Marvin Ventrell - NAATP Executive Director - National Association of  Addiction Treatment Providers
Marvin Ventrell
Executive Director
National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers

23 Million Americans suffer from addiction. An estimated 10% get the specialized care they need. Compare this to diabetes where an estimated 87% receive specialized care. Addiction is a disease and addiction treatment is a health care service. It is plain to see we have a serious health care gap between addiction treatment and need, and the need is great.

Unlike most healthcare, government funding is the primary source of payment for addiction care and that funding is woefully inadequate. Private insurance doesn’t adequately close the gap. It pays about 40% of medical care generally but only about 10% of addiction care. While parity law and addiction as an essential healthcare benefit have the potential to close that gap, we are not there yet.

Accessing appropriate treatment, therefore, is a considerable challenge. We who work in the field know what appropriate treatment, for the appropriate level of care, looks like, and where to find it. However, identifying treatment that is both high quality and attainable is a serious problem for both the typical consumer and even the payer.

good healthcare is never easy but for most conditions, consumers follow a sensible path. We seek the advice of trusted professionals who work in the field. We inquire with those who have experienced the condition. We ask our primary healthcare provider for a referral. We contact our insurer to find out what services are covered.

Consumers searching for addiction care frequently do not follow this path and are prone to falling into a web of marketing deception. Rather than focusing on appropriate health care criteria, the consumer can be lured toward flashy amenities, false promises, and economic bargains. These are not sensible healthcare selection criteria. It is alarming to think that a lifesaving healthcare selection would be influenced by luxury accommodations and whether the facility has a pool or is near the beach.

NAATP - National Association of  Addiction Treatment Providers

Addiction treatment is confusing and misunderstood to the consumer. We even have a confusing name for it: rehab. (The term rehab is both inaccurate and minimizes the gravity of the disease. It is time we stopped using it.) Further, the consumer or the consumer’s loved ones are typically operating in crisis and are vulnerable to deception.

So, the consumer turns to the internet. The landscape for finding treatment is dominated by the internet, which is dominated by Google, which is itself a function of marketing and the aggregation of consumer identity and behavior. The system is not built to help the consumer find the best care. It is built to help the advertiser direct the consumer.

The internet is frequently the source of manipulation and deception conducted by a minority of treatment providers and treatment brokers. Google AdWords can be dominated by unscrupulous marketers. Numerous other predatory web practices are designed to deceive the consumer. The AdWords game became so dangerous to the consumer that Google agreed to suspend that source of considerable income for the time being. NAATP is currently working with Google to develop a plan to reintroduce AdWords, accompanied by certain safeguards against deceptive practices.

Online treatment directories to the rescue! Not so fast. Such private directories can be of limited value to the consumer and can be misleading. They may be merely disguised advertising tools for one or more treatment centers or treatment brokers. Despite listing many other programs, frequently without permission, and presenting as independent resources, they still direct the consumer to call a specific 800 number where “caring professionals” are available. These directories are not, as some have suggested, analogous to the phonebook yellow pages, nor are they the Yelp of treatment. The buying and selling of patient leads can also be facilitated by online directories (remember, this is an identity aggregation system), a practice prohibited by the NAATP Code of Ethics. Additionally, the consumer must beware of so called treatment program rankings. Such rankings are not a recognized practice in the field.

The consumer may also find itself visiting a website that purports to be a treatment educational resource but is, itself, designed to aggregate identities and market certain treatment programs to them. Some such sites can be operated by a single program while not clearly branded with the program’s identity.

The government, through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), has produced an online repository of mental health and addiction services. It is a large repository that contains approximately 13,000 addiction treatment service entities. It is an important and useful repository of information, particularly for professionals working in the field, researchers, and policy-makers. In its depth and selection criteria, it may not be the most useful tool for the consumer to narrow and select care.

Good consumerism requires discernment based on objective criteria. To aid the consumer and payer in this process, NAATP has produced a guide to treatment program selection. We encourage the consumer and the professional to read and use this guide in the process of selecting addiction treatment. We further encourage treatment providers themselves to review this guide and ask themselves whether they meet the conditions set forth.

Continue Reading NAATP Executive Director’s Article on Treatment Program Discernment

Read the NAATP Guide to Choosing Treatment

Access the NAATP Addiction Industry Directory

Read about Cumberland Heights’ Code of Ethics and learn about 12 Questions to Ask Before You Choose an Addiction Treatment Program written by Cumberland Heights CEO Jay Crosson.


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.


nFOCUS - The 2017 Best Parties & Most Inspiring Events

Best Parties 2017

The results are in!

AUTHORS Nancy FloydHolly HoffmanGeert De LombaerdeMegan Seling

Another year has come and gone, but we couldn’t bid 2017 adieu without honoring the best parties of the year. Our writers and readers alike have been reflecting back on the biggest and brightest moments of the past 12 months, and what a year it was! From laughing with Shaq to dancing with Steven Tyler to celebrating the birth of Andrew Jackson, there was something to delight everyone on Nashville’s social scene. Keep reading to find out what events stood out to our readers, what details impressed our writers and whether or not your favorites made the list.

Cumberland Heights’ own “Reaching New Heights” Women’s Luncheon took top honors for Most Inspiring Luncheon and we couldn’t be more appreciative!  Read about it below:

Most Inspiring Luncheon

Reaching New Heights

Cumberland Heights’ Reaching New Heights Luncheon is always an afternoon filled with wisdom and inspiration, but this year’s keynote speaker took it to another level. Jeannette Walls, author of the best-selling memoir The Glass Castle, shared many of the book’s more poignant tales as she addressed her father’s alcoholism, her untraditional upbringing and the lessons she’s learned along the way. Supporters of Cumberland Heights are no strangers to the heartbreak of addiction, but Jeannette’s message was one of hope and healing, two things that Cumberland Heights works hard to achieve every single day. Nancy Floyd

Scan the list of all the Nashville-area winners below:

Readers’ Choice

Best Party

1. Symphony Fashion Show
2. One Night Only
3. Conservancy Gala and Ballet Ball (TIE)

Most Inspired Co-chair Team

1. Shaun Inman and Sheila Shields (Symphony Fashion Show)
2. Beth Courtney and Mara Papatheodorou (Conservancy Gala)
3. Charlotte Goldston and Trish Munro (One Night Only)

Best Favor

1. Beehive honey pot with honey (Conservancy Gala)
2. Bridge tea towel (Dinner on the Bridge)
3. Commemorative book (Sunday in the Park)

Best Decorations

1. Ballet Ball
2. One Night Only
3. l’Eté du Vin

Most Fun Party

1. One Night Only
2. Gentlemen’s Christmas Breakfast
3. Conservancy Gala and Ballet Ball (TIE)

Best Auction Item

1. Trip to NYC with Matt Logan (One Night Only)
2. Live painting by artist (Dinner on the Bridge)
3. Breakfast with Megan Barry (Taste)

Best Entertainment

1. Eden Espinosa (One Night Only)
2. Fisk Jubilee Singers (Ballet Ball and Conservancy Gala)
3. Steven Tyler (Symphony Ball)

Best Women’s Event

1. Symphony Fashion Show
2. Power of the Purse
3. Friends & Fashion

Best Special Guest

1. Steven Tyler (Symphony Ball)
2. Zac Posen (Symphony Fashion Show) and Renée Fleming (Oz Chairman’s Choice) (TIE)
3. Steve Inskeep (Hermitage Gala)

Best Children’s Event

1. All Booked Up (Junior League)
2. Family Day at Oz (Oz Arts Nashville)
3. Picnic at the Library (Nashville Public Library)

Best Dressed Party Guest

1. Clare Armistead
2. Milton White

Craziest/Funniest/Best Sight at a Party

1. President Jackson showing up for his 250th birthday
2. Seesaw at Conservancy Gala
3. Sabering a 9-liter Schramsberg Champagne at l’Eté du Vin

Best Animal-Centric Event

1. Art for Animals
2. Sunset Safari
3. Cause for Paws

Best Caterer

1. Kristen Winston
2. Johnny Haffner
3. G Catering

Best Event Planner

1. Amos Gott
2. Jayne Bubis
3. Hugh Howser

Best Event Venue

1. Schermerhorn Symphony Center
2. Oz Arts Nashville
3. Cheekwood

Writers’ Choice

Most Touching Tribute

Jane Dudley Dedication

In June, Cheekwood Estate & Gardens recognized Jane Dudley — the founder, two-time chair and honorary chair of the Swan Ball and an honorary Board of Trust member — for her perennial commitment to the historic estate. Following the heartfelt dedication of the Jane Anderson Dudley Grand Staircase and Balcony, past Swan Ball chairs surrounded the honoree for a group photo at the base of the newly named stairwell, which now serves as a constant, touching reminder of the benevolent lady we lost this year. Holly Hoffman

Best Blast from the Past

Richard Marx at Stars for Wishes

Wherever you go, whatever you do, Stars for Wishes will be right here waiting for you. The star-studded fundraiser for Make-A-Wish had ladies swaying in the audience and singing along with 2017’s headliner, Richard Marx. The singer — best known for his romantic ‘80s ballads — won the crowd over in no time, inspiring everyone to wave their candles from side to side when he closed out the show with “Right Here Waiting.” Nancy Floyd

Most Successful Makeover

Harvest Moon

After more than 30 years, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee decided it was time to give its signature event, the Harvest Moon Ball, a makeover. They opted for a more casual vibe by dropping “ball” from the name and moving to the crowd-pleasing Loveless Barn. The many enthusiastic attendees, who filled the barn wearing sporty jackets and jeans, enjoyed fare from The Loveless Cafe and dancing to Super T Revue, proving the plan was a huge success. Holly Hoffman

Best Bipartisan Gathering

Gentlemen’s Christmas Breakfast

On one of the first truly cold days of late 2017, there was plenty of warmth from both sides of the aisle at Shaun and Gordon Inman’s Franklin home, where a record crowd gathered for the 18th Gentlemen’s Christmas Breakfast. Politics might be especially divisive these days, but disagreements were set aside for this jovial pre-holiday gathering that drew plenty of Republican and Democrat officeholders as well as numerous candidates looking to take their public service to the next level. Geert de Lombaerde

Biggest Celebrity Sighting

Shaquille O’Neal at Great Futures Gala

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee is known for bringing in some big-time celebrities for the annual Great Futures Gala. In the past, they’ve welcomed Rob Lowe, Martin Short and Martin Sheen. But no one was bigger than this year’s special guest. Shaquille O’Neal, a former Club kid himself, was charming and hilarious when he sat down with Rudy Kalis for a live interview about his basketball career, his business success and his upbringing in New Jersey, reminding everyone in attendance of the huge impact this organization has made. Nancy Floyd

Best Dog Park Alternative

Unleashed: Dinner With Your Dog

The number of dog-friendly spots in Nashville continues to grow as more people take their furry friends out and about. When the sun goes down and the dog park closes, the best place to party with your pup is Unleashed: Dinner With Your Dog. Canines are as excited as their owners to head to the Hutton Hotel for the Nashville Humane Association fundraiser. If you don’t own a dog, no worries. Every adorable pup modeling canine couture is available for adoption! Holly Hoffman

Most Inspiring Luncheon

Reaching New Heights

Cumberland Heights’ Reaching New Heights Luncheon is always an afternoon filled with wisdom and inspiration, but this year’s keynote speaker took it to another level. Jeannette Walls, author of the best-selling memoir The Glass Castle, shared many of the book’s more poignant tales as she addressed her father’s alcoholism, her untraditional upbringing and the lessons she’s learned along the way. Supporters of Cumberland Heights are no strangers to the heartbreak of addiction, but Jeannette’s message was one of hope and healing, two things that Cumberland Heights works hard to achieve every single day. Nancy Floyd

Best Late-Night Snack

Chocolate-covered popcorn

After an exquisite evening that included an a cappella performance of Aerosmith’s “Dream On” from the Nashville Boy Choir at Blair, ladies and gents at the Symphony Ball Patrons Party received one final surprise. Each guest was handed a charmingly wrapped, generously sized bag of chocolate-covered popcorn, compliments of G&G Interiors and past Symphony Ball chair Jane Ann Pilkinton. Two nights later at the ball, patrons were raving over the gourmet treat and many confessed to snacking on it as soon as they got home. Holly Hoffman

Most Modern Décor

Frist Gala

The art that inspired the 2017 Frist Gala may have been centuries old, but the party was as fresh and modern as you can get. Guests spent the first half of the black-tie gala admiring Secrets of Buddhist Art: Tibet, Japan, and Korea in the main gallery, but when they stepped into the tent, co-chairs Julie Dretler and Betsy Wilt wowed them with a modern take on the exhibit. Working with The Tulip Tree, the ladies created a contemporary and oh-so-chic setting for dinner, dreaming up a stark white-on-white aesthetic that was accented by bold red lanterns and panels hanging from the ceiling. The result was as stunning and dramatic as the art itself. Nancy Floyd

Best Visit to a Honky-Tonk Without Running Into Bachelorettes

Bright Lights, Nashville Lights at the Omni

Remember when a trip to Lower Broad was ill-advised because of rather sketchy, somewhat seedy characters roaming the streets? Now it is even riskier due to the rather drunk, somewhat loud bachelorettes who have invaded the five block stretch. At Bright Lights, Nashville Nights, the Tennessee Kidney Foundation remedied that problem by recreating the famous district inside the Omni Hotel. It provided all the fun of hitting the honky-tonks without the threat of running into a single woo-girl. Holly Hoffman

Best Audience Participation

Broadway Brunch

In its second year, Nashville Rep’s Broadway Brunch showcased the excitement and unpredictability of live theater with this raucous Sunday morning party. As guests enjoyed brunch at City Winery, a handful of Nashville Rep’s stars entertained with a Broadway revue, eliciting a little help from the audience from time to time, most notably from the talented Eddie George who was sitting front and center. About halfway into the performance, the cast started chanting “We want Billy,” the intro to “All I Care About” from Chicago. Eddie didn’t need too much coaxing before jumping onstage to reprise his Broadway role of Billy Flynn, sending this crowd into a mimosa-fueled tizzy. Nancy Floyd

Fanciest Footwork

Christie Wilson, Dancing for Safe Haven

You can count on discovering a friend’s hidden talent at Safe Haven Family Shelter’s Dancing for Safe Haven. That friend was Christie Wilson. Six competitors took the assignment seriously, training for weeks with professional dancers to learn their way around the dance floor. Each performance was impressive, but it was Christie who danced her way into hearts of the crowd. With her partner, Christopher Wayne, she wowed everyone with a Foxtrot that went from demure to red hot in a flash and deservedly won the Audience Favorite Award. Holly Hoffman

Best-Kept Promise

Laura Bush at the Spring Outing

In 2009, former first lady Laura Bush was so moved by a visit to The Hermitage that she told the staff to let her know if there was ever anything she could do to help. Last year, when the Andrew Jackson Foundation was planning the Spring Outing, Laura was the first person to come to mind. The former first lady kept her promise and appeared at the 117th annual event to speak to the record-breaking crowd of 700 guests, sharing tales of her time in the White House, offering updates on her family and honoring the important role of The Hermitage in educating others about American history. Nancy Floyd

Best Photo Opportunity

NFA Honors

At the inaugural NFA Honors, Kelly Diehl and Elizabeth Williams of New Hat Projects teamed up with Vroom Vroom Balloon and employed loads of color and patterns to create not one, but two, fantastic photo opportunities at the arts-immersive event. A kaleidoscopic balloon wall from Vroom Vroom Ballooon was the most innovative step-and-repeat ever, and columns of spin-able cubes provided a killer backdrop in the photo booth. As artistic directors for the Nashville Fashion Alliance event, Kelly and Elizabeth embraced the theme — celebrating the artistic collaboration and economic potential of Nashville’s fashion industry — and brought in their creative friends to help. Holly Hoffman

Most Charming Duo

Kelsea Ballerini and Zac Posen at the Symphony Fashion Show

It’s hard to imagine anyone more adorable than fashion designer Zac Posen. That is, until country music darling Kelsea Ballerini walks into the room. The duo was paired up for the Symphony Fashion Show, a genius move by co-chairs Shaun Inman and Sheila Shields, and it was love at first sight — for them and for us. When they came together on and off the stage, the result was pure magic, giving fans one of the most fabulous Symphony Fashion Shows in recent memory and — if we do say so ourselves — one of the most gorgeous Nfocus covers of the year. Nancy Floyd

Best Alternative to Happy Hour

Wined Up

A great way to end a wintry week — or any week for that matter — is drinks with friends. In February, Wined Up provided the perfect setting for exactly that while raising funds for Nashville Wine Auction’s fight against cancer. A thirsty crowd filled City Winery for the Friday-night event, a part of the organization’s Pairings: The Ultimate Wine and Food Weekend. Enthusiasts and aficionados reveled in sampling almost 100 wines from 29 West Coast vintners while cleansing their palates with tasty appetizers prepared by Chicago chefs. That’s plenty to be happy about! Holly Hoffman

Best Slice of Americana

Whitland Fourth of July Celebration

The Fourth of July always has everybody feeling patriotic, but no celebration in the city is quite as charming as the parade and potluck that happens in the Historic Whitland neighborhood. The entire affair feels like stepping inside a Norman Rockwell painting — rosy-cheeked children waving American flags, dogs yapping at their heels, grown men dressed like Uncle Sam — and is the perfect way to kick off the birthday of our great nation. Nancy Floyd

Best Trip Back in Time

Prom Night at Hampton High

No matter what your recollection of high school prom may be, everyone looks back on Prom Night at Hampton High with fond memories. More than 200 people attired in big dresses, big hair and big lapels walked through a balloon arch into the “gym” — aka Bette and Mark Christoferson’s backyard — for the zany night benefiting Nashville Conflict Resolution Center. Even a former prom queen returned to campus for old times’ sake: Title-winning female impersonator Brooke Lynn Hytes entertained the crowd until way past curfew. Holly Hoffman

Best Triumphant Return

Conservancy Gala

After taking a year off due to an unexpected tragedy in 2016, the Conservancy Gala returned in triumphant fashion this past November. A celebration of our beloved Centennial Park and Parthenon, the event honored the history of these two Nashville treasures by transporting guests back to 1897 for the Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition. Co-chairs Beth Courtney and Mara Papatheodorou had every detail covered, from a welcoming committee decked out in Victorian attire to copies of the expo’s admission tickets to a replica of the giant seesaw that was the most popular attraction. It was the perfect way to celebrate the past and the future! Nancy Floyd

Best Hockey-Viewing Party

Swan Ball

Ticketless fans of the Predators filled sports bars and living rooms to watch their beloved team win the first home game in the Stanley Cup finals, but the ritziest viewing party by far was held at the Swan Ball. Guests — some wearing fan gear to accessorize tails and gowns — were thrilled to find televisions strategically placed under the tent on Cheekwood’s Swan Lawn. Although performer Sheryl Crow couldn’t slip away to watch the game, she showed her support for the team by plucking a Preds cap from a fan and wearing it while she sang a couple of songs. Holly Hoffman

Most Informative Chat

Antiques & Garden Show Lecture

The Antiques & Garden Show is known for bringing in some of the most fascinating and glamorous people in the world — Hi, Diane Keaton and Gwyneth Paltrow! — and we could listen to their keynote speakers talk for days about style and design. But it’s also nice to walk away with some very practical tips, which is what audiences received when Nate Berkus took the stage. The interior designer, who shot to stardom as a favorite guest of Oprah Winfrey, was charming and informative as he offered up design tips and shared his favorite finds from the show. Nancy Floyd

Best-Behaved Honoree

Bill Forrester at How About Dinner and a Movie

You can always count on Bill Forrester to be a perfect gentleman, and he was definitely minding his manners at How About Dinner and a Movie. The man who always keeps us in line by asking, “Are you behaving?” was honored for his many far-reaching contributions to so many area nonprofits, including Park Center, beneficiary of the event. A courteous — and record-breaking — crowd followed Bill’s lead and minded their p’s and q’s throughout the night. Holly Hoffman

Coolest Collaboration

Steven Tyler and the Nashville Symphony at the Symphony Ball

It’s no secret that the Nashville Symphony is fabulous, but there is something incredibly special about watching them accompany some of Nashville’s — and the world’s — biggest stars. Fortunately, for guests of the Symphony Ball, that’s exactly what happens when the Harmony Award winner takes the stage at the white-tie gala each year. This year’s honoree, Steven Tyler, had everyone on their feet during his five-song set, but it was the closing number — a moving rendition of “Dream On” accompanied by members of the symphony — that nearly brought the house down. Nancy Floyd

Best Costumes

Ballet Ball

Upon arriving at the Ballet Ball, we were mesmerized by the striking dancers positioned atop marble bases in the lobby of the Schermerhorn. Billy Ditty of the Nashville Ballet’s costume department used a sophisticated color scheme of black, gray and champagne and unexpected materials including feathers and passementerie to create the fanciful costumes that evoked the fashions of Jean Paul Gaultier and Alexander McQueen. We were so enamored by the remarkable looks that we featured three of the dancers on our April cover! Holly Hoffman

Most Artful Dinner

l’Eté du Vin Patrons Dinner

The pieces of art lining the galleries at 21c Museum Hotel — the site of the l’Eté du Vin Patrons Dinner last summer — weren’t the only masterpieces on display. With chef Levon Wallace at the helm, each course of the delectable dinner was a work of art. And due to a new format where patrons were divided into two smaller dinners, Levon and his team actually prepared two entirely different — but equally inspired — multi-course meals to complement the wines from the California vineyards. With inventive dishes like tobacco-cured duck and black cocoa rigatoni with lamb ragù, the meal was almost too pretty to eat. Nancy Floyd

Prettiest Alfresco Event

Dinner on the Bridge

Cumberland Park was a breathtaking substitute spot when Dinner on the Bridge relocated from its usual spot on the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge. The park’s riverfront location afforded spectacular views of the city skyline, the bridges, the Cumberland River and the restored riparian plantings along its banks. As if perfectly timed, the sun set just as dinner was announced. More than 500 guests made their way to a long line of tables which ran down the East Bank Greenway, which was perfectly appropriate for an evening benefiting Greenways for Nashville. Holly Hoffman

Best Farewell to Summer

Fall Harvest Dinner

After another long, hot summer, we’ve never been more ready for autumn, and there’s no better place to usher in the cooler temps and the beautiful colors of fall than at Cheekwood. The Horticultural Society’s Fall Harvest Dinner is one of the best ways to say au revoir to summer and embrace the cooler days ahead. The alfresco dinner, staged beautifully in the Bradford Robertson Color Garden, paired perfect weather with an exceptional meal. Nancy Floyd

Best Floral Display

Marché des Fleurs by Electric Flora at the Antiques & Garden Show

Phillipe Chadwick is known for his show-stopping, vibrant designs, and when Electric Flora, his company with Nick Maynard, conceived Marché des Fleurs for the Antiques & Garden Show, it may have been the most impressive example yet. As visitors stepped into a garden of evergreens and white tulips and hyacinths, a loose floral arrangement sitting in a “window” beckoned them to pass through the “storefront” door. On the other side, a vivid flower shop with two flower walls — buckets of pastel flowers on one side and primary-colored ones on the other — was a visual spectacle that brightened our day and spirits. Holly Hoffman

Best Way to Watch the Oscars

A Red Carpet Evening

There are a few requirements for optimal viewing of the Academy Awards: a big screen, a group of friends and plenty of wine. The Belcourt’s annual fundraiser provides all of this and more, offering Nashville the biggest and best Oscars party around. Guests can walk the red carpet like a star, browse local goodies in the silent auction, stock up on treats at the concession stand and watch Hollywood’s biggest night in the company of hundreds of film lovers and new friends. Nancy Floyd

Most Educational Cocktail Party

Claws, Paws and Jaws

At the annual Claws, Paws and Jaws, generous supporters get up close and personal with some of the wonderful creatures who reside at the Nashville Zoo. Not only do attendees get to pet and hold the special guests, they also learn new and fascinating facts about the creatures as well. This year we learned a most unexpected tidbit about some new zoo inhabitants that will never be taken to anyone’s home. One knowledgeable staffer informed us that petting a white rhino is “just like petting a dog.” Holly Hoffman

Best Chance to Mingle With Roman Josi

Petey’s Preds Party

The Nashville Predators hadn’t announced who their new team captain would be when we rolled up to the Bridgestone Arena back in September for Petey’s Preds Party, the annual event that raises awareness of Parkinson’s disease on behalf of the team’s former assistant coach Brent Peterson. So we happily took the opportunity to go straight to the source, asking Roman Josi, the man rumored to fill the honorable role, if he could confirm or deny anything. He let out a surprised laugh, claimed to know nothing and happily posed for pictures. Just a week later, Roman was, in fact, announced the new captain. Congrats, #59! We literally told you so. Megan Seling

Most Original Award

Thomas Williams Golden Skillet Award

At Nourish, an event hosted by The Nashville Food Project, Executive Director Tallu Schuyler Quinn announced the creation of the Thomas Williams Golden Skillet Award. The prize was just that — a skillet painted gold with a plaque in the center. Thomas, a board member and Nourish founder, had the honor of announcing Margot McCormack as the first recipient of the annual prize for her continued dedication to inventive eating. The room cheered when he presented her with the shiny frying pan. Holly Hoffman

Most Bizarre Answers on Readers’ Poll

Is this thing on?

We collected a record number of votes on our Best Parties Readers’ Poll this year so thanks for participating. But it seems like maybe not everyone clearly understood what we were looking for when submitting their answers. We got a kick out of these answers and we thought you would too. Enjoy our picks for the most bizarre answers submitted by our readers!

Best Venue: The party was great
Best Party Favor: Food
Best Decorations: Gold
Best Auction Item: The way they set up the bar
Most Fun Party: Chris in shoes sues home

Contributor Note: Aftercare Director Johnny Rosen, has been with Cumberland Heights since 1996. Along with serving the Alumni of Cumberland Heights, Johnny also supports technical needs, from recording the Sunday services to assisting in all sound, lighting and video projects on campus and for Cumberland Heights events. His son, J.J. Rosen, followed in his tech-savvy footsteps and founded the computer consulting business Atiba, where Johnny helps out on a part-time basis.

By: Joel Stinnett – Reporter, Nashville Business Journal

Aftercare Director Johnny Rosen, has been an active part of Cumberland Heights since 1996. His son, J.J. Rosen, followed in his tech-savvy footsteps and founded the computer consulting business Atiba, where Johnny helps out on a part-time basis.

Some people find their passion at a young age; for others it takes some time to find their path. For Atiba founder and Chairman J.J. Rosen, the latter was true. Rosen graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1992 and took a job with the district attorney general in Nashville. As the child support coordinator tasked with collecting more revenue, he noticed none of the offices around the state had computer systems. Rosen began to study how to code and eventually wrote software to help collect child support. Later, a consulting firm hired by the state leaned heavily on Rosen to install updates to his software. In response, Rosen started computer consulting business Atiba. Twenty-five years later, Rosen is still living his passion.

Your father was an entrepreneur — what did you learn from him?

My dad was in the music business. So, I sort of always had in my mind that I would work for myself at some point. In the ’70s my dad built a recording studio in the back of an 18-wheeler truck. It was used for recording live concerts and radio shows. So, I was a roadie in the summers for my dad. That was good for me because it taught me work ethic. It’s really not very much fun, it’s hard physical labor, and at the time I did not like it. But in hindsight it was probably a healthy thing to do. Also, my grandparents opened the first store in The Mall at Green Hills. … My grandmother on the other side was one of the first interior designers in Nashville. So, I had it in my mind from a young age I would do my own thing at some point. I just wasn’t quite sure what.

When you were growing up, you didn’t have an idea of what you wanted to do when you got older?

No; I wish I did. One of my best friends since we were little kids is a successful oncologist. I was jealous of him because he always knew he wanted to be a doctor. … I didn’t really have a passion until I got out of college.

What advice would you give recent college graduates who have yet to find their passion?

I would try to view your first job as a learning investment. Don’t worry about the salary. Try to find something where the main value is helping you learn what you like, and learn a skill. … When I got out of college with a general psychology degree, I couldn’t walk into a place and be like, “Hey, I have this degree, now I’m valuable.” I really had nothing to offer. No matter if you are into tech, a photographer, a musician or whatever it is, I think having some sort of trade is valuable.

How has Nashville’s tech scene changed since you started Atiba?

It was a really small community in the old days. There wasn’t, I don’t think, the opportunity there is now. Nashville’s growth has created more startup activity and been a catalyst for more tech activity. … Back when we were getting going there were only a few large companies that could support the tech community. Now, we are a hot spot, not just for health care or music, but for everything.

How can Nashville attract or create more tech talent?

We are definitely attracting more people to live here, but we can cultivate more homegrown talent by starting with middle schools and high schools. If you get out of high school and you can code, you can go ahead and get a job making an OK living right away. There are not many jobs like that.

What piece of outdated technology do you miss the most?

One is the phonograph, [one of] which I bought. I like the old-school sound of records playing. … The other one, and this is going way back — my dad had a briefcase phone. This is before the cell phone, and you had to call into a tower. The reason I miss that is the coolness factor, and at the time it was unique.

What is your favorite city to visit?

New Orleans …As the world has become smaller and more connected, it feels like some places are the same no matter where you go. But there are a few cities that are completely different and have a whole different vibe. Like New York, you go there and it’s like a different country. I find that same feeling with New Orleans.

You are a drummer; who is your favorite band?

The Meters …They are a musician’s band; musicians love them. They played this heavy New Orleans funk influenced by Mardi Gras and Indian beats.

Would you rather your two sons grow up to become musicians or software developers?

Ideally they could do both. Of course, I want them to do whatever is best for them and there is no pressure for them to go into the same field as me. If I had to choose, I would like them to pursue music so that they can make their own way.

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.

Original Article By: Joanna Sammer

When Nashville-based Cumberland Heights had to address an aging infrastructure for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) on its 11-building campus, it chose a geothermal system. The organization’s experience offers insight into how behavioral healthcare organizations can evaluate and manage the installation of such a system, which arguably has a much greater impact on patient and staff comfort than many realize.

Cumberland Heights opted for geothermal HVAC largely because of its energy efficiency and effectiveness. The system is designed to pay for itself within seven to 10 years through lower energy costs. Based on trends the facility has experienced since the system went online in May 2017, the system will achieve that projection, according to Butch Glover, the organization’s chief operations officer.

Geothermal systems heat and cool interior spaces by taking advantage of the consistent temperatures underground that range between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit year round, which allows these systems to heat and cool using less energy with more efficiency than conventional heating systems. The systems take advantage of the fact that underground temperatures tend to be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer than the air above ground. Air and water within the system are easier to heat or cool as they circulate underground then are forced out to heat and cool buildings.

Cumberland Heights, like many treatment centers residing in older buildings, wanted to replace its old HVAC systems largely due to the cost of maintaining them. In addition to creating a more energy efficient system, Glover says that the geothermal system has improved the air quality and humidity levels throughout the buildings. Since the system began running in May, “you can feel the difference the in air quality and that gives patients a more comfortable environment,” says Glover.

How it Works: Geothermal Climate Control at Cumberland Heights
How it Works: Geothermal Climate Control at Cumberland Heights

Preparation is key

The installation of a geothermal HVAC system is a complicated process that can impact many areas of patient care and operations.

1. Prepare staff and patients for the disruption.

Geothermal systems reside underground and take time to install and test. Therefore, behavioral healthcare organizations must be prepared for a lot of digging on site as the installation team puts in the required wells, which can be numerous. For example, Cumberland Heights’ system has 93 wells.

“We didn’t realize how much disruption the work would cause to the campus until it started,” says Russ Taylor, director of support services. “It’s important to remember that there is a lot of mud, noise and machinery that will disrupt normal walking routes and how people get around the campus.”

2. Work with the contractor on scheduling.

While there is no way to avoid some disruption, Glover and Taylor took steps to get everything back to normal as soon as the work was completed at each site. This involved everything from cleaning up to replacing the landscaping that had been removed. They recommend working closely with the contractor to discuss the schedule of work coming up so that staff has ample notice in case they needed to prepare patients for any disruption and move group sessions and meetings to less noisy and more accessible locations.

In addition, behavioral healthcare organizations must prepare the contractors for working in a behavioral healthcare environment. For example, the project had to be managed to ensure that there was no downtime and the campus could operate as normally as possible 24/7.

“The contractors had to keep us in business and realize that we can’t shut anything down,” says Glover. In many cases, that meant that the contractor had to be open to weekend and nighttime work as needed.

3. Ensure the contractor understands confidentiality.

Contractors and subcontractors also had to know how to interact with staff and patients and to understand the need for confidentiality. For example, workers on the project had to be clearly and easily identified. Likewise, workers had to understand how patients might behave if they interacted and how the workers should handle those interactions if they occurred.

4. Work with an architecture or engineering firm to manage the overall project.

An engineering firm can also make sure the work is occurring to specifications. The process for Cumberland Heights also included conditioning and testing the system three times—this past summer, during the coming winter and again next summer—to ensure that the system is working as expected.

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.

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.

AUTHOR: Nancy Floyd | PHOTOGRAPHER: Eric England | DATE: APRIL 28, 2017


The Reaching New Heights luncheon for Cumberland Heights reached new heights indeed with a record-size crowd showing up for the annual women’s fundraiser at Hillwood Country Club. Co-chairs Grace Clayton and Kathleen Estes joked that they’d like to take all of the credit for the sold-out event, but they knew the real draw was keynote speaker Jeannette Walls, the best-selling author of The Glass Castle, The Silver Star and Half Broke Horses.


Fans of The Glass Castle — which appeared to be just about everyone in the room — were thrilled to hear Jeannette recount many of the memoir’s most remarkable stories along with several other tales from her unconventional childhood. Alternating between humor and poignancy, Jeannette took the audience on a journey from her troubled upbringing to her discontented young adulthood to the place of peace and acceptance she found once she learned to embrace her past. And at an event benefiting Cumberland Heights, which provides treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, Jeannette’s heartfelt words about her alcoholic father resonated with everyone in the crowd, particularly a story about how, as a child, she hunted for an imaginary monster called Demon with her dad in the Arizona desert.


“He couldn’t battle his own demons, but he gave me the tools to battle mine,” she shared.


Jeannette proved to be as down-to-earth, funny and warm as she comes across in her books, chatting and posing for photos with women before the luncheon and long after it concluded. For someone who has been wildly successful in her career, it’s obvious Jeannette’s true passion is finding ways to use her past to help others. Prior to the luncheon, when asked how it feels to share her story with a roomful of women who have battled addiction or been touched by it in some way, she said, “It doesn’t get any better than that. That’s what it’s about. That’s what storytelling is about … It’s connecting with people and having your story mean something.” Her story certainly meant something to this crowd and to Cumberland Heights, which raised $140,000 at the luncheon for the women’s program, funds that will go a long way in offering redemption and hope to countless women across Middle Tennessee and beyond.


Photo Gallery of the Reaching New Heights luncheon for Cumberland Heights Event

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