Tag Archives: Drug Abuse Treatment

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.


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.

Mayor Megan Barry joined Cumberland Heights executives and other dignitaries for opening event

NASHVILLE, TENN. – Aug. 9, 2016 – Nashville-based alcohol and drug treatment center Cumberland Heights today officially opened its new Music Row Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) with an open house and ribbon cutting that included Mayor Megan Barry, musician John Hiatt and many other community leaders and supporters of Cumberland Heights.

IOPs offer alternatives to inpatient treatment for patients who seek daytime and evening counseling in order to continue with their schools or careers. IOPs offer flexible scheduling, group therapy, 12-Step meetings and specialized family therapy. The Music Row IOP is located at 1619  17th Ave. South.

“Cumberland Heights has a long history of working with members of the music industry, so it’s so great to finally be located here on Music Row,” said Cumberland Heights Chief Executive Officer Jay Crosson. “We are excited to be located so close the music, collegiate and Downtown Nashville communities, making this type of treatment as accessible as possible to those that might need it. Cumberland Heights is known for recovery, and Nashville is known for music, so this is a natural location for us.”

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry also spoke briefly at the opening event. “I want to thank the entire staff of Cumberland Heights for all the good work that they do for people who are overcoming addiction and regaining control of their lives,” said Mayor Barry.  “This facility is such an important component of how we go about building a warm and welcoming place and serving our community. Thanks to Cumberland Heights and the Boedecker Foundation for making all of this possible.”

George Boedecker, who originally came to Nashville years ago to “do music,” created the Boedecker Foundation that purchased and renovated the Music Row building for Cumberland Heights, making this new IOP possible.

“The mission of The Boedecker Foundation is to provide critical resources to nonprofit organizations that inspire positive change within diverse communities around the world,” said Boedecker. “It is such an honor and a privilege to be partnering with Cumberland Heights and their Intensive Outpatient Therapy Services at this location.  We look forward to a long-lasting and impactful relationship.”

Since its founding in 1966, Cumberland Heights has built a reputation for helping many music industry professionals recover life from drug and alcohol addiction. The Music Row IOP places a 12 step-based rehabilitative program nearer those who need it most and affords more flexible care for those who do not require the medical detoxification that requires inpatient care.

The Music Row IOP is Cumberland Heights’ tenth outpatient facility in Tennessee and the first in the central part of Nashville. The organization opened its first IOP in 1987.

Photos from the grand opening

Introdution by Jay Crosson, CEO of Cumberland Heights, and speech from Mayor Megan Barry

Introdution by Jay Crosson, CEO of Cumberland Heights, and speech from Mayor Megan Barry

About Cumberland Heights

Cumberland Heights’ mission is to transform lives, giving hope and healing to those affected by alcohol or drug addiction. As a non-profit organization, Cumberland Heights is committed to the approximately 2,500 men, women and adolescents it serves every year and the communities where its facilities are located. The organization has followed the teachings of the 12 Steps since its founding in 1966.

About the Boedecker Foundation

The Boedecker Foundation aspires to encourage positive outcomes through programs focused on education, health and wellness, youth development, along with family and community collaboration. At the central and innermost framework of The Boedecker Foundation’s endowments are partnerships and enduring relationships with organizations like Cumberland Heights, that have committed extensive resources to improve environmental circumstances, provide access to healthcare programs, and create opportunities for individuals, their families and communities in which they live. Through these guiding principles our Foundation has distributed over 28 million dollars to organizations in Tennessee and all across the nation.

# # #

Media Contact:
Amy A. Atkinson, APR
Amy Atkinson Communications
4117 Hillsboro Pike, Ste. 103308
Nashville, TN  37215
Cell: 615-305-8118
Email: Amy@AmyACommunications.com
www.AmyACommunications.com

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.

Jackson Outpatient Office In the News:

While all patient satisfaction scores exceed 95% in all locations, Jackson office consistently, quarter by quarter, registers strong confidence of families and patients who visit.
While all patient satisfaction scores exceed 95% in all locations, Jackson office consistently, quarter by quarter, registers strong confidence of families and patients who visit.

Cumberland Heights Recognizes Excellence in Jackson Outpatient Office
Jackson Intensive Outpatient Staff Ruth Meyer and Christie Dotson recently received recognition for outstanding patient satisfaction, leading all Cumberland Heights outpatient offices in this important measure. While all patient satisfaction scores exceed 95% in all locations, Jackson office consistently, quarter by quarter, registers strong confidence of families and patients who visit.

(Left to Right) Christie Dotson and Ruth Meyer share a moment with Ernie Ward, Business Development Outreach Coordinator for Cumberland Heights
(Left to Right) Christie Dotson and Ruth Meyer share a moment with Ernie Ward, Business Development Outreach Coordinator for Cumberland Heights

As the field of addiction recovery evolves, evidence is pointing out therapeutic alignment – meaning the counselor and the patient are working on the same goals – has proven to be one of the most important factors predicting sustained recovery. According to Randal Lea, Executive Director for Cumberland’s Community Based Programs, “Nothing is more important in early recovery than keeping a patient engaged in their recovery, and counseling staff that puts rapport ahead of giving advice will be more successful.” Lea adds, “Christie and Ruth have shown they are able to let the patient set the pace for their growth and to take ownership over their recovery process.”

Cumberland Heights, celebrating its fiftieth year of operation, has been serving the Jackson community for over fifteen years. Soon there will be a total of 10 Cumberland Heights locations available to help communities in Tennessee. In addition to the Jackson Office on Stonebridge, Cumberland Heights has IOP facilities in Chattanooga, Cool Springs, Crossville, Hermitage, Murfreesboro, Smyrna, Sumner County (Gallatin), in West Nashville on River Road and a new branch opening soon on Music Row location in the heart of Nashville.

Nationally Recognized Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center Begins Its Year of Celebrating Half a Century of Helping People to Recover Life

NASHVILLE, TENN. – Feb. 17, 2016 – Cumberland Heights drug and alcohol rehabilitation center will spend much of 2016 celebrating its 50th Anniversary and highlighting success stories from thousands of Nashvillians who have received treatment.

50th Anniversary commemorative coins modeled after "sober coins" that are a fixture of recovery.
50th Anniversary commemorative coins modeled after “sober coins” that are a fixture of recovery.

“We are honored and proud to have been a trusted provider of alcohol and drug addiction treatment for five decades,” said Jay Crosson, CEO of Cumberland Heights. “Fifty years of experience brings us so many positive examples of helping patients and their families – we hope to be able to share some of these with the community throughout the year.”

In addition to events, Cumberland Heights will open a new intensive outpatient facility on Music Row in Nashville, expand its “Recover Life” communications campaign, produce a 50th Anniversary booklet and increase outreach in various ways.

The official kick-off event took place today with a staff-wide, kick-off party and Coin Ceremony where staff and board members received 50th Anniversary commemorative coins modeled after “sober coins” that are a fixture of recovery.

 

50th Anniversary Events and Initiatives Planned To Date Include:

  • Feb. 13 – Alumni distribute “Valentine kits” to homeless community
  • Feb. 17 – staff Kick-Off Party and Coin Ceremony
  • All year – “Recover Life” campaign, story sharing and commemoration coins
  • 50th Anniversary history booklet release
  • April 6 – “The Women’s Luncheon” with speaker Liz Murray, best-selling author of “Breaking Night” on which “Homeless to Harvard” was based
  • May Opening of Music Row IOP (Date TBD)
  • Sept. 17 – Alumni & Staff Picnic with guest speaker Paul Williams
  • Fall – Fundraising Concert at the Ryman (Date TBD)
  • Fall – “Shelter at the Pond” commemoration ceremony (Date TBD)
  • December – Endowment Society Reception

Patients’ families are often included in the recovery process because success depends on a strong support system once they leave Cumberland Heights. “That’s why,” Crosson says, “friends and family are included in many of our 50th Anniversary events.”

New Intensive Outpatient Treatment Facility

Cumberland Heights has had a longstanding relationship with the Nashville music industry. However, it has never had a facility on Music Row. That will change in May when Cumberland Heights opens its first Music Row intensive outpatient facility on 17th Ave. South.

“Recover Life” Campaign

Cumberland Heights recently launched a multi-channel communications campaign called “Recover Life.” The campaign features staff members holding sober coins and saying how many years they have been sober. This month, the campaign expands to include other alumni as well as the families of patients.

A Quick History

Fifty years ago, Robert Crichton Sr. and his personal physician, Dr. Thomas Frist Sr., recognized an unmet need in Middle Tennessee and had a dream. They saw friends, neighbors and patients who were suffering from alcoholism and the disease of addiction. They had a vision of an accessible treatment facility in Nashville. They found a beautiful farm located on rolling hills along the banks of the Cumberland River and said, “What if?” They were, indeed, their brother’s keeper.

It is notable that the charter of incorporation established Cumberland Heights as a private, not-for-profit organization. The founders’ mission was to provide hope and restore patients to the full life of recovery – not to attain personal gain.

Starting with a few alcoholic men, Cumberland Heights gradually expanded to treat women, adolescents and families. Cumberland Heights was a pioneer of 12-Step-based recovery in Middle Tennessee and is now widely recognized and respected as one of the top treatment facilities in America. Cumberland Heights is still true to its original core values that the patient comes first and its greatest assets are its alumni, staff and campuses.

About Cumberland Heights

Cumberland Heights’ mission is to transform lives, giving hope and healing to those affected by alcohol or drug addiction. As a non-profit organization, Cumberland Heights is committed to the approximately 2,500 men, women and adolescents it serves every year and the communities where its facilities are located. The organization has followed the teachings of the 12 Steps since its founding.

Recovery is Possible

Recover Life.

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