Original Article by: Brittany Weiner, WSMV NEWS CHANNEL 4
Originally Posted on: January 29, 2019
As our country fights an opioid crisis, prescriptions for another class of drugs are seeing a steep increase, and they too can be dangerous and addictive. A new study just published this month shows between 2003 and 2015 Benzodiazepine prescriptions have doubled, and about half of them are coming from primary care physicians. Women are twice as likely to be prescribed than men.
Benzodiazepines are used for anxiety and insomnia but they can also be prescribed for chronic pain, and those prescriptions are skyrocketing. “Benzodiazepines are a class of medication that have a significant addiction forming liability,” Chief Medical Officer for Cumberland Heights Foundation, Dr. Chapman Sledge said. “If opioid prescribing goes down there’s some concern that Benzodiazepine prescriptions will continue to go up.” Dr. Sledge says many times these drugs are actually prescribed with opioids. “What we usually see if Benzodiazepine dependence in conjunction with opioid dependence or alcohol dependence,” Dr. Sledge said. A combination that can be dangerous and deadly especially if used long-term.
“Benzodiazepines are not benign drugs,” Dr. Sledge said. “There’s good data that suggests the combination of Benzodiazepines and opioids prescribed together increases the risk of death by fourfold.” According to the study long-term use has also increased with continued prescriptions increasing by 50 percent.
In 2017, nearly 70,000 people died from drug-related overdoses, and research shows opioid abuse is more rampant than ever. A report from the National Safety Council says more people died from accidental opioid overdoses than car crashes in 2017.
Cumberland Heights is very in tune with the epidemic and that’s why we created Safe Start, our official response to the opioid crisis. Safe Start is medication-assisted treatment and recommended to anyone diagnosed with a moderate to severe opioid abuse disorder.
Essentially, it’s extended release Naltrexone, a long-acting opioid antagonist used to reduce cravings. Naltrexone blocks the effects of opioids if they are used. Unlike other medications used to treat opioid addiction like methadone, there is no chance of dependency with Naltrexone. Naltrexone can also be an effective treatment for alcohol addiction.
Before the FDA approved Naltrexone for opioid dependence in 2010, they conducted a study dividing opioid addicts, primarily heroin users into two groups going through the same course of treatment. The only difference was one group got extended release Naltrexone and the other group was given placebo. The groups were monitored for 24 weeks. The group that got the Naltrexone injection had 90% abstinence confirmed on urine drug screens compared to 35% abstinence among the group that got the placebo injection. As a secondary measure, the study looked at cravings. Cravings were decreased by 55% in the group that received the extended release Naltrexone injection. In the group that got the placebo, cravings increased.
How it Works
This is how Safe Start looks for a patient coming into Cumberland Heights: Once the patient is evaluated and it is determined Naltrexone would be a good tool for them in their recovery, they will detox in a safe residential setting and then have 7-10 days for the receptors to clear before staff administers Naltrexone.
As they continue with their recovery, and transition out of residential treatment, Cumberland Heights sets them up with a plan that ensures they get their shot every 28 days. Dr. Sledge says it is reasonable to discuss discontinuing Naltrexone after a year if recovery is solid.
Every morning when I drive through Cumberland Heights’ arched gates, I am thankful for the opportunity to help patients and families “recover life.” And every night when I leave, I am reminded to “Let go and let God,” and am grateful for the thousands of little things our staff members do each day as they walk new paths of recovery with our patients.
What our entire Board of Directors and I appreciate most is the generosity of the Cumberland Heights community – donors and volunteers alike – who support our mission. Throughout the pages of this report, you will see how much Cumberland Heights has grown since we started in 1966 with only three patients and a handful of staff.
Everything we accomplish is because of donors like you and the hundreds of others who generously give to Cumberland Heights every year. Thank you for helping change the lives of our current patients, families, alumni and all those who will seek our help in the years to come.
With the addition of Spring Hill, Cumberland Heights will have 11 outpatient recovery centers across the state.
“Outpatients recovery programs are flexible to meet the needs of professionals and busy parents working through drug and alcohol addiction issues,” said Cumberland Heights CEO Jay Crosson. “We’re excited about the opportunity to serve Spring Hill and the great team serving patients directly in the community.”
Cumberland Heights admission counselors are available 24 hours a day at 1-800-6464
NASHVILLE, TENN. – Sept. 6, 2018 – Cumberland Heights is pleased to announce the hiring of Nick Hayes, M.S., LMFTA (TX), LCDC (TX) as Director of Clinical Research and Outcomes and Greg Snodgrass as Regional Outreach Coordinator.
Hayes will focus on efficacious treatment protocols, predictive analytics, feedback-informed treatment procedures and collaborations with institutions of higher education for all of Cumberland Heights, including inpatient and outpatient treatment programs.
As Regional Outreach Coordinator, Snodgrass will serve as the liaison between Cumberland Heights and a variety of referral sources to ensure seamless and timely admissions as well as treatment and continuing care services for patients and families seeking help with addiction.
“Nick and Greg have skills that reinforce why Cumberland Heights has consistently remained a nationally renowned treatment center for more than 50 years,” said CEO Jay Crosson. “The research overseen by Nick is critical to demonstrating the effectiveness of our treatment programs and sustaining – and growing – our authority in the industry. Likewise, Greg’s ability to build referral networks ensures that we are reaching patients and families who need help recovering life from the grips of drug and alcohol addiction.”
Hayes holds dual licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist-Associate (LMFTA-TX) as well as a Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC-TX). He has advanced training in quantitative methods, neuro-analysis and systems theory.
Hayes is a doctoral student within the Couple, Marriage, and Family Therapy Graduate Program at Texas Tech University, where he has also served as a student member in university’s Center for Collegiate Recovery Communities for the past seven years. He had worked with the Cumberland Heights Foundation while pursuing his degree.
Like many of Cumberland Heights’ staff, Snodgrass is living in recovery. He is actively involved in 12-step programs and sponsors men in recovery.
Snodgrass completed treatment 14 years ago and has since dedicated his life to helping others struggling with addiction. He received a scholarship to return to higher education at the Collegiate Recovery at Texas Tech University. He was then responsible for the five-year design and implementation of the Collegiate Recovery at the University of Alabama and served as director of the program.
He also served as National Director of Corporate Relations and Sponsorship for the Association of Recovery in Higher Education, where he oversaw the fundraising, donor relations and organizational growth for the association. Most recently, he worked as a sober companion for Rick Parrish and Jamie Eater at Sober Escorts Inc. and John West of The Guest House in Ocala, Fla.
Snodgrass spends his free time with his wife and daughter traveling to horse shows across the southeast with their thoroughbreds, Harley and Pickles.
About Cumberland Heights
Cumberland Heights’ mission is to transform lives, giving hope and healing to those affected by alcohol or drug addiction. As a non-profit organization, Cumberland Heights is committed to the approximately 2,500 men, women and adolescents it serves every year and the communities where its facilities are located. The organization has followed the teachings of the 12 Steps since its founding in 1966.
Original Article By: Stephanie Langston, WKRN News Channel 2, Nashville
Posted: Aug 02, 2018 05:55 PM CDT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A family is sharing their story of heartache after losing their son to addiction. Now, they are doing what they can to raise awareness about the crisis.
VIEW THE GREG WITTHAUER STORY
It was a battle the Witthauer’s faced for years. They told News 2 despite numerous rehab facilities, the disease was too powerful for their son Greg. “I lost my brother to this disease, but losing my child was much worse,” Karen Witthauer said with tears in her eyes.
At the age of 13, her son Greg had his first taste of drugs. “They smoked marijuana on the beach and then it was head to the ground from there.”
His use increased, and after being dismissed from the soccer team for a drug offense he entered rehab at 15. But he soon relapsed. “He was trying to find something that he could control that would make him feel better. The whole progression, he went through cocaine and from opiates to pills to heroin,” Greg’s father Mark told News 2.
The struggle didn’t get any easier. Several rehabs later and some legal issues finally gave Greg some clean time, almost two years.
“He was working, and he was doing really really well. He bought a car and his job was stable and he was really proud of himself, you could tell,” said Karen. However, a back injury landed Greg a Lortab prescription and he was back using fulltime. “He only had 10. He gave him a prescription for 10 and that was all it took,” stated Karen.
The Witthauer’s said he was never able to put together a long stretch of sobriety again. This time he spent three months in a Florida rehab. “and he was gone within two weeks,” said his mom.
Greg was found in his car near Percy Priest. He had overdosed on heroin likely laced with meth.
“We knew in our hearts that he had probably overdosed somewhere but even though you still get that phone call and it’s like the whole world just starts spinning around,” explained his father. Today Karen wears a bracelet that reads “always have heart,” the same tattoo her son had across his chest. “Even though he had the disease of addiction, I was very proud of my child, very proud of the man that he was, I was proud of his heart, of how he treated people.”
In his sober time, they said Greg wanted to help others struggling with addiction. Now they hope to carry on his mission.
The Witthauer’s started a fundraiser called always have a heart in their son’s honor that goes to support those in treatment.
Anyone who was not familiar with Laura Baugh will certainly never forget her after Reaching New Heights. The engaging professional golfer and author of Out of the Rough: An Intimate Portrait of Laura Baugh and Her Sobering Journey shared her courageous story of recovery to a packed room at the annual luncheon, which benefits the Women’s Program at Cumberland Heights.
Co-chairs Monica McDougall and Sally Nesbitt welcomed a crowd of familiar faces to Hillwood Country Club before the presentation of the Sheila Keeble Award. “I love getting to brag on my friend!” proclaimed Louise Mandrell as she handed the award to Janice Lovvorn, who has been involved with the organization for 22 years.
Opening with “I’m Laura, and I’m definitely an alcoholic,” the guest speaker had the audience immersed in her tale that was honest, grim and, at times, amusing. Always a golfer, Laura was three years old when she won the first of five national pee-wee championships. She burst onto the national scene when she won the U.S. Women’s Amateur Champion at 16 in 1971 and was named LPGA Rookie of the Year in 1973. At age 24, she had her first drink, and then “for years, I was always pregnant or drinking,” said the mother of seven children. It wasn’t until she nearly died from internal bleeding caused by heavy drinking that Laura was determined to quit. Now celebrating 22 years of sobriety, she zealously embraces her life, family and health.
Since becoming sober, Laura has developed into a new kind of champion. She supports programs for abused women and for women in recovery. Her love of golf remains steadfast, and she helped establish the U.S. Senior Women’s Open with the inaugural championship to be played this July. After delivering such inspiring words at Reaching New Heights, Laura has a contingent of Nashville fans rooting for her in more ways than one.
The 67-acre site in Pegram, once home to a bed and breakfast, will become ARCH Academy, or Adolescent Recovery of Cumberland Heights , at 1062 Highway 70.Cumberland Heights also treats drug and alcohol addiction in adult men and women on its campus at 8283 River Road Pike in Nashville.The total cost of the project is estimated at $8.1 million, including the purchase of the property, construction, renovation, infrastructure and other costs, according to information from Cumberland Heights.
Cumberland Heights Chief Executive Officer Jay Crosson said with three new builds and three renovations of current structures on the Cheatham site, the goal is to open the ARCH Academy by summer 2019.
In its first year, the new campus is expected to serve 84 teens, according to information from Cumberland Heights.
The site will include two residence halls, a dining facility, a private high school and more. The campus and adolescent program staff will offer 12-step recovery, clinical therapy and other services.
The location is also an “ideal environment” for hiking, mountain biking and trail rides, as well as engaging in fishing, pottery, service work and more in Pegram, a Cumberland Heights news release states.
“When you work with adolescents, they don’t respond to typical therapy, sitting across from them and just talking; you have to engage them,” Adolescent Program Director Dean Porterfield said. “You have to get them thinking, and this environment’s going to be perfect for that…It’s exciting. (It’ll) save lives.”
Crosson said the plan to open the new facility has been in the works since 2015 with plans to use it for the adolescent program, which initially launched in 1985. Since then, he said that teens accounted for approximately 10 percent of the Cumberland Heights population.
The new location will allow a length of stay of 60 days to six months; the current adolescent program only lasts up to 30 days with some extended care options, according to Cumberland Heights’ website.
ARCH Academy will also increase capacity to 30 teens from about 17 at its main campus.
Crosson said he wanted to be “good neighbors” to Cheatham, and Porterfield expressed interest in community involvement, noting that service is emphasized to those in the program.
“We want to be part of the community, (and) we want to be a resource for the community,” Porterfield said. “We also want to do our part to prevent adolescents from needing to come here, if we can do that.
“We’re just as much about prevention as we are (about) treating the kids that unfortunately have suffered from the disease of addiction.”
“I don’t think I’d be breathing if it wasn’t for Cumberland Heights and Dean (Porterfield),” he said. “I’m grateful for this place and I think the things that they’re doing is remarkable.”
Norton was 16 when he arrived at Cumberland Heights in 2012 to confront his addiction. He recalled first using drugs at 12 years old, and the problem continued until he overdosed in October 2012.
After that, he agreed to seek treatment.
“When I was at Cumberland Heights, I was really able to find myself as a person,” Norton said. “They equipped me with the tools to do the right things when I got out in order to be a part of society and not only be sober, but be a better man.”
Norton completed the program at Cumberland Heights and returned home, graduated high school, got accepted into college and landed a job.
He said he owes all of that to his treatment at Cumberland Heights. He’s hopeful that the staff and the new campus will change lives for others struggling with addiction.
“Without it, many young people (might not) be here,” Porterfield said of the adolescent program and ARCH Academy. “I think it’s important that we have a place to be able to just pull them away from the day-to-day stressors, and help them to get to know themselves and set them on a track…There’s nothing better. We save lives.”
Cumberland Heights officials led by CEO Jay Crosson will next week formally launch construction work on another facility for adolescents in alcohol and drug addiction recovery. The nonprofit will break ground Thursday in Pegram — just west of Bellevue — on ARCH Academy, a 30-bed center located on 67 acres off Highway 70.
The facility will provide therapy and programming for between 60 days and six months for adolescent boys and is expected to open in the Summer of 2019. The center, which includes a licensed high school, was designed by a team from Orcutt Winslow — the former Street Dixon Rick — that was led by Steve Rick.
Have a look at the design rendering of the 67 acre campus to be completed in Summer of 2019
If you or a loved one would like to speak directly with one of our licensed admissions staff, please call us now at (800) 646-9998 or submit the following information. If outside business hours, we will get back to you the following day.
Why is it so meaningful to give to Cumberland Heights?
Your gift to Cumberland Heights through our annual and capital initiates gives immediate support to patients and their families. To make a longer term impact a gift to the endowment fund will provide patient assistance funding for years to come.