain

By Mark Powell on November 6, 2019

 
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7 min read

The fentanyl crisis is only getting worse

By Mark Gold, MD on October 31, 2019

Synthetic opioids like fentanyl accounted for around 3,000 deaths in 2013—by 2018, they accounted for over 30,000.1 Fentanyl is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine, 50 times more potent than heroin. Breathing can stop after use of just two milligrams of fentanyl. That’s about as much as trace amounts of table salt. “Ten years ago,” write the authors of a recent RAND report on the future of fentanyl, “few would have predicted that illicitly manufactured synthetic opioids from overseas would sweep through parts of Appalachia, New England, and the Midwest.” Drug epidemics and outbreaks can be surprising, taking unexpected forms at unpredictable moments in uncharacteristic patterns. But the fentanyl crisis is different. It isn’t just distressingly surprising or one more deadly drug epidemic in a grueling, tragic history of new contagions. Its magnitude, intensity, and sharp variations dwarf previous epidemics with which experts and officials are familiar, and its challenges for public health are novel and, so far, unmanageable. The recent RAND report is a comprehensive overview of the fentanyl crisis’s origins, present status, and, most disturbingly, future.

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9 min read

17 Solutions: Ohioans Battle Back Against the Second Highest Overdose Rate in the U.S.

By Kimberly Lohman Clapp on October 30, 2019

 

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2 min read

Crafting a New Life

By Mark Powell on October 30, 2019

 

Art does more than look pretty. It touches our soul in a way that words can’t. It reaches us, challenges us, and even inspires us. For some folks living on the shores of Lake Erie, it also plays an important role in their recovery. 

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4 min read

Saving Your Son

By Mark Powell on October 30, 2019

 
It starts with a simple sentence: “Let me tell you about Tyler.” 
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2 min read

Reading, Writing, and Recovery

By Mark Powell on October 30, 2019

 

A high school is more than a building. It’s a place where exploration and discovery happen as teens learn about themselves, their friends, and their world. At one special high school in Columbus, it’s also a place where recovery occurs. 

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3 min read

Addiction is a Family Disease

By Mark Powell on October 30, 2019

 

Home, they say, is where the heart is. That’s also true for addiction because when it hits home, it breaks a family’s heart.

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2 min read

DART Hits the Target

By Simone Greene on October 30, 2019

 

After Vietnam, time as a combat medic and over 40 years in law enforcement, Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp thought he’d seen it all. He was mistaken. Nothing could prepare him to witness people suffering through addiction and withdrawal in jail. “Every time I walked in, I would see a young person, people you would never imagine lying in a cell, suffering through withdrawal. It was a horrible sight, and I knew I wanted to help.” 

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3 min read

The Verdict is Treatment

By Mark Powell on October 30, 2019

 

“Scary.” That’s how Hocking County Municipal Judge Fred Moses describes his first months on the bench. Justice is blind, they say. But Judge Moses couldn’t turn a blind eye to the parade of disturbing things he kept seeing. “I had walked into a war zone, and it was eye-opening.” 

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2 min read

How to be 'On Your Side' for Employees

By Mark Powell on October 30, 2019

 

It’s a question Kathleen Herath hears a lot. As associate vice president of wellbeing and safety at Nationwide, colleagues and professionals often ask, “Why does your company have such a generous Substance Free Workplace program?” 

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2 min read

Firefighters to the Rescue

By Mark Powell on October 30, 2019

 

It started with simple math. In 2016, the Columbus Division of Fire medics responded to 2,400 suspected drug overdoses. That was more than twice as many as 2015. 

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3 min read

The Golden Second of Opportunity

By Mark Powell on October 30, 2019

 

Month after month, the numbers kept spiking. That was upsetting local authorities in the Cincinnati suburb of Colerain Township back in the early 2010s. These weren’t cold, indifferent statistics. Each number represented someone who had experienced an opioid-related overdose; each number represented a person in danger and a life at risk. And unless something was done, that upward trend would keep climbing. 

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3 min read

Turning a House Into a Home

By Mark Powell on October 30, 2019

 

It plays out over and over and over. A woman, desperate to overcome her addiction, is forced to endure a long wait before she can begin treatment. The situation is even worse for women who are homeless. 

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2 min read

After Overdose, A Lifesaver

By Mark Powell on October 30, 2019

 

Suddenly, there’s a situation. A person has just overdosed on opioids. Or they’re at high risk of starting to reuse and misuse at any minute. Time is critical. What do you do to make sure they get the help they desperately need? 

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3 min read

115: Where You're More Than a Number

By Simone Greene on October 30, 2019

 

Stories of the opioid crisis were on the front page of every newspaper when Marti Taylor was first approached by Verily (an Alphabet company) about a new opportunity to tackle this issue. At the time, Taylor was the CEO of The Ohio State University Hospital at the Wexner Medical Center. “I remember the first few waves of overdose deaths in Ohio several years ago. Patients suffering from addiction were rapidly and repeatedly seeking rehabilitation services and we - like many surrounding healthcare systems - were too frequently unsuccessful at breaking the cycle of addiction,” recalls Taylor. “Verily told me about a vision for a partnership driven ecosystem based in Dayton, Ohio that would fill many of the unmet needs of people seeking treatment, with the goal of advancing the field of addiction medicine as a Learning Health System. I knew I had to be a part of it.” 

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2 min read

A Monumental Step for Mothers

By Mark Powell on October 30, 2019

 

We forget how big a first step can be. It may sound incremental, tedious, and tenuous for an adult struggling with addiction, but consider what an important milestone it is for a baby. For a woman seeking recovery for her own health and the health of her children, a first step can be equally as monumental. 

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2 min read

Don't Live in Denial

By Mark Powell on October 30, 2019

 
Denial, OH is not an actual place, but it is a truly dangerous state of mind, the kind that the Ohio Opioid Education Alliance is determined to expose. 
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3 min read

Giving Kids Impacted by Addiction the Best START

By Mark Powell on October 30, 2019

 

In 2015, child welfare agencies around Ohio began noticing a disturbing trend. The number of kids needing care as a result of opioid addiction in their families was rising sharply. 

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3 min read

When Prevention Works

By Mark Powell on October 30, 2019

 
There’s encouraging news from the front lines in the fight against drug misuse in and around Bowling Green, Ohio. Drug use among students is declining in many categories. And a special organization is playing an active role in making it happen by following the mantra, “if you build it, they will come.” 
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2 min read

Out of the Darkness and Into the Majority

By Mark Powell on October 30, 2019

 
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6 min read

How nighttime device use leads to sleep disruptions and addiction vulnerability in adolescents

By Dr. Charlotte Wincott on October 29, 2019

When I was 7 or 8, I was obsessed with a videogame called Galaga. This was in the early 80’s, around the time that Olivia Newton-John released the album Physical (which was my absolute favorite). I would scrounge around the house for pennies hoping that I could find ten of them from under the sofas or behind the bookcases. If I could find ten little copper coins, I could sneak off and cross the busy street on which we lived in North Carolina. I could run quickly between cars and make my way into Providence Road Sundries, a bar that still stands in that very spot to this day. I would walk up to the bar and push my coins across the counter, sweetly asking the bartender if I could change the pennies into a dime. The bartenders knew me well and knew exactly what I really wanted. I wanted a quarter, because a quarter would get me into a make-believe world of spaceships and galaxies for at least 15 or 20 minutes. There was a Galaga machine in the back of the bar that owned my little 7-year-old heart. The bartenders would smile at me and give me that quarter plus a cherry Coke with grenadine and it made me as happy as any little girl could ever be.

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7 min read

How much social media is too much for teens?

By Mark Gold, MD on October 24, 2019

In August, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The release revealed that 14.4 percent of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 had a major depressive episode in the past year.1 Major depressive episodes are mental disorders characterized by two-week or longer periods of depressed mood or decreased enjoyment of usual activities, and associated behavioral problems. According to these released figures, 3.5 million, or one-in-seven adolescents had a major depressive episode in the past year. The numbers rose from 2017 when 13.3 percent of adolescents had experienced such an event and were up from 2004 when only 9 percent did. Added to rising suicide rates,2 these numbers raise the alarm of worsening mental health trends among adolescents. The internet and social media appear to play critical roles in spreading suicidal behavior: the effect of suicide clusters, for example, implicates social media.3  

While many young Americans face a dizzying array of challenges in their lives—from substance misuse to academic pressures to general fears about societal stability—adolescents in the past have also dealt with these concerns and did not experience a similar rate of depressive episodes. This leads journalists, educators, experts, and politicians looking for a root cause to understand these recent changes, and one major change stands apart from the rest: access to social media. In a recent study, researchers tried to determine whether frequent social media use contributes to negative mental health outcomes among adolescents.

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6 min read

Can CBD be used to treat Angelman syndrome? Here’s what new UNC research says

By Mark Gold, MD on October 17, 2019

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a “phytocannabinoid” part of cannabis, or an element created from the cannabis plant. According to a recent New York Times article, “The CBD industry is flourishing, conservatively projected to hit $16 billion in the United States by 2025. Already, the plant extract is being added to cheeseburgers, toothpicks and breath sprays."1 The FDA has approved Epidiolex, a CBD oral solution, for prescriptions to patients two years of age and older to treat certain intense forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome, marking the first official go-ahead for a marijuana-derived substance.2 CBD, in short, makes headlines. Yet some consumers buying a CBD product sold over-the-counter have had difficulty finding a label and knowing what they’re actually getting.3 For other potential consumers, the biggest questions aren’t about a buzzy new wellness trend—they’re about failing a drug test after acquiring impure CBD or THC in a purchase.4 

Consumers try to balance these fears with the purported benefits CBD. It is true that Epidiolex has been life-changing for the seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. For parents and children coping with these conditions, all other treatments have failed. CBD may have benefits for other patients with rare or difficult-to-treat neurological diseases. In a recent study, researchers at the University of North Carolina wondered if CBD might help treat individuals with another condition involving severe seizures, Angelman syndrome. 

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2 min read

Addiction Policy Forum Partners with CHESS Health with eIntervention

By Addiction Policy Forum on October 17, 2019

National Addiction Nonprofit Implements eIntervention to Get More Individuals into Treatment Via Digital Referrals and Engagement

Topics: Press Release
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8 min read

Substance use disorders take a toll on more than just health

By Mark Gold, MD on October 10, 2019

Many Americans are aware of the United States’ current overdose and addiction epidemic. For patients, families, friends, and loved ones, the tragic health and behavioral effects of substance use disorders (SUDs) are readily recognizable at a level of intimate, granular detail. Among individuals who have used substances, not all have SUDS, but many have spent money on illicit substances. SUD-related discussions frequently focus on survival or addiction, sometimes looking past another elephant in the room: finance. A recent RAND report for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) sheds an important light on how much money we pay for illegal drugs by highlighting Americans’ expenditures on methamphetamine, marijuana, heroin, and cocaine.

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9 min read

The truth about MAT? Patients know the virtue

By Mark Gold, MD on October 3, 2019

47,600 people died from drug overdoses involving opioids in 2017. Between 2012 and 2018, the number of fentanyl-induced fatal overdoses rose dramatically, accounting for a majority of overdose deaths. While preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control shows a marginal decline in fatal overdoses in 2018, from 70,237 to 68,557, it also reveals that fentanyl is still the primary cause of fatal overdoses.1 Naloxone is a non-opioid wonder drug that can reverse an opioid overdose. It is short-acting, and by temporarily reversing the effects of opioids, it gives a person with an opioid use disorder (OUD) a second chance—an opportunity to receive treatment. As a result of campaigns by, among others, the Surgeon General2 and the CDC to improve naloxone access, retail pharmacies increased naloxone dispensing from 2012 to 2018. Despite the increase in dispensation by pharmacies, only one naloxone prescription was dispensed for every 69 high-dose opioid prescriptions in 2018.3 In the old days, I remember patients saying that they felt stigmatized at the pharmacy when they heard, "Mr. Jones, your Elavil is ready." Stigma kept many depressed patients from filling prescriptions. But in this case, is the challenge both stigma and the lack of pharmacist or health care provider education?4 It is tough to pinpoint a cause explaining this data. 

The CDC and Surgeon General encourage us to improve naloxone access at the local level, including through prescribing and pharmacy dispensing. Widespread distribution of naloxone is an essential component of the public health response to the opioid overdose epidemic. Unfortunately, the lowest rates of naloxone dispensing are in the areas with the highest opioid overdose rates. We are in the third phase of the opioid epidemic, with pain clinics’ overprescribing practices overtaken first by heroin and, more recently, by fentanyl. Individuals who overdose often overdose again, and many patients treated in addiction programs or health providers' offices through MAT often relapse.

For the treatment community, adverse outcomes and continued overdose deaths are, naturally, extremely upsetting. OUD treatment program employees frequently complain of burnout. High turnover in many programs is a major problem. Some are frustrated by recidivism rates, others because some patients are not offered MAT. Some patients cease their MAT course, and others drop out of treatment altogether. Yet experts have consistently agreed that while MAT, due to a lack of options, has not helped us combat cocaine or methamphetamine use disorders, it can be enormously helpful in managing OUD. A recent review, written by James Bell and John Strang, looks at the overall evidence on MAT and compares the relative benefits of different medications, helping to shed light on this critical public health issue. It is important to keep in mind, however, how contentiously and frequently some of our evidence is debated. We lack, for example, prospective, long-term, oncology-like, 5-year studies on the subject. MAT is debated—and so are standards measuring patient "outcomes." For a physician with an OUD, the relevant outcome standards may include a return to practice, 5-year sobriety, urine testing, and fitness for duty. In other cases, outcome standards may include coming to a treatment program, or following an MAT course, or simply not overdosing or dying. 

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3 min read

Transportation Intermediaries Association Launches Alcohol and Drug Helpline to Support its More Than 1,800 Member Companies

By Addiction Policy Forum on October 2, 2019

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8 min read

Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trauma

By Addiction Policy Forum on October 1, 2019

 

70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced at least one form of traumatic event in their lives.1 

Topics: Publications
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2 min read

#RecoveryMonth: My Experience with ARHE

By Ali, ARHE on September 30, 2019

Collegiate recovery was something very interesting to be as a “non-traditional” student. As a 33-year-old enrolled in a program catered towards working adults I was only on campus every other week (except when I went to the gym…because hey it was free) and didn’t get involved in many social activities. I also attended a very small private Catholic university that did not have a Collegiate Recovery Program. So, my experience and what collegiate recovery has done for me seems to be a bit different than the “average” collegiate recovery experience.

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3 min read

#RecoveryMonth -- Recovery High Schools: Often a Community’s Best Kept Secret

By Rebecca Bonner, ARS on September 28, 2019

As the principal of The Bridge Way School, one of about 50 recovery high schools around the United States, I wish I had a dollar for every time I hear from a parent/judge/probation officer/case manager/counselor that we are “Philadelphia’s best-kept secret.” I hear similar statements from other principals of recovery high schools across the country all the time.

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1 min read

#RecoveryMonth: ARHE Advocates for Students in Recovery Nationwide

By Ashley, ARHE on September 27, 2019

The Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE) is a national organization aimed at helping universities across the country to design, implement, sustain, and improve their Collegiate Recovery Programs (CRPs). ARHE encourages Collegiate Recovery staff and students at all universities to build connections and share resources with one another.
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10 min read

Look on the bright side—new research shows that it helps you live longer

By Mark Gold, MD on September 26, 2019

 

Everyone knows someone who always seems positive, even in challenging situations. To them, the glass is always half full. For example, Microsoft founder Bill Gates is one fabulously successful optimist:1

“In my own life I’ve been extremely lucky. But even subtracting out my personal experience, I think the big picture is that it’s better to be born today than ever, and it will be better to be born 20 years from now than today….So, yes, I am optimistic. It does bother me that most people aren’t.”2

When viewing an image of a glass containing an equal amount of liquid and empty space, 58 percent of Americans felt that the glass was half-full, according to a survey conducted by One Poll on behalf of Borden milk.3 People who view a glass as half-full think more optimistically, decisively, and with more creativity.

It’s common for many individuals to seek out self-help or turn to “positive thinking” after a crisis or particularly stressful point in their lives, and common for others to mock such efforts as misguided or naive. Individuals with depression have problems finding positive aspects of life and may even believe that the proverbial "dark cloud" hovers over their heads. Behavior and motivation-oriented substance use disorder treatment programs often encourage patients to cultivate positive beliefs and to try to focus on positive developments, and some patients approach these practices with skepticism. These programs may advise: fake it till you make it, or shoot for the stars and settle for a moon landing. 

Research, however, consistently demonstrates the benefits of optimism across a number of key health functions. Studies show that optimism can decrease mortality,4 reduce the risk of stroke,5 reduce the risk of heart disease,6 present fewer progressions of carotid disease,7 and improve pulmonary function,8 among other health benefits. So why might an optimistic disposition and positive attitudes lead to better health outcomes, and just how beneficial are these approaches to life?


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2 min read

#RecoveryMonth: What is LifeRing?

By Byron, LifeRing on September 25, 2019

 

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1 min read

Addiction Policy Forum founder Jessica Hulsey Nickel appointed to NIDA’s Advisory Council

By Addiction Policy Forum on September 24, 2019

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7 min read

What is TMS and can it help treat withdrawal, addiction, and patients with SUDs like it can treat depression and OCD?

By Mark Gold, MD on September 19, 2019

In April, The Atlantic published a piece about a young woman who became a viral internet sensation after she was photographed wearing a futuristic-looking hat or device on her head.1 Some online commentators dubbed the large, grey headwear, connected by a strap under the chin, “the depression helmet.” What the commentators did not understand is that such devices are part of a safe, effective, FDA-approved treatment for depression: transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS. At the University of Florida, in 2008, I was part of a team that purchased one of the first TMS machines sold after FDA approval. We bought other machines and did TMS research as well. Since that time, the technique has been used successfully to treat depression around the world. It was also approved in 2013 for the treatment of pain associated with certain migraine headaches, and more recently approved for the treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disease.2

At least 100 randomized clinical trials have been completed in an attempt to find a MAT which might treat cocaine use disorder, employing over 50 chemical compound medications. With very little progress made from early work3, none have been shown to be particularly useful4, until the current day and TMS. Treatment must reverse more than acute or even chronic dopamine neuron effects of cocaine. The TMS research group at the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) in Baltimore works on TMS research, dopamine plasticity, cocaine and SUD-related dopamine changes. TMS offers us a chance to intervene against cocaine and other substance’s ability to change the firing rates and key brain circuits that ultimately reduce dopamine release. The TMS research group is working to define how SUDs change the brain, intrinsic and synaptic plasticity control dopamine neurons, and what might be done to return the brain to pre-drug functionality.5

NIDA TMS researchers were featured in a cover story on the science of addiction in National Geographic.6 This article describes how a psychiatrist in Italy, who has treated addiction for 30 years,  became interested in TMS and began using it for treatment. It also details the successful use of traditional TMS treatment on a chronic relapsing patient, treated as if he had a naturally occurring depression. The psychiatrist, patient, and NIDA researchers are all interviewed for the story. TMS is not shock therapy; it delivers electromagnetic pulses to the brain in dopamine rich areas, resulting in painless, rapid magnetic pulses delivered through a pad or cap or hat. It is called non-invasive, and clearly has the ability to use  magnetic stimulation to drive the brain’s circuitry with electric currents. TMS can increase and decrease cortical excitability, through high and low frequency wave generation.  Scientists are very excited about this as TMS may help rebuild neural connections, or possibly regenerate dopamine systems damaged by substance use. The psychiatrist featured in the National Geographic article, Luigi Gallimberti, MD, has subsequently used TMS to treat other addictions. 

Medication assisted therapies are approved and used for detoxification, maintenance, and relapse prevention. Unfortunately, these do not address many of the changes produced by cocaine and other drugs. Even patients following these treatment plans and taking medications often feel a lack of energy, diminished pleasure, and declining enthusiasm, and drop out of treatment. TMS might not help people to stop using drugs, but it could be beneficial in helping with addiction and post-addiction related depression and anhedonia.7 TMS researchers have become part of a promising frontier for combating craving, addiction, relapse, and co-occurring depression. Greeting with laughter images of TMS devices, caps, and hats is a perfectly unhelpful reaction in the middle of a major opioid crisis.

FDA approval for treating depression through TMS piqued interest in applying the technique to substance use disorders, since depression is often a major part of SUDs, and a cause of relapses and overdoses, as a recent consensus review on the current state of non-invasive brain stimulation science pointed out. Neuroscience research has helped establish connections between substance-using behavior and particular neural circuits, which prompted additional interest in using TMS and related techniques to treat substance use disorders. TMS is no longer an experiment. With time, SUD researchers have compiled more studies on non-invasive brain stimulation, symptoms, and outcomes, leading to new reviews on relative effectiveness and future development prospects.


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1 min read

#RecoveryMonth: Recovery Happens — a Mother’s Story

By Jill Ditlevsen on September 18, 2019

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2 min read

Addiction Policy Forum and National District Attorneys Association Launch Initiative to Educate Prosecutor's About Addiction

By Addiction Policy Forum on September 17, 2019

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8 min read

What you should know about the multistate outbreak of severe lung problems linked to e-cigarettes and vaping

By Mark Gold, MD on September 12, 2019

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently issued a warning about vaping following a multistate outbreak of severe lung problems linked to the use of electronic cigarettes.1 According to the CDC, there are, as of September 6, 450 reported cases of possible vaping-linked lung problems across 33 states and 1 territory, resulting in 6 deaths.2 Officials have not identified a specific e-cigarette product as a cause of the illnesses, meaning that various devices on the market could be contributing to this alarming pattern. Patients admitted for lung problems report difficulty breathing, fatigue, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Somehow, to proponents and purveyors of e-cigarettes, the very idea that vaping could be dangerous seems to have come as a surprise.3 

The CDC updated its warning to suggest that e-cigarette and vaping device users refrain from using the products at all during the course of its investigation. It has also warned against buying counterfeit or street vaping products, including those with THC or other cannabinoids, and against modifying e-cigarette products. Moreover, the CDC urges youth, pregnant women, and adults who do not currently use tobacco products to refrain from using e-cigarette products, and encourages individuals who smoke and want to quit to use FDA-approved medications instead of e-cigarettes. Some health officials and experts believe that street vaping products with illicit or tainted substances may be behind the outbreak of lung problems, but no one can be certain at this point. Some patients have reported using vaping cartridges with THC or cannabinoids, but others have reported using different vaping cartridges without such substances. Most contain ingredients not generally tested for chronic inhalation in humans, and, to make matters worse, they can become contaminated in ways detrimental to respiratory and heart health.4 It is unlikely that any substance you inhale has been tested for safety for weeks, months, or over the long haul. But inhalation from vaping has effects on the lungs that are dramatic, can be easily seen on imaging5, and do not seem easy to reverse. Tobacco smoking in the English colonies of North America started early and peaked in the U.S. in the 1960s and 1970s, credible evidence proving its causal links to cancer, emphysema, and bronchitis emerging only over a century after its explosive growth and wild popularity.6 Why would boosters and defenders of today’s e-cigarettes, looking back at this history, believe that research would come to indicate the product’s benefits for the lungs, or for the respiratory health of those they may expose to vaping?

While experts and officials will continue to study this outbreak and may identify particular illicit substances as the culprit, the headlines have naturally raised questions for individuals who vape about long term consequences. What we know about cigarette smoking is bad enough, but there are few surprises. Here, we’re in uncharted territory. Yes, the FDA and other agencies will look at the broader health and safety of e-cigarette products and devices, but in the meantime, users will need to be evaluated and hope that their own lungs are not compromised in ways that only become clearly understood after they stop, or years down the line. While receiving considerably less media coverage, journalists recently found that the FDA began investigating vaping-associated seizures after some users of JUUL, the top-selling vaping product in the U.S., submitted claims of seizures to the administration’s safety portal.7

It is important to note that Research You Can Use previously observed that there is not yet enough evidence to conclude whether e-cigarettes are suitable for smoking cessation. Some researchers now suggest that vaping nicotine may not be safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes.8 More recently, the FDA has agreed that JUUL’s claims of comparative safety are unproven.9 Other new studies have looked at the relative health of ingredients in some e-cigarette products, and the effects of vaping on the vascular system. The truth is that it’s risky and scientifically invalid to start from the premise that drugs are safe until proven dangerous. It reminds me of cocaine being touted as safe, or non-addicting, or even as “the champagne of drugs” until the aftermath of widespread use in the 1970s and 80s demonstrated that it was highly addictive and led to heart problems, brain damage, and other diseases.10

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6 min read

What’s on Your Plate? The Power of Nutrition for those in Recovery

By Nicole Avena, PhD on September 10, 2019

It is estimated that in 2017, 20.7 million people age 12 and older needed treatment for a substance use disorder.1 Alcohol is the third leading cause of death in the United States, and drug misuse and addiction costs more than $740 billion annually among lost workplace productivity, healthcare expenses, and crime-related costs.7,8 Although addiction is considered a highly treatable disease, the relapse rate for substance use disorders is estimated between 40% and 60%.9,10

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3 min read

One is Too Hot, One is Too Cold, Goldilocks Program Finds What is Just Right

By Mark Powell on September 10, 2019

 

One is too hot. One is too cold. And one is just right.

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Changing the Culture Within Hospitals to Make the Biggest Impact

By Mark Powell on September 10, 2019

 
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6 min read

9 Life-Saving Addiction Programs In Oregon

By Kimberly Lohman Clapp on September 10, 2019

 

It’s true what they say, not all superheroes wear capes. Some of them hold a gavel, others carry stethoscopes , and one of them wore Olympic medals. Innovators across Oregon are saving the day through programs that are changing our response to addiction. In 2017, 530 Oregon residents died of a drug overdose. However, seemingly ordinary people are creating extraordinary programs and saving lives.

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Joining Forces to Offer Hope

By Mark Powell on September 10, 2019

 

Like many states, Oregon is a patchwork quilt of big cities, small towns, and wide rural expanses. And like many other states, its rural regions haven’t been spared from the opioid crisis.

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2 min read

Transitioning to a Substance Free Life

By Mark Powell on September 10, 2019

 

It was just sitting there, a big vacant structure across the street from the Clackamas County Jail. For many years it had housed a local sheriff’s office precinct. Then on a cold day in February 2016, it began a new mission as the home of the Clackamas County Transition Center.

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2 min read

Recovery Resources as Unique as You

By Simone Greene on September 10, 2019

 

For a long time, women in Oregon who were both pregnant and fighting addiction were caught in a Catch-22. Addiction providers didn’t want to work with pregnant women because of potential complications. And maternity care providers didn’t want to work with women suffering from addiction because of lack of understanding and expertise in that area.

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2 min read

Nurturing Prenatal Care

By Mark Powell on September 10, 2019

 

For a long time, women in Oregon who were both pregnant and fighting addiction were caught in a Catch-22. Addiction providers didn’t want to work with pregnant women because of potential complications. And maternity care providers didn’t want to work with women suffering from addiction because of lack of understanding and expertise in that area.

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2 min read

Dr. Andrew Mendenhall spilled Central City Concern's secret sauce to combat addiction, and we want you to know it

By Mark Powell on September 10, 2019

 

Back in the 1970s, Portland’s Old TownChinatown neighborhood was a place people dismissed as “Skid Row.” Unemployed men drifting about aimlessly from one low-cost room to another, often struggling to deal with their alcohol-use issues. In 1979, the City of Portland and Multnomah County received a grant to jointly address the problem. Central City Concern (CCC) was soon born. Today, its main goal is providing housing, integrated health care and employment services to prevent homelessness. Since 60 to 80 percent of the people it serves have substance use disorder (SUD) issues, it’s also engaged in fighting addiction.

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2 min read

The Story of a Mother on a Mission: Save Children from Addiction

By Mark Powell on September 10, 2019

 
The small community of Ashland in Oregon’s Rogue Valley was rocked by addiction six years ago. Andrew, Colin, Jordan and Max were local young men who shared a sad link. All four died of an overdose within six months of each other.
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3 min read

Eliminating Anonymity to Eliminate the Stigma of a Disease

By Kelsey Trotter on September 10, 2019

 
Sometimes all it takes is a person with a passion to make a real difference. Julie Edwards had a family member who struggled with a substance use disorder. Julie searched high and low but had a hard time finding help for her family. With limited resources, she decided to create them herself and founded the West Linn Community Task Force in 2010.
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5 min read

Smoking will kill you, but first, it will accelerate the aging process

By Mark Gold, MD on September 5, 2019

Scientists and the general public have been aware of the harmful effects of tobacco for years now, recognizing its links to cardiovascular problems, cancer, and an array of other serious health problems. The Centers for Disease Control states that cigarette smoking accounts for over 480,000 deaths every year in the United States, and seven million deaths worldwide annually, which makes smoking the leading cause of preventable death in the world.1 Of those 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, the CDC includes more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. Secondhand smoke can cause or worsen a wide range of damaging health effects in children and adults, including lung cancer, respiratory infections and asthma. Scientists have concluded that the only real difference between first and secondhand smoke is consent. Children and others exposed to secondhand smoke suffer the same consequences but did not intend to smoke at all.2 In toto, cigarette smoking results in one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day. On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. 

Unfortunately for individuals who are smoking or exposed to cigarettes, new research indicates that tobacco use contributes to yet another health problem: biological aging. Previously, studies on the effects of tobacco use on aging have been fairly limited in their conclusions, but in recent years researchers have focused more on the question, applying new scientific tools in their work. One recent study, by Mamoshina et. al., used artificial intelligence to analyze blood and cell counts of smokers and non-smokers and to measure how much tobacco use aged smokers.

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2 min read

Addiction Policy Forum Launches Online School to Educate Americans About Addiction

By Addiction Policy Forum on September 3, 2019

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6 min read

Now What? THC Exposure and the Adolescent Brain

By Mark Gold, MD on August 29, 2019

As more states move to decriminalize or legalize marijuana and THC-related products, researching potential harms associated with cannabis use is an even more important field of study. In certain cases, such as marijuana-related medications, there is sound evidence. Usually, the manufacturer of a drug has to do clinical trials, called FDA trials, to demonstrate dose, safety, and efficacy for a particular problem or illness. The FDA did approve the first drug comprised of an active ingredient derived from marijuana to treat rare, severe forms of epilepsy. This was a well-conceived and logical trial and process. It resulted in the approval of Epidiolex (cannabidiol, or CBD) oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, in patients two years of age and older. This was the first FDA-approved drug that contains a purified drug substance derived from marijuana. It was also the first FDA approval of a drug for the treatment of patients with Dravet syndrome. Notably, however, the FDA did not approve a crude plant or marijuana, but CBD. CBD does not cause intoxication or euphoria, the “high” that comes from marijuana’s tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In this case, we know that the medication is safe, we know its formulation and composition, and we know the dose. We also know that before this treatment, there were no good alternatives.

According to pediatricians and research scientists, there’s no scientific evidence supporting the acceptability of adolescent marijuana use, and products sold in dispensaries pose considerable risks to children and teens.1 The situation with cannabis, vaping THC, and other preparations is considerably different from that of an FDA-approved medication. In these cases, sadly, we are doing the research after the fact. We know that laws are meant to prevent children from using and smoking marijuana, but the public appears confused about safety warnings when children and adolescents seem like they are safely given cannabis for seizures. Recent data shows that use is increasing among young people. A SAMHSA report found that marijuana is teens’ most widely used illicit drug.2 Frequent marijuana use, in both youth (aged 12-17 years) and young adults, appears to be associated with risk for opioid use, heavy alcohol use, and major depressive episodes. Youth have access to the legal cannabis and related product markets, as well as the thriving illicit marketplace for drugs. Health problems linked to vaping may be in the headlines, as many of those with reported lung damage have vaped THC, but it is not the only problem facing teen users.3 

What does the latest research tell us about the effects of cannabis on the adolescent brain, and do we know enough to make recommendations? 

Science has not shown that cannabis is performance-enhancing like amphetamines, psychostimulants, or medications like methylphenidate given to people with learning problems. Research has clearly shown that adult cannabis use can affect a person’s memory, performance and ability to learn. Recently, Gorey et. al. conducted a systematic review of 21 human and animal studies to investigate whether age influenced the effects of cannabis on the brain, and found preliminary evidence that suggested it does. Further understanding the differences between how cannabis affects the adult brain versus the adolescent one could help us create better messaging and education for youth about how cannabis could affect them.  

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2 min read

Mosaic Group and Addiction Policy Forum Launch ‘Families Strong’

By Addiction Policy Forum on August 27, 2019

‘Families Strong’ support groups for families affected by addiction now available in six states

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Why I am so excited about the Families Strong program

By Michelle Jaskulski on August 27, 2019

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4 min read

We have vaccines for polio and the flu, how about opioid addiction?

By Mark Gold, MD on August 22, 2019

Preliminary 2018 data from the Centers for Disease Control show a slight decline in drug overdose deaths.1 In the view of many experts, increased availability and use of Naloxone, education, and also increased access to Medication for Addiction Treatments (MAT) contributed to this decline.2 However, opioid use disorders and drug overdose rates remain extremely high nationally. Moreover, decreasing overdoses from prescription misuse and heroin should not distract from rising importation, misuse, and overdoses due to fentanyl, methamphetamine, and cocaine.3 With limited treatment options available for these substance use disorders, researchers are working to create novel approaches, using all technologies available, to prevent, treat, and improve the lives of patients and families. In a number of studies and trials, Tom Kosten and his colleagues at Baylor have looked at cocaine, methamphetamine, opioid and even fentanyl vaccines, showing promising results in reducing overdose, misuse, and treating substance use disorders.4 

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3 min read

William Cooke, M.D., Receives the Pillar of Excellence Award

By Addiction Policy Forum on August 21, 2019

Topics: Public Health
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6 min read

9 Indiana Programs Addressing Addiction You Need to Know About

By Kimberly Lohman Clapp on August 21, 2019

It’s almost too big of a statistic to wrap your brain around: since 1999, there has been an 883% increase in drug deaths, according to the state’s health department. In 2017 alone, five Indianans died every single day from an overdose. But born out of those devastating numbers are new, effective and inspiring Hoosier-designed solutions. 

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1 min read

Reaching through the Window of Opportunity

By Mark Powell on August 21, 2019

 
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Billboards for a Cause

By Mark Powell on August 21, 2019

 
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2 min read

High School of Hope

By Kelsey Trotter on August 21, 2019

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The Goal of Recovery

By Mark Powell on August 21, 2019

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Replicating Success in Rural America

By Mark Powell on August 21, 2019

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2 min read

Driving Employees to Recovery

By Mark Powell on August 21, 2019

 
For over 90 years, Belden has manufactured high-end broadcast and industrial cables. Its 700 employees make it Richmond, Indiana’s second-largest employer.
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2 min read

How Colleges are Fighting the Addiction Crisis

By Mark Powell on August 21, 2019

 
Talk about addiction and the conversation tends to focus on reaching people who’re misusing drugs, on getting them in treatment, or supporting their recovery. Each component is important. But other efforts are actively going on behind the scenes. It is essential to understanding what works, in which setting and for whom. You don’t hear much about it. Yet it’s playing a significant role in combating the problem.
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2 min read

One Mother’s Loss is Another Mother’s Saving Grace

By Mark Powell on August 21, 2019

 
It was a typical high school graduation party in northern Indiana back in 2015. Grads, family, and friends celebrating the big achievement. As Becky Savage was preparing to leave, her teenage sons Nick and Jack were heading to a second party. When she said goodbye, she had no idea she would never see them alive again.
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2 min read

Education Can Save a Generation

By Simone Greene on August 21, 2019

 
In 2014, Justin Phillips spoke out. She spoke about losing her son Aaron and she bravely shared how he died: a heroin overdose. While it doesn’t seem like it was that long ago, back then, people didn’t talk about drug use and they certainly didn’t talk about the related loss experienced by so many. “I told Aaron’s story because I didn’t want another mother to have to feel my pain,” says Justin.
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1 min read

Ask a Counselor: What is Contingency Management?

By Addiction Resource Center on August 20, 2019

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4 min read

Alcohol can increase your risk of developing cancer - even with moderate consumption

By Mark Gold, MD on August 15, 2019

Cancer is a serious public health risk, and approximately 7 million deaths per year around the world are attributed to smoking each year. In recent decades we have come to better understand the link between smoking and cancer; 22% of all cancers are linked to a person’s smoking and 70% of people globally now understand that link, up from just 40% in 1966. This relationship has often clouded a discussion of cancer risks. But as far as we have come in understanding how smoking, genetics, and even stress affect our chances of developing life-threatening cancers, we still understand very little about the relationship between alcohol and cancer. Only 13% of adults surveyed in the UK believe that cancer is a health risk of drinking alcohol, despite research linking it directly to multiple different forms of cancer that affect both men and women. Smoking and drinking both have second-hand effects to consider as well - 40,000 deaths each year attributed to non-smokers exposed to smoke. Alcohol and its effects on drivers is also significant, as auto and motorcycle traffic injuries are the ninth cause of death across all age groups, globally, and many are alcohol and/or drug-related. Despite a decrease in driving under the influence of alcohol prevalence over the past decades, DUIA prevalence still remains very high in the United States.1

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3 min read

My Journey to Recovery: How an Employer Changed My Life

By Jay Ruais on August 14, 2019

On Tuesday, March 9, 2010, I awoke with a feeling that had become as expected as having the sunrise and set. I had a splitting headache and a nervous pit in my stomach as I dared to begin piecing together the night before.

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1 min read

Stay up to date with the newest research in the second Research You Can Use bundle!

By Mark Gold, MD on August 8, 2019

To stay up-to-date on cutting edge research that could transform addiction policy and practice, look no further than Research You Can Use, weekly highlights by renowned addiction expert and psychiatrist Dr. Mark Gold.

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5 min read

Addiction Crisis: 8 Iowa Programs Saving Lives

By Kimberly Lohman Clapp on August 6, 2019

Three hundred and forty-one Iowa residents died from a drug overdose in 2017; that’s 341 too many. However, there is good news. It appears the numbers are decreasing, especially in Iowa, a state that experiences one of the lowest overdose rates per capita in the country. Can you imagine how many more lives could be saved if promising programs were brought to scale and implemented across the state and country? That’s what Innovation Now dares to imagine. 

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2 min read

One Minute Can Save an Entire Life

By Mark Powell on August 6, 2019

 

It sounds like a movie plot: Iowa native makes good, gets an important job in Washington, DC where she learns a lot, then returns and uses that knowledge to help folks back home. But this story didn’t come out of Hollywood. It’s happening in Iowa City.

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3 min read

The Heart of a Mother

By Mark Powell on August 6, 2019

 

Undergoing residential treatment for addiction shouldn’t require a family to be separated, yet all too often it does. Heart of Iowa, the Area Substance Abuse Council’s (ASAC) residential treatment facility for women and their children, is changing that. ASAC is a non-profit organization offering full service addiction treatment, along with prevention and recovery resources.

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2 min read

A New Look At An Old Problem

By Mark Powell on August 6, 2019

 

Opioid misuse is deeply pervasive, even in an all-American place like Marshalltown, Iowa. It’s estimated 1 in 6 children live in a home with active addiction. “As a family doctor in the community for 20 years, I’m burying someone every week,” says Dr. Tim Swinton. “I’m seeing people struggle throughout their lives and then have kids who also struggle. And they use drugs to deal with the stress of it all.”

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A New Kind of Employee

By Mark Powell on August 6, 2019

 

Back in 1964, two Des Moines women had a vision. They formed a clearinghouse for resources on alcohol use disorder called the National Council on Alcoholism. A decade later, a new executive director implemented several innovative programs. In one of them, he partnered with local businesses and public officials to create an employee assistance program. That’s when Employee and Family Resources was born.

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2 min read

Working Together to Save Lives

By Mark Powell on August 6, 2019

 

For over a decade now, eastern Iowa has struggled with a serious heroin problem. As the purity of the drugs increased, so did the loss of life. In 2015, there were 25 overdose deaths in Cedar Rapids alone. Authorities recognized that there were significant challenges to combating the increased number of heroin overdoses and fatalities.

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2 min read

Crushing Heroin Addiction

By Mark Powell on August 6, 2019

 
Rod Courtney came to CRUSH out of a parent’s crushing pain. His son Chad died of a fentanyl overdose in November 2016. A few months later, while he was still, in his own words, “walking wounded,” he listened to CRUSH founder Officer Al Fear speak at a town hall meeting. With Chad’s death still fresh, Courtney couldn’t accept the thought of his son being just another statistic.
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2 min read

Building a Bridge out of the Criminal Justice System and Into Recovery

By Simone Greene on August 6, 2019

 
Bridges of Iowa Inc. grew from parents’ love for son and has become a lifeline to thousands of Iowans struggling with substance use disorders. Founded 20 years ago by Donald and Charlene Lamberti, Bridges is a long-term program that treats the entire person, complementing intense addiction treatment and cognitive behavior change therapy with the life skills necessary for success.
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2 min read

The Evolution of Addiction Prevention

By Mark Powell on August 6, 2019

 
“Connected Communities. Effective Coalitions. Healthy Iowans.” Those six words capture the essence of what the Alliance of Coalitions for Change (AC4C) does in Iowa every day. Its mission is to unite substance misuse prevention coalitions’ work in order to affect positive change through learning, advocating, networking, and building capacity.
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6 min read

The Science Behind A.A.

By Dr. Charlotte Wincott on August 6, 2019

 

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2 min read

Neuroscientist Charlotte Wincott Joins Addiction Policy Forum’s Advisory Board

By Addiction Policy Forum on August 2, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Topics: Press Release
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5 min read

Examining Brain Health Could Help Fight Methamphetamine Use Disorder

By Mark Gold, MD on August 1, 2019

Methamphetamine , a well-known psychostimulant drugs of abuse is in a resurgence in people using opioids and others. While many treatment options exist for patients with opioid use disorders, alcohol use disorders, and even tobacco smokers, there are far fewer options for people trying to stop using methamphetamines. No known medical treatments exist for overdose, dependence, craving, relapse, or to reverse all of the effects of methamphetamine binges and dependence. Experts studying substance use disorders recognize that their effects from misuse, especially the misuse of methamphetamine, can linger even after periods of abstinence.Patients treated for methamphetamine binges, or dependence, for example, often suffer from cognitive impairments, including psychosis. Some of the persistent problems may reflect underlying brain change or even damage. If overlooked, cognitive problems can limit the effectiveness of treatment. They can also create a dangerous hopelessness or relapse cycle. That’s one reason why it’s so important to understand how substances like methamphetamine may alter the brain’s structure.

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CME Outfitters and Addiction Policy Forum Launch Free Continuing Education Course on Addiction Led By Addiction Experts

By Addiction Policy Forum on July 31, 2019

Addiction Psychiatrist Dr. Mark Gold and Addiction Policy Forum president Jessica Hulsey Nickel educate medical professionals on how to address addiction in their community

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9 Things We Wish We'd Known: A Letter From Families Who Have Lost a Loved One to Addiction

By Addiction Policy Forum on July 30, 2019

Dear Neighbor,

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3 min read

Now is the Time to Support Parents Seeking Treatment for Substance Use Disorders

By The Urban Institute on July 30, 2019

Last year, a national survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research reported that two-thirds of respondents thought their communities were not doing enough to make treatment programs accessible and affordable to those who need them.

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3 min read

What can rats tell us about making better medications for alcohol use disorder?

By Mark Gold, MD on July 25, 2019

Despite causing significant morbidity, mortality, and consequences relative to many other substance use disorders, alcoholism remains understudied in key respects. Some research has discovered certain brain pathways and structures linked to incentive cycles and reward-seeking behavior, but these findings have not necessarily been translated into treatment improvements. We still really do not understand why so many people have had a drink or drink regularly and do not have problems, or specifically addressed why 15% of people who consume alcohol struggle with loss of control-compulsive alcohol use in their behavior. To better understand what might cause people to move from controlled to uncontrolled alcohol use, researchers at Linköping University, the University of Gothenburg, and the University of Texas studied the rates at which rats seemed to prefer to self-administer alcohol or the sweetener saccharin.

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2 min read

Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities and Addiction Policy Forum Receive NIH HEAL Grant

By Addiction Policy Forum on July 25, 2019

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Ask a Counselor: Yes, Mixing Substances is Dangerous and Potentially Lethal

By Addiction Resource Center on July 24, 2019

It is important to understand how substances, including prescribed medications, can interact with each other and other substances. Mixing medications-- whether the medication is prescribed by a doctor, available over-the-counter, or otherwise-- can be dangerous both in the long and the short-term. Make sure to consult with your prescribing doctor when you have any questions about what medications you are taking and how they may interact with other substances you may be using. It is also important to know what your medications are being prescribed to treat, and to be honest when your doctor ask what medications or supplements you are taking so they can better understand what may interact negatively with each other.

It is important to note that mixing 2 or more substances significantly increases the risk of dangerous or fatal effects. For example, a study done in Florida found that over 90% of opioid overdose deaths in the state included other, non-opioid drugs with an average of 2–3 drugs other than the opioids found at autopsy. (1)

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2 min read

Bringing Syringe Exchange out of the Darkness

By Mark Powell on July 16, 2019

 
Sometimes, helping draw attention to one issue can lead to addressing another. That’s precisely what happened with Prevention Point Philadelphia.   
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4 min read

Are e-cigs helpful or harmful? Science says “it’s complicated.”

By Mark Gold, MD on July 11, 2019

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2 min read

Addiction Policy Forum and the Transportation Intermediaries Association Announce a New Joint Employer’s Initiative

By Addiction Policy Forum on July 11, 2019

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1 min read

Senate Passes Fentanyl Sanctions Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act

By Jay Ruais on July 10, 2019


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2 min read

An Etiquette Guide For BBQ Season

By Kelly King, PhD, MPH on July 3, 2019

 
It’s BBQ season and that means a few things; hamburgers, hot dogs, fireworks, friends, beer, and booze. While some adults may choose to have a beer, others may choose not to drink. Both are okay. So why do people who refuse a drink often get questioned, creating an awkward conversation for both parties? Regardless of the reasons, we know one simple solution: be considerate of other people’s choices.
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Kimberly Lohman Clapp interview with Hubbard Radio

By Addiction Policy Forum on July 1, 2019

 

KC_HubbardRadio_Interview_IL_Innovations
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4 min read

Improving Addiction Resources for the LGBTQ Community

By Addiction Policy Forum on June 28, 2019

 

How can we help our LGBTQ loved ones who are suffering from addiction?

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3 min read

Data sharing among ED physicians could reduce drug overdose

By Mark Gold, MD on June 27, 2019

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3 min read

Recap: 2019 National Leadership Conference

By Addiction Policy Forum on June 27, 2019

 

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4 min read

The Impact of Racism and Mindfulness on Health

By Mark Gold, MD on June 20, 2019

A recent study brings forward some important insight into how racial discrimination affects behavioral health outcomes among young Black Americans. Read further to find out more about the negative impact of discrimination and how mindfulness may prove to be an effective strategy in mitigating associated health risks.

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3 min read

Ask a Counselor: How can I help my family understand what I’m going through?

By Addiction Resource Center on June 18, 2019

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Men’s Health Week: Recovery Reinvented

By Morgan Gliedman on June 14, 2019

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3 min read

Can CBD Help in the Treatment of and Recovery from Opioid Use Disorder?

By Mark Gold, MD on June 13, 2019

The physiological cravings that accompany addiction, along with memory cues and environment triggers specific to each patient can cause a recurrence of use or relapse. As such, effective treatment needs to address a person’s behavioral health and help them learn how to cope with stress and environmental triggers.

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1 min read

Addiction Policy Forum Celebrates the LGBTQ Community with a new Rainbow Logo for Pride Month

By Jessica Hulsey Nickel on June 13, 2019

Topics: lgbtq
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6 min read

Illinois Innovators Stepping Up to Combat Addiction

By Kelsey Trotter on June 11, 2019

 

Whether you’re a Cubs, White Sox or Cardinals fan, one thing is true for Illinoisans -- we love our baseball teams. Growing up a Cubs fan I lived in the cycle of loss after loss, until something amazing happened. In 2016, I went to a spring training game in Arizona and said, “This year is the year.” Of course I had said this many times before, but something was different this time. That year the Cubs won the World Series, ending their 108-year drought. 

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2 min read

Empowering Youth to Power Communities

By Kelsey Trotter on June 11, 2019

 
Consider, for a moment, a snowball. One snowball is made up of millions of tiny snowflakes, every single one unique. Although different, they stick together, becoming bigger, stronger, and more powerful.
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1 min read

Recovery Ready Community

By Simone Greene on June 11, 2019

 
The Chicago neighborhood of Austin knows all too well the destruction of addiction. One of the city’s largest neighborhoods, it’s also one of the deadliest for overdose deaths, consistently ranking in the top five. Despite that, resources in the community aren’t readily available for those looking for recovery. Dora and John Wright are trying to change this.
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2 min read

Bringing Families Back Together

By Mark Powell on June 11, 2019

 
Today’s opioid crisis is shattering families—but the devastation of substance use disorders is by no means a new story. Think back to the heroin crisis of the 1970s, crack-cocaine in the 1980s, and methamphetamine in the early 2000s and again now. Unfortunately, a tragic aspect of any drug crisis is child maltreatment related to addiction.
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3 min read

Newborns Growing with Moms, Moms Growing in Recovery

By Mark Powell on June 11, 2019

 
When a baby is born, a window opens on a special time for mother and newborn. One of life’s most important bonds is formed over the following weeks and months. When it’s strong and healthy, that bond can produce results for a lifetime.
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3 min read

Treatment Not Incarceration

By Mark Powell on June 11, 2019

 
For too many people, substance use problems lead to involvement with the justice system. But when that happens, incarceration isn’t always the best answer. It’s costly to taxpayers and often provokes a cascade of collateral problems. Other approaches are needed.
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3 min read

Physicians Helping Physicians

By Mark Powell on June 11, 2019

 
They’re the folks we depend on when we’re ill: doctors, nurses, and other people working in the healthcare industry. As highly trained as they are, these professionals are still people, making them just as susceptible to substance use disorder as anyone else.
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2 min read

Opening the Door to Treatment

By Mark Powell on June 11, 2019

 
Dixon, Illinois is the kind of place that comes to mind when you think of middle America. It was President Ronald Reagan’s hometown, after all, and it still retains much of its old-time charm. This community of some 15,000 people is now the home of farms, small shops … and addiction. Addiction isn’t restricted to major cities. People in rural areas are just as susceptible as those in the Inner City. But there’s one big difference: people living in those rural areas face more barriers to getting treatment.
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2 min read

When Recovery is the Better Option

By Mark Powell on June 11, 2019

For people struggling with addiction in Lake County, Illinois, time wasn’t on their side. Nestled on the shores of Lake Michigan, this populous Midwestern county faced two serious problems. It was taking way too long for people who were ready to receive help to get into treatment. And a growing number of them were dying as a result of that long delay. For a decade, local officials watched helplessly as addiction-related issues went from bad to worse, to worse still.  
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3 min read

Back to Basics: Foundations of Self-Care for Everyone

By Caroline DuPont, MD on June 8, 2019

Family members often feel overwhelmed and upset by the complex, emotional responsibilities of trying to help their loved one with a substance use disorder. It can feel hard to think about anything else, but it’s important to understand that it is difficult to help someone else if you don’t also take steps to care for yourself. If you are struggling, find some time – even if only a few minutes each day – to focus on self-care. As they say on airplanes - put on your own oxygen mask first before helping another passenger.

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3 min read

Risks of Opioid & Alcohol Use for Women Increase with Age

By Mark Gold, MD on June 6, 2019

Alcohol use is very prevalent among Americans - more than half of U.S. adults drank last month - and alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death after tobacco and poor diet/physical inactivity.1,2 When coupled with prescription opioid use, drinking becomes especially dangerous.3 Women are at high-risk of experiencing these adverse health effects, which worsen with age. A recent study illuminates the repercussions of concurrent alcohol and prescription opioid use in older women.

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3 min read

Veterans Affairs Uses Predictive Model to Reduce Opioid Risks

By Mark Gold, MD on May 30, 2019

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1 min read

Ask a Counselor: What is an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)?

By Addiction Resource Center on May 29, 2019

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3 min read

House Appropriations Committee Advances FY20 CJS Funding Bill

By Braeden Kelly on May 25, 2019

The House Appropriations Committee advanced the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) funding bill for fiscal year 2020. The proposal contains $375 million for criminal justice programs authorized by Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA).

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4 min read

The Elephant in the Addiction Room

By Lindsey Messina on May 25, 2019

There’s an elephant in the addiction room, and it’s not drugs.

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3 min read

Ketamine and Naltrexone Combined Could Help Treat Depression and Addiction Simultaneously

By Mark Gold, MD on May 24, 2019

Ketamine was discovered by chemist Calvin Stevens in 1962 and its anesthetic effect was confirmed during testing with human prisoners in 1964. Ketamine was approved by the FDA in 1970 as Ketalar®, an injectable, rapid-acting general anesthetic. Because Ketamine does not cause respiratory depression or hypotension, it was released as a safer alternative to phencyclidine (PCP) that also provided excellent analgesia (pain relief).

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6 min read

Turning the Addiction Tide in Delaware

By Kimberly Lohman Clapp on May 22, 2019

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2 min read

Recovery Social Circles

By Mark Powell on May 22, 2019

 
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2 min read

A New Baby and A New Start

By Mark Powell on May 22, 2019

  
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3 min read

Early Engagement Gets Big Results

By Mark Powell on May 22, 2019

 
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2 min read

When Help Comes Calling

By Mark Powell on May 22, 2019

  
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2 min read

A Blueprint for Female Recovery Success

By Mark Powell on May 22, 2019

  
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2 min read

Ready, Set, Transform Treatment

By Mark Powell on May 22, 2019

  
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2 min read

Community Input, Action, and Prevention

By Mark Powell on May 22, 2019

  
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2 min read

Turning Addiction Loss Into New Hope

By Mark Powell on May 22, 2019

  
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6 min read

Arresting Addiction

By Kimberly Lohman Clapp on May 17, 2019

  Photo Credit: Avi Steinhardt/For the Philadelphia Inquirer
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4 min read

Why are habits so hard to break?

By Mark Gold, MD on May 16, 2019

Addiction, Model-Free Learning, and Reward Devaluation

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1 min read

Trump Administration Releases Progress Report on Efforts to Tackle the Opioid Crisis

By Addiction Policy Forum on May 14, 2019

The Trump Administration recently released “An Update on the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Epidemic: One Year Later”, a report that details the progress the Administration has made in collaboration with legislatures, communities, and law enforcement to address the opioid epidemic in America.

Topics: News
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1 min read

Stay up to date with the first Research You Can Use Bundle!

By Addiction Policy Forum on May 9, 2019

To stay up-to-date on cutting edge research that could transform addiction policy and practice, look no further than Research You Can Use, weekly highlights by renowned addiction expert and psychiatrist Dr. Mark Gold.

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Are you or a loved one struggling with addiction?

By Addiction Policy Forum on May 9, 2019

Over 20 million Americans struggle with substance use. These are our children, parents, friends and neighbors. If you or someone you love needs help, don’t wait to reach out. Call the Addiction Resource Center for free, confidential support: 1-833-301-HELP.

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4 min read

Is the next drug crisis a stimulant epidemic?

By Addiction Policy Forum on May 3, 2019

Experts say it’s happened before.

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4 min read

How Does Spirituality Change the Brain?

By Mark Gold, MD on May 3, 2019

 

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3 min read

The Superheroes Working to Address the Opioid Epidemic

By Jessica Hulsey Nickel on April 28, 2019

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4 min read

Fentanyl-adulterated Cocaine: Strategies to Address the New Normal

By Mark Gold, MD on April 25, 2019

At the center of America’s deadly opioid epidemic, non-pharmaceutical fentanyl appears to be finding its way into illegal stimulants that are sold on the street, such as cocaine. Adulteration with fentanyl is considered a key reason why cocaine’s death toll is escalating. Cocaine and fentanyl are proving to be a lethal combination - cocaine-related death rates have increased according to national survey data. This has important emergency response and harm reduction implications as well—naloxone might reverse such overdoses if administered in time. A recent study by Nolan et. al. assessed the role of opioids, particularly fentanyl, in the increase in cocaine-involved overdose deaths from 2015 to 2016 and found these substances to account for most of this increase.

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2 min read

CDC clarifies opioid prescribing guidelines for chronic pain

By Addiction Policy Forum on April 24, 2019

Today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that new advice on their Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain will be published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

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1 min read

Four States Awarded Grants to Help end Opioid Overdose Deaths

By Addiction Policy Forum on April 22, 2019

This week, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced the four research sites that will be receiving grants as a part of the HEALing Communities Study, which aims to test the impact of evidence-based interventions on preventing and treating opioid use disorder in key communities across the country.

“It takes a whole community to beat this crisis.”
- Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar

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3 min read

With edible marijuana, kids are at risk.

By Casey Elliott on April 20, 2019

From edibles appealing to children to increased use among parents, youth are on the frontlines as America grapples with loosened marijuana access

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3 min read

The Paradox of Diverted Buprenorphine

By Mark Gold, MD on April 19, 2019

Buprenorphine, a μ-opioid (pronounced mu-opioid) receptor partial agonist, is a highly effective, evidence-based medication for treating opioid use disorders (OUD). In order to prescribe buprenorphine, qualifying practitioners must obtain a waiver from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), which places strict limits on the number of patients they may treat annually. Previous legislation and regulation meant buprenorphine treatment existed nearly entirely outside the traditional healthcare system. Despite legislation that increases the number of patients a doctor can prescribe to, and allowing individual medical providers to become certified, there is still hesitation among many providers over becoming certified to prescribe the medication, many waivered physicians do not have many patients on buprenorphine - some waivered physicians have none at all.

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3 min read

Coordinating Care for Pregnant and Postpartum OUD Patients

By Mark Gold, MD on April 11, 2019

Coordinating Care for Pregnant and Postpartum OUD Patients

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7 min read

10 Pennsylvania Addiction Programs Offering Hope

By Kimberly Lohman Clapp on April 9, 2019

 

Pennsylvania has lost far too many loved ones to addiction. The latest CDC data reveals 5,388 Pennsylvanians died from a drug overdose in 2017 – the highest number in the United States – leaving families and communities devastated. As the crisis worsens, residents are searching for solutions, and so are we. Innovators around the Keystone State are tackling this crisis with fresh ideas, energy and optimism resulting in ten innovative programs with inspiring results. 

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2 min read

Wanted: 500 Harm Reduction Advocates

By Mark Powell on April 9, 2019

  
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2 min read

From Treatment Advocates to Recovery Support Providers

By Mark Powell on April 9, 2019

  
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2 min read

Paying Recovery Forward

By Mark Powell on April 9, 2019

  
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2 min read

Helping Former Prisoners Succeed on the Outside

By Mark Powell on April 9, 2019

  
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2 min read

Courts that Care

By Mark Powell on April 9, 2019

  
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2 min read

Rolling into Action at the Right Time

By Mark Powell on April 9, 2019

  
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2 min read

When Recovery Rolls Into Town

By Mark Powell on April 9, 2019

  
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2 min read

United We Stand (Against Addiction)

By Mark Powell on April 9, 2019

  
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2 min read

A Helping Hand in Your Backyard

By Mark Powell on April 9, 2019

  
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4 min read

Geographic Distribution of Opioid-Related Mortality in the Third-Wave Opioid Epidemic

By Mark Gold, MD on April 4, 2019

The opioid epidemic is a devastating public health crisis - over 47,600 overdose deaths in 2017 involved an opioid, and this number has seen a dramatic uptick in the last decade. Opioid-related mortality emerged as a public health issue in the 1990s,  which led to a common cultural understanding of the opioid epidemic as a rural issue (concentrated in the Midwest and Appalachia) caused by an increase in the prescription of oxycodone. Emerging research suggests that the narrative of the current crisis is not so simple - that in fact there are multiple co-occurring and distinct epidemics, characterized by different types of opioids as well as  geographical footprint.

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3 min read

Cannabis use via E-cigarette on the Rise Among Adolescents

By Mark Gold, MD on April 2, 2019

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are the most commonly used nicotine-delivery product among US youth and their popularity is rising - 1 in 5 high school students currently use them. Until recently, there were few regulations on how companies that sell e-cigarettes can market and sell them - although companies claim that the product was made for and is marketed to adults, there has been a major uptick in use. Aggressive marketing campaigns that position e-cigarettes as a safe alternative to smoking have worked, convincing adults and youth that e-cigarettes are harmless. Because they are new to market, E-cigarette companies can also employ types of marketing strategies that are forbidden to traditional cigarette companies due to their efficacy among adolescents, such as sponsoring film and music festivals. E-cigarettes, also called vapes, vape-pens, and e-hookahs, can be filled with tobacco products that are far more addictive than cigarettes due to their much higher nicotine concentration. Instead of being packed with tobacco, e-cigarettes use cartridges that are filled with liquid that can deliver a much higher dosage of nicotine. These cartridges can also be can also be filled with cannabis.

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2 min read

Addiction Policy Forum Welcomes Massachusetts District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett as Chairman for Board of Directors

By Addiction Policy Forum on March 28, 2019

Topics: Press Release
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3 min read

Liver Transplants and Alcohol-Associated Liver Disease

By Mark Gold, MD on March 28, 2019

Times have changed for those suffering from alcohol-associated liver disease (ALD), an umbrella term for liver conditions like fatty liver and alcohol-related cirrhosis that are caused by heavy or excessive drinking. Liver disease is one of the major consequences of alcohol use disorder, often resulting, ultimately, in liver failure. In the past, people whose liver health had deteriorated due to ALD would not have been considered for a transplant. One reason for this was the stigma surrounding alcohol use disorders and addiction. Another was a lack of understanding among physicians on how to improve outcomes for patients with ALD and in need of a transplant. Today, attitudes amongst doctors have changed along with the outlook for people with ALD. Of the 33,000 liver transplant recipients since 2002, 36.7% of them received a transplant due to ALD, up from 24.2% in 2002. Drs. Mitchell and Maddrey examined in a recent multicenter, prospective, national cohort study what has changed in the approach to evaluating transplant candidates in recent years.

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1 min read

President Released Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Proposal

By Addiction Policy Forum on March 28, 2019

President Trump recently released a topline summary of the Administration’s budget priorities for fiscal year 2020.

Topics: Advocacy
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Funding Update: FY19 Funding Finalized for 31 Key Programs to Address Addiction

By Addiction Policy Forum on March 28, 2019

On February 15, 2019, President Trump signed the remaining fiscal year 2019 appropriation bills into law. Of the 31 key addiction programs Addiction Policy Forum tracks, total funding levels have increased by more than $65 million when compared to the fiscal year 2018. In addition, total funding for the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) programs has increased by more than $14 million.

Here is where the 31 key addiction and CARA programs stand for the fiscal year 2019:

Topics: Advocacy
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2 min read

Where Moms and Kids Stay Together

By Mark Powell on March 26, 2019

  
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2 min read

Helping Tiny People with Big Problems

By Mark Powell on March 26, 2019

  
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2 min read

When One-Size-Fits-All Doesn’t Work

By Mark Powell on March 26, 2019

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2 min read

When Timing Makes All the Difference

By Mark Powell on March 26, 2019

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3 min read

An Alternative to Doing Time

By Mark Powell on March 26, 2019

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2 min read

Where People Show the Way Out

By Mark Powell on March 26, 2019

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3 min read

A Last Chance for Hope

By Mark Powell on March 26, 2019

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2 min read

Think Big, Act Local

By Mark Powell on March 26, 2019

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2 min read

A Critical Heads Up for Kids

By Mark Powell on March 26, 2019

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2 min read

Profile in Progress

By Mark Powell on March 26, 2019

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7 min read

10 West Virginian Programs to Address Addiction You Need to Know About

By Jessica Hulsey Nickel on March 26, 2019

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4 min read

What Role Should Psychiatrists Play in Responding to the Opioid Epidemic?

By Mark Gold, MD on March 21, 2019

As America continues to deal with an opioid overdose epidemic of staggering proportions, public health initiatives are faced with the needs of the more than 1.7 million people who are suffering from opioid use disorder (OUD) as of 2017.1 This crisis is exacerbated by the shortage of health care practitioners trained and able to use FDA approved medication, like buprenorphine, to treat patients with an OUD. In a nation with a population exceeding 320 million, there are only 1100 psychiatrists specializing in addiction—the need for providers who are equipped and able to treat OUD is greater than ever. In a recent paper from the Yale School of Medicine Srinivas B. Muvvala, MD, MPH, Ellen Lockard Edens, MD, MPE, and Ismene L. Petrakis, MD, call upon psychiatrists and mental health professionals to play a more active role in addressing the current opioid crisis.

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4 min read

What you should know about Marijuana and Sperm

By Mark Gold, MD on March 19, 2019

Limited information exists on marijuana use and male reproductive health. A recent study from Duke University evaluated differences in sperm quality resulting from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) exposure in both rats and humans. Findings suggest that paternal marijuana use, prior to conception, may present epigenetic risks to potential offspring.

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2 min read

Physical Activity May Reduce Risk of Depression

By Mark Gold, MD on March 14, 2019

As depression becomes a leading cause of disability worldwide, it is even more imperative to focus upon effective preventative measures. Findings from a recent study strengthen the empirical support, and provide the most compelling case yet, for physical activity as an effective prevention strategy for depression. Read further to find out more on how physical activity can influence risk of depression and how this can shape the future of depression prevention and treatment.

Exercise is known to be effective stress relief - higher levels of physical activity can potentially inhibit the risk of developing mental illness. As building evidence further fortifies this theory, a new study by the research team at Harvard Medical School, led by Karmel W. Choi, PhD, postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School’s Massachusetts General Hospital, has discovered that robust physical activity is an effective treatment for depression.

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4 min read

The Surprising Links Among Opioid Use, Suicide, and Unintentional Overdose

By Mark Gold, MD on March 12, 2019

 

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2 min read

Changing Protocols to Prevent Kids from Entering a Dangerous Cycle

By Mark Powell on March 6, 2019

  
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2 min read

Spreading Recovery from the Pews

By Mark Powell on March 6, 2019

  
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2 min read

A Place to Recover, a Place to Call Home

By Mark Powell on March 6, 2019

  
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2 min read

How an Office Calendar Exposed a Barrier to Treatment for Pregnant Woman

By Mark Powell on March 6, 2019

  
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2 min read

Preventing Addiction from All Sides

By Mark Powell on March 6, 2019

  
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2 min read

Addiction Education Makes Futures Brighter, Safer, and Healthier

By Mark Powell on March 6, 2019

  
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2 min read

Recovery Isn’t Just One Day or Step

By Mark Powell on March 6, 2019

  
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2 min read

Breaking Down Barriers to Recovery

By Mark Powell on March 6, 2019

  
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2 min read

One Man, a Little Dog and a Space for Recovery

By Mark Powell on March 6, 2019

  
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2 min read

A Surprising Place to Find Addiction Treatment

By Mark Powell on March 6, 2019

  
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2 min read

Sometimes Change Starts with a Phone Call

By Mark Powell on March 6, 2019

 
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3 min read

Crisis of Addiction: Report shows New Hampshire Carving Pathway of Progress

By Addiction Policy Forum on March 6, 2019

For Immediate Release
March 6, 2019

Contact:
Josh McElveen
josh@mcelveenstrategies.com
603.540.7031

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4 min read

Talking to Someone Struggling with Addiction: A Crash Course

By Dr. Christian Conte on March 2, 2019

"One of the great truisms that most people know intellectually but struggle to show in their actual communication is this: The past is gone, and we cannot get even a single second of it back. When your words truly reflect this understanding, however, you can center all of your speech around the hopefulness of what can be done from this moment forward."

 

Addiction is a complex, physiological disease that impacts people’s physical, emotional, and social health. Since most people aren’t trained in how to talk to others, let alone those who are struggling in any way whatsoever, it’s especially understandable why you might be unsure how to effectively talk with someone who is struggling with addiction. The advice offered here, however, is a helpful crash course on the minimum you need to know when talking to someone who is struggling with addiction.

Say Something

When you see someone struggling with addiction in any way, say something. If you say nothing, thinking that “someone else” will say something, you can bet that others are thinking something similar. When nothing’s said, nothing’s said; so a great rule of life is to say something. Of course it’s how you say something that matters most, so it’s wise to keep the following things in mind; beginning with: Saying something doesn’t mean you have to fix everything - or even “fix” anything, for that matter. The goal in your interaction is not for you to "make someone better,” it’s to lead with compassion and share awareness.

Be Supportive, Not Judgmental

It’s a myth to believe that it’s effective to “shame someone” into treatment or through the process of recovery (shame is feeling bad about who you are). The reality is that being judgmental toward someone struggling with addiction is not helpful. In fact, people who struggle with addiction are more likely to self-medicate to avoid the crippling feelings associated with shame; so it’s wise to understand that being judgmental is not only unkind, it’s counterproductive. You would not, after all, shame someone for having any other physiological disease, so be mindful first and foremost to be supportive by setting your judgments aside.

As you seek to be supportive and nonjudgmental, there are three straightforward actions that you can do: Listen, validate, and explore options.

Listen

Seeing a person you care about struggle with addiction can be unspeakably overwhelming. When you’re in a world of hurt or coming from a place of fear, it can be difficult to set your own need to be heard on hold while you focus on what the other person has to say. Your words, no matter how wise, logical or reasonable, however, cannot tell you about the inner, subjective experience of others: Only listening to them can do that. The most effective way to talk to someone who’s struggling with addiction is to do your best to really focus on trying to understand what they’re going through.

It's vital to focus on listening to what others are specifically experiencing. The more people see that you are listening (and not judging), the less need they’ll have to be defensive. The more effectively you listen, the more open others are to take to heart what you have to say in return.

Effective listening does not mean just being quiet and giving someone else the space to talk. It’s how you listen that matters most. When you listen to others with genuine interest in wanting to know about their inner experience, you won’t respond in pre-planned ways. Other people can sense when you’re listening only to be heard just as easily as you can pick up on people doing that to you. To listen with humility and genuine interest, imagine others standing on the other side of a huge box. As long as they’re on an opposite side, you will not be able to “see” what they’re seeing, and you will need them to tell you about what they are experiencing in order to get a better understanding.

Once you listen with genuine interest and the humility of setting your ego aside, the best way to check how effectively you are hearing what they’re communicating is to validate.

Validate

To validate is to acknowledge others’ feelings and experiences. To validate does not mean to agree with or condone what others are saying or doing; rather, it’s to verify your understanding of what they’re communicating to you. There’s a big difference, too, between telling others that you “completely understand” what they’re going through, and telling them that you understand what they’re communicating. When you tell others that you completely understand their personal, subjective, inner experience of life, they can become defensive, and understandably so. Just as no one else can fully understand the entirety of your internal world, the same is true for others. It’s wise to communicate your desire to understand while simultaneously holding a space to respect their inner, subjective, and unique experience.

People who are struggling with addiction often feel such intense, piercing emotions that no amount of you telling them about what you've experienced will help them process their own pain more than giving them an opportunity to express what they are experiencing inside. In addition to feeling overwhelming cravings, emotional pain, and racing thoughts, to struggle with addiction is oftentimes to feel so isolated, so misunderstood, and so desperate for someone to understand, that having someone genuinely listen with interest and validate that experience is transformative. Truly effective validation can only come after accurately listening to a person's individual experience.

To validate is ultimately to acknowledge what others are going through, and the more validated people feel, the more prepared they are to explore options.

Explore Options

One of the great truisms that most people know intellectually but struggle to show in their actual communication is this: The past is gone, and we cannot get even a single second of it back. When your words truly reflect this understanding, however, you can center all of your speech around the hopefulness of what can be done from this moment forward. And hopefulness is a beautiful message to convey to someone who is struggling with addiction. We live in an era of a more complete understanding of what addiction is than ever before, and our modern treatment options are efficacious - which means they work.

Knowing you don’t have to solve a person’s struggle with addiction on your own (or that you’re not charged with “fixing” anything), allows you to step forward and talk to someone who’s struggling with addiction in a supportive and nonjudgmental way. Be present in your communication, and then take the time to listen, validate, and explore the many treatment options that can all support a person’s journey of recovery.

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2 min read

A Continuum of Care for Patients After an Overdose

By Mark Powell on February 27, 2019

 
 
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1 min read

Baltimore City's Mobile Van Drives Response to Addiction

By Mark Powell on February 27, 2019

 
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1 min read

How Art Therapy Builds Up Kids Impacted by Addiction

By Mark Powell on February 27, 2019

 
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2 min read

Recovery Group Gives a Voice to a Community Devastated by Addiction

By Mark Powell on February 27, 2019

 
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1 min read

Police Steer Individuals Toward Recovery Instead of Handcuffs

By Mark Powell on February 27, 2019

 
 
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2 min read

Looking Outside of the Box for Addiction Treatment

By Mark Powell on February 27, 2019

 
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2 min read

Six Effective Substance Use Disorder Programs in Maryland Spotlighted in New Report

By Addiction Policy Forum on February 27, 2019

For Immediate Release
February 27, 2019

Contact:

Casey Elliott

celliott@addictionpolicy.org

312-860-5353

Topics: Press Release
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2 min read

Uniting People Makes All the Difference

By Mark Powell on February 12, 2019

 

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2 min read

Making Everyday Kids All Stars

By Mark Powell on February 12, 2019

 
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2 min read

Recovery Time, Not Jail Time

By Mark Powell on February 12, 2019

 
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2 min read

Getting Critically Needed Help - STAT!

By Mark Powell on February 12, 2019

 
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1 min read

A Badge, A Heart, A Fresh Chance

By Mark Powell on February 12, 2019

g
 
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2 min read

The Place Where Stigma Stops

By Mark Powell on February 12, 2019

 
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2 min read

A Massachusetts Program is Helping Babies Impacted by Addiction

By Mark Powell on February 12, 2019

 
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2 min read

Opioid Epidemic: Report Reveals Hope for Massachusetts Patients and Families

By Addiction Policy Forum on February 12, 2019

For Immediate Release
February 12, 2019

Contact:
Josh McElveen
josh@mcelveenstrategies.com
603.540.7031

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Language Matters infographic

By Addiction Policy Forum on February 6, 2019

When words are used inappropriately to describe individuals with a substance use disorder, it not only negatively impacts the cultural perception of their disease, but creates stigma that can stop people from seeking help. Language matters. Let's replace terms like "addict" and "junkie" with smarter language that aligns with the science.

Topics: Publications
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7 min read

Addiction Policy Forum announces the formation of Scientific Advisory Board

By Addiction Policy Forum on January 30, 2019

For Immediate Release

January 30, 2019 

Addiction Policy Forum announces the formation of Scientific Advisory Board

Renowned scientists join Addiction Policy Forum’s fight against addiction
 

Washington, DC — Today Addiction Policy Forum, a leading addiction nonprofit, announced the formation of its Scientific Advisory Board. The Scientific Advisory Board includes nationally renowned experts and will provide strategic guidance and direction for research and scientific programs.

“The contribution of the Scientific Advisory Board is crucial to achieve the objectives that we have set for ourselves and identify new solutions,” says Jessica Hulsey Nickel, founder of Addiction Policy Forum.

Dr. Mark Gold, a world-renowned expert on addiction and psychiatry, will co-chair the Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Gold was the Chairman of Psychiatry at the University of Florida and is currently an Adjunct Professor at Washington University in St. Louis, School of Medicine. “This distinguished group of scientists and physicians brings unparalleled expertise to our goal of accelerating our progress in treating and preventing addiction."

Dr. Robert DuPont, a leader in addiction prevention and treatment for the past 50 years, will co-chair the Scientific Advisory Board. “I’m excited about the cutting edge initiatives developed by Addiction Policy Forum and the prospects of applying these to advance patient care.” says Dr. DuPont. 

Addiction Policy Forum’s Scientific Advisory Board includes members from the fields of medicine, psychiatry, addiction treatment, research, and public health, including:

  • Co-Chair Robert L. DuPont, M.D., Leader in addiction prevention and treatment for the past 50 years and former Drug Czar under Presidents Nixon and Ford.
  • Co-Chair Mark S. Gold, M.D., Former Chairman of Psychiatry at the University of Florida, Adjunct Professor at Washington University in St. Louis, School of Medicine.
  • Nicole Avena, Ph.D., Mt Sinai   and Princeton research neuroscientist and expert in the fields of nutrition, diet and addiction.
  • David A. Baron, DO, MSEd, USC and Western University Addiction Medicine researcher and educator for over 40 years, focusing on MAT training for health providers.
  • James H. Berry, DO,  associate professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry at West Virginia University School of Medicine and the Director of Addictions.
  • Jean L. Cadet, M.D., Senior Investigator, Chief, Molecular Neuropsychiatry Research Branch Chief, NIDA, Molecular Neuropsychiatry Section.
  • Caroline DuPont, M.D., Vice President of IBH, focuses on the areas of addiction treatment and prevention.
  • Jessica A. Gold, M.D. MS, Washington University in St. Louis,  Assistant Professor Department of Psychiatry, Staff Psychiatrist, Habif Health and Wellness Center.
  • Michael Lesser, M.D., Executive Director, RANE, Medical & Mental Health and a leader in the public and hospital-based healthcare and crisis management space.
  • Lisa A. Marsch, Ph.D., Director of the Northeast Node of the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network (CTN), the Director of the NIDA-funded P30 Center for Technology and Behavioral Health (CTBH; a P30 “Center of Excellence”), and the Andrew G. Wallace Professor of Psychiatry within the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College.
  • Marc Potenza, M.D. Ph.D.Director, Yale Center of Excellence in Gambling Research
    Director, Women and Addictions Core of Women's Health Research at Yale
    Professor of Psychiatry, Child Study and Neurobiology,
    Yale University School of Medicine
  • Sharon L. Walsh, Ph.D.,  Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Science University of Kentucky College of Medicine, and Director, Center on Drug and Alcohol Research UK HealthCare.
  • Sarah Y. Vinson, M.D., Clinical Associate Professor, Morehouse University School of Medicine, Founder of the Lorio Psych Group, and specializes in adult, child and adolescent, and forensic psychiatry.

 

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About Addiction Policy Forum

Addiction Policy Forum is a nationwide nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating addiction as a major health problem. Our national headquarters are located in Washington, DC with resources and services in every state.

More information on our mission and projects is available at our website -- https://www.addictionpolicy.org.

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Addiction Policy Forum Massachusetts State Chapter Holds Candlelight Vigil to Honor Those Lost to Drug Overdose

By Addiction Policy Forum on January 23, 2019

For Immediate Release

January 23, 2019 

Addiction Policy Forum Massachusetts State Chapter Holds Candlelight Vigil to Honor Those Lost to Drug Overdose

Local families honor the 192 lives lost each day

Bridgewater, MA —Addiction Policy Forum‘s Massachusetts State Chapter invites members of the community to a candlelight vigil to honor the local community members lost to drug overdose and other complications related to addiction.

The candlelight vigil will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church (91 Main Street, Bridgewater, MA 02324) on Sunday, January 27th from 5 PM to 7  PM. Speakers include Susan Silva, Founder and Director of EB Hope; Maureen Cavanaugh, author of If You Love Me: A Mother’s Journey Through Her Daughter’s Opioid Addiction and founder of Magnolia New Beginnings; and Ed Jacoubs, Director of Grants and Proposals at Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office.

The candlelight vigil will also include a Recovery Graffiti project hosted by local addiction resource center 24Hr Power, music by Claire O’Brien, a buffet dinner catered by Teen Challenge Brockton, and a remembrance video of the 192 people a day lost to addiction, as well as resource tables hosted by local organizations.

“My son Emmett was one of the 192 people in our country a day who die from overdose,” says Aimee Manzoni-D’Arpino, Addiction Policy Forum Massachusetts State Chapter Chair. “This event is for all of the family and community members like me who have been affected by this epidemic and want to connect to support each other.”

According to CDC data, 192 families per day in 2017 lost someone to a drug overdose - the equivalent of a plane crash in the U.S. every single day. At this candlelight vigil, impacted loved ones in the community will come together to remember those they have lost to the disease of addiction.

“I hope that this event will bring together the community in a way that brings comfort and support to those who have lost a loved one to addiction while making strides to end the stigma around this disease,” says Reverend Natasha Stewart of Trinity Church.

Please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/addiction-policy-forum-ma-state-chapter-3rd-annual-night-of-remembrance-tickets-48437506887 to register for this event, and the 192aday campaign for stories honoring loved ones lost to drug overdose.

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About Addiction Policy Forum

Addiction Policy Forum is a nationwide nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating addiction as a major health problem. Our national headquarters are located in Washington, DC with resources and services in every state.

More information on our mission and projects is available at http://addictionpolicy.org.

Topics: Events
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2 min read

“192aDay” Campaign Shines a Light on Lives Lost to Drug Overdose

By Addiction Policy Forum on January 15, 2019

For Immediate Release
Topics: Press Release
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CBT4CBT

By Addiction Policy Forum on December 6, 2018

 

Computer-Based Training for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT4CBT) is an evidence-based online program that teaches cognitive behavioral skills to help people reduce substance use. The program is for anyone misusing drugs or alcohol and works by guiding patients through seven modules teaching them how to recognize triggers and how to cope with craving and negative thoughts.
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Alexandria's Burner Phone Initiative

By Addiction Policy Forum on December 5, 2018

 

The city of Alexandria’s Burner Phone Initiative works to divert people struggling with substance use disorders away from the criminal justice system and into treatment. The initiative provides those who experience a non-fatal overdose with a burner cell phone with pre-programmed numbers of a detective and the city’s treatment program. This allows people to reach out when they need and are ready for help.
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1 min read

Text-A-Tip

By Addiction Policy Forum on December 4, 2018

 

 
Text-a-Tip, created by Linking Efforts Against Drugs (LEAD), is an anonymous texting system for youth in need of mental health assistance. Students can text the given number and within minutes they will receive and answer from a team of licensed mental health counselors who will provide emotional support, follow ups, and referrals to community partners. This program gives youth an outlet to get help in a manner in which they’re comfortable.
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1 min read

Official Statement on New CDC Data on Drug Overdose Deaths

By Jessica Hulsey Nickel on November 29, 2018

 
Topics: Press Release
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1 min read

Project ECHO

By Addiction Policy Forum on November 9, 2018

 

 

 Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is a knowledge-sharing company that connects practitioners in rural and underserved areas to specialist mentors. The program uses video conferencing to connect primary care providers in rural communities with specialists who mentored and worked with them to provide care for patients with HCV. Project ECHO’s model uses case-based learning and allows medical specialists to share their knowledge and expertise so that primary care providers can manage patients with complex chronic conditions, like substance use disorders, in their communities.

 
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2 min read

President Trump Signs the Historic Opioid Package (H.R. 6) into Law!

By Addiction Policy Forum on October 24, 2018

Today, President Trump signed the historic Opioid Package (H.R. 6) into law!

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4 min read

Addiction Policy Forum Launches “How Do You Really Keep Your Kids Safe From Addiction?”

By Addiction Policy Forum on October 23, 2018

For Immediate Release                                                                                                                              Contact:
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Recovery Reinvented

By Addiction Policy Forum on October 18, 2018

 

 

Recovery Reinvented works by normalizing the conversation around addiction. The program encourages people to discuss their experience with substance use disorder to connect with others living in recovery. The program also provides prevention, treatment and recovery resources to those who have been impacted by addiction. Recovery Reinvented unites those in recovery and in the field to engage with one another through multimedia, awareness campaigns and events. This changes dialogue to action and supports those in recovery across the state but especially those in rural areas to show this disease does not define someone and recovery is possible.

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16 min read

No Missed Opportunities: Criminal Justice Interventions in our National Response to Addiction

By Jessica Hulsey Nickel on October 4, 2018

Substance use disorders impact every community in the United States. Every day, nearly 200 Americans die from a drug overdose. Our first responders, law enforcement and criminal justice personnel are increasingly at the center of this issue—from being first at the scene of an overdose to responding to the lack of resources and limited treatment options for individuals with substance use disorders who are in our jails and criminal justice systems.

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4 min read

Addiction Policy Forum Releases “Children Impacted by Addiction: A Toolkit for Educators”

By Addiction Policy Forum on October 3, 2018

For Immediate Release                                                                                                                              Contact:
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4 min read

New Mexico Peer Education Project Nationally Recognized for Harm Reduction Program in Criminal Justice System

By Addiction Policy Forum on October 3, 2018

For Immediate Release                                                                                                                           Contact:
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New Mexico Peer Education Project

By Addiction Policy Forum on October 3, 2018

 

 

New Mexico Peer Education Project trains incarcerated individuals to educate their peers about substance use disorders, harm reduction, infectious diseases and basic health literacy. Providing health education to inmates before they are released from prison offers an opportunity to reduce the harms of substance use and other unhealthy behaviors in the community and provides peer educators with skills that can be used in their careers.
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1 min read

Mosaic Fast Track

By Addiction Policy Forum on September 25, 2018

Mosaic Fast Track initiation and referral is an integral component of the Mosaic Group’s comprehensive system of care coordination. When a patient screens positive for opioid use disorder or is brought to the Emergency Department with a suspected opioid overdose, a nurse indicates this in their electronic health record which triggers notification to a trained peer recovery coach.

For patients that are interested in initiating treatment, the peer recovery coach supports them through buprenorphine induction right in the Emergency Department. The Mosaic Group has worked with eleven hospital systems in Baltimore to develop induction dosage protocols and to operationalize a network of over twenty-five Fast Track buprenorphine providers for same- or next-day referrals to ongoing care.
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6 min read

Treatment Works

By Addiction Policy Forum on September 21, 2018

Like other chronic diseases, there are treatments that have been proven to be effective for substance use disorder. Different treatments will work for different people, and patients require individualized treatment planning. It is critical for people to have access to a system of care that has adequate capacity to provide all levels of treatment and address all levels of severity. Ideally, systems of care should include coordination among components of the addiction treatment system and other healthcare providers. They should offer multiple access points for treatment so that people can enter treatment as soon as they are ready.

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1 min read

Physician Health Program

By Addiction Policy Forum on September 20, 2018

 PHP pic

Physician Health Programs are established in 47 states and the District of Columbia to intervene early to support treatment and recovery when there are concerns about a physician’s substance use. PHPs provide doctors who may have a substance use disorder with a quality of care that is not available to most people struggling with addiction. The key pieces of the intervention are intensive and prolonged residential and outpatient treatment, five-year extended support and monitoring, and engagement of employers, peers and family in support and monitoring to help doctors keep their medical license. 

 

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Pennsylvania’s Warm Hand-Off

By Addiction Policy Forum on September 6, 2018

 

Pennsylvania’s Warm Hand-Off requires all county offices that provide drug and alcohol programs to establish protocols for seamless transitions for patients leaving the emergency department and entering substance use disorder treatment in their communities. The goal is to increase the number of Pennsylvanians who are in recovery.
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Operation Snowball

By Addiction Policy Forum on August 22, 2018

Op Snowball pic 

Operation Snowball is a school and community-based alcohol and drug use prevention program founded on the principle that youth can make their own positive decisions with a little bit of education and empowerment. This program views youth as being at the heart of the solution, not the problem. Operation Snowball gives youth the facts and empowerment tools to make healthy choices.
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1 min read

The Other Side

By Addiction Policy Forum on August 15, 2018

 

The Other Side is a sober bar featuring a pool table, ping pong tables, bag toss sets, darts, and video games. During the week, the location hosts various recovery groups including Alcoholics Anonymous and SMART. On the weekend, the bar hosts events such as concerts, card games, movie nights, karaoke, and open mic nights.
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Funding Update: Senate Funding Levels for Fiscal Year 2019

By Addiction Policy Forum on July 19, 2018

The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved all 12 fiscal year 2019 appropriation bills, which, if signed into law, would authorize over $7.4 billion in funding for the 31 addiction programs we are tracking. This would represent an increase in funding over last year’s levels. 

The table below shows the funding levels for key addiction programs:

Addiction Funding Table

 

Topics: Advocacy
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4 min read

Animated video series from Addiction Policy Forum turns the science of addiction into stories that stick

By Addiction Policy Forum on July 17, 2018

For Immediate Release                                                                                                                           Contact:
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3 min read

Accidental Miracles and How Addiction Policy Forum Started

By Jessica Hulsey Nickel on July 11, 2018

I was at a cookout recently when someone asked about what I do for work, and I happily spoke about Addiction Policy Forum, and the Brimley Group. They asked how I came to set up both of these organizations and my honest answer was: “A total accident.”

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Celebrating the Addiction Policy Forum’s Third Anniversary!

By Addiction Policy Forum on June 27, 2018

Three years ago we launched the Addiction Policy Forum with a vision to create a world where fewer lives are lost and help exists for the millions of Americans affected by addiction every day.

Today we are proud to be a volunteer-led, staff-supported organization. In the past year we have launched and expanded numerous programs with the help of our families. From the creation of Addiction Resource Center with a patient portal and a resource line staffed by trained counselors to help patients and families find the help they need, the launch of 20 state chapters, and work with Congress on a comprehensive package of bills to address addiction and the opioid epidemic, H.R. 6., we have seen tremendous progress to help families and communities in crisis -- but we know that there is still much work to be done. 

21 million Americans struggle with the disease of addiction, and we will not stop until there are comprehensive resources for every individual, family and community touched by this disease. To support the Addiction Policy Forum in our next year and beyond, text FORTHE21 to 444999 today or visit www.addictionpolicy.org/donate.   


Together, we can solve this.


Addiction Policy Forum


Highlights from year one and year two.




Topics: APF news
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3 min read

A Granddaughter's Tribute

By Addiction Policy Forum on June 6, 2018


I love superheroes. Captain America. Superman. Wonder Woman. The bravery and strength--not the costumes--call to me. They always have.

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4 min read

Addiction Policy Forum Launches National Resource Center to Address the Opioid Crisis

By Addiction Policy Forum on June 5, 2018

For Immediate Release                                                                                                                           Contact:     June 5, 2018                                                                                                                                     Beth Parker
Topics: Press Release
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Emergency Medicine and Addiction: A Critical Intervention Point

By Jessica Hulsey Nickel on May 22, 2018

It is easy to get lost in the dizzying data of our nation’s overdose epidemic: 63,600 drug overdose deaths in 2016, a number larger than the entire population of Terre Haute, Indiana.

We are losing the equivalent of a plane crash every day in America. If those planes were actually going down every day the FAA would stop operations until they found out exactly what was going on, yet we are still slow and struggling to take a response to scale to address the opioid crisis nationally.

The numbers don’t adequately convey the heartache and loss that accompanies the disease of addiction either. This loss includes Aimee Manzoni-Darpino from Massachusetts getting to beam with pride at her beloved son Emmett’s college graduation. Emmett would have been graduating this month, had his life not been tragically cut short following a string of seven prior non-fatal opioid overdoses. It includes Doug Griffin from New Hampshire one day walking his beautiful daughter Courtney down the aisle. Courtney passed away due to a fentanyl overdose after insurance coverage was repeatedly denied for the substance use disorder treatment she so desperately needed.

These tragedies can be prevented. We know who our most at-risk patients are: those who have already had a non-fatal overdose are at heightened risk for a fatal overdose. In fact, an estimated 70 percent of people who die of an overdose had previously experienced a non-fatal overdose. Our Emergency Departments (ED) are on the frontline of this public health emergency. Between 2005 and 2014, the national rate of opioid-related ED visits increased 99.4 percent, then increased another 29.7 percent from July 2016 to September 2017. Recognizing the critical need for ED interventions for patients suffering with substance use disorders, the Addiction Policy Forum launched its Emergency Medicine Initiative—which includes a toolkit and other resources-- to support health systems and patients.

As we move as a society from viewing addiction as a moral failing to treating it as the health condition science has proven it to be, we must address it in our healthcare system with the thoughtful urgency this epidemic requires and support our medical providers with the necessary infrastructures and protocols to do so. We are fortunate to have important tools in our toolbox: screenings, medications to treat addiction, naloxone to reverse overdoses and training resources. By layering these and other innovative interventions, we can transform a trip to the ED into an opportunity for linkage to treatment and recovery.

The toll of not supporting our nation’s health systems to address our most vulnerable patients’ needs is a price we cannot afford: we are losing 174 sons, daughters, sisters, and brothers each day to drug overdose, a generation of Americans lost to a treatable disease. By changing how we respond to non-fatal overdoses, we can have the biggest, quickest impact and save the most lives.

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5 min read

Addiction Policy Forum Releases Hospital Toolkit to Support Health Systems and Patients

By Addiction Policy Forum on May 16, 2018

For Immediate Release                                                                                                                   Contact:     
May 16, 2018                                                                                                                             Casey Elliott                                                                                                                                                          (312) 860- 5353                                                                                                                                    celliott@addictionpolicy.org 
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APF Supports Emergency Medicine Initiative to Lead National Effort to Reduce Harm From Opioids

By Addiction Policy Forum on May 15, 2018

 

Topics: Press Release
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2 min read

APF Family Day 2018 Recap

By Addiction Policy Forum on May 3, 2018


Last week, hundreds of families impacted by addiction participated in the third annual APF Family Day and the Addiction Policy Forum Awards Dinner. 

Topics: Events
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2 min read

Let's Lift Each Other Up

By Jessica Hulsey Nickel on April 3, 2018

 

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Technical Assistance for Emergency Departments to Respond to Addiction Initiative

By Addiction Policy Forum on March 22, 2018

The opioid epidemic has resulted in rapidly escalating utilization of health system inpatient and emergency medicine services. Between 2005 and 2014, the national rate of opioid-related inpatient stays increased 64.1 percent and the national rate of opioid-related emergency department (ED) visits increased 99.4 percent.

New data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that this trend has continued. In the sixteen states reviewed by the CDC, ED visits for suspected opioid overdoses increased 30 percent from July 2016 through September 2017. Two of the sixteen states, Wisconsin and Delaware, experienced increases of more than 100 percent.

Patients with substance use disorder may have little or no interaction with the healthcare system. A hospital or emergency department may be the only place they receive care. In some instances, this will be for an overdose, and in other cases it may be for an injury or infection related to their substance use. This makes the hospital a critical intervention point for engaging people with SUD and linking them to treatment.

Recognizing the critical need for improved emergency department interventions for patients with substance use disorder, the Addiction Policy Forum is today announcing our Technical Assistance for Emergency Departments to Respond to Addiction initiative.

In the coming months, APF will publish evidence-based protocols for responding to addiction and overdose in the emergency department along with the research to demonstrate their effectiveness.
 
APF will provide technical assistance to emergency departments and other hospital clinical settings to implement evidence-based best practices for treating patients with substance use disorders. In addition to offering subject-matter expertise on best practices, APF will:
 
  • Map local SUD treatment providers, recovery supports, and other services;
  • Convene local SUD treatment providers to develop relationships and processes for referrals from hospital care to community-based SUD treatment;
  • Provide content and deliver trainings for hospital staff to implement evidence-based protocols;
  • Support development of IT infrastructure to facilitate and track transfers of patients from hospital to community-based care.
 
We have already begun piloting our technical assistance efforts at Berger Health System in Pickaway County, Ohio and three Mercy Health hospitals in the Cincinnati area.
 
We are supporting legislation at the federal level to improve integration of addiction interventions in emergency departments.
 
And we will be releasing a toolkit for emergency department and hospital administrators to implement best practices for addressing addiction.
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Kenton County Detention Center SAP (Substance Abuse Program)

By Addiction Policy Forum on March 15, 2018

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Ocean County Prosecutor - Blue HART (Heroin Addiction Recovery & Treatment)

By Addiction Policy Forum on March 6, 2018

Blue HART is a community-based collaboration between law enforcement, clinicians, and first responders that aims to help individuals struggling with substance use disorder before the event of an overdose. Select police stations act as intake sites and have set days when individuals struggling with SUD can come in and ask for help. Participants undergo a background check so that the program can develop a holistic view of their situation and begin tracking their case. Participants are immediately taken to a partnering clinic where they’re asses by a clinician who connects them with care. Every participant is connected with a recovery coach who is in recovery and acts as a mentor helping them navigate the process of treatment and recovery.                                                                                    

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Vicky Cornell, Wife of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, Joins Addiction Policy Forum’s Advisory Board

By Addiction Policy Forum on February 21, 2018

Topics: Press Release
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OP ED: We mobilized against flu, cancer and heart attacks. Where's the urgency on opioids?

By General Barry McCaffrey and Jessica Hulsey Nickel on January 4, 2018

NOTE: This article was originally published on USAToday.com
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5 min read

Stakeholders and Partners Comment on Addiction Policy Forum Announcement

By Addiction Policy Forum on December 13, 2017

Taken together, the programs and partnerships announced today by the Addiction Policy Forum represent the most comprehensive, direct approach to the opioid crisis in America to date. The 21 million Americans who are living with the disease of addiction need our help urgently – there is simply no more time to waste. By welcoming all stakeholders to the table and focusing on action over rhetoric, we can have a lasting impact on this crisis.

- General Barry McCaffrey
Advisory Board Chairman
Addiction Policy Forum


Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) fully supports the continuum of care— prevention, education, treatment, recovery, and we firmly believe that prevention is needed now more than ever. Our coalition model produces community change because it engages members from all sectors, addresses conditions that are unique to the community and mobilizes experts to induce change. We are excited to partner with Addiction Policy Forum and will utilize the existing national infrastructure built at CADCA to produce sustainable positive outcomes.

- General Arthur T. Dean
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA)

Addiction is putting a strain on criminal justice and legal systems across the country. I am confident that our partnership with the Addiction Policy Forum will help district attorneys continue to improve and discover new strategies that will relieve this burden.

- District Attorney Jonathon Blodgett
President-Elect
National District Attorneys Association

We are looking forward to our work with the Addiction Policy Forum on two new recovery and research initiatives. If we are going to make progress against the addiction crisis in this country, it is critical that we foster science-based recovery support programs and invest in research. Through our work with the Forum, we are making strides in these directions.

- Patty McCarthy Metcalf
Executive Director
Faces & Voices of Recovery

The Addiction Policy Forum is making important progress in addressing the disease of addiction. A multi-faceted approach is needed for this complex challenge we face as a country. We look forward to working with the Forum on evidence-based programs that aim to improve the criminal justice response to substance use disorders.

- Pamela F. Rodriguez
President & CEO
Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC)

Effectively ending the addiction crisis in America will take everyone coming to the table. We need programs that will bring immediate help to families and communities struggling with addiction. The Addiction Policy Forum has put forth a bold plan that will make a real impact on this crisis.

- The Honorable Alan Mollohan
Former Member, U.S. House of Representatives (WV-01)

We need action right away to effectively address the opioid addiction crisis in this country. Practical programs, like the ones announced by the Addiction Policy Forum today, will bring support to families and communities that are struggling.

- The Honorable Frank Guinta
Former Member, U.S. House of Representatives (NH-01)

The new programs announced today by the Addiction Policy Forum are addressing some of the most pressing challenges of the addiction crisis in America. By working with some of the most effective organizations focused on this formidable challenge, families and communities will soon have the resources and support they need to beat this disease.

- Jay Nelson
Director, Government Affairs
The Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSGJC)

It will take a comprehensive approach to address addiction. The new programs announced by the Addiction Policy Forum today are a big step forward. Very thrilled to see plans in place that focus on criminal justice reform.

- Blake Norton
Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
Police Foundation

Effectively standing up to a crisis takes collaboration and partnerships. The Addiction Policy Forum’s work to bring everyone into the conversation - advocates, government and industry - is helping make new programs to prevent and treat addiction possible.

- Richard Pops
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Alkermes

By giving voice to families struggling with the diseases of addiction and through partnership with a range of national and community-based stakeholders, the Addiction Policy Forum has established a new paradigm for action. Connecting families and patients to community-based and innovative tools, resources and interventions to support their treatment and recovery has never been more urgent.

- Shaun Thaxter
Chief Executive Officer
Indivior

Families and communities all across the country need support recognizing, preventing and treating addiction. The Addiction Policy Forum's multi-year plan and new partnerships will help propel real solutions forward.

- Bill Williams
Families Committee Co-Chair
Addiction Policy Forum

People who are struggling with addiction throughout our state and country need to know they are not alone and that help exists. This disease of addiction is not something to be ashamed of. Programs announced today by the Addiction Policy Forum will make important progress toward ending the stigma around addiction and providing those in need of help with reliable resources and support.

- Aimee Manzoni-D'Arpino
Massachusetts State Chair
Addiction Policy Forum Massachusetts

The Addiction Policy Forum’s commitment to our New Hampshire communities continues with these new programs and partnerships. Dedicating resources to researching treatment and recovery will help ensure that families do not have to experience the tragedy of losing a loved one to a substance use disorder.

- Doug Griffin
New Hampshire State Chair
Addiction Policy Forum New Hampshire

We are making remarkable progress in our work to end the opioid crisis and transform the way this country addresses addiction. The Addiction Policy Forum’s new initiatives will provide countless groups – from doctors to families – with the resources they need to properly address substance use disorders in New York and across the U.S.

- Lorraine McNeill-Popper
New York State Chair
Addiction Policy Forum

Topics: Press Release
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Press Release: Addiction Policy Forum Announces New Initiatives and Partnerships to Address the Opioid Crisis

By Addiction Policy Forum on December 12, 2017

 

Topics: Press Release
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1 min read

Jackson County Anti-Drug Coalition (JCADC) Program

By Addiction Policy Forum on December 6, 2017

Jackson County Anti-Drug Coalition (JCADC) is a county-wide effort to reduce experimenting, drug use, and underage drinking. The coalition uses high tech data to create overdose site mapping based on “hot spots” where overdoses occur. The program engages the entire community by hosting events, educational training, and campaigns. JCADC has “take back” days where members can drop off unused prescriptions or they can be placed in a drop box 24/7. JCADC’s community wide effort collects 99 pound of unused prescription medicine every three months, and since this program began death rates have decreased in the county.
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Jessica Nickel Interviewed by BBC on the Opioid Epidemic

By Addiction Policy Forum on December 3, 2017

 

Topics: Press Release
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1 min read

Project SUCCESS

By Addiction Policy Forum on November 17, 2017

 

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OpEd: Want to Help Address the Opioid Crisis? Start with Your Medicine Cabinet.

By Jessica Hulsey Nickel on November 9, 2017

 

Since the Administration declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency in late October, the media has been saturated with stories about the crisis, which has been ravaging communities in relative silence for many, many years. From 2009 to 2015, opioid-related overdose deaths nearly doubled, and overdose cases continue to overwhelm emergency departments across the nation.

I am hopeful that the President’s declaration will put resources toward properly addressing this crisis and transforming the field of addiction as a whole. A comprehensive response will take time and entail major policy reforms on both the federal and local level, but there are also steps that each of us can take to help halt this epidemic to which we currently lose 144 people every day. We can talk to our kids about delaying social drinking until their brains have developed, we can decrease stigma by educating our communities about the science behind substance use disorders, we can make sure our schools are implementing evidence-based prevention programs, we can help loved ones who are struggling to access quality treatment. These vital steps can only happen on a local, personal level and they require education, investment, rigor and patience. Another important step that each one of us can take to help prevent substance misuse in our homes and communities is to clean out our medicine cabinets.

Heroin is involved in many of the opioid-related deaths, but addiction doesn’t always begin with the use of illicit drugs. Studies have shown that two in three people who currently use heroin started out by using prescription pain medications for nonmedical purposes. According to the federal government, 2,000 teenagers will misuse a prescription drug for the first time today, and tomorrow, and the day after that. Many of these first-time encounters with opioids happen in homes with leftover medications that were initially prescribed by a physician.

The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that two-thirds of surgical patients end up with unused pain medications, such as oxycodone and morphine, after recovering from a procedure. Because most of us aren’t educated about the risks of keeping unused medication in our homes, these prescribed drugs are often neither secured nor disposed of properly, but stashed in medicine cabinets and bedside table drawers. Decreasing access to these medications is one key step in curtailing the opioid crisis.

On Thursday, November 2nd, The Addiction Policy Forum partnered with a number of local organizations in Ohio, a state particularly hard-hit by the opioid epidemic, to distribute free prescription drug disposal kits containing at-home disposal pouches and educational materials. These disposal pouches are easy to use and highly effective—put any unused medication into the pouch, add water (which mixes with chemical properties in the pouch to nullify active ingredients in the medicine) and toss the pouch into the trash.

We launched this effort on the weekend of daylight savings in hopes that one day soon, prescription drug disposal will become a biannual ritual—a habit as common sense as turning your clocks back, flipping your mattress, or replacing the batteries in your smoke alarm. Each autumn, when we all “fall back,” do your part to keep prescription drugs from falling into the wrong hands by properly disposing of your unused medications.

Order a prescription drug disposal kit today by visiting www.addictionPolicy.org/order.

Editor's note: Jessica Hulsey Nickel spoke at a recent addiction forum at Circleville High School hosted by the Pickaway Addiction Action Coalition. With over 25 years in the addiction field, she has worked in the areas of prevention, treatment, criminal justice reform and on Capitol Hill.
 

 

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Our Vision and Direction

By Addiction Policy Forum on October 26, 2017

 

 

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ADDICTION POLICY FORUM STATEMENT ON WHITE HOUSE DECISION TO DECLARE OPIOID EPIDEMIC A PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY

By Addiction Policy Forum on October 26, 2017

 

Washington (October 26, 2017) –Jessica Hulsey Nickel, president and chief executive officer of the Addiction Policy Forum, issued the following statement on today’s declaration of a public health emergency to help address the opioid epidemic.

“Today’s announcement is an important step toward preventing and treating substance use disorders, which currently impact more than 21 million Americans and kill nearly 400 people every day. Prioritizing this national crisis will bring much needed resources to communities, improve access to services and facilitate better coordination among government agencies. In particular, I am heartened by the decision to bring all federal government agencies to the table to play a unique role. 
 
“This week, the Addiction Policy Forum released a four-year plan with eight strategic priorities that will ensure long-term progress to treat and prevent substance use disorders, including opioid addiction. The plan, which was developed by experts in the field of addiction in close collaboration with families who have lost loved ones, spans education, prevention, medical innovation and criminal justice reform.

“Put simply, there is not a singular solution to the opioid crisis, which is why we must continue to implement a comprehensive response to this issue. It requires those in healthcare, government and the private sector to work together in new ways. Our communities need it now more than ever.

“We at the Addiction Policy Forum stand ready to advance this important work by providing a path forward and serving as a trusted partner for federal and state agencies responsible for implementing today’s announcement.”

 

Topics: Press Release
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Which Path Will They Choose

By Jay Ruais on October 21, 2017

During a press conference on Thursday, August 10, President Trump declared the opioid crisis a national emergency. Following up on the announcement from the President, the White House released the following statement: 

Topics: APF news
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Aware Recovery Care

By Addiction Policy Forum on October 5, 2017

 

Aware Recovery Care (ARC)  provides at-home treatment services for drug and alcohol addiction throughout Connecticut and New Hampshire. Modeled closely on the visiting nurse program, the founders created a comprehensive model of care that was otherwise missing for individuals with substance use disorders: in-home treatment. Each ARC client is assigned a multidisciplinary team of specially trained treatment professionals who work with the client and the family in their very own living space to develop the skills necessary to live in long-term recovery from addiction.
 
Listen to a Cover2 Resources Podcast with Matt Eacott the VP of Aware Recovery Care.        
 
Click here to download the full spotlight.

 

 

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How We Can Overcome the Stigma of Addiction - USA Today

By Addiction Policy Forum on September 29, 2017

 
 
 
In this article, released today on Media Planet and featured by USA Today, Emily Gawlak reflects on a conversation between industry leaders Jessica Hulsey Nickel (Addiction Policy Forum), Gary Mendell (Shatterproof), and Patty McCarthy Metcalf (Faces & Voices of Recovery) about the stigma surrounding substance use disorders and how shame can erect barriers to effective prevention, treatment, and recovery. 
 
 
 
 
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Alano Club of Portland's "Recovery Toolkit Series"

By Addiction Policy Forum on September 21, 2017

 

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Don’t Call My Dad The “A” Word

By Jessica Hulsey Nickel on September 8, 2017

Language matters for people seeking help in the battle against addiction
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WJLA - "Trump holds off declaring a 'national emergency' for opioid epidemic"

By Addiction Policy Forum on August 10, 2017


Topics: Press Release
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6 Key Elements of a Comprehensive response - Infographic

By Addiction Policy Forum on August 10, 2017


Topics: Publications
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Bipartisan Heroin Task Force Roundtable: Addiction Treatment for Children and Adolescents -- Watch Live on Facebook

By Addiction Policy Forum on July 24, 2017

Tune in to watch todays event live on Facebook! It will go live on Congresswoman Kuster’s page.
Topics: APF news
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What You Need to Know About Addiction in Four Minutes: Addiction Policy Forum

By Robert Weiner Associates and Addiction Policy Forum on July 21, 2017

 

Topics: Press Release
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Pennsylvania’s Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Pilot Program For Justice-Involved Individuals

By Addiction Policy Forum on June 23, 2017

Pennsylvania’s Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Program for Justice-Involved Individuals focuses on achieving better outcomes for individuals with substance use disorders who are reentering society following a period of incarceration. The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections provided Vivitrol injections to a sample of inmates who were returning to society and followed up post-reentry with a monthly shot and cognitive behavioral therapy.

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President Jessica Hulsey Nickel Testifies Before The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis

By Addiction Policy Forum on June 16, 2017

 

Topics: Press Release
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PRNewsire - Jessica Hulsey Nickel To Testify At First Meeting Of Christie Commission

By Addiction Policy Forum on June 15, 2017

On Friday, June 16th, Addiction Policy Forum President and CEO Jessica Nickel has been invited to testify before the Christie Commission in Room 350 of the White House Campus.  Below is an article written by PRNewswire, with details of the hearing and why Nickel is so passionate about continuing to work with the current administration to help families and communities affected by addiction. Click Here to read the article "Jessica Hulsey Nickel, Whose Family Struggled With Addiction, Creator Of Coalition Of 1,200 Impacted Families, To Testify At First Meeting Of Christie Commission At White House Campus Fri., June 16, 12:30 PM" and PRNewswire.com.

Topics: Press Release
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Moms and Babies Program

By Addiction Policy Forum on May 25, 2017

The Moms and Babies Program at the Decatur Correctional Center in Illinois is a prison nursery and community reentry program that allows incarcerated mothers to keep their newborn infants with them for a specific amount of time, and supports these women in developing and nurturing bonds with their babies. Following release from prison, Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities continues case management, home-visits, and linkages to community services to continue progress.

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Four Police Programs Changing How We Address Addiction

By Jessica Hulsey Nickel on May 18, 2017

 

 

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APF Holds CARA Family Day

By Addiction Policy Forum on May 17, 2017

The Addiction Policy Forum brought families from across the nation to Washington, DC to discuss how addiction impacts families and why we need to address addiction in a comprehensive way - both in Congress and in every community in the United States. 

Topics: Events
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Phoenix Multisport

By Addiction Policy Forum on May 3, 2017

Phoenix Multisport is a sober, active recovery community that provides fitness programming to help foster the strengths necessary to maintain sobriety through activities. Programs are offered at no cost, with the only requirement being that participants have at least 48 hours sober.

Listen to the Cover2 Resources Podcast with Scott Strode, CEO of Phoenix Multisport.

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Circleville Herald: Nickel explains six pillars of addiction response

By Addiction Policy Forum on May 1, 2017

On Thursday, April 25th, Addiction Policy Forum president Jessica Nickel was the keynote speaker at the One Book, One Community program in Circleville, Ohio. Below is an article written by Steven Collins, staff reporter for the Circleville Herald, on Jessica's presentation: "18 Ways Your Community Can Address the Opioid Epidemic." Click here to view the PDF of Mr. Collins' article. 

Topics: Press Release
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A Way Out Lake County

By Addiction Policy Forum on April 26, 2017

"A Way Out" is a Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program, designed to fast-track individuals with substance use disorders to treatment. A Way Out is available 24 hours a day at participating police departments, and ensures that no criminal charges will be sought for those in possession of narcotics or paraphernalia so long as assistance is sought out.

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ACHESS Smartphone App

By Addiction Policy Forum on April 21, 2017

The Addiction Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System, or ACHESS, is an evidence-based smartphone app that assists in the maintenance of recovery stability by providing individuals with the necessary resources and supports. The app offers digital recovery support on demand and allows the user to easily access and reach out for practical support.

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Maryland Overdose Response Program

By Addiction Policy Forum on April 12, 2017

The Maryland Overdose Response Program aims to provide education and training for individuals on overdose response- including the administration of Naloxone. Training is offered to the general public and targeted toward at-risk community members.

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Manchester, NH Fire Department's Safe Stations Program

By Addiction Policy Forum on April 5, 2017

Listen to the Cover2 Resources Podcast with Chris Hickey, creator of Safe Stations.

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Stop, Triage, Engage, Educate and Rehabilitate (STEER) Program

By Addiction Policy Forum on March 29, 2017

The STEER Program in Montgomery County, MD, is a pre-booking law enforcement and drug treatment linkage program that aims to provide rapid identification, deflection, and access to treatment for drug-involved individuals as an alternative to conventional arrest. Individuals are assigned a care-coordinator who focuses on rapid treatment access, retention, motivation, engagement and completion, as well as conducts a full clinical assessment and referral.

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Vermont Hub-And-Spoke Model

By Addiction Policy Forum on March 22, 2017

 


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2017 Legislator of the Year Award Recipients

By Addiction Policy Forum on March 10, 2017

At the CARA Reception on March 1, 2017, the Addiction Policy Forum recognized the following individuals for their hard work on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and as local leaders working on addiction issues:

Topics: Events Advocacy
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Technology and Innovations in Addressing Substance Use Disorders

By Addiction Policy Forum on March 8, 2017

 

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Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Teams (START)

By Addiction Policy Forum on March 8, 2017

 

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2017 Pillar of Excellence Award Recipients - Secretary John Wetzel, PA Department of Corrections

By Addiction Policy Forum on March 7, 2017

Secretary John Wetzel, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
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2017 Pillar of Excellence Award Recipients - Scott Strode, Phoenix Multisport

By Addiction Policy Forum on March 7, 2017

Scott Strode, Phoenix Multisport
Topics: Events Recovery
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2017 Pillar of Excellence Award Recipients - Michelle Harter, AnchorED Rhode Island

By Addiction Policy Forum on March 7, 2017

Michelle Harter, AnchorED Rhode Island

Topics: Events Recovery
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2017 Pillar of Excellence Award Recipients - Ellen Morehouse, Student Assistance Services

By Addiction Policy Forum on March 7, 2017

 

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2017 Pillar of Excellence Award Recipients - Chris Hickey, Safe Station Program

By Addiction Policy Forum on March 7, 2017

Chris Hickey, Safe Station Program
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2017 Pillar of Excellence Award Recipients - Chief Manger, Montgomery County Department of Police

By Addiction Policy Forum on March 6, 2017

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Addiction Policy Forum Recognizes 2017 Advocates of the Year

By Addiction Policy Forum on March 6, 2017

 

Topics: Events Advocacy
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Promoting a Comprehensive Response to the Opioid Epidemic

By Addiction Policy Forum on February 28, 2017

On February 28, 2017, the Addiction Policy Forum hosted the CARA Implementation Conference, Promoting a Comprehensive Response to the Opioid Epidemic: Funding, Effective Design and Implementation, Research and Evaluation, at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington DC. This conference was designed for state agencies, units of local government, nonprofits, and federally-recognized Native American and Alaskan tribal governments applying for the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Site-Based Grant Program funded through the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA).

Topics: Events
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Blog Post: A Letter to Webster's Dictionary

By Jessica Hulsey Nickel on February 27, 2017

At a meeting recently I was describing my work with amazing families across the country who have been impacted by addiction, when the man next to me commented that I had used bad grammar in that description.
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Celebrating Families!™

By Addiction Policy Forum on February 16, 2017

 

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Addiction Policy Forum Announces the Addition of General Barry McCaffrey and the Honorable Frank Guinta to its Board of Advisors

By Addiction Policy Forum on February 13, 2017

Today, the Addiction Policy Forum is honored to announce that it has added General Barry McCaffrey and former Congressman Frank Guinta to its Board of Advisors. 

Topics: Press Release
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Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD)

By Addiction Policy Forum on February 7, 2017

 

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AnchorED Rhode Island

By Addiction Policy Forum on February 2, 2017

The AnchorED program connects people who have been admitted to emergency rooms for opioid-related overdoses with trained peer recovery coaches. Prior to the individual’s release from the hospital, the recovery coach meets with the patient to discuss available recovery supports and resources, provide education on overdose prevention, including how to obtain and use Naloxone. Upon the individual’s release from the hospital, the AnchorED staff follows-up with the individual for the next 10 days, encouraging him or her to engage in recovery support services or treatment.

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The Moyer Foundation's Camp Mariposa Program

By Addiction Policy Forum on January 25, 2017

 

The Camp Mariposa Program focuses on helping children living with family members who struggle with a substance use disorder. Camp Mariposa is a national addiction prevention and monitoring program, in which participants and their families attend multiple free weekend sessions and engage in both traditional, fun camp activities, and support exercises led by mental health professionals.


Click here to read the full spotlight.

 

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Effective Treatment for Substance Use Disorders

By Addiction Policy Forum on January 19, 2017

 

The Addiction Policy Forum's Translating Science into Practice series provides policymakers and practitioners with actionable resources about programs in a comprehensive response to addiction--including prevention, overdose reversal, treatment, recovery support and criminal justice. Our next event in the series, "Effective Treatment for Substance Use Disorders" will be held on Wednesday, February 1, 2017 at 12 p.m. in 2226 Rayburn House Office Building.
 
The briefing will examine research and promising practices for the delivery of evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders. Panelists will talk about the latest science, research and innovative programs currently being implemented in states and localities that have shown promising results, including the use and delivery of patient-centered care, individualized treatment plans and medication assisted treatment.
 
Sponsored by
The Addiction Policy Forum
The National Criminal Justice Association
 
Honorary Co-Hosts
Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus, U.S. House of Representatives
The Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, U.S. House of Representatives
 
Speakers
  • Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
  • Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH)
  • Dr. Paul Earley – Director-at-Large, American Society of Addiction Medicine
  • Dr. Wilson Compton - Deputy Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Rockville, MD
  • Robert Forman, PhD – Alkermes, Boston, MA
  • Doug Tieman – President & CEO, Caron Treatment Centers
  • Becky Vaughn – Addiction Policy Forum, Washington, D.C.
  • Jessica Nickel – President & CEO, Addiction Policy Forum, Washington, D.C.
 
Watch full video here.  

 

Topics: Events Treatment
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Essex County, MA District Attorney’s Drug Diversion Program

By Addiction Policy Forum on January 17, 2017

 

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Where Do the Candidates Stand on the Opioid Epidemic and Addiction?

By Addiction Policy Forum on November 3, 2016

The Addiction Policy Forum today released analysis of Secretary Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's policy platforms on how they would address addiction.
Topics: Publications
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The Boy in the Back Seat

By Jessica Hulsey Nickel on October 5, 2016

There is a lot of backlash and discussion over a recent photo posted by the East Liverpool, Ohio Police Department of a couple allegedly high on heroin in their car, unconscious, with a small boy in the back seat.

I understand how angry some are. They are worried this photograph will increase the stigma surrounding addiction and shame people from seeking help. I also understand the questions. Were the parents offered treatment? What services are available for that little boy? Finally, I understand some of the frustration with law enforcement. What was their intention in posting this photo?

Regardless of how we personally respond to the photo, I hope we can take a step back and look at this event from a point of empathy for everyone involved – the child, the parents and law enforcement-- and not just for those in this photo but for the thousands of people suffering in communities across our country.

First, we should have empathy for the parents in this photo, and for all parents suffering from addiction. Addiction is a brain disease. In a very rough summary, the brain malfunction rewires the brain to re-prioritize the basic survival priorities we as humans, as mammals, have. Now before water, food, shelter, and taking care of our young, our brain misbelieves it's the heroin, prescription drugs or other drug that is most important for survival. The drug(s) gain primacy.  For all parents out there, I hope this can be a lesson on the power and devastation of addiction. It can transplant the most dominant priority that we have as a parent-- to care for one’s children. We should feel heartbreak and compassion ---not blame--because these heartbreaking moments and photos are a symptom of a debilitating, yet treatable, disease.
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Statement on the President Signing CARA into Law

By Jessica Hulsey Nickel on July 25, 2016

CARA is a monumental step forward to better addressing addiction in our country. It finally moves us closer to treating addiction like a disease through evidence-based practices such as medication assisted and individualized treatment. It supports community-based prevention efforts and long-term, robust recovery support. It expands access to naloxone so that we can reverse overdoses and save lives. It helps educate prescribers. It helps law enforcement divert individuals who are struggling with a substance use disorder so that they can be treated in their communities instead of haphazardly through the criminal justice system. It authorizes $181 million each year in new funding to fight this epidemic.
Topics: Press Release
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What the Passage of CARA Means for Families

By Addiction Policy Forum on July 13, 2016

Family members who have lost a loved one to the opioid epidemic comment on what the passage of CARA means to them:

“CARA passing the Senate and funding being appropriated by the House will mean my son's death will not have been in vain. I never got the chance to try to get my son into treatment. All addicts should be able to receive treatment, without groveling, endless phone calls, or never ending waits. If the opioid catastrophe were a contagious disease, we would all be horrified by the lack of support the treatment option receives. Please pass CARA. Please appropriate funding. Without funding, countless children, parents, siblings, and friends will be lost.”

- Mitzie Nay, Minot, ND

“On April 20, 2016, I lost my son, Emmett (20), to a Heroin overdose….The treatment of addiction in this country needs to be changed.  It is a disease and needs to be treated as such. I personally have never felt such frustration as I did speaking to my son’s primary care doctor and facing the lack of education on the current treatment options available for Opioid addiction –I was simply blown away by the lack of knowledge surrounding a disease that is touching such a huge population.  Our nurses and physicians need to be treating Substance Use Disorder for what it is – a disease.  Our loved ones need individualized treatment, more options for medically assisted treatment and follow-up!  

Access to treatment is, in my eyes, one of the other key elements to CARA.
My family did not have the luxury of having and extra $30,000 available to send Emmett to a 30-day (or longer) treatment program – and our private insurance plan did not deem treatment “medically necessary” for Emmett.  I am still baffled that multiple overdoses and active Opioid use did not qualify as “medically necessary”.  Had things been different, I may have been sitting here writing a testament to Emmett’s recovery.

CARA is important to me for a very simple reason – we are losing an entire generation to the disease of Substance Use Disorder.   We are losing our sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and friends.  We are losing the battle against addiction because we are not properly armed to fight it.  We are losing – and will continue to lose unless we do something.” 

- Aimee D’Arpino, Bridgewater, MA

“The passage of Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (CARA) marks an important shift in how we address the current opioid epidemic. Rather than only focusing on one drug or one social aspect, this legislation takes a comprehensive and cohesive approach to combatting the issue which has been devastating communities in every corner of the United States.

For the first time in over 20 years, policymakers have realized that previous efforts have failed us and that a new strategy focusing on public health and safety along with criminal justice reform was needed to curb the unacceptable rate of human suffering and loss of life due to opiate drug overdose.

CARA includes critical policy changes and new resources. It covers six pillars of equal importance and all interdependent on a comprehensive response, including prevention, treatment, recovery support, criminal justice reform, overdose reversal and law enforcement. For families across the country who have for years been crippled by a loved ones substance abuse disorder, these changes mean a renewed sense of hope that as a society we can come together in a non-political, bipartisan way to deal with the problems stemming from opiate and heroin addiction.”

- Michelle Jaskulski, Cudahy, WI

“This bipartisan effort addresses the needs of those that struggle with substance abuse disorder. It covers all aspects of the addiction crisis that has gripped our nation from treatment and recovery services to law enforcement. Our family lost our beautiful 20 year old daughter, Courtney Griffin to overdose in September of 2014…Thank you to all the parents and family members that have stepped forward to accept the painful challenge of telling the stories of their lost ones. Today we celebrate a victory with the overwhelming passage of legislation that will actually help save lives and turn the tide of a season of terrible loss.”

- Doug Griffin, Newton, NH

“I would like to tell you what it would mean for me if President supports this bill. My family has been and still is affected by addiction…  I lost my first born son on Christmas morning 2015.

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act will put funding in place to save other children, so other parents will not get the call that shatters their lives. I cannot express the pain that losing a child brings. Only those who have experienced it can understand. And the American people need to know that there is an army of parents with broken hearts that have dedicated their lives to save someone else's child.”

- Heather Ruzik, Sweetwater, TN

“At the age of 13, my son Nick, opened a 'door' that he alone could never fully close. Despite over 20 in patient drug and alcohol treatment facilities, numerous visits to emergency rooms both medical and mental health, and repeated sober living efforts, he failed. At the age of 26 he died after 13 years of trying desperately to navigate our societies haphazard, fragmented 'system of care'.

During those years and the years that have followed, it became apparent to me and all those who loved Nick that we needed to build a comprehensive, coordinated, clinically sound response to this increasing epidemic. I believe CARA is a sound step in that direction that will address this chronic disease that is subject to relapse. For our family and for Nick who experience genuine suffering, CARA is a hopeful shift for the many 'other Nicks' and the families who will follow. Please do what you can to move this bill forward.”

-Jim Contopulos, Temecula, CA

“The passage of CARA is a welcome step forward in the fight against substance use disorder.  For us it remains bittersweet.  While important, this legislation has been frustratingly slow in evolving.  We have testified before Congressional and Senate committees four times since the accidental overdose of our son William.  We can only wonder that had CARA been in place and properly funded at the end of 2012, would our son have had easier access to more individualized and informed treatment.  Would he be alive today?  While we can take today to celebrate success, we need to be aware that the marathon struggle against this disease is hardly over.  Indeed, we have just crossed the starting line. We continue to have much hard work ahead of us, particularly in removing the stigma, ignorance and outright bigotry surrounding substance use disorder. We will return to speak in Washington and elsewhere until we reach the finish line.  Today cheers us on.  We WILL prevail.”

-Bill Williams and Margot Head, New York City, NY

“CARA means that my 22 year old has a better chance to survive this horrible disease that is so widespread. It is hard to believe that it is a reality. So many lives have been taken that so many families have suffered. My daughter has been battling for little over three years now with heroin and just like a good part of the addicts it started with pills until she was introduced to another level one that was more affordable.  She has an almost three year old daughter who does not even know who her mom is because I have been raising her since she was 2 months old.  Everyone that seeks help should be given the opportunity to get it regardless of their financial situation.”

-Kim Pitman, NJ

"Simply put…CARA means lives saved. It means heightened awareness for a public health condition whose population has been largely marginalized for far too long. It means forward-moving progress toward addiction’s integration to main stream medicine and parity overall. It is a call to action among parallel operating systems to initiate intersecting systemic transformation for the good of our future. It represents to me, comfort in the knowledge that this rule may be the primary catalyst of wide-spread prevention for future generations."

Topics: Press Release
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Thank the #CARA Champions

By Addiction Policy Forum on July 13, 2016

We did it! The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), the first major piece of addiction legislation to pass Congress in almost 40 years, is on its way to the President's desk for signature.

Take a moment to thank our awesome #CARA champions who have worked diligently to get this groundbreaking legislation to the President's desk!

Click the links below to Tweet these Members of Congress:

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Topics: Advocacy
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OpEd: Legislation brings hope to those shattered by addiction

By Jessica Hulsey Nickel on June 13, 2016

The Hill - June 13, 2016

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CARA Family Day

By Addiction Policy Forum on May 19, 2016

The Addiction Policy Forum collaborated with families from across the nation to discuss how addiction impacts families, and why we need to address addiction in a comprehensive way - both in Congress and in every community in the United States.

On Wednesday, May 18th, 22 of the CARA Family Day participants gave testimony in front of members of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, led by Task Force Co-Chairs Frank Guinta (R-NH) and Ann Kuster (D-NH). Families stood in solidarity with fellow panelists and shared how addiction has personally affected them and their loved ones, asking Congress to take swift action to address this deadly epidemic; 47,055 Americans died in 2014 from drug overdose, and that number is rising every year.

Topics: Events Advocacy
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Heroin Task Force Hearing on #129aDay

By Addiction Policy Forum on May 18, 2016

On Wednesday, May 18th family members impacted by addiction gave testimony in front of members of the Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic, led by Task Force Co-Chairs Frank Guinta (R-NH) and Ann Kuster (D-NH). These families travelled from across the nation and shared their experiences in order to emphasize the pressing need for congress to lead the nation towards a comprehensive response to addiction.

Topics: Events Advocacy
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Ted Cruz at the NH Roundtable: Addressing Addiction in Communities and Churches

By Jack Czerwinski on February 18, 2016

Republican Presidential Candidate and Texas Senator Ted Cruz participated in the Addiction Policy Forum’s New Hampshire Roundtable on Addiction and the Heroin Epidemic at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Hooksett, NH on February 4, 2016. Senator Cruz shared powerful personal testimony to a crowd of around 200 New Hampshirites. He also engaged in a roundtable discussion with addiction professionals and leaders in the field from around the country.

Topics: Events
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