Janice Lovvorn to be honored with Sheila Keeble Award

NASHVILLE, TENN. – Feb. 20, 2017 – The annual Reaching New Heights Luncheon to benefit nonprofit Cumberland Heights will be Tuesday, April 11 at 11:30 am at Nashville’s Hillwood Country Club. This year’s guest speaker is Laura Baugh, former LPGA pro and author of Out of the Rough.

This annual women’s event is an important fundraiser for the alcohol and drug-addiction recovery center. The mission of Reaching New Heights is to highlight the women’s programs at Cumberland Heights, raise funds to help women in treatment, and celebrate those women in our families and community who are experiencing their own recovery one day at a time.

Cumberland Heights’ Reaching New Heights was recently named “Most Inspiring” in nFocus’ “Best Parties of 2017” awards issue. For this and many other reasons, this event is always popular in the Nashville community, and tickets sell out early.

The luncheon co-chairs are Monica McDougall and Sally Nesbitt, and they have a committee of about three-dozen volunteers working on the event.

This year’s Sheila Keeble Award recipient is Janice Lovvorn. This annual award is given to honor a woman who has made a difference in the recovery community. Past recipients Cindy Caudle, Leslie Dabrowiak, Lake Eakin, Elizabeth Fox, Stephanie Ingram, Genie Laurent and Eleanor Templeton. All were honored at the women’s luncheons of the past, and Lovvorn will be added to this list of honorees at this year’s event.

Keynote speaker Laura Baugh was one of the most promising young woman golfers in the early 1970s, having been the Los Angeles city champion at the age of 14, the U.S. Amateur champion at 16 and the 1973 LPGA Rookie of the Year. In 1999, she wrote Out of the Rough, an intimate story about her struggles with fame and alcoholism. Baugh sought treatment at the Betty Ford Clinic in 1996 after her alcoholism threatened her life. Today, she lives in Ponte Vedra, Fla and is an inspiring speaker, golf instructor, and mother of seven.

“Nonprofit Cumberland Heights relies on support from our many generous donors and sponsors to support programs that help women seeking recovery from alcohol and drug addiction,” said Martha Farabee, chief development and marketing officer at  Cumberland Heights. “The luncheon would not be possible without the group of benefactors and committee members who help make this luncheon a big success every year. We are very excited to have inspirational author Laura Baugh join us as our speaker. I know the attendees will come away from the luncheon not only entertained but inspired and moved by her story.”

Laura Baugh - 2018 Reaching New Heights Guest Speaker

More about Laura Baugh

Laura Baugh was the LGPA Rookie of the Year in 1973, after earning her LPGA tour card on her first attempt and finishing second in her first LPGA tournament.
During her professional golf career from 1973 through 2001, Baugh earned 71 top-10 finishes, including ten runners-up.

Despite her successful start and prodigious talent, Baugh suffered from alcoholism and emotional problems and never won an LPGA tournament. In 1996, she sought treatment at the Betty Ford Clinic when her drinking could have ended her life.

In 1999, she authored Out of the Rough: An Intimate Portrait of Laura Baugh and Her Sobering Journey, a book about her struggles and recovery.

Later in her career, she became a member of the Women’s Senior Golf Tour and has worked as a television announcer for The Golf Channel.


Volume 29 Number 46
December 4, 2017
Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly

The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous
The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, part of the foundation of AA
Many people mistakenly define the 12 Steps as a treatment approach, which therefore somehow serves to exclude other strategies in working with patients with addictions. In reality, the Steps are more of a philosophy that can serve as a foundation around nearly every accepted treatment modality, which is why a wide range of programs are able to integrate the Steps into their patients’ experiences in treatment every day. “The 12 Steps are more of a point of view, which means you can believe all that and still do straight ahead [cognitive behavioral therapy],” Keith Humphreys, Ph.D., section director for mental health policy at Stanford University’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, told ADAW.

“People think of the 12 Steps as a rigid set of procedures. It’s not,” Humphreys said. He is quick to remind, in fact, that one of the adages in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is that “the 12 Steps are but suggestions.” The 28-day residential programs that were the most fervent in structuring each week of treatment around a progression through the Steps may be fading in today’s market, but the treatment field’s belief in the power of the Steps certainly has not diminished. Twelve-Step Facilitation is a research-based practice in which programs seek to help patients establish lasting connections with recovery support resources in the community. This effort is based on the realization that when addressing a chronic disease, the meaningful and ongoing connections that patients can establish post-treatment may prove more important than what happens in the time-limited context of a primary treatment stay.

Looking through the 12-Step lens

This establishes a repetitive pattern, it reminds patients of the small actions they will need to take in order to stay in recovery every day.
– Cinde Stewart Freeman discussing a New Design for Living for individuals in Recovery

ADAW spoke with Cinde Stewart Freeman, chief clinical officer at Cumberland Heights in Nashville, Tennessee, who explained, “We use a variety of evidence-based practices that operate through the lens of a 12-Step-based philosophy.” Cumberland Heights patients’ exposure to the Steps is early and frequent, although Freeman says their very first experience with the Steps might actually occur unconsciously. A daily routine that includes morning meditation, periodic pauses to check in at intervals during the day, etc., is grounded in the Big Book’s Design for Daily Living. “This establishes a repetitive pattern,” Freeman said. “It reminds patients of the small actions they will need to take in order to stay in recovery every day.” In their orientation to treatment at Cumberland Heights, patients are introduced to the Steps, but not simply in terms of what the principles are. The practices that go with that, and the importance of the 12-Step fellowship, are emphasized from the start, Freeman said. Every patient who comes in receives a copy of either the AA Big Book or the basic text of Narcotics Anonymous, Freeman said. These are used in numerous ways over the course of treatment, which in many of the facility’s program lasts for around a month. The night staff in the residences are very familiar with the texts and will be able to use them in a practical fashion when everyday problems such as an uncomfortable phone conversation with a spouse or a spat with a roommate threaten to distract. “These things seem ginormous when someone is struggling with recovery, and they often make people want to leave [the facility],” Freeman said. Staff will be able to use specifics from the Big Book to show how these everyday concerns can be addressed. “In that way the books are treated not as literature, but as instruction manuals,” she said.

Meeting attendance

Attendance at 12-Step meetings also becomes an important component of a Cumberland Heights patient’s treatment stay. Freeman said an on-site AA meeting takes place at the facility every Friday, but the majority of the meetings patients attend while in treatment are located out in the community. “We try to get people to meetings at least three times a week,” Freeman said. “We want them to experience different meetings,” which will help familiarize them with the types of recovery support options that will be available to them posttreatment, she said.

Cumberland Heights patients routinely rank their experiences in community meetings favorably in patient satisfaction surveys. “They see what people are like out in real life,” Freeman said. “People there are talking about real problems. It lends a genuineness to things. It leaves patients thinking, ‘Maybe I can really do this.'” Ironically, some research has shown that patients who have the opportunity to attend in-facility support meetings have better outcomes, says John F. Kelly, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry in addiction medicine at Harvard Medical School. Both a program’s outreach into the community and its ability to provide resources in-house appear to have a significant impact, Kelly indicated. Kelly told ADAW that residential programs tend to be able to incorporate more components of the 12 Steps because they have more time with the patient. Outpatient programs still can have an impact by exposing
patients to the roles of 12-Step groups and sponsors. “Ideally you can have a warm handoff” to resources in the community, he said.

A good fit with therapy

Even for a program as steeped in the 12 Step philosophy as Cumberland Heights, “That’s not all we do,” Freeman said. She said her staff ‘People think of the Steps as a rigid set of procedures. It’s not.’ Keith Humphreys, Ph.D. colleagues probably have grown tired of hearing her say, “If all we do is what AA and NA did, we need to charge just a dollar.” Therefore, the organization has worked to understand how numerous treatment modalities can work through a 12 Step lens. Freeman said Cumberland Heights has worked with clinical experts at the Center for Dependency, Addiction & Rehabilitation (CeDAR) at the University of Colorado Hospital to incorporate a 12-Step-influenced model of dialectical behavior therapy. It also has tailored interventionist Judith Landau’s ARISE model to its 12 Step framework, helping patients to see the issues they are facing in a familial context. Around two-thirds of Cumberland Heights staff are in recovery, but the organization’s leaders want all employees to be literate in the Steps. The organization is establishing what leaders affectionately call a 12-Step “boot camp” for new employees, Freeman said. Humphreys believes that a 12 Step philosophy basically can fit with any research-supported treatment modality — with possibly one exception.

“We know there is a class of people who will wind up as moderate drinkers,” he said. “That doesn’t mesh with people’s understanding of the Steps.” Ironically, that is the case despite language in the Big Book that references some people ultimately being able to drink “like a gent,” or in moderation, he said.

WKRN Article By: 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Addiction is sweeping the country and impacting young people every day.

According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 25 percent of teenagers who use drugs become addicted before they turn 18.

“Drug addiction is chaotic,” said a former addict at Cumberland Heights in northwest Davidson County.

Addiction is becoming far too normal for people, including teenagers.

“Not all of them have gotten to that point, especially the youth, where they could be addicted, but they are definitely on a path,” said Dean Porterfield, Director of Adolescent and Young Adult Services.

There is no doubt in Alex Booth’s mind that he is a recovering addict. Booth is 28 years old now and once was hooked on pain pills.

“Drinking on the weekends, partying, having fun was all that I really cared about, and it’s not realistic to have that kind of lifestyle,” said Booth.

Booth came to Cumberland Heights years ago. He said without their help, he might not be alive today.

“I was on death’s door when I got to Cumberland Heights. I had a very low heart beat from being on so many depressants for so long,” said Booth.

That is a scary reality for many teenagers and young adults.

“I had pretty much given up and I said, ‘Do whatever.’ I’d follow any suggestion,” Booth told News 2.

A report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse says 50 percent of teens have tried alcohol and 40 percent have used some kind of illegal drug by their senior year in high school.

Porterfield said most of the teenagers coming to them are addicted to alcohol and marijuana and headed down a dark path with prescription pain pills.

“We are starting to see teenagers and young adults getting into substances at a faster rate and a more lethal rate,” said Porterfield.

Porterfield said the biggest challenge is making sure teenagers understand the disease and want to get help.

“It’s not uncommon for someone to get to us and have the drug history, substance abuse history of someone that is much older,” explained Porterfield.

That is something Booth said was a huge hurdle for him and others who have hit rock bottom.

“I remember being a teenager and thinking that I had the entire world figured out,” Booth said.

NPR: How Drug Combos Are Making Tennessee’s Opioid Problem Even More Deadly

Original By: AMY ESKIND
Posted On: September 25, 2017

NPR: Combining Dangerous Drugs Pushes Tennessee Overdose Deaths To Record High
NPR: How Drug Combos Are Making Tennessee’s Opioid Problem Even More Deadly

The combining of powerful drugs — both purposeful and unintentional — is making Tennessee’s opioid epidemic even more deadly. The latest figures out this month show 2016 was another record year for overdoses in the state — more than 1,600 people died. And experts say risky drug cocktails are compounding the problem.

Emergency responders have answered hundreds of 9-1-1 calls from friends and family members of people who have overdosed. Last year Davidson County lost 261 people to overdose, almost all of them from opiates. On the street, heroin is a cheaper opiate than pills. Many users are looking for whatever will give them the highest high, says recovering addict Mary Barton Lea.

“When I was buying my heroin I said, ‘who’s got the heroin with the fentanyl?’” she says. “That’s the heroin I want.”

Fentanyl is a very strong opiate that magnifies the experience and lasts longer. Experts expect to see more of it coming into Middle Tennessee.

“It’s a sleep-like state, it’s a state that you feel secure,” Lea says. “I’ve read — and I tend to agree with this — it’s almost like kissing God, because it takes you to a place you’ve never been before.”

But that incredible high comes with a physical and mental addiction, Lea says.

“When you come down from that state, all your body says is I want to get back there…You get up there quick, but then there’s a crash and the crash is horrible. The crash is you will do anything within your power to get more.”

Serious addicts like Lea may be willing to flirt with death. Others are simply unaware, says Sam MacMaster. He’s the chief clinical officer at JourneyPure, an addiction treatment provider. He warns that no one can be sure what they’re buying in the illegal market.

How Drug Combos Are Making Tennessee's Opioid Problem Even More Deadly
Sadly, 2016 was another record year for overdoses in the state — more than 1,600 people died. And experts say risky drug cocktails are compounding the problem.

“You would not be able to tell [by] how it looks at all, and that’s the issue,” MacMaster says. “They believe that they’re purchasing typically heroin or sometimes even a pilled opiate but it’s been cut with fentanyl.”

Indeed, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency issued a warning about counterfeit Vicadin and Oxycotin pills. As with heroin, unscrupulous dealers add fentanyl to give themselves a marketing edge — they’ve got the strong stuff.

But some users are buying the laced drugs unknowingly. They may erroneously think it’s stronger because it’s more pure. The next thing they know, they can’t breathe. Then their heart stops.

“If I believe I’m shooting x-amount of heroin, I may in fact be shooting something that is much more potent. And while I may have a sense of what my body can handle, I’ll have no idea what my body can handle in terms of the fentanyl,” MacMaster says.

Some dealers are even lacing their supplies with carfentanil, a veterinary opiate that can knock out a rhino.

But lethal combinations go beyond various opioids. Users have also been adding prescription anxiety medications, such as Xanax, Valium or Klonopin. Not only is that a doubling up on medications that depress the central nervous system, experts worn there can be a multiplier effect. And it’s hitting teens and young adults hard, especially since many of them already have anti-anxiety prescriptions. Others have painkillers, maybe prescribed for an injury.

“There’s actually prescription parties where kids will have a party and everybody raids the medicine cabinets they can get to, brings them to the party, and then you have whatever you have at that party for people to experiment with,” says Cinde Stewart Freeman, chief clinical officer at Cumberland Heights, an addiction treatment center.

Cole Szabo, adolescent specialist at Cumberland Heights, says the days when kids stuck to beer and marijuana are gone.

“The benzos and opioids are the new gateway drug,” he says. And it’s in the schools. “You’re seeing Xanax, you’re seeing benzos, you’re seeing hydrocodones, oxycodones, Vicodin – you’re seeing that more. The problem with that is, you’re going to die quickly. It’s a quick death, you’re going down fast.”

If administered in time a nasal spray called Narcan that reverses the effects of opiates can save a life. Emergency responders in Nashville have used it on more than 500 people already this year.

But Narcan has no effect on other drugs like anti-anxiety pills, cocaine, or alcohol, so combination overdoses can still prove lethal. That was unfortunately the case for Max Barry, the son of Nashville’s mayor, who could not be revived with Narcan, and died over the summer in Colorado with much more than opiates in his system.

Date: SEPTEMBER 18, 2017

NPR: Combining Dangerous Drugs Pushes Tennessee Overdose Deaths To Record High

State Health Department officials say more Tennesseans died from drug overdoses last year than ever before in recorded history. The more than 1,600 deaths marked a 12 percent increase over the previous year.

The recent data show a rise in fatal overdoses from a combination of drugs. For example, deaths involving opioids and stimulants nearly doubled in that time period. And those involving the opioid pain killer fentanyl rose by nearly 75 percent.

Cinde Stewart Freeman is chief clinical officer at Cumberland Heights, a nonprofit drug and alcohol addiction recovery center in Nashville. She says people used to primarily mix opiates and alcohol.

But now, says Freeman, “We see people who mix alcohol with opiates of some sort and then the benzodiazepines on top of them. Unfortunately sometimes what people are getting is not what they think, so if it’s laced with fentanyl, which is a really high-powered opiate, it becomes even more deadly.”

Tennessee’s Substance Abuse Services Commissioner, Marie Williams, says the rise in overdose deaths proves the importance of additional funding allocated by Gov. Bill Haslam and the legislature this year.

Other officials say while fatalities are rising, it’s hard to determine what percentage of the spike is due to an increase in toxicology exams. The opioid epidemic has significantly increased awareness of the need to conduct more post-mortem drug tests.

Published: September 14, 2017

Specialists Address Disturbing Trends, Skyrocketing Death Rates

The Opioid Crisis hits Nashville Tennessee - Cumberland Heights treats Addiction to Opioids and Heroin

More than 2.5 million Americans suffer from opioid use disorder, which contributed to more than 33,000 overdose deaths in 2015, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fortunately, a growing number of treatment options are helping to break the addiction cycle and bring healing to families in Middle Tennessee and beyond.

The New Face of Addiction

“Once upon a time, opioid addiction was limited to healthcare professionals with access,” said Chapman Sledge, MD, FASAM, chief medical officer at Cumberland Heights.


An addiction specialist for more than 20 years, Sledge said programs like Cumberland’s primarily treated those suffering from alcoholism a decade ago. Fast-forward to 2017, and the 50-year-old program regularly sees housewives, teenagers and executives – all patients addicted to prescription opioids and, more recently, heroin.


“Eight years ago you rarely saw heroin in Nashville,” Sledge said. “When Tennessee became more aggressive with the Controlled Substance Monitoring Database Program, it cut down on multiple prescriptions from multiple prescribers, which tightened up the illegal supply and drove cost up.”


To help prevent abuse, pharmaceutical companies also made the drugs less dissolvable. That shift opened doors for mom-and-pop heroin dealers to set up shop, offering an alternative that’s cheaper, easier to get, and more potent than prescription opioids. Today, heroin is often the most popular opioid for first-time users, leading to more overdose-related deaths than ever.


Dr. Chapman Sledge, MD of Cumberland Heights Top Opioid Medical Doctor“The thing that’s a game-change is the rate at which people are dying and the desperation among families,” Sledge said. “It’s so incredibly dangerous because the potency has changed. With prescription opioids, we knew what to expect from a single dose … but with heroin, it’s difficult to judge potency.”

Evolving Therapies

Enter medication-assisted therapy (MAT) including fast-acting opioid antagonist drugs, now a standard in pharmacies and emergency departments nationwide. In fact, certain antagonist therapies are available without a prescription in many states, including Tennessee.


Also growing is the number of in- and out-patient treatment options now available. At Cumberland Heights, patients undergo an evidence-based, 12-step recovery process that focuses on spiritual healing, as well as physical. In 2016 the program treated more than 2,000 men, women and adolescents through their two main campuses and 11 outpatient offices.

A Lifelong Journey

While inpatient treatment programs traditionally last 30-60 days, those with substance abuse disorders typically face a lifetime struggle with addiction. “We understand that this is a potentially lifelong disease, and we provide medications for that.”


Breaking the Cycle

Like Sledge and Lee, Russo-Appel said the stigma around addiction is changing. “Many believe addiction is found in the lower socioeconomic class or the homeless, but it’s startling to see the number of high functioning, well educated people battling this,” she said. That’s because addiction so often starts with a valid prescription for chronic pain. “PCPs and other providers are all coming into an understanding that this has gotten out of control,” she said. “We now have task forces and doctors signing pledges on how to prescribe opioids moving forward.”


Russo-Appel said stopping the addiction cycle begins with prevention efforts as early as grammar school. “We need more awareness programs and access to care,” she said. “The heart of our mission is access. How do we get treatment to as many people as we can?”

Original Article By: MICHAEL CORKERY, NY Times
Date: SEPT. 15, 2017

As drug addiction soars in the United States, a booming business of rehab centers has sprung up to treat the problem. And when drug addicts and their families search for help, they often turn to Google.

Google Sets Limits on Addiction Treatment Ads, Citing Safety

But prosecutors and health advocates have warned that many online searches are leading addicts to click on ads for rehab centers that are unfit to help them or, in some cases, endangering their lives.

This week, Google acknowledged the problem — and started restricting ads that come up when someone searches for addiction treatment on its site. “We found a number of misleading experiences among rehabilitation treatment centers that led to our decision,” Google spokeswoman Elisa Greene said in a statement on Thursday.

Google has taken similar steps to restrict advertisements only a few times before. Last year it limited ads for payday lenders, and in the past it created a verification system for locksmiths to prevent fraud.

In this case, the restrictions will limit a popular marketing tool in the $35 billion addiction treatment business, affecting thousands of small-time operators.

Google Sets Limits on Addiction Treatment Ads, Citing Safety

“This is a bold move by one of the world’s biggest companies, saying people’s lives are more important than profit,” said Greg Williams, co-founder of Facing Addiction, a nonprofit group that is an advocate for people struggling with addiction.

Many rehab centers, a large number of which are clustered in warm climates like Florida, Arizona and California, rely on Google searches to attract patients from across the country. Their strategy often included buying an ad that would come up when someone searched for phrases like “drug rehab” or “alcohol treatment centers.”

Google Sets Limits on Addiction Treatment Ads

As of this week, Google has stopped selling ads related to those searches, although it may lift the restriction if it can find a way to weed out misleading advertisements.

Search ads for addiction treatment are lucrative. Treatment providers, in some cases, have been willing to pay $70 per ad click, according to an analysis that Mr. Williams’ group conducted and presented to Google executives.

But the payoff for those clicks can be significant. Addicts who sign up for 30 days of residential treatment can bring in tens of thousands of dollars from private insurance.

The crucial, if unwitting, role that Google has played in the treatment industry exposes the deep flaws in how drug addicts are cared for in America. Despite the rapid growth in the number of addiction cases — and the Trump Administration’s declaration that the opioid crisis is a national emergency — the treatment industry remains a hodgepodge of upstart businesses, with only a few well-known providers.

What constitutes treatment is also all over the map, from yoga and equine therapy to daily doses of medication. And unlike other serious illnesses, like cancer or heart disease, where a physician typically refers the patient for treatment, many addicts and their families look for help on the internet.

That has made Google one of the largest referral sources for treating a disease that affects millions of Americans. And the companies willing to the pay the most for ads are the one that addicts are most likely to see on their search.

But ad-driven searches, according to advocates and law enforcement officials, have not always led patients to the best care. In some cases, they have found that patients are being duped, a phenomenon Google on Thursday acknowledged.

Last December, a Florida grand jury released a report detailing abuses in the state’s addiction treatment industry, which is centered around Palm Beach County. Among the findings, the grand jury zeroed on the problems with how some of the shoddy programs were being marketed online.

One witness, according to the grand jury report, described how “online marketers use Google search terms to essentially hijack the good name and reputation of notable treatment providers only to route the caller to the highest bidder.”

Another common trap: Addicts search Google for a rehab program close to their home, but they will click on an ad for a referral service pitching treatment in another state. The referral service then collects a fee, if they signed up.

Google’s restrictions were cheered by health officials, who have called for more medically based treatment. “People don’t always know what good treatment is,” said Dr. Vivek Murthy, who was surgeon general in the Obama Administration and published a oft-cited report last year that warned of the nation’s addiction crisis. “I am glad Google took steps to prevent the spread of these false ads.”

In targeting the ads for addiction treatment, Google consulted with experts including Mr. Williams, who himself has been in recovery for many years. He said he began discussions with Google executives around the time that Dr. Murthy released his report.

Mr. Williams said that he had explained to Google that his own experience trying to buy ads from the company had illustrated how the process of finding information about addiction treatment online was providing people with unreliable information. Mr. Williams said he discovered this when his group received a grant from Google that would help him buy ads promoting a website providing information about community based treatment — and found he couldn’t compete.

Buying ads on Google involves bidding to place your ad at the top of the search results when a user types in words relevant to your product or service. But Mr. Williams found that the bid prices for words related to treatment had gotten so expensive that his group couldn’t pay as much as the for-profit treatment providers. Some of those treatment providers, Mr. Williams told Google, were not only misleading, they had been charged with crimes.

In a series of phone calls and a meeting in Washington, D.C., Mr. Williams presented the company his research. He highlighted that some of the biggest buyers of ad words related to treatment had been accused of misdeeds related to insurance fraud and sexual assault.

“We stumbled upon this issue organically,” said Mr. Williams. “And they heard us out.”

A version of this article appears in print on September 15, 2017, on Page B5 of the New York edition with the headline: In Rare Move, Google Imposes New Limits on Addiction Treatment Ads, Citing Saftey.

04/21/2017 Original Article by

MusiCares Hosts Addiction Recovery Panel That Will Include Bad Company's Simon Kirke
By: Ray Tamarra/Getty Images
Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke photographed at Grant Gallery on Jan. 19, 2006 in New York City.

Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke will join a MusiCares panel dedicated to treating artists and other music professionals who’ve become addicted to drugs and alcohol. Kirke, who works closely with Road Recovery, an organization that uses musicians to mentor teens battling addiction, will take part in “Plugged In…Treating The Music Professional and Leading Them Toward a Lifetime of Recovery.” The luncheon and discussion will take place beginning at 11:30 am on April 27 at the BMI/New York offices, located at 7 World Trade Center.


“We want managers, A&R people and musicians to come to this so that they can learn to recognize the signs of addiction so that they can act to help a fellow band member or an artist they’re working with before it gets bad,” says Neil Lasher, a consultant in promotions and artist relations at Sony/ATV Music Publishing and a certified interventionist, who will moderate the panel of intervention and recovery experts.


Those scheduled to take part include Dr. Chapman Sledge, the chief medical director of Cumberland Heights, a Nashville-based non-profit alcohol and drug treatment center; Miles Adcox, the CEO and owner of Onsite, a dependency treatment center that’s also located in Nashville; Paul Gallant, a Master’s level licensed professional counselor, Certified Intervention Professional and founder of Primary Recovery Services in Greenwich, Conn.; Gene Bowen the founder of Road Recovery and Gregg Allman’s former road manager; and MusiCares vice chairman Michael McDonald, the founder and CEO of Mick Management, which represents Maggie Rogers, Hamilton Leithauser and Sharon Van Etten.


Lasher, who has been in recovery for 30 years — and who, in 1997, played a leading role in establishing the MusiCares Safe Harbor Room (a sober backstage area at the Grammy Awards that is set up every year) — tells Billboard that, given the epidemic of opioid abuse and over-prescription in the United States, the panel is intended as a preventative measure.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC), the number of overdose deaths from opioids, including prescription opioids, has quadrupled since 1999 and claimed more than half a million people between 2000 and 2015. On April 21, 2016, Prince died from an accidental overdose of the opioid fentanyl, and Lasher says, “Of all my years going to 12-step meetings, I see more people with double-digit [years of] sobriety to their credit, [relapse] because of over-prescribed opioids.”


Although there is no evidence that the music industry has been more affected by opioid abuse than other business sectors, McDonald says musicians can be more susceptible to addiction in general because “they are often tortured souls. They often don’t fit into the 9-to-5 mold, and they like emotional unrest and the highs and lows,” which they can channel into their art.


When it comes to intervention and recovery, working with musical artists also tends to be more complex, says Gallant. “Normally, when I’m coordinating an intervention, I’ll talk to five people,” he explains. “With an artist, there could easily be a dozen: You’ve got family, the record company, management, the artist’s publicist and other band members and their family. And while some of those people genuinely care about the guy, others see him as a paycheck… that can get challenging in terms of clinical recommendations versus business obligations.”


The panel and luncheon are free, but seating is limited. See the flyer below for additional information.

MusiCares Hosts Addiction Recovery Panel

The annual Reaching New Heights Luncheon to benefit nonprofit Cumberland Heights was held at Nashville’s Hillwood Country Club. This year’s guest speaker was Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle.

The popular fundraiser for the alcohol and drug-addiction recovery center was co-chaired by Grace Clayton and Kathleen Estes, with a committee of about three-dozen volunteers working on the event—including a Gentlemen’s Committee.

2017 Reaching New Heights Luncheon Photos

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