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

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A hard hit can do more than just knock the wind out of a player on the field. It can leave them with an injury requiring medical attention and possibly pain medication.
“Sports are probably the leading cause of injury in kids but I think it is important to understand that sports in general are protective,” Dr. Alex Diamond said. “We know kids who play sports compared to kids who don’t are typically less likely to be involved in risky behaviors.”

 
High school sports injuries can lead to addiction depending on treatmentDr. Diamond is an assistant professor of Orthopedics and Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He is also the team physician for Vanderbilt University, Nashville Predators and the Nashville sounds. He along with the other physicians at in his department treated 26,000 adult and children athletes in 2016.
“As physicians we need to be mindful when treating children with injuries what situation require pain medication and what situations can be handled without pain medication,” he said. “Most of them can be handled without pain medications.”

 
Pain medications like hydrocodone, oxycodone and other opioids can be very effective in treating chronic pain. But, they can also be addictive and lead to more illicit drugs like heroin.

 
At Cumberland Heights, a non-profit addiction treatment facility, the number of teens entering the facility’s Adolescent and Young Men’s Services department has grown so much in the past couple of months it is expanding to keep up with the need.

 
“We take kids from all over the country,” Director of Adolescent and Young Men’s Services Dean Porterfield said. “The primary diagnosis is substance abuse, but It is not uncommon though that the underlying issues once you take those substances away are anxiety, depression or trauma.”

 
According to Porter for the 18 year old to 25 year old age group that makes up the Young Men’s program a growing number are addicted to heroin.

 
“A notable factor with the young adult population that we serve is that several of them are athletes who have experienced high school or college sports injuries that have required surgery and have become addicted to painkillers.”

 
He continued, “When the painkillers run out or they become more expensive the more accessible affordable drug is the heroin. That replaces what used to be that passion for sports and athletics and now their primary goal is to drug seek.”

 
Porterfield said with heroin it is not uncommon for the treatment center to get a call from family or the patient themselves saying they are in route for immediate admission to the facility.

 
“They are also some of the most vulnerable patients and need a great deal of attention throughout the painful detox and early days of treatment to prevent them from leaving against medical advice,” he said. “One of the things Cumberland Heights clinicians have made a priority is educating these young men on the risks of relapse and the lethal dangers associated with resuming the volume of heroin use they came in handling with the assumption their tolerance level is the same.”

 
He continued, “This scenario increases the likely hood of a lethal overdose.”

 
At Cumberland Heights the process is based on the 12-Steps.

 
After detox the work begins to help the young men understand the underlying reasons they abused drugs. In many cases its tied to the emotion effect their injury had on them and their identities.

 
“Just being an adolescent adult in general is full of ups and downs,” Porterfield said. “When they realize this substance can help alleviate that, they get hooked pretty quick.”
The same progression from painkillers to heroin and stronger opioids is much the same in adult users.

 
According to the CDC Tennessee is one of the most overprescribed states for painkillers.

 
At one point doctor’s wrote more prescriptions for painkillers than there were people in the state.

 
“As physicians we need to be mindful when treating children with injuries about which situations require pain medication and what situations can be handled without pain medication,” he said.

 
“We have a lot of other options that don’t have the same complications and risk involved with addiction.”

 
Dr. Diamond said things like physical therapy, proper braces or casts and anti-inflammatory medications can be very effective.

 
“As a parent you need to be diligent on what pain medication your kids are getting,” he said. “For the most part the narcotic pain medication is not needed for what we are seeing in our children. It is very rare.”

 
Porterfield said parents should be involved in their teens lives take note if you start to notice missing money, missing prescription medication, if your child is hanging out with friends or in places you do not know, and if your child attends unsupervised parties.

 


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