By: MELANIE KILGORE-HILL
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?”


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

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The alleged leader of a Honduran drug group has been arrested in Nashville.

Officials with Metro Nashville Police said in a Tweet Tuesday morning that Victor Cardoza Martinez was taken into custody at an apartment on Nolensville Pike.

Check out Cumberland Heights’ own Dr. Chapman Sledge discussing the local heroin epidemic and Honduran drug leader’s arrest with News Channel 4.

According to investigators, Martinez is the group’s suspected leader. Police also seized heroin, cocaine and cash in the raid.

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