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Navigating Insurance Challenges for Drug & Alcohol Treatment
While insurance coverage for drug and alcohol treatment can provide crucial financial assistance, there are several drawbacks associated that often lead to denied or significantly reduced coverage. Here are some key challenges and advice to individuals seeking treatment on how to overcome those ...
While insurance coverage for drug and alcohol treatment can provide crucial financial assistance, there are several drawbacks associated that often lead to denied or significantly reduced coverage.  Here are some key challenges and advice to individuals seeking treatment on how to overcome those challenges. The Key Challenges with Insurance Coverage: Limited Coverage: Insurance policies often have limitations on coverage for addiction treatment services. This may include restrictions on the number of therapy sessions covered, limits on the duration of inpatient treatment, or exclusions for certain types of treatment modalities.High Deductibles and Co-pays: Even with insurance coverage, individuals may still face high deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance for addiction treatment services. These out-of-pocket expenses can add up quickly and may be unaffordable for some individuals.Prior Authorization Requirements: Insurance companies may require prior authorization before covering certain addiction treatment services. This can result in delays in accessing care and may require individuals to navigate complex bureaucracy to obtain approval for treatment.Out-of-Network Providers: Insurance plans may have limited networks of providers, and out-of-network services may have higher costs or may not be covered at all. This can restrict individuals' options for treatment and may require them to choose from a limited selection of providers.Denials and Appeals: Insurance companies may deny coverage for addiction treatment services for various reasons, such as lack of medical necessity or failure to meet specific criteria. This can be frustrating and stressful for individuals seeking treatment and may require them to go through the appeals process to obtain coverage.Lack of Coverage for Certain Services: Some insurance plans may not cover certain types of addiction treatment services, such as alternative or holistic therapies, residential treatment, or medication-assisted treatment. This can limit individuals' access to comprehensive care options.Privacy Concerns: Insurance coverage for addiction treatment may require individuals to disclose personal and sensitive information about their substance use history and treatment needs. This can raise privacy concerns for some individuals, particularly if they are concerned about stigma or discrimination.Risk of Coverage Changes: Insurance coverage for addiction treatment can be subject to changes in policy, premiums, or coverage levels. Individuals may face uncertainty about the availability and affordability of treatment services if their insurance coverage changes unexpectedly.Overcoming the Insurance ChallengesReview Policy Details Thoroughly: Take the time to thoroughly review your insurance policy to understand what addiction treatment services are covered, any limitations or exclusions, and the specific terms of coverage.Contact Your Insurance Representative: Reach out to your insurance representative or customer service hotline to discuss your coverage in detail. Ask specific questions about co-pays, deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses, prior authorization requirements, and network providers.Appeal Denials: If your insurance company denies coverage for addiction treatment services, don't hesitate to appeal the decision. Provide any additional information or documentation requested by the insurance company and advocate for the medical necessity of the treatment.Explore In-Network Providers: Whenever possible, seek treatment from providers that are in-network with your insurance plan. In-network providers typically have negotiated rates with the insurance company, resulting in lower out-of-pocket costs for you.Educate Yourself About Coverage Changes: Stay informed about any changes to your insurance coverage, including changes in policy terms, premiums, or coverage levels. Be proactive in seeking information from your insurance provider to anticipate any potential impacts on your access to treatment.Consider Alternative Treatment Options: If certain addiction treatment services are not covered by your insurance plan, explore alternative options that may be more affordable or accessible. This could include outpatient treatment, support groups, community resources, or sliding-scale fee services. The Affordable Care ActThe Partnership to End Addiction provides valuable insight on ACA coverage.  Learn how their research uncovered gaps in treatment and noncompliance with 2017 legislation.Learn More Get a Free Trial InterAct offers virtual care solutions and referral solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services.  Start Free Today
Article
Uncovering the Major Gaps in Insurance Coverage
The Partnership to End Addiction conducted a research study to answer this question: "Are all American families with insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) getting the benefits required by law for substance use treatment?" They found that the answer was a "resounding no". Plans sold ...
The Partnership to End Addiction conducted a research study to answer this question: "Are all American families with insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) getting the benefits required by law for substance use treatment?"  They found that the answer was a "resounding no".  Plans sold under Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act in 2017 were often out of compliance with two major laws:Essential Health Benefits (EBH)According to the Partnership to End Addiction, "The ACA requires most individual and small group insurance plans, meaning the plans that individuals purchase on the state or federal marketplace (commonly known as “Obamacare Plans”), to cover 10 categories of benefits known as the Essential Health Benefits (EHB). One of the EHB categories is mental health (MH) and Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment, which must be covered at the same level as other medical or surgical benefits."The Parity Act"The federal Parity Act is a 10-year-old law that says insurance plans are not allowed to place more restrictions on mental health and substance use disorder benefits than they place on similar medical or surgical benefits. (It’s important to note, though, that the Parity Act does not actually require plans to cover substance use disorder treatment.) By requiring plans to cover mental health and substance use disorders benefits as an EHB, in addition to complying with the Parity Act, the ACA provides the strongest protections for consumers seeking care covered by insurance. The more than 10 million people who purchase these plans pay for and are entitled to coverage for SUD treatment." Findings from the ResearchThe Partnership to End Addiction examined the substance use disorder (SUD) benefits offered by at least one ACA plan in each state in 2017.   The results were startling.>50%Over half of the states offered a plan in 2017 did not comply with the ACA’s requirements to cover SUD benefits.20%Twenty percent of the states offered a plan in 2017 that violated the Parity Act.1Only one state provided comprehensive coverage for SUD treatment in both plans reviewed while three other states offered at least one plan in 2017 that provided comprehensive coverage for SUD treatment.>90%Over 90 percent of the plans reviewed did not contain sufficient, transparent information to complete an analysis. The research from the Partnership notes a slight improvement in ACA compliance compared to previous reports, but over two-thirds of plans are still non-compliant. Many states still violate the Parity Act. Despite an overall small improvement in SUD benefit coverage, none of the plans provided comprehensive coverage without harmful treatment limitations. Moreover, discriminatory coverage worsened for methadone, a key medication for opioid use disorder treatment. Transparency in plan documents remained poor, lacking critical information for informed decision-making by families. What Can Families Do?The Partnership to End Addiction provides this advice to families and encourages them to know t heir rights and have a strategy to "fight back" if coverage is denied.  Here is their advice: Families who have insurance that covers addiction treatment should not have to drain retirement and college savings accounts or face financial ruin to pay for care.Learn what to ask about substance use on your first call with your insurance providerLearn how to properly document your contact with your insurance companyLearn how to file an insurance appeal for substance use disorder when you’re denied coverageLearn how to file an insurance parity complaint if insurance denies your claimRead this valuable advice by accessing the full article and research at www.drugfree.org.Access the Article Get a Free Trial InterAct offers virtual care solutions and referral solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services designed to help individuals and their families to have access to more affordable treatment solutions. 30-Day Free Trial
Article
Understanding the Financial Barriers to Receiving Drug & Alcohol Treatment
Financial barriers to drug and alcohol treatment can prevent individuals from accessing the care they need to address substance use disorders. These barriers can be significant and varied, impacting individuals across different socioeconomic backgrounds. ...
 Financial barriers to drug and alcohol treatment can prevent individuals from accessing the care they need to address substance use disorders. These barriers can be significant and varied, impacting individuals across different socioeconomic backgrounds.  Understanding the Financial BarriersLack of Insurance Coverage: Many individuals lack health insurance coverage, including coverage for addiction treatment services. Without insurance, the cost of treatment can be prohibitively expensive, making it difficult for individuals to afford necessary care.Limited Coverage for Addiction Treatment: Even for individuals with health insurance, coverage for addiction treatment may be limited. Some insurance plans offer only minimal coverage for behavioral health services, leaving individuals responsible for significant out-of-pocket costs.High Deductibles and Copayments: Even with insurance coverage, individuals may face high deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance for addiction treatment services. These out-of-pocket expenses can create financial barriers to accessing care, particularly for individuals with limited financial resources.Lack of Affordable Treatment Options: Quality addiction treatment can be expensive, particularly residential or inpatient programs. Many individuals cannot afford the cost of treatment, especially if they do not have insurance coverage or if their insurance plan does not adequately cover the services they need.Transportation Costs: Transportation costs can present a significant barrier to accessing addiction treatment, especially for individuals who live in rural areas or do not have access to reliable transportation. The cost of gas, public transportation, or rideshare services can add up and make it difficult for individuals to attend treatment sessions regularly.Lost Income: Seeking addiction treatment may require taking time off from work, which can result in lost income. For individuals who are the primary earners for their families or who do not have paid time off, the financial impact of lost income can be a barrier to seeking treatment.Childcare Expenses: Individuals with children may face additional financial barriers to seeking addiction treatment, particularly if they need to pay for childcare while attending treatment sessions. Childcare expenses can add to the overall cost of treatment and may make it unaffordable for some individuals.Legal Costs: Individuals with substance use disorders may face legal problems related to their addiction, such as DUI charges or legal fees associated with criminal activity. These legal costs can create financial strain and make it more difficult for individuals to afford addiction treatment. Virtual Treatment as a Strategy to Overcome the BarriersReduced Transportation Costs: Virtual treatment eliminates the need for individuals to travel to a treatment facility, thereby reducing transportation costs associated with attending in-person sessions. This can be especially beneficial for individuals who live in rural areas or do not have access to reliable transportation.Lower Overhead Costs: Virtual treatment programs often have lower overhead costs compared to traditional in-person treatment facilities. This can result in reduced overall costs for the treatment provider, which may translate to lower costs for patients.Increased Accessibility: Virtual treatment options can improve access to addiction treatment for individuals who may face barriers to attending in-person sessions, such as those with disabilities, individuals who live in remote areas, or those with transportation limitations. By providing treatment remotely, individuals can access care from the comfort of their own homes.Flexible Scheduling: Virtual treatment options often offer greater flexibility in scheduling appointments, which can accommodate individuals' work schedules and other commitments. This flexibility can reduce the need for individuals to take time off from work, thereby minimizing lost income associated with seeking treatment.Cost-Effective Treatment Models: Some virtual treatment programs offer cost-effective treatment models, such as subscription-based services or sliding-scale fees based on income. These pricing structures can make treatment more affordable for individuals who may not have insurance coverage or who may face financial constraints.Reduced Childcare Expenses: Virtual treatment allows individuals to attend therapy sessions or support group meetings from home, eliminating the need for childcare arrangements. This can reduce childcare expenses associated with attending in-person treatment sessions, making treatment more financially feasible for parents or caregivers.Minimized Legal Costs: For individuals facing legal issues related to their addiction, virtual treatment options can help minimize legal costs by providing accessible and affordable treatment alternatives. By addressing the underlying substance use disorder, virtual treatment may also help individuals avoid future legal problems associated with their addiction. TakeawayOverall, virtual treatment options can help address financial concerns by reducing transportation costs, lowering overhead expenses, increasing accessibility, offering flexible scheduling, providing cost-effective treatment models, minimizing childcare expenses, and potentially reducing legal costs associated with addiction. These benefits make virtual treatment an attractive and accessible option for individuals seeking help for drug and alcohol addiction. Get a Free Trial InterAct offers virtual care solutions and referral solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services designed to help individuals and their families to have access to more affordable treatment solutions. 30-Day Free Trial
Infographic
2023 Statistics on the Cost of Drug & Alcohol Treatment
There is no question that the need for drug and alcohol and behavioral health treatment has skyrocketed. However, only a fraction of individuals that need this vital treatment seek it out with the biggest barrier being financial concerns. The National Drug Helpline, a self-funded non-profit is ...
There is no question that the need for drug and alcohol and behavioral health treatment  has skyrocketed.   However, only a fraction of individuals that need this vital treatment seek it out with the biggest barrier being financial concerns.  The National Drug Helpline, a self-funded non-profit is dedicated to providing high quality resources for individuals seeking help from drug and alcohol treatment.  This infographic was based on statistics from their research.  Learn More about the Helpline Get a Free Trial InterAct offers virtual care solutions and referral solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services.  Start Your Free Trial
Infographic
Projecting Behavioral Health Workforce Supply & Demand
Given the increasing strain on the behavioral health workforce and the projected shortages in various key occupations, it is imperative to fortify and expand educational and training programs to meet future demands effectively. A comprehensive approach that includes heightened federal support, ...
Given the increasing strain on the behavioral health workforce and the projected shortages in various key occupations, it is imperative to fortify and expand educational and training programs to meet future demands effectively. A comprehensive approach that includes heightened federal support, enhanced loan repayment incentives, and a broadened scope for teletherapy services could be instrumental in mitigating the impending workforce deficit. For a more digestible overview, the following infographic illustrates the projected shortages and the additional workforce required by 2036 to address both current usage of behavioral health services and unmet needs. Projected workforce shortages in behavioral health fields by 2036 based on current service usage and unmet needs. Data source: Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).Information for the infographic sourced from the HRSA (Health Resources & Services Administration) Read the Full Article Get a Free Trial InterAct offers virtual care solutions and referral solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services.  Start Your Free Trial
Infographic
Bridging the Gap: A Turning Point in Addiction Treatment
Infographic Overview: Pioneering Changes in Addiction Treatment This powerful infographic encapsulates the harsh reality of treatment accessibility for millions grappling with substance use disorders globally. It highlights the alarming statistics indicating the dire need for more accessible ...
Infographic Overview: Pioneering Changes in Addiction Treatment This powerful infographic encapsulates the harsh reality of treatment accessibility for millions grappling with substance use disorders globally. It highlights the alarming statistics indicating the dire need for more accessible treatment options. Despite many people suffering from these disorders, only a fraction receive necessary treatment. Those in addiction treatment can also struggle with relapse, with high rates for those suffering from substance use disorders and opioid addiction. However, web-based treatments have been shown to be as effective as in-person therapy. These virtual care solutions offer higher abstinence rates, significant reductions in relapse, increased treatment adherence, and high patient satisfaction. InterAct LifeLine's virtual care program is a game-changer in the landscape of addiction treatment and for those on the path to recovery, making it an essential tool for understanding the current challenges and prospective solutions in substance abuse treatment. References https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p...https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2023https://www.drugabuse.gov/publication...https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article...https://www.nih.gov/news-event...https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p....https://www.aha.org/news/headl... Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Learn More
Article
Busting 4 Myths About Supporting a Family Member in Addiction Recovery
Caregivers and social support play a critical role in managing chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer, contrasting it with the often stigmatized and misunderstood role of families in supporting individuals with substance use disorder (SUD). However, families and loved ones of people with ...
Caregivers and social support play a critical role in managing chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer, contrasting it with the often stigmatized and misunderstood role of families in supporting individuals with substance use disorder (SUD).  However, families and loved ones of people with substance use disorder (SUD) often receive mixed messages from society about their role as caregivers from people using outdated language, such as "codependency" and "tough love," that can actually harm family members and loved ones in treatment. This article debunks 4 common myths surrounding family involvement in SUD treatment and suggests diverse ways clinicians can engage families to improve patient outcomes, stressing the importance of compassion and understanding in supporting individuals with SUD. The Grayken Center for Addiction TTA Program created a video to educate clinicians on how longstanding stigma and misinformation impacts caregivers of people with substance use disorder and their loved ones. Here are our key takeaways from the article: Critical Role of Social Support: Similar to chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer, social support from family, friends, and partners plays a vital role in managing substance use disorder (SUD) and improving treatment outcomes.Stigma Surrounding Family Involvement: Families of individuals with SUD often face stigma and outdated beliefs, such as the notion of "codependency" and "tough love," which can hinder effective support and perpetuate misunderstanding within both society and the medical community.Reframing Perspectives: Healthcare professionals need to reassess their views on family involvement in addiction treatment, moving away from stigmatizing myths and toward a more compassionate and inclusive approach that recognizes the importance of family support in patient care.Empowering Families: Education and support groups, such as those provided by the Grayken Center, are essential for empowering families with evidence-based knowledge and practical skills to support their loved ones with SUD effectively.Diverse Engagement Strategies: Clinicians should adopt diverse engagement strategies with families, emphasizing flexibility rather than adherence to specific models. This includes providing education, encouraging involvement in treatment, and offering practical support tailored to individual family dynamics and needs. Excerpt Busting 4 Myths About Supporting a Family Member in Addiction Recovery From Health City"Reframing the role of social support in addiction treatment among clinicians is a critical step toward improving health outcomes for patients with SUD. In less than a year, Grayken's TTA program has trained over 1,000 healthcare professionals nationwide about the importance of including family and social support in current models of care. They've encouraged clinicians to engage and educate patient families when possible, while working to dispel these common myths that perpetuate stigma around addiction." Read the Full Article Get a Free Trial InterAct offers virtual care solutions and referral solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services.  30-Day Free Trial
Article
Care and Compassion Over Tough Love
Using "tough love" often has implications in caregiving, particularly when it comes to supporting individuals struggling with addiction. While tough love is often viewed as setting boundaries to prompt behavioral change, it can lead to counterproductive and even abusive outcomes. Tough love ...
Using "tough love" often has implications in caregiving, particularly when it comes to supporting individuals struggling with addiction. While tough love is often viewed as setting boundaries to prompt behavioral change, it can lead to counterproductive and even abusive outcomes. Tough love approaches frequently fail to yield long-term positive results and can strain relationships. Instead, compassionate, respectful, and consistent support, clear communication and evidence-based interventions like Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) assist loved ones in seeking treatment. Families need to prioritize understanding and empathy over harsh tactics, urging them to seek professional guidance when necessary. Ultimately, caregivers are encouraged to reject tough love in favor of approaches that foster trust, support, and collaboration in addressing addiction and other challenges. Key Takeaways from the ArticleComplexity of "Tough Love": The article delves into the multifaceted nature of "tough love," noting the concept of allowing loved ones to face consequences for their actions as a learning experience. However, it highlights the practical implications where tough love often extends to harsh and counterproductive behaviors, potentially leading to abusive dynamics.Origins and Evolution: Tracing back to its emergence in Bill Milliken's 1968 book, the term "tough love" has evolved across various domains, particularly in parenting and addiction treatment contexts. Despite its historical roots in concern and firmness, tough love has increasingly been associated with rigid and punitive approaches.Shortcomings in Addiction Treatment: While tough love is frequently recommended for individuals struggling with addiction, the article challenges its efficacy, noting that forced or coerced treatment often fails to yield long-term positive outcomes. Additionally, it highlights the potential for such approaches to exacerbate feelings of unworthiness and fuel self-destructive behaviors.Emphasis on Compassion and Respect: Advocating for compassionate and respectful caregiving, the article underscores the importance of establishing clear boundaries and communication channels. It promotes supportive listening and encourages families to seek evidence-based interventions like Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) to facilitate treatment-seeking behaviors in loved ones.Seeking Professional Guidance: Recognizing the complexity of supporting individuals with addiction, the article emphasizes the need for families to seek professional guidance when navigating challenging situations. It reassures caregivers that they are not alone and encourages them to prioritize empathy and collaboration over harsh tactics in addressing addiction and fostering positive change. Excerpt Care and Compassion Over Tough Love From Shatterproof"To some, tough love is simply the opposite of coddling—it refers to letting a loved one face the consequences of their actions as part of a learning experience. In theory, this definition sounds reasonable. But in practice, tough love often goes much farther than that, and the concept can be used to excuse or encourage caregiver behavior that’s harsh, counterproductive, and even abusive." Read the Full Article Get a Free Trial InterAct offers virtual care solutions and referral solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services.  30-Day Free Trial
Article
Rethink the Family: The Laura Project
The Laura Project takes you on a family's personal journey through 15 years of struggle with substance misuse and addiction that ultimately claimed Laura Bradfield's life in 2017. The Rethink the Family portal features "Lessons from Laura" written by her mother in the years following Laura's ...
The Laura Project takes you on a family's personal journey through 15 years of struggle with substance misuse and addiction that ultimately claimed Laura Bradfield's life in 2017.   The Rethink the Family portal features "Lessons from Laura" written by her mother in the years following Laura's death, along with additional curated content, education and strategies to help families understand the risks that children face if they misuse substances and develop the disease of addiction. Carolyn Bradfield: My Key Takeaways My daughter Laura battled addiction for 15 of her 29 years and we tried multiple treatment programs, tough love, and even starting our own licensed adolescent treatment program.  Here are some key takeaways from our journey together.It can happen to you:  No matter who you are, no matter how wonderful your children are, no matter what you financial status us, anyone can be affected by the disease of addiction.  1 in 10 adolescents develop the disease before they even leave high school.Families are critical to recovery: Becoming educated about the disease, making the commitment to fully engage in the recovery process, and involving the entire family is one of the most critical factors in ensuring that your loved one has a path to recovery.Compassion wins the day: We are often taught that "tough love" is the way to get the behavioral change you are looking for; however, understanding, love and compassion are much more powerful and effective tools.  Set boundaries, but don't give in to anger and blame.Understand the risk: Although a family history of addiction puts you at greater risk, today the biggest risk is the hidden danger of fentanyl.  Counterfeit pills are easy to buy on social media or the street and according to the DEA, 6 of 10 they confiscate  have a lethal dose of fentanyl in them.Talk about it: There is absolutely no shame in having a loved one who is struggling with addiction or mental health issues.  Talk about it with friends and family to get their support and understanding.  My grief process was made much easier as I wrote the Lessons from Laura knowing how they might help others. Visit Rethink the Family Get a Free Trial InterAct offers virtual care solutions and referral solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services.  30-Day Free Trial
Article
'I landed on love': Families try a different approach to addiction
WBUR is Boston’s NPR that "produces high-quality journalism and enriching experiences that foster understanding, connection and community for an expanding circle of people. Our vision is to become a daily habit for every person in Boston and beyond who seeks to engage with the most consequential ...
WBUR is Boston’s NPR that "produces high-quality journalism and enriching experiences that foster understanding, connection and community for an expanding circle of people. Our vision is to become a daily habit for every person in Boston and beyond who seeks to engage with the most consequential issues of our times."In November of 2023, WBUR aired a story about Ken Feldstein and his son Brendon as they struggled to find a way to help Brendon overcome his addiction to heroin.  Addicted to drugs as a teenager and now an addiction counselor, Ken tried a different approach to help Brendon find his way back to recovery. Brendan during his opioid use disorder and his mom Barbara around 2009. (Courtesy of Ken Feldstein) Excerpt 'I landed on love': Families try a different approach to addiction From WBUR in Boston"I want to move us away from a historical and incorrect assumption that family members are the root cause of addiction or that they are responsible for perpetuating the disorder," Ventura told trainees in a recent session. "Instead, recognize the important role that family members and social support play in the lives of people with substance use disorder."." Read the Full Article Get a Free Trial InterAct offers virtual care solutions and referral solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services.  30-Day Free Trial
Article
Challenging Drug and Alcohol Stigma
In a society where substance use disorders create barriers to treatment and acceptance, challenging the stigma surrounding drug and alcohol problems is crucial. Substance use stigma discourages individuals from seeking help, burdens families with undue guilt, and alienates entire communities. The ...
In a society where substance use disorders create barriers to treatment and acceptance, challenging the stigma surrounding drug and alcohol problems is crucial. Substance use stigma discourages individuals from seeking help, burdens families with undue guilt, and alienates entire communities. The negative perceptions and language associated with addiction only perpetuate the cycle of exclusion and crisis. By advocating for a language of understanding and support, we can fight the bias and exclusion that stigma creates. Here are our key takeaways from the article: Recognizing substance use disorders as health conditions, not moral failings.Understanding that stigma can prevent people from accessing the help they need and deserve.The profound impact of stigma on self-worth and mental well-being of individuals with substance use disorders.The ripple effect of stigma on families and communities, including feelings of isolation and shame.Identifying how self-stigma can manifest as a barrier to seeking and utilizing support services.Challenging stigma by being mindful of language and attitudes towards people with substance use issues.Addressing stigma to facilitate early intervention and holistic care, including mental and physical health support.Encouraging family involvement in the care process free from the burdens of stigma.Supporting people in recovery to re-integrate into society, including opportunities for work, education, and volunteerism.Advocating for compassionate terminology when discussing substance use to promote understanding and acceptance. Excerpt Challenging Drug and Alcohol Stigma From NHS Inform"You can help challenge stigma by speaking up when you hear people around you make negative or wrong comments about people with a drug or alcohol problem. Remember that a drug or alcohol problem should be treated as a health condition. This means that those affected should get the same support as those dealing with a health issue." Read the Full Article Get a Free Trial InterAct offers virtual care solutions and referral solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services.  30-Day Free Trial
Article
Understanding the U.S. Behavioral Health Workforce Shortage
In the behavioral health workforce, there are three types of crucial health support personnel: clinical supporters, community care workers, and frontline workers. These personnel often do a lot with little due to limited resources and training. Crucial changes that could help reform the behavior ...
In the behavioral health workforce, there are three types of crucial health support personnel: clinical supporters, community care workers, and frontline workers. These personnel often do a lot with little due to limited resources and training. Crucial changes that could help reform the behavior health workforce could include fair pay, promoting diversity, better career opportunities, and removing obstacles. These major reforms could not just grow but also strengthen the workforce that is crucial to tackle behavioral health challenges. Society at large has a responsibility to ensure that our behavioral health workers are supported, trained, and rewarded appropriately. Here are our key takeaways from the article: Less than half of individuals suffering from mental health issues were able to receive timely help.The need to address the imbalance between the high demand for behavioral health services and the limited availability of trained providers.The significance of community care workers in offering behavioral health support in nonclinical settings.The challenges faced by frontline workers, such as law enforcement and teachers, who often provide behavioral health support without sufficient training.The necessity for improved guidance and oversight to ensure fair reimbursement for behavioral health services compared to medical and surgical services.The potential of public–private partnerships in reducing administrative burdens and aligning incentives for the behavioral health workforce.The importance of creating career advancement pathways, particularly for clinical supporters and community care workers.The value of incentives, like scholarships and loan forgiveness, to cultivate a diverse and representative workforce.The urgency in reviewing pay discrepancies and structural barriers that deter entry and retention in the behavioral health workforce.The need for comprehensive policy reform to bolster the support system for individuals managing behavioral health issues across varying environments. Excerpt Understanding the U.S. Behavioral Health Workforce Shortage From The Commonwealth Fund"Nearly half of all Americans will have a behavioral health issue in their lifetime, from a mood disorder to a substance use problem. Behavioral health care encompasses a wide variety of interventions delivered by many different types of providers. In the U.S., nearly all these providers are in short supply. The scarcity of behavioral health professionals is undermining people’s ability to get timely care. This is reinforced by historical underinvestment in behavioral health care by public insurance programs (like Medicaid and Medicare), private insurers, and employers — including lack of coverage and low reimbursement rates." Read the Full Article Get a Free Trial InterAct offers virtual care solutions and referral solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services.  30-Day Free Trial
Article
Guiding Principles for Addressing the Stigma on Opioid Addiction
De-stigmatizing opioid use disorder is a pivotal step toward more effective treatment and societal outcomes. The power of language and narrative is crucial in shaping public perceptions, urging a shift towards person-centered language and an acknowledgement of external, societal factors ...
De-stigmatizing opioid use disorder is a pivotal step toward more effective treatment and societal outcomes. The power of language and narrative is crucial in shaping public perceptions, urging a shift towards person-centered language and an acknowledgement of external, societal factors contributing to addiction. This article offers evidence-based tactics for crafting messages that foster empathy, generate hope, and advocate for accessible, effective treatments for those battling addiction.  The words we choose and the stories we tell have significant impact on public attitude and policy support. Humanizing the condition and focusing on recovery helps shifts the narrative from one of shame to one of understanding and support. Here are our key takeaways from the article: Avoid stigmatizing language: Swap terms like "addict" for "person with a substance use disorder" to reduce stigma.Highlight societal factors: Accentuate the role of external elements, such as prescribed medications leading to addiction, to encourage empathy.Promote solution-oriented messages: Emphasize the availability of effective treatments to inspire hope and drive change.Share sympathetic narratives: Use stories that humanize individuals with addiction, include external causality, and focus on recovery.Recognize influential narrative details: Be mindful of the demographics and perspective to resonate with target audiences.Validate the existence of effective treatment: Discuss real-life examples of successful recovery to change perceptions.Avoid ineffective messaging: Steer clear of messages that solely attribute addiction to disease or biological factors, which can perpetuate stigma.Combine disease context with effective treatment: Pairing medical framing with solution-focused messages can enhance public support for treatment access. Excerpt Guiding Principles for Addressing the Stigma on Opioid Addiction From John Hopkins Bloomberg American Health Initiative"Public stigma—defined as negative attitudes toward a specific group of people among the general public—is very high toward individuals with opioid use disorder. Public stigma is a barrier to implementation of evidence-based policies and program to address the opioid crisis. Research shows that:   Many Americans view poor individual choices/lack of discipline as the cause of opioid addiction:  78% of Americans believe people who are addicted to prescription opioids are, themselves, to blame for the problem.72% believe that people addicted to prescription opioids lack self-discipline." Read the Full Article Get a Free Trial InterAct offers virtual care solutions and referral solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services.  30-Day Free Trial
Article
Stigma Reduction to Combat the Addiction Crisis — Developing an Evidence Base
The article explains how to reduce negative attitudes in communication, especially about substance use disorders. It promotes using language that puts the person before their condition, focusing on treatment options, sharing stories of empathy, and shedding light on societal causes of addiction as ...
The article explains how to reduce negative attitudes in communication, especially about substance use disorders. It promotes using language that puts the person before their condition, focusing on treatment options, sharing stories of empathy, and shedding light on societal causes of addiction as ways to lessen stigma. Research suggests that comprehensive and unbiased communication can greatly change how people see addiction and create a more supportive environment for those dealing with it. It is crucial to use careful communication strategies when talking about public perceptions of addiction. By challenging deep-rooted prejudices and understanding the societal foundations of addiction, we can make healthcare responses more inclusive and effective.  Here are our key takeaways from the article: Person-first language is crucial for reducing stigma around substance use.Public perception of addiction benefits from emphasizing treatment efficacy and overdose prevention solutions.Sympathetic narratives can decrease stigma if carefully crafted to avoid reinforcing other social stigmas.Societal causes of addiction should be prioritized over individual blame to avoid cognitive bias.Developing a strong, research-based evidence system is key for understanding what messages work best in reducing stigma.Stigma-reduction initiatives must be evaluated with pretests and longitudinal studies to adjust strategies and ensure effectiveness.Integration of stigma-reduction strategies within broader health care policies will deepen the impact on the addiction crisis.Effective communication campaigns should be tailored to target specific audiences, including the general public, medical professionals, and those in the criminal justice and child welfare sectors.Enhanced provider enthusiasm for treating patients with addiction can occur through stigma reduction, potentially improving patient care experiences and outcomes. Excerpt Stigma Reduction to Combat the Addiction Crisis — Developing an Evidence Base From The New England Journal of Medicine by Emma E. McGinty, Ph.D., and Colleen L. Barry, Ph.D."Between 1999 and 2017, more than 700,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, and escalating rates of drug addiction have contributed to recent decreases in life expectancy. To address this crisis, we must combat the stigma attached to addiction. A large body of research indicates that this stigma is persistent, pervasive, and rooted in the belief that addiction is a personal choice reflecting a lack of willpower and a moral failing." Read the Full Article Get a Free Trial InterAct offers virtual care solutions and referral solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services.  30-Day Free Trial
Article
Reducing the Stigma of Addiction
The opioid crisis in America has taken a staggering toll on individuals and communities, made worse by the pervasive stigma associated with addiction. Johns Hopkins Medicine underscores the urgent need for destigmatization, pointing out that addiction is not a moral failure but a treatable medical ...
The opioid crisis in America has taken a staggering toll on individuals and communities, made worse by the pervasive stigma associated with addiction. Johns Hopkins Medicine underscores the urgent need for destigmatization, pointing out that addiction is not a moral failure but a treatable medical condition. They emphasize the importance of person-first language and evidence-based treatments, including FDA-approved medications that have been proven to save lives.  Initiatives like those of Johns Hopkins are critical to turning the tide against the opioid crisis. Introducing vocabulary that respects the dignity of individuals with substance use disorders (SUDs) is more than compassionate—it's a vital step towards integrating effective treatments into mainstream healthcare.  Here are our key takeaways from the article: Drug overdose deaths have significantly impacted U.S. life expectancy.Stigmatization of addiction creates significant barriers to treatment access.Addiction stigma within the healthcare field can compromise patient care quality.Opioid use disorder is a chronic brain disease, not a character flaw.Person-first language can significantly reduce addiction stigma.Methadone, buprenorphine, and extended-release naltrexone cut overdose death risks by half.Medication-based therapy for opioid use disorder is underutilized.Comprehensive treatment can enable individuals to lead fulfilling lives.There is a critical need to make life-saving medications for OUD more accessible.Stigma reduction is a communal responsibility and integral to addressing the opioid crisis effectively. Excerpt Reducing the Stigma of Addiction From John Hopkins Medicine"There is an urgent need to combat stigma surrounding addiction. Recognizing the enormous challenge that stigma poses to our communities, including patients with substance use disorder, Johns Hopkins Medicine is committed to dismantling stigma within our health system as a key part of our strategy for tackling the addiction and overdose crisis." Read the Full Article Get a Free Trial InterAct offers virtual care solutions and referral solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services.  30-Day Free Trial
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New Study: Behavioral Health Workforce Shortage Will Negatively Impact Society
The mental health field is facing a serious lack of staff, and this issue is expected to worsen by 2025. The shortage is causing a lot of stress, with almost all mental health workers feeling burnt out. The industry suggests solutions like more online health services, training programs, and ...
The mental health field is facing a serious lack of staff, and this issue is expected to worsen by 2025. The shortage is causing a lot of stress, with almost all mental health workers feeling burnt out. The industry suggests solutions like more online health services, training programs, and forgiving student loans to ease the burden. This shortage is a serious issue that needs immediate and creative solutions to ensure people can access mental health and addiction services. Here at InterAct LifeLine, we understand how important it is to address this staff shortage to maintain societal well-being. The strong dedication of mental health workers is praiseworthy but won't last unless we fix the system-wide problems. It's crucial that everyone involved in the industry, from those making policies to those providing care, work together to put these solutions into action. Here are our key takeaways from the article: There is a projected shortfall of about 31,000 mental health practitioners by 2025.The prevalence of burnout, with 93% of workers affected and 62% suffering from moderate to severe levels.The negative impact of administrative tasks on client care and worker well-being.Growing concerns about societal impacts due to impaired access to care.Potential solutions such as more telehealth services, apprenticeship programs, and student loan forgiveness.The critical need for improved recruitment and retention strategies in the field.The importance of promoting self-care among current behavioral health workers.The value of bipartisan policymaker engagement to tackle workforce challenges.The essential role of the behavioral health workforce in navigating health crises. Excerpt New Study: Behavioral Health Workforce Shortage Will Negatively Impact Society From The National Council for Mental Wellbeing"New survey data from the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, conducted by The Harris Poll, finds that the vast majority (83%) of the nation’s behavioral health workforce believes that without public policy changes, provider organizations won’t be able to meet the demand for mental health or substance use treatment and care. The survey, conducted among 750 behavioral health workers and more than 2,000 U.S. adults, also warns of a potential exodus of behavioral health workers due to burnout." Read the Full Article Get a Free Trial InterAct offers virtual care solutions and referral solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services.  30-Day Free Trial
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A Look at Strategies to Address Behavioral Health Workforce Shortages
Medicaid's role in mental health care is changing significantly, with states leading efforts to simplify paperwork processes and centralize provider qualifications. Even though each state's ability to make changes varies, the overall move towards reducing administrative work shows a positive trend ...
Medicaid's role in mental health care is changing significantly, with states leading efforts to simplify paperwork processes and centralize provider qualifications. Even though each state's ability to make changes varies, the overall move towards reducing administrative work shows a positive trend across the country. Quick payment policies and financial rewards are being used to encourage more providers to accept Medicaid. Also, by offering student loan repayments and training opportunities, there's a focus on growing and strengthening the mental health workforce as part of a long-term plan for the industry. The flexibility and changes within Medicaid show a healthcare system that is becoming more responsive to the needs of both providers and patients, especially in mental health care. The focus on prompt payments and reducing bureaucratic hurdles shows a forward-thinking approach, while investing in workforce development ensures long-lasting, quality care. These steps are not only beneficial now but also set a good example for future healthcare models across the nation. Here are our key takeaways from the article: Several states plan to centralize or standardize provider credentialing.State Medicaid programs vary in their authority to independently reduce administrative burdens, often requiring inter-agency collaboration.Prompt payment policies are widely adopted and are crucial in maintaining provider participation in Medicaid.Less commonly reported are financial incentives offered by states for integrated behavioral and physical health care.Massachusetts and Washington are among the states investing in the workforce growth through initiatives like student loan repayment and specialized training programs.The Consolidated Appropriations Act passed by Congress supports a burgeoning workforce with funding for new psychiatry residency positions.Elimination of administrative hurdles to prescribe buprenorphine represents a significant advancement in addiction treatment.Comprehensive training for all controlled substance prescribers will enhance the overall standard of care for patients with OUD or SUD.Enhancements in Medicaid provider directories and nationally-backed legislations indicate a bipartisan push towards mental health reform. Excerpt A Look at Strategies to Address Behavioral Health Workforce Shortages From KFF by Heather Saunders, Madeline Guth, and Gina Eckart"The pandemic has exacerbated mental health and substance use issues and 90% of Americans believe the nation is in the midst of a mental health crisis. Despite increases in need, data show that treatment rates across all payers are low. Documented workforce challenges contribute to barriers in access to care and nearly half of the US population – 47% or 158 million people – living in a mental health workforce shortage area. " Read the Full Article Get a Free Trial InterAct offers virtual care solutions and referral solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services.  30-Day Free Trial
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Workforce Development for Behavioral Health
This detailed study looks into the peer support workforce, highlighting the unique issues and complexities this vital part of the mental health field faces. Peer support workers balance personal experience with professional development, all while dealing with low pay and the pursuit of career ...
This detailed study looks into the peer support workforce, highlighting the unique issues and complexities this vital part of the mental health field faces. Peer support workers balance personal experience with professional development, all while dealing with low pay and the pursuit of career growth. Despite being financially underrated, peer specialists play a key role in many people's recovery process, offering not just support, but also hope and guidance. Yet, there is an immediate need for standard certification, broader career opportunities, and increased diversity in this workforce according to the research. Improving the career prospects of peer support workers could improve the quality of care they provide. This would then lead to better patient results, showing the inherent worth of these workers. Additionally, the emphasis on equality aims to not only enhance care but also ensure it is culturally sensitive and inclusive. Here are our key takeaways from the article: Peer support workers provide essential mentorship within the recovery process, but face challenges such as low wages and unclear career paths.There is a significant demand for peer support workers, but the supply does not meet this need, influenced by recruitment practices and lack of formal career ladders.Certification does not currently correlate with higher wages, indicating a disconnect between credentialing and compensation.Career advancement opportunities exist in three primary categories: management, lateral movement, and clinical roles, each with unique requirements and trajectories.Upskilling and continuing education can lead to personal and professional growth for peer support workers and aid organizations in employee retention.Peer workforce demographics and representation need to be researched further to ensure the community being served is adequately reflected.Future research and developments should focus on creating formal credentials for peer support workers, continuing education requirements, and strategies to enhance diversity and equity in the field. Excerpt Workforce Development for Behavioral Health From The Project on Workforce by Antoinette ‘Toni' Gingerelli, Kelsey Pukelis, and Priscilla Liu"Across the United States there is a shortage of behavioral health workers. These workers play an integral role in supporting those struggling with mental health conditions or substance use disorders, a role with even more importance in the wake of COVID-19. Against this backdrop, the Massachusetts Healthcare Collaborative sought to identify and address challenges in the state’s healthcare workforce pipeline, starting with peer support workers." Read the Full Article Get a Free Trial InterAct offers virtual care solutions and referral solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services.  30-Day Free Trial
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Beyond Telehealth: An Expanded View of Virtual Care for Behavioral Health
Explore how virtual care, with its expansive capabilities, goes beyond the confines of telehealth to provide a multifaceted approach to expanded treatment, family support and intensive outpatient programs. From support groups and educational content to patient engagement and continuous outreach, ...
Explore how virtual care, with its expansive capabilities, goes beyond the confines of telehealth to provide a multifaceted approach to expanded treatment, family support and intensive outpatient programs. From support groups and educational content to patient engagement and continuous outreach, virtual care is redefining the boundaries of what is possible in treatment. Fill out the form to view your free eBook
Article
Behavioral Health Tech Products Can Function Well Without Professional Controls
There is debate around clinician oversight in the evolving landscape of behavioral health tech products, using Pear Therapeutics and Akili, Inc. as examples of shifting business models from prescription to non-prescription. It explores clinicians' push for CMS billing codes for client guidance and ...
There is debate around clinician oversight in the evolving landscape of behavioral health tech products, using Pear Therapeutics and Akili, Inc. as examples of shifting business models from prescription to non-prescription. It explores clinicians' push for CMS billing codes for client guidance and remote monitoring, expressing concerns about potential complications and the impact on measurement-based care (MBC). Emphasizing the need for executive leadership, the article calls for efficient systems prioritizing outcomes over billing minutiae, highlighting the clash between fee-for-service (FFS) and value-based care (VBC) approaches. The overarching message stresses the importance of trusting clinically based tech products to function efficiently without unnecessary professional controls. Here are our key takeaways from the article: Prescription Model Pitfalls: The article highlights the challenges faced by companies like Pear Therapeutics, emphasizing the drawbacks of a prescription-only model for digital therapeutic tools. Pear's bankruptcy after restricting access raises questions about the effectiveness and consumer-friendliness of such approaches.Clinician Compensation Debate: The piece delves into the ongoing debate among clinicians seeking Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) billing codes for guiding clients and remote monitoring. The demand for compensation for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) expertise is a focal point, with potential implications for the advancement of measurement-based care (MBC).Executive Leadership in Integration: The article advocates for executive leadership in integrating MBC into outpatient care, citing the system-focused perspective that executives bring. It underscores the need for consumer products to be easily accessible, with outcomes assessed at the level of clinical programs and populations, emphasizing efficiency and accessibility.Efficiency in Value-Based Care (VBC): The clash between fee-for-service (FFS) and value-based care (VBC) approaches is explored, with executives advocating for efficient systems and outcomes-driven care. The shift towards VBC arrangements, focused on efficiency and improved outcomes, challenges the traditional billing mindset of maximizing opportunities.Challenges of Billing Processes: The article raises concerns about billing processes complicating measurement-based care (MBC) clinical monitoring. It argues for the integration of MBC into all outpatient care as a standard process, cautioning against the growth of separate charges and the potential tying of monitoring to specific therapies, such as CBT.Digital Therapeutics in Evolving Healthcare Models: The piece concludes by stressing the mission-critical role of clinically based tech products alongside therapeutic services. It advocates for trusting these products to function efficiently without onerous professional controls, recognizing their potential to address unmet behavioral needs and embed clinical outcomes into everyday care. Excerpt Behavioral Health Tech Products Can Function Well Without Professional Controls From Behavioral Health Executive"Many behavioral health tech products are effective without clinician oversight. Yet some argue for inserting professional controls, and consensus is lacking. An excellent place to begin this debate is with Pear Therapeutics. Their digital therapeutic tools were available by prescription only—a less consumer-friendly approach than open access based on eligibility—until they went bankrupt in 2023.." Read the Full Article Get a Free Trial InterAct offers virtual care solutions and referral solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services.  30-Day Free Trial
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How to Jump-Start a Referral Program
Free eBook How to Jump-Start a Referral Program In today’s environment ignoring the use of technology is no longer an option, but a strategic necessity for transforming referral programs to secure more admissions and increase ...
Free eBook How to Jump-Start a Referral Program In today’s environment ignoring the use of technology is no longer an option, but a strategic necessity for transforming referral programs to secure more admissions and increase revenue. Keep Alumni Engaged & Maximize Referrals Overview The Digital Paradigm Shift Traditional Referral Approach Challenges Leveraging Technology for Referral Success Digital Platforms Use AI to Enhance Social Media Create Calls to Action Overcome Technology Barriers Conclusion Test Drive a Digital Platform
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How to Improve Outcomes with Virtual Services
Free eBook How to Improve Outcomes with Virtual Services Explore strategies to improve outcomes by using virtual strategies to widen access to care, extend the treatment process, incorporate the family, and improve outcomes by ...
Free eBook How to Improve Outcomes with Virtual Services Explore strategies to improve outcomes by using virtual strategies to widen access to care, extend the treatment process, incorporate the family, and improve outcomes by maintaining the relationship with the individual and their family on a continuing basis. How to Use Digital Services to Expand Treatment Options Overview The Digital Paradigm ShiftTraditional Treatment ChallengesExpanding the Treatment HorizonLeveraging Technology for SuccessDigital PlatformsEncourage ActionOvercome Technology BarriersLaunching a Technology-Driven ProgramTest Driving Technology
Article
Addiction Treatment Marketing: How to Market a Rehab Center
Effective marketing is crucial for treatment centers to stand out among the over 13,000 facilities in the U.S. From managing reviews and utilizing social media to employing email marketing and creating quality content, treatment centers must generate awareness, establish trust, and boost client ...
Effective marketing is crucial for treatment centers to stand out among the over 13,000 facilities in the U.S. From managing reviews and utilizing social media to employing email marketing and creating quality content, treatment centers must generate awareness, establish trust, and boost client retention. Local outreach, paid advertising, industry events, and personalized testimonials are all important marketing strategies for behavioral health programs..  It is important to have a user-friendly website and leverage tools like call tracking for a deeper understanding of audience behavior. Whether through community engagement, scholarship programs, or digital advertising, programs must navigate the complexities of marketing in the addiction treatment sector. Here are our key takeaways from the article: Multi-pronged Approach: Successful drug rehab marketing requires a comprehensive strategy that includes managing reviews, utilizing social media, employing email marketing, creating quality content, local outreach, paid advertising, industry events, and personalized testimonials.Local Engagement: Local face-to-face and ad-based outreach, such as speaking at community centers, sponsoring events, and joining local organizations, plays a vital role in establishing a treatment center's presence and attracting clients.Digital Presence: Leveraging digital platforms like social media, email marketing, and paid advertising is crucial for engaging with individuals seeking addiction treatment. Maintaining a strong online presence helps build awareness, trust, and visibility for the treatment center.Content Creation: High-quality, valuable content is a key component of effective marketing. Educational resources, inspirational stories, and information on various treatment approaches contribute to establishing the treatment center's expertise and attracting potential clients.Client Testimonials: Sharing authentic client testimonials, both written and through video, serves as a powerful marketing tool. Real stories from individuals who have successfully undergone treatment help build trust and inspire others to seek help.User-Friendly Website: Ensuring a smooth user experience on the treatment center's website is essential. Clear calls-to-action, program details, staff bios, payment options, and mobile optimization contribute to a positive online experience for potential clients. Excerpt Addiction Treatment Marketing: How to Market a Rehab Center From American Addiction Centers"Drug rehab marketing refers to promotional activities and campaigns designed to increase awareness of your treatment center and drive prospective clients to your services. Like marketing in any industry, this involves understanding your target audience, crafting persuasive messaging, selecting the right channels and platforms, and measuring results..." Read the Full Article Free Trial of InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions and referral solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services.  Use InterAct for alumni programs to create community and generate referrals. 30-Day Free Trial
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SAMHSA Takes Action to Address Our Workforce Crisis
The ongoing behavioral health workforce crisis, intensified by the impact of COVID-19, has prompted a crucial response from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In a recent technical expert panel, stakeholders discussed innovative solutions to address the surge in ...
The ongoing behavioral health workforce crisis, intensified by the impact of COVID-19, has prompted a crucial response from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In a recent technical expert panel, stakeholders discussed innovative solutions to address the surge in suicide rates (32%) and opioid overdose deaths (376%) from 2001 to 2021. Led by Dr. Larke N. Huang, SAMHSA’s Director of the Office of Behavioral Health Equity, the panel focused on reimagining workforce strategies, especially in underserved communities. Recommendations included expanding roles for peer and community health workers, improving licensure compacts, and creating enhanced training pathways. The urgent need for federal funding, dedicated staff, and advocacy emerged as critical components for implementing these transformative changes, signaling a proactive approach to tackle the pressing challenges in behavioral health. Here are our key takeaways from the article: Behavioral Health Workforce Crisis: The article highlights the ongoing crisis in the behavioral health workforce, exacerbated by the increased demand for mental health and substance use care, particularly due to the effects of COVID-19.SAMHSA's Response: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has taken a proactive step by convening a technical expert panel titled "Building the Behavioral Health Workforce with a Focus on Underserved Communities."Impact of COVID-19: Suicide rates have surged by 32%, and opioid overdose deaths have risen by 376% from 2001 to 2021, underscoring the urgency of addressing workforce challenges in the behavioral health field.Panel Objectives: Led by Dr. Larke N. Huang, the panel aims to reimagine workforce strategies, particularly in areas with limited services, seeking practical actions to mitigate the current crisis and plan short- and long-term solutions.Recommendations: Stakeholders discussed various recommendations, including expanding roles for peer and community health workers, improving licensure compacts, and creating enhanced training pathways, with an emphasis on addressing disparities in underserved communities.Critical Components for Change: Urgent needs include securing federal funding, dedicated staff, and advocacy efforts to turn these recommendations into actionable solutions, highlighting the essential role of commitment and collaboration in overcoming workforce challenges in behavioral health. Excerpt SAMHSA Takes Action to Address Our Workforce Crisis From Behavioral Health Executive"Our current behavioral health workforce crisis remains the primary issue the field will confront in 2024. Specifically, we do not have sufficient workforce capacity to meet the needs of those seeking care for their mental health or substance use conditions. COVID-19 has contributed greatly to this problem by increasing the prevalence of these conditions among both adults and children. The effects of this problem can be seen in dramatically increased rates of suicide (up 32%) and opioid overdose deaths (up 376%) from 2001 to 2021." Read the Full Article Free Trial of InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions and referral solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services.  Use InterAct for alumni programs to create community and generate referrals. 30-Day Free Trial
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13 Essentials of Behavioral Health Marketing to Grow Your Treatment Center
This article offers effective strategies for mental health care marketing. It emphasizes the importance of understanding your audience, optimizing campaigns for maximum ROI, and creating high-quality, customer-centric content. A key suggestion is to start small and gradually expand your marketing ...
This article offers effective strategies for mental health care marketing. It emphasizes the importance of understanding your audience, optimizing campaigns for maximum ROI, and creating high-quality, customer-centric content. A key suggestion is to start small and gradually expand your marketing tactics. It also highlights the role of networking and reputation management in fostering mutually beneficial relationships and trust. Mental health care and marketing intersect in an intriguing way, bringing unique challenges and opportunities. A significant shift is taking place from traditional networking to the creation of valuable relationships, providing a new angle on professional interactions.  Here are our key takeaways from the article: Creating an active social media presence helps keep your brand in the minds of potential clients and fosters engagementDeveloping educational SEO blogs for your audience solidifies your position as an expert in your field.Optimize your website with high-volume, low-difficulty keywords.Fully utilize Google My Business for local traffic and to increase visibility.Nurture client relationships and maintain connections through personalized email marketing.Prioritize user-centric design for your website with clear calls to action and easy navigation.Use pay-per-click advertising to drive significant traffic and potential admissions to your treatment center.Manage online reviews to build trust among potential clients and influence their decision to choose your treatment center.Active participation on networking sites like LinkedIn can lead to partnerships that benefit your center.When crafting your marketing messages, keep the focus on your clients' needs and how your services solve their problems. Excerpt 13 Essentials of Behavioral Health Marketing to Grow Your Treatment Center From C4 Consulting"There is a lot of stigma surrounding mental health and addiction, so many people are afraid to educate themselves on the topic or admit when they have a problem. On the other hand, there are many who do not know they have a problem. Through marketing, you can help them, or even their family, identify warning signs. Marketing allows you to inform others about mental health issues and let them know that you have the solution." Read the Full Article Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
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Mental Health Marketing: 10 Proven Strategies
This guide outlines effective marketing strategies for mental health professionals seeking to grow their practices. The strategies discussed range from optimizing your website for better visibility to the importance of offline events and local community engagement. While these strategies require ...
This guide outlines effective marketing strategies for mental health professionals seeking to grow their practices. The strategies discussed range from optimizing your website for better visibility to the importance of offline events and local community engagement. While these strategies require dedication, consistency, and a willingness to experiment, they are effective in attracting ideal clients and establishing a thriving practice.  The digital marketing landscape, while complex, provides a wealth of opportunities to connect with potential clients. Striking a balance between digital and traditional marketing methods promotes a comprehensive strategy that is vital in today's predominantly digital era. Here are our key takeaways from the article:  The critical role that an optimized website plays in enhancing the visibility and credibility of your practice.The need for a unique value proposition that clearly communicates what sets your practice apart.The importance of leveraging social proof and reviews to strengthen your practice’s online reputation.The value of a well-planned social media strategy in connecting with potential clients and building your practice’s authority.Participating in relevant discussion groups on platforms such as Quora and Reddit to directly address questions and concerns from your target audience.The value of offline events in fostering personal connections and increasing referrals.The significance of engaging with the local community, including collaboration with local entities such as schools and community groups.The power of mental health awareness campaigns in educating the public and destigmatizing mental health concerns.The need for dedication, consistency, and a willingness to experiment in successful mental health marketing.The potential of these combined strategies to result in a thriving practice and meaningful impact on clients' lives. Excerpt Mental Health Marketing: 10 Proven Strategies From My Therapy Flow "In today’s fast-paced world, the importance of mental health has never been more apparent. As the conversation around mental well-being gains momentum, mental health professionals must adapt their marketing strategies to reach those who need their services the most." Read the Full Article Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
Article
What’s the Answer to the Shortage of Mental Health Care Providers?
The article discusses the current shortage of behavioral health care providers and outlines innovative solutions being implemented. Notably, it emphasizes the role of telepsychiatry and integrated care as means to enhance access to mental health services. The growth in psychiatry residents and the ...
The article discusses the current shortage of behavioral health care providers and outlines innovative solutions being implemented. Notably, it emphasizes the role of telepsychiatry and integrated care as means to enhance access to mental health services. The growth in psychiatry residents and the emergence of new models of care, such as telemedicine and integrated care, suggest a promising future for mental health care. Telepsychiatry and integrated care are not just forward-thinking in terms of technology use; they are also patient-centered, offering convenience and improved patient-provider communication. The expansion of training programs for future psychiatrists shows a commitment to addressing the shortage of professionals in this field, and the support for community mental health services is instrumental in extending care to those most in need. Here are our key takeaways from the article:  The shortage of providers can be attributed to supply unable to keep up with increasing demand as the social stigma around mental health lessens.The number of new psychiatry residents grew 5.3 percent from 2010 to 2015.Telepsychiatry and integrated care are innovative ways to extend the mental health workforce.Integrated care enhances coordination between mental health care providers and primary care.The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has allocated $2.9 million to train 3,500 psychiatrists in the integrated care model.The Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training Program has supported the training of more than 9,000 new behavioral health care professionals.Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics are being funded in 24 states.Assertive Community Treatment programs are being developed or expanded to improve behavioral health outcomes.The Community Mental Health Services Block Grant program offers money and technical assistance for comprehensive, community-based mental health services.Despite the challenges, there are optimistic opportunities to improve the behavioral health workforce capacity and service delivery. Excerpt What’s the Answer to the Shortage of Mental Health Care Providers? From U.S. News by David Levine"Two disturbing trend lines are currently crossing in the area of mental health care. One line, tracking demand for such care, is rapidly rising. In the U.S., nearly 1 in 5 people has some sort of mental health condition, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.The other trend line, measuring the number of mental health care providers in practice, is barely holding steady. A 2016 report released by the Health Resources and Services Administration projected the supply of workers in selected behavioral health professions to be approximately 250,000 workers short of the projected demand in 2025." Read the Full Article Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
Article
Unraveling the Dance of Addiction: How Substance Use Reshapes the Brain at the Genetic Level
When gene activity fluctuates, it alters the proteins produced by your cells. These changes can influence anything from a single connection in your brain to your behavior. It's like a sophisticated genetic ballet - your genes influence your brain development, but they're also flexible, adapting to ...
When gene activity fluctuates, it alters the proteins produced by your cells. These changes can influence anything from a single connection in your brain to your behavior. It's like a sophisticated genetic ballet - your genes influence your brain development, but they're also flexible, adapting to your learning and daily needs."Recent studies on animal models hint that addictive substances like alcohol and drugs may trigger changes in gene expression in brain regions responsible for memory and reward responses," says an expert in the field.In every neuron, the way DNA is wound around proteins like histones regulates gene expression, thereby determining the proteins produced. Addiction can tweak gene expression in many ways, including altering the DNA-binding proteins, modifying how DNA is interpreted into proteins, and even changing the energy-using processes of cells.For instance, alcohol can prompt an alternate gene form to be expressed in memory circuits in both flies and humans, causing alterations in dopamine receptors and transcription factors involved in reward signaling and neuronal function. The same can be said for cocaine's effects on mice's reward centers. The exact mechanism of how these substances alter gene regulation still remains an enigma, but there's some evidence that alcohol consumption could influence gene expression in mice.These substances also ignite vital signaling pathways that are prominent regulators of metabolism, implying they can impact numerous aspects of neuronal function and therefore gene expression."Your lifestyle choices and the substances you consume can affect gene expression, but these changes aren't necessarily permanent. They can also be modified by medication and lifestyle habits," an expert explains.Medication for mental health disorders, like antidepressants and mood stabilizers, can alter gene expression. For example, escitalopram, a commonly prescribed drug for depression, can adjust the winding of DNA and change the expression of brain plasticity-related genes.Lifestyle choices can also affect gene expression. For example, a high sugar diet in flies can manipulate taste by manipulating gene expression. Intensive meditation can modify gene regulation in the brain, and exercise can change gene expression, promoting learning, memory, and potentially reducing dementia risk.Virtual care can play a pivotal role in supporting these solutions. It offers a platform to keep patients engaged with their treatment, provides access to important resources such as health professionals and educational materials, and enables one-on-one virtual sessions for coaching, diet, exercise, meditation, and more. InterAct LifeLine's virtual care solutions are designed with these needs in mind, providing comprehensive support for those looking to optimize their brain health. Here are some proposed solutions to positively influence brain health: Reducing consumption of addictive substances.Regular physical exercises.Positive dietary changes.Incorporating meditation into daily routine.Use of prescribed medications for mental health disorders.Exploring mRNA-based therapies.Attending therapy and counseling sessions. As we move forward, it's crucial to remember that our choices can profoundly affect our brain biology. By reducing alcohol and drug consumption and adopting healthier lifestyle practices, we can stabilize and potentially improve our physical and mental health. It's your genes – they deserve your attention. This informative article is summarized from Science Alert. For a more in-depth exploration of this topic: Read the Full Article Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
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Why Financial Incentives Could Be the Next Big Thing in Addiction Treatment
The article closely examines the use of contingency management in addiction treatment, a method that has been both praised for its potential and criticized for its challenges. Despite ambiguities surrounding legal and reimbursement procedures, the method continues to gain traction as an effective ...
The article closely examines the use of contingency management in addiction treatment, a method that has been both praised for its potential and criticized for its challenges. Despite ambiguities surrounding legal and reimbursement procedures, the method continues to gain traction as an effective tool in combating addiction. However, the lack of consistent coverage by health plans poses a significant barrier to the widespread application of contingency management. However, there is a great need for broader discussions and changes in policies concerning addiction treatment methods. While the effectiveness of contingency management is clear, the existing financial and legal hurdles impede its full potential. Transparency in these matters, coupled with a proactive approach towards reimbursing these services, could be a game-changer in the fight against addiction. Here are our key takeaways from the article: Contingency management in addiction treatment is gaining acceptance, despite legal and reimbursement challenges.The Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Health and Human Services Department supports contingency management programs but warns against possible violations of existing laws if not properly administered.Reimbursement issues pose a significant barrier to the adoption of contingency management, often leaving addiction treatment providers to bear the cost.Approximately 40% of the programs listed in the National Directory of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Treatment Facilities for 2022 claim to provide contingency management incentives.The value of social reinforcement is crucial in maintaining sobriety and rebuilding trust within family systems.Contingency management programs, despite their challenges, are lauded for their potential to significantly influence drug control strategies in the future.The Biden administration has signaled a friendly attitude toward contingency management, highlighting its potential in the 2022 drug control plan.The rate of adoption of contingency management is slow due to reimbursement issues and legal ambiguities. Excerpt Why Financial Incentives Could Be the Next Big Thing in Addiction Treatment From Behavioral Health Business by Chris Larson "Contingency management, despite its jargony veneer, is a simple concept. Generally, it calls for immediate rewards for positive behavior. It circumvents a phenomenon in addiction treatment called delay discounting, when people perceive rewards as less valuable the longer it takes to receive them. Contingency management often takes the form of small cash or cash-equivalent rewards in exchange for some positive outcome — gift cards for clean drug tests, for example." Read the Full Article Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
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How to Build a Strong Referral Network as a Mental Health Provider
Building a robust referral network is critical for expanding practices and providing holistic care to clients. This article highlights the importance of identifying potential referral sources, fostering personal relationships with these sources, providing clear information about one's practice, ...
Building a robust referral network is critical for expanding practices and providing holistic care to clients. This article highlights the importance of identifying potential referral sources, fostering personal relationships with these sources, providing clear information about one's practice, collaborating and sharing expertise, establishing a streamlined referral process, and maintaining these relationships through gratitude and ongoing communication. The step-by-step approach to maintaining a flourishing referral network, as laid out in the article, provides an insightful and beneficial resource for mental health practitioners. The suggestions are not just practical, but they also embrace the human aspect of networking, focusing on building trust, showing gratitude, and encouraging collaboration. Here are our key takeaways from the article: Research and identify potential referral sources, such as primary care physicians, psychiatrists, and other mental health providers.Develop personal relationships with potential referral sources. Regular contact is key.Provide clear, concise information about your areas of specialization and services.Collaborate and share knowledge with your referral sources.Create a seamless, efficient referral process. Quick responses and updates on referrals are important.Express gratitude and maintain relationships, even when you don't have an immediate referral.Regularly evaluate your referral process for continual improvement.Referrals are about more than gaining clients - they're opportunities for collaboration and community contribution.Use educational presentations, workshops, and shared resources to position yourself as a knowledgeable and trusted professional.Stay connected with your network through regular communication and updates. Excerpt How to Build a Strong Referral Network as a Mental Health Provider From Trek Health "As a mental health practitioner, your ultimate goal is to provide the best possible care for your clients. However, achieving this goal often requires more than your clinical skills and expertise.  Building a robust referral network is a crucial step that can significantly enhance the success and impact of your mental health practice. In this blog post, we'll explore some practical strategies and tips to help you establish and maintain a strong referral network, allowing you to provide comprehensive care and support to your clients." Read the Full Article Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
Article
How to Create Quality Measures for Addiction Treatment that Improve Outcomes
The article discusses the significance of quality measurement in combating the opioid epidemic, drawing a parallel between the tangible successes achieved through quality measures in physical health realms and the potential similar outcomes in the field of addiction treatment. Tailored and ...
The article discusses the significance of quality measurement in combating the opioid epidemic, drawing a parallel between the tangible successes achieved through quality measures in physical health realms and the potential similar outcomes in the field of addiction treatment. Tailored and meaningful metrics can serve as indispensable tools for service providers, aiding in their quest to deliver effective and efficient solutions to those battling substance use disorders.  This article sheds light on the importance of a systematic and data-driven approach to improving the quality of addiction treatment. It highlights the potential of quality measurement not only as a tool for enhancing treatment outcomes but also as a catalyst for change in the broader landscape of addiction management. Here are our key takeaways from the article: Quality measures play a pivotal role in enhancing addiction treatment outcomes.The effectiveness of these measures is contingent on their relevance, actionability, and ease of collection.Data sources like insurance claims, provider and patient surveys, patient assessments, and electronic health data can be utilized to create meaningful quality measures.Ongoing work is required post-implementation of measures to ensure organizations act upon the insights derived and improve the quality of their treatment.Significant improvements like controlled blood pressure and reduced patient readmissions have been achieved through quality measures in different healthcare areas.The potential extrapolation of these successes to opioid use disorders could see thousands of lives saved and quality of life improved.The integral role of providers in the quality measurement process is emphasized, from vetting measures to receiving guidance on their improvement.Pitfalls to avoid in quality measurement include neglecting provider input, selecting too many measures, or failing to guide for improvement.States should develop a robust quality measurement foundation to guide and ensure progress in reducing the impact of the opioid epidemic. Excerpt How to Create Quality Measures for Addiction Treatment that Improve Outcomes From RTI International by Tami Mark "Individuals and family members searching for treatment have few ways to identify providers that are delivering effective treatment. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 20% of adults with unmet need for substance use disorder (SUD) treatment said they did not get treatment because they did not know where to go for care." Read the Full Article Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
Article
Effective Referrals and Collaborations
This article explores the essential components of successful substance abuse treatment programs, with a focus on organizational alignment, capacity building, inventory tracking, and cross-training initiatives. It details how these elements, when skillfully integrated, can enhance rehabilitation ...
This article explores the essential components of successful substance abuse treatment programs, with a focus on organizational alignment, capacity building, inventory tracking, and cross-training initiatives. It details how these elements, when skillfully integrated, can enhance rehabilitation success rates by optimizing resource allocation, nurturing collaborative networks, and fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement within organizations. It offers practical strategies and real-world examples that can be implemented in substance abuse treatment contexts. From an organizational perspective, the article makes it clear that aligning the mission, vision, structure, and policies of service providers play a vital role in optimizing client outcomes. It also emphasizes the importance of capacity building through program assessment and staff development, ultimately leading to a more effective and efficient service delivery.  Here are our key takeaways from the article: The value of a comprehensive inventory of resources and services to aid in effective referrals.The importance of organizational alignment for a service provider's success.The role of capacity building in improving program efficiency and effectiveness.The significance of program assessments at both client and agency levels.The potential increase in initial costs when engaging in capacity building.The importance of cross-training initiatives in staff development.The potential for higher rehabilitation success rates with the implemented network.The need for communication mechanisms among collaborative agencies.The impact of capacity building on staff hiring, promotion, and compensation practices.The necessity for staff members to become proficient in a sophisticated network of referrals. Excerpt Effective Referrals and Collaborations From the National Library of Medicine "Adopting a holistic view of clients in substance abuse treatment is especially important for any service provider making referrals to other providers or agencies. At the point of referral, there is both an opportunity to address a client's unmet needs and a potential danger of losing the client. Collaboration is crucial for preventing clients from "falling through the cracks" among independent and autonomous agencies. Effective collaboration is also the key to serving the client in the broadest possible context, beyond the boundaries of the substance abuse treatment agency and provider." Read the Full Article Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
Article
Student-led network helps address shortage of mental health professionals in schools
The escalating mental health crisis among U.S. students, particularly in Wisconsin's K-12 system, is a pressing concern. Despite the presence of counselors and psychologists, the demand for mental health support exceeds available resources. Incidents of student suicide at Brookfield East High ...
The escalating mental health crisis among U.S. students, particularly in Wisconsin's K-12 system, is a pressing concern. Despite the presence of counselors and psychologists, the demand for mental health support exceeds available resources. Incidents of student suicide at Brookfield East High School underscore the need for a comprehensive mental health support system. In response, the Hope Squad, a national student-led network, was formed to bridge students with mental health resources.Hope Squad facilitates open dialogue, peer support, and awareness of mental health issues. It acts as the "eyes and ears" of the school community, enhancing accessibility to support. Student-led networks like Hope Squad show promise, but systemic changes are crucial. Strategies include establishing such networks, increasing funding for K-12 mental health services, addressing professional shortages, and fostering partnerships for policy support. Regular mental health check-ups and awareness programs in schools can identify and address issues early. Outlined here are several strategies that could help to mitigate the health crisis among the next generation:Establishing student-led support networks, like Hope Squad, that act as a bridge between students, counselors, and teachers, encouraging open dialogue and peer support.Increasing funding for K-12 mental health services, as proposed by Democratic State Representative Robyn Vining, to better equip schools with the resources needed to offer comprehensive mental health support.Addressing the shortage of mental health professionals such as therapists, counselors, and school psychologists. This could be achieved through initiatives like the one proposed by Katie Eklund, funded by a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, aiming to increase the pipeline of these professionals in K-12 schools.Fostering partnerships with local, state, and national stakeholders to ensure both funding and policy support for mental health initiatives in schools.Encouraging regular mental health check-ups and awareness programs in schools to identify and address issues early, before they escalate. Key TakeawaysHigh schools, despite having counselors, psychologists, and social workers, struggle to meet the mental health needs of students.Student-led mental health support networks, like the Hope Squad, can effectively address mental health issues among peers.Many young people experiencing anxiety and depression do not receive adequate support.There is a severe shortage of mental health professionals in schools, with numerous unfilled positions nationwide.State-level action, such as increased spending on mental health care services, is crucial to address the shortage of mental health professionals in schools.Children are more likely to seek help from their peers, highlighting the importance of student-led initiatives.A significant number of schools report an increase in students seeking mental health services.The US Department of Education has allocated a $10 million grant to address the shortage of mental health professionals in schools.Ongoing efforts at the local, state, and national levels are being made to address the growing mental health needs of young people.Addressing mental health needs within the school system is a crucial step in helping children navigate through a challenging stage of life. Excerpt Student-led network helps address shortage of mental health professionals in schools By Steven Potter from PBS News Hour "Mental health among the nation's student population has been a growing concern, especially due to the pandemic. From PBS Wisconsin, Steven Potter reports on how peer support, school staff and psychology researchers are trying to keep up with the growing rate of mental health issues among students. It's part of our series, Early Warnings: America’s Youth Mental Health Crisis." Read the Full Transcript Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
Article
Boosting Referral Marketing for Your Mental Health Treatment Center
The article emphasizes the importance of referrals in marketing strategies for mental health treatment centers. It touches upon the significance of building robust relationships with referral sources, creating an impactful client experience, and leveraging digital marketing channels for effective ...
The article emphasizes the importance of referrals in marketing strategies for mental health treatment centers. It touches upon the significance of building robust relationships with referral sources, creating an impactful client experience, and leveraging digital marketing channels for effective referral generation. Moreover, it also highlights the necessity of regularly monitoring and measuring the success of referral marketing strategies to ensure they are meeting their goals. The article offers a comprehensive guide for any mental health treatment center looking to bolster their marketing efforts. The emphasis on creating an engaging and memorable client experience is particularly noteworthy as it underlines the human aspect of the services these centers provide. The article cleverly intertwines the importance of trust and communication, emphasizing how these elements can make or break a referral source's willingness to recommend services. Here are our key takeaways from the article: The importance of building strong relationships with referral sources, emphasizing on trust and communication.The role of a positive and memorable client experience in generating referrals.The potential of digital marketing channels in expanding reach and generating more referrals.The need for a responsive feedback system to address any negative client experiences.The importance of implementing robust tracking systems to measure the effectiveness of a referral marketing strategy.The role of analyzing referral data and trends in creating stronger referral marketing campaigns.Recognizing top-performing referral sources as an opportunity to further optimize marketing efforts.The necessity of setting clear conversion metrics and goals as part of analyzing the effectiveness of a marketing strategy.The need to use the expertise of professionals in marketing mental health treatment centers for creating an effective referral marketing strategy. Excerpt Boosting Referral Marketing for Your Mental Health Treatment Center From Content Journey by Marisa Mohi "Referral marketing can bring in a host of new clients to your mental health treatment center. The key is focusing on the best referral sources for your particular center and finding the strategy that brings in the most clients. Understanding referral marketing in general and how it can help your marketing strategy, in particular, can help you create a referral marketing program that enables you to serve more people." Read the Full Article Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
Article
4 Areas of Focus for a Likely Contentious 2024
As mental health issues continue to rise, this enlightening piece by Dr. Ron Manderscheid, a renowned figure in the behavioral healthcare field, outlines the anticipated challenges and solutions for the sector in 2024. The article presents a detailed view of the imminent workforce crisis, ...
As mental health issues continue to rise, this enlightening piece by Dr. Ron Manderscheid, a renowned figure in the behavioral healthcare field, outlines the anticipated challenges and solutions for the sector in 2024. The article presents a detailed view of the imminent workforce crisis, development of essential crisis services, the important new programs, and the civic responsibilities within the sphere of behavioral healthcare. Dr. Manderscheid's insights echo the urgency for inventive local and national strategies to address the dearth of professional providers and enhance existing services such as the 988 crisis hotline. His emphasis on consolidating the gains of successful programs like the federal Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics program resonates strongly with InterAct LifeLine's mission of using technology to promote behavioral health.In my view, this article is a clarion call to the behavioral healthcare sector to take necessary steps towards overcoming the impending challenges. The need to redefine and consolidate our efforts, especially in crisis services, cannot be overstated. The crisis hotline 988, for instance, is an invaluable resource that remains greatly underutilized. Ensuring the reach and effectiveness of such services could be instrumental in lowering suicide rates and promoting mental wellness. It's equally important to safeguard and foster new programs like CCBHCs that have shown promise in addressing behavioral health problems in our communities. Here are our key takeaways from the article: Addressing the workforce crisis remains a paramount concern; innovative solutions at local and national levels are imminent.Efforts to improve the 988 crisis service, including increasing public awareness and developing local crisis response activities, are high priorities.Further financial resources are needed to fill gaps in crisis services, particularly in rural communities and among the elderly.Continued growth of the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics program is anticipated; providing evidence of its effectiveness is crucial.Behavioral healthcare professionals should demonstrate good citizenship, particularly through active voting.Active participation in the broader community can sway the balance of the year's events towards the positive.Encouraging others in the field to vote is a powerful response to political challenges.Local community functioning could be improved through self-empowerment strategies. The high rate of suicide among elderly Americans suggests that crisis services are not effectively reaching this group.Efforts to modify negative life determinants could reduce the prevalence of acute behavioral health conditions. Excerpt 4 Areas of Focus for a Likely Contentious 2024 From Behavioral Healthcare Executiveby Ron Manderscheid, PhD "This coming year promises to be a very tumultuous one—an extremely contentious presidential election, major divisions in the House and Senate over the appropriate federal role, and general unrest among citizens, with concern that our society is not moving in a good direction. In this very unpredictable context, what can we expect in 2024 for behavioral healthcare?Clearly, behavioral healthcare has its own internal issues that require action, and it also must be attentive to the broader political environment to sustain progress we have made in the past several years. Within this nexus, several major foci seem likely in 2024." Read the Full Article Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
Infographic
The Behavioral Health Care Workforce
The behavioral health care workforce faces several challenges such as shortages, barriers to recruitment and retention, and a lack of diversity. Shortages are evident across the board but are particularly pronounced in rural and underserved urban areas U.S. Government Accountability Office . ...
The behavioral health care workforce faces several challenges such as shortages, barriers to recruitment and retention, and a lack of diversity. Shortages are evident across the board but are particularly pronounced in rural and underserved urban areas U.S. Government Accountability Office. Solutions to these challenges include loan forgiveness and stipends to attract potential recruits, leveraging telehealth services, simplifying interstate licensure, and integrating behavioral health care Commonwealth Fund. Furthermore, expanding and diversifying the paraprofessional workforce, such as peer supporters, can help fill the gaps Mental Health America. Lastly, addressing provider burnout and ensuring adequate financial incentives and administrative support are crucial steps to sustain the workforce SAMHSA. LGBTQ+ training, diversity training, cultural competence, and trauma-informed care are important aspects of improving the care quality offered by the workforce APA. Here are our key takeaways from the infographic: Diversifying the behavioral health care workforce is important for ensuring culturally competent and accessible care.Integrating behavioral health care and leveraging telehealth services can help alleviate workforce shortages.Addressing provider burnout and offering financial incentives are critical for retaining the existing workforce.Expanding the roles of paraprofessionals, such as peer supporters, can help fill workforce gaps. In the following section, delve into an infographic curated by the NIHCM foundation that further illustrates this topic. !function(e,n,i,s){var d="InfogramEmbeds";var o=e.getElementsByTagName(n)[0];if(window[d]&&window[d].initialized)window[d].process&&window[d].process();else if(!e.getElementById(i)){var r=e.createElement(n);r.async=1,r.id=i,r.src=s,o.parentNode.insertBefore(r,o)}}(document,"script","infogram-async","https://e.infogram.com/js/dist/embed-loader-min.js"); Excerpt The Behavioral Health Care Workforce From NIHCM Foundation "The United States is facing a significant shortage of mental health professionals, with nearly half of the population living in mental health workforce shortage areas. Additionally, the behavioral health care workforce suffers from a lack of diversity. Many individuals have limited access to mental health care and the COVID-19 pandemic has further intensified the demand for these essential services.To address these challenges, our new infographic presents various strategies to enhance the behavioral health care workforce. These include partnering with communities, expanding the paraprofessional workforce, and addressing burnout. By implementing these initiatives, we can bolster the capacity of the mental health care system and improve access to quality care for all individuals." View Infographic on NIHCM Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
Article
Understanding the U.S. Behavioral Health Workforce Shortage
The behavioral health workforce is a critical foundation for mental and emotional health support, acting as the front line in addressing behavioral health needs. Unfortunately, as the article indicates, access to these vital services is hindered by a host of challenges, including insurance coverage ...
The behavioral health workforce is a critical foundation for mental and emotional health support, acting as the front line in addressing behavioral health needs. Unfortunately, as the article indicates, access to these vital services is hindered by a host of challenges, including insurance coverage gaps and a lack of sustainable funding options. The workforce is fragmented, composed of licensed providers, clinical supporters, community care workers, and frontline workers – each with their unique obstacles. As society grapples with rising behavioral health issues, we must reflect upon these grim realities, pressing for policy changes and initiatives that address these systemic barriers. In my view, the article presents an urgent call to action. We, at InterAct LifeLine, understand the significance of these problems, having witnessed the effects of these gaps in the system directly. The solutions proposed, such as promoting alignment between payers and fostering career advancement pathways in the behavioral health workforce, resonate with our commitment to bridge these systemic gaps. Furthermore, the emphasis on diversity and representation within this workforce aligns with our core values and mission. Here are our key takeaways from the article: The behavioral health workforce is an amalgamation of licensed providers, clinical supporters, community care workers, and frontline workers.Medicaid often covers services provided by clinical supporters, but commercial and Medicare coverage is limited.Community care workers, often compensated through grants, work in nonclinical settings, coordinating care and helping mitigate the need for intensive interventions.Frontline workers like teachers, law enforcement, and emergency medical staff frequently find themselves providing behavioral health support due to the scarcity of formal behavioral health resources.Policymakers can bolster the workforce by ensuring fair reimbursement, fostering payer alignment, promoting career advancement opportunities, and incentivizing a more diverse workforce.Financial incentives and administrative ease can encourage more organizations to join the workforce and provide more comprehensive services.Addressing pay and structural barriers can help in promoting diversity and representation within the workforce.Sustainable financing options for community care are currently limited.There is a need for more robust training and support for frontline workers dealing with behavioral health crises.The behavioral health workforce is central to addressing the rising behavioral health needs in today's society. Excerpt Understanding the U.S. Behavioral Health Workforce Shortage From The Commonwealth Fund Nearly half of all Americans will have a behavioral health issue in their lifetime, from a mood disorder to a substance use problem. Behavioral health care encompasses a wide variety of interventions delivered by many different types of providers. In the U.S., nearly all these providers are in short supply.The scarcity of behavioral health professionals is undermining people’s ability to get timely care. This is reinforced by historical underinvestment in behavioral health care by public insurance programs (like Medicaid and Medicare), private insurers, and employers — including lack of coverage and low reimbursement rates. In 2021, fewer than half of people with a mental illness were able to access timely care; those with substance use disorders were even less likely. Some groups are disproportionately impacted by workforce shortages. Read the Full Article Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
Article
A Look at Strategies to Address Behavioral Health Workforce Shortages: Findings from a Survey of State Medicaid Programs
In the face of rising mental health issues and substance use disorders, the healthcare industry is exploring new strategies to optimize the provision of behavioral health services. The article delves into the efforts of state Medicaid programs in reducing administrative burdens, incentivizing ...
In the face of rising mental health issues and substance use disorders, the healthcare industry is exploring new strategies to optimize the provision of behavioral health services. The article delves into the efforts of state Medicaid programs in reducing administrative burdens, incentivizing provider participation, and expanding the workforce to improve access to vital behavioral health services. It highlights the strategies employed by states, including prompt payment policies and financial incentives for integrated care, all of which are designed to improve patient outcomes. The article underscores the importance of strategic planning and robust financial management, facilitated by ContinuumCloud’s HCM platform, patient engagement platform, and EHR software. In my opinion, the article reveals the significant strides being made in healthcare, particularly in the domain of behavioral health. It underscores the importance of system-level changes to ensure that healthcare providers and organizations are well-equipped to meet the burgeoning demand for behavioral health services. The proactive approach adopted by Medicaid is commendable; however, it's worth noting that the effectiveness of these strategies hinges on rigorous, continuous evaluation and necessary adjustments based on the findings. Here are our key takeaways from the article: States are implementing strategies to reduce provider administrative burdens, which may result in higher rates of Medicaid acceptance.Centralized or standardized credentialing has been recognized as a popular strategy to streamline administrative processes.Prompt payment policies and financial incentives are being employed to encourage provider participation in integrated physical and behavioral healthcare.Less than one-fifth of responding states have currently integrated physical and behavioral healthcare, indicating room for growth in this area.Efforts are ongoing to strengthen the workforce through initiatives like student loan repayment programs, outreach, and clinical supervision.Massachusetts and Washington are spearheading workforce growth efforts through innovative initiatives such as campaigning for behavioral health careers and offering student loan repayments.While the majority of states have prompt payment policies, fewer states offer financial incentives for integrated care.The Consolidated Appropriations Act passed by Congress aims to increase the number of psychiatry residency positions and reduce barriers to treatment.Provisions in the Act emphasize additional training for prescribers of controlled substances, highlighting the importance of continual learning in healthcare.The Act also includes provisions to improve the accuracy and usability of Medicaid provider directories, directly addressing one of the major challenges in mental health care access. Excerpt A Look at Strategies to Address Behavioral Health Workforce Shortages: Findings from a Survey of State Medicaid Programs From KFF by Heather Saunders, Madeline Guth, and Gina Eckart "The pandemic has exacerbated mental health and substance use issues and 90% of Americans believe the nation is in the midst of a mental health crisis. Despite increases in need, data show that treatment rates across all payers are low. Documented workforce challenges contribute to barriers in access to care and nearly half of the US population – 47% or 158 million people – living in a mental health workforce shortage area. Behavioral health conditions (i.e. mental health and substance use disorders) are most prevalent in Medicaid enrollees, with data from 2020 showing that approximately 39% of Medicaid enrollees were living with a mental health or substance use disorder. Workforce challenges are widespread and go beyond Medicaid, but shortages may be exacerbated in Medicaid. On average, only 36% of psychiatrists accept new Medicaid patients – lower compared to other payers and compared to rates for physicians overall (71%). Even when providers accept Medicaid, they may only take a few patients or may not be presently taking new Medicaid patients. There is attention at the federal level to address workforce shortages—and states are also taking action to address these issues for Medicaid enrollees and more broadly. The Consolidated Appropriations Act passed in December 2022 authorized additional provisions to address workforce shortages, including new psychiatry residency positions, removal of additional requirements for providers who want to prescribe certain medications for opioid use disorder (OUD), requirements for improved Medicaid provider directories, and new funds that can be used toward workforce initiatives for peer support providers." Read the Full Article Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
Blog Article
Achieving Financial Stability for Your Addiction or Behavioral Health Program
In the ever-changing landscape of healthcare, particularly addiction and mental health treatment, the top concern among executives is the need for financial stability in the program. Maintaining a financially sound program not only ensures the sustainability of your services, but also to allow you ...
In the ever-changing landscape of healthcare, particularly addiction and mental health treatment, the top concern among executives is the need for financial stability in the program. Maintaining a financially sound program not only ensures the sustainability of your services, but also to allow you to provide the highest-quality care. Here are some key strategies and tips on how to maintain financial stability in your program. Why financial stability and wellness is importantAlthough the main focus is on helping your clients achieve their treatment goals, it's also important to prioritize your program's financial stability and wellness. This not only ensures the success and sustainability of your business, but it also allows you to provide the best possible care for your clients. Financial wellness involves not only managing your budget and expenses effectively, but also planning for the future and mitigating risks. Understanding the current financial landscape Staying up-to-date with the latest payment models, insurance policies, and regulations is essential to minimize financial risk and maximize profitability. Ideal financial management requires careful planning, forecasting, and data analysis to make informed business decisions. Furthermore, developing relationships with insurance payers and optimizing billing practices can ensure that treatment programs are adequately compensated for the services they provide. Identify areas for improvementTaking the time to identify areas for improvement can better equip us to make necessary changes for a more stable financial future. This can include: Analyzing Expenses and Creating a Solid BudgetAnalyzing expenses is the first step towards establishing a solid financial framework for your addiction treatment or behavioral health program. It involves a thorough review of your income and expenses, enabling you to identify where your money is going and where there may be opportunities for cost savings. Creating a budgetOnce you have a clear view of how you spend funds, you can create a realistic budget that aligns with your program's goals and objectives. This budget should factor in fixed costs such as salaries and rent, variable costs like supplies and utilities, and future investments for program development. Remember that a well-structured budget not only keeps your finances in check but also acts as a financial roadmap, steering your program towards financial stability and growth.Building Revenue Through Telehealth & Digital Treatment OptionsAn innovative way to increase income and ensure financial stability is by integrating Telehealth or virtual care options into your program. These services allow you to extend your reach beyond geographical boundaries, tapping into a larger market of individuals seeking assistance. Having digital options leads to extended revenue relationships with existing clients and a pool of individuals that the program may not have been able to serve. Additionally, digital options don't increase costs associated with physical premises, and often don't require additional staffing.Strengthening Referral ProgramsAnother effective strategy for revenue growth is the development and strengthening of referral programs. This involves building partnerships with other healthcare providers, community organizations, or previous clients who can refer new clients to your program. Offering incentives for referrals can motivate individuals to promote your services. Moreover, a well-executed referral program not only boosts your income but also strengthens your network and reputation within the community, leading to long-term financial stability and growth. Seeking out alternative funding optionsIn today's challenging economic climate, many businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to secure traditional financing options from banks and other traditional lenders. Fortunately, there are alternative funding options available that can help businesses obtain the capital they need to grow and prosper. One such option is grants, which are provided by the government or private organizations to businesses that meet certain eligibility criteria. Loans from non-traditional lenders are also available, which can offer businesses more flexibility in terms of repayment and collateral requirements. By seeking out these alternative funding options, businesses can increase their chances of success and secure the financial resources they need to achieve their goals.Improving marketing strategiesImplementing effective marketing strategies brings in new clients. To attract new clients and increase revenue, programs can use targeted marketing strategies that focus on the unique features of the program and your commitment to offering diverse ways to engage.  Targeted marketing  include social media campaigns, email marketing, and SEO optimization, among other tactics. By using these strategies, programs can effectively convey the value of their services to potential clients, and ultimately grow their business.Investing in staff training and developmentInvesting in staff training and development is an essential component of achieving program success. With the rapid growth of technology comes the need for constant upgrading of skills and knowledge. It is imperative to equip staff with the tools and resources required to navigate this ever-changing landscape successfully. By investing in staff training and development, organizations can reap the benefits of having a well-equipped and highly knowledgeable team. This results in improved productivity, increased efficiency, and a more streamlined workflow. Furthermore, staff who have access to a variety of training opportunities tend to be more motivated and engaged, leading to a positive work culture and staff retention. Therefore, investing in staff training and development is not only a smart decision for the organization but also a wise investment in the future of the team. Maintaining accurate recordsMaintaining accurate records and regularly reviewing financial reports is crucial for any organization to stay on top of its finances. These practices provide a clear picture of the financial status of the company, allowing managers to make informed decisions and take appropriate measures. Accurate records help ensure that finances are handled correctly and can be used to make predictions about future growth and success. Regularly reviewing financial reports allows the company's leadership to identify areas that need improvement and make necessary adjustments to keep the organization financially sound. Overall, maintaining accurate records and reviewing financial reports regularly is an essential part of any organization's financial management strategy.Prioritizing self-care for staff to avoid burnout As part of a program, it’s easy to put yourself last on the to-do list. With endless tasks, responsibilities, and deadlines, taking care of yourself can often fall by the wayside. But prioritizing self-care for staff is crucial to avoid burnout, and ultimately maintain your productivity and success. Whether it’s scheduling in time for exercise, meditation, or simply taking a break to recharge, recognizing the importance of self-care is the first step towards preventing burnout. As a professional, it’s imperative to acknowledge that by taking care of yourself, you are ultimately taking care of your business. Your mental and physical health is just as vital to the success of your business as your business plan, and dedicating time to yourself will ultimately result in a healthier, more resilient, and successful program.Takeaways Financial stability and wellness are crucial for the success of treatment programs. By understanding the current financial landscape and assessing your own financial state, you can identify areas for improvement and create a pathway to ensure sustainable growth. Don't be afraid to seek out alternative funding options and implement effective marketing strategies to attract new clients and increase revenue. Consider investing in staff training and development, as well as maintaining accurate records and regularly reviewing financial reports to keep your program on track. But don't forget to prioritize your own self-care, as avoiding burnout is key to long-term success. And with the increasing demand for virtual care in addiction and mental health treatment programs, be sure to explore platforms like InterAct LifeLine's virtual care platform for expanded reach and improved patient outcomes. Remember, achieving financial stability takes time, effort, and continuous monitoring – but it will pay off in the long run by allowing you to provide quality care while still running a successful business. So take these tips to heart, stay proactive in your approach, and watch your treatment program thrive financially while making a positive impact on those seeking help and healing.  Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
Article
How to Prioritize Financial Sustainability in Behavioral Health
The provided article intricately explores the role of technology in optimizing the financial sustainability in the behavioral health and human services industry. It highlights the application of solutions like Telehealth, Position Control, Process Automation, and Patient Engagement tools by a ...
The provided article intricately explores the role of technology in optimizing the financial sustainability in the behavioral health and human services industry. It highlights the application of solutions like Telehealth, Position Control, Process Automation, and Patient Engagement tools by a company called ContinuumCloud. Engaging these tools, the article argues, can help organizations efficiently manage labor costs, automate processes, and improve patient engagement, thereby enhancing revenue and financial sustainability. The article underscores the importance of strategic planning and robust financial management, facilitated by ContinuumCloud’s HCM platform, patient engagement platform, and EHR software. In my opinion, this article does a fantastic job of illustrating how technology can streamline operations and enhance financial viability within the health and human services sector. By focusing on practical, software-driven solutions, it provides a forward-thinking approach for organizations striving to improve their financial sustainability. Here are our key takeaways from the article: Telehealth platforms offer an effective solution for continuing care during times when in-person meetings are not possible, enhancing accessibility and continuity of service.Technology helps reduce revenue fluctuations in behavioral health organizations by improving patient retention and reducing appointment no-shows.Position control tools can help administrators manage staffing levels and labor costs more effectively by providing real-time dataAn error occurred during generation. Please try again or contact support if it continues.Process automation tools can save time and reduce administrative workload, allowing employees to focus on revenue-generating activities.Patient engagement tools not only improve long-term outcomes for patients but also serve as success stories that can attract potential donors and funders.By investing in technology and embracing innovative solutions, organizations can improve their financial viability and sustainability for the long term. Excerpt How to Prioritize Financial Sustainability in Behavioral Health From ContinuumCloud "Behavioral health and human services organizations deliver meaningful care and support to improve the lives of the patients and clientele they serve. Unfortunately, financial sustainability can be difficult to maintain with high operational costs and limited sources of funding. As such, providing high-quality care and services does not always translate to a strong financial performance for an organization. Fortunately, there are a number of tools that can help companies manage their budgets, reduce costs, and improve patient retention. All of these actions can help behavioral health organizations achieve better financial sustainability." Read the Full Article Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
Article
Delay and Dilution of Measurement-Based Care Undermines Our Field
In this insightful article by behavioral health expert Ed Jones, PhD, the focus is on the transformative power of Measurement-Based Care (MBC) in the realm of behavioral health. MBC, as Jones illustrates, extends beyond its roots in psychotherapy to other clinical services like medication ...
In this insightful article by behavioral health expert Ed Jones, PhD, the focus is on the transformative power of Measurement-Based Care (MBC) in the realm of behavioral health. MBC, as Jones illustrates, extends beyond its roots in psychotherapy to other clinical services like medication management. Leveraging data and analytics, MBC allows clinicians to monitor fluctuating levels of client distress and adjust their approach accordingly, facilitating enhanced care and preventing premature treatment termination. Key to MBC's success is the therapeutic alliance, the bond between clinician and client that greatly influences treatment outcomes. As the healthcare industry evolves, Jones urges for an executive-led push towards the adoption of MBC, emphasizing its potential to revolutionize patient care and accountability. This article is a testament to the increasing significance of data-driven decision-making in healthcare, particularly in behavioral health. The emphasis on executive leadership in driving the adoption of MBC underscores the collective responsibility in improving patient outcomes. It also sheds light on the potential of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence in simplifying administrative tasks, illustrating a future where healthcare is seamless, efficient, and patient-focused. Here are our key takeaways from the article: Measurement-Based Care (MBC) uses data and analytics to inform clinician decisions, creating a more adaptable and effective treatment plan.Therapeutic alliance, the bond between clinician and client, is a critical factor in positive treatment outcomes.MBC extends to various clinical services, including medication management and mental health care.Technological advancements, like AI, can automate MBC, making the process more efficient and accessible.Executive leadership is essential in driving the adoption of MBC across healthcare institutions.MBC can provide the necessary outcomes data for value-based care contracts, combining costs with outcomes.The adoption of MBC is integral to the integration of behavioral health into the larger healthcare industry.Early identification of clients at risk of prematurely ending treatment is possible with MBC.Severity-adjusted outcomes are essential for accurate performance reports.MBC is a tool for enhancing accountability in population health. Excerpt Delay and Dilution of Measurement-Based Care Undermines Our Field By Ed Jones, PhD on Behavioral Healthcare Executive "The behavioral field has long resisted routinely measuring clinical outcomes to improve care. We now at least have a name for this process: measurement-based care or MBC. Delays in adopting MBC are disappointing, as fewer than 20% of clinicians and programs have implemented it, but even more distressing are efforts to get by with diluted models.MBC is not based on government legislation with rules and guidelines for implementation, so confusion is probably genuine about how its promise is best fulfilled. At this stage of development, it may be most helpful to clarify what the full realization of this idea offers our field. This will be provided here by elaborating the ultimate goal behind each word included in this inelegant label." Read the Full Article Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
Article
2024 Trends: What to Expect in Behavioral Health
Heading into 2024, mental health providers across the U.S. are grappling with an urgent need to meet the skyrocketing demand for their services. This surge in demand is driven by a variety of factors, including the ongoing pandemic and an increased societal recognition of mental health issues. The ...
Heading into 2024, mental health providers across the U.S. are grappling with an urgent need to meet the skyrocketing demand for their services. This surge in demand is driven by a variety of factors, including the ongoing pandemic and an increased societal recognition of mental health issues. The situation is further exacerbated by a significant shortage of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals. In response to these challenges, innovators within the field are exploring new interventions that diverge from traditional therapy models. Digital therapeutics, for example, are being leveraged to provide support for underserved populations and help bridge the gap caused by the provider shortage. Some of the fastest-growing companies in the behavioral health industry have differentiated themselves by targeting niche populations and providing tailored solutions. Here are our key takeaways from the article: The primary barriers to accessing mental health care include cost and shame/stigma.Digital interventions, such as mental health apps, are becoming more popular. Digital therapeutics, while promising, are most effective when used alongside human support.Despite the Latinx community being the largest non-White community in the US, only 14.5% of mental health apps have Spanish-language operability.Studies are being conducted to explore how digital therapeutics can be integrated effectively into care delivery, especially for monolingual communities.Psychologists are joining the open science movement to share reliable clinical assessment tools with the public through a unified website. Single-session therapy is gaining attention as an effective intervention for patients who may not return after their first therapy appointment.A systematic review found single-session therapy to be superior to no treatment and similar to multiple treatment sessions in reducing anxiety symptoms in both youth and adults.FBGT is an innovative strategy that increases access to mental health support by providing a safe environment for participants to practice skills.The FBGT model facilitates real-time interaction among participants, encouraging them to try new behaviors and experience acceptance.There is a significant interest among students to learn how to support their peers who are struggling, indicating the crucial role peer support programs can play in promoting mental well-being on campuses. Excerpt Mental health care is in high demand. Here’s how psychologists are leveraging technology and their peers to meet the need By Heather Stringer on American Psychological Association "Ninety percent of the public think there is a mental health crisis in the United States today, with half of young adults and one-third of all adults reporting that they have felt anxious either always or often in the past year.Mental health providers throughout the country share a sense of urgency to find new ways to meet the high demand for services, and innovators are exploring interventions that diverge from traditional therapy models. " Read the Full Article Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
Article
Turning Around Employee Turnover In Behavioral Health
Staff turnover in the behavioral health field has been a persistent challenge. High turnover rate can significantly impact the continuity and quality of care, leading to increased workload and burnout among remaining staff. In addition, turnover can be costly for organizations, with the expense of ...
Staff turnover in the behavioral health field has been a persistent challenge. High turnover rate can significantly impact the continuity and quality of care, leading to increased workload and burnout among remaining staff. In addition, turnover can be costly for organizations, with the expense of recruitment, onboarding, and training new hires. However, research has shown an increase in demand for these services, highlighting the need for effective strategies to reduce turnover and retain skilled professionals in the behavioral health field. To combat this issue, it's important for organizations to understand the causes of turnover, which can include factors such as job satisfaction, work-life balance, and organizational culture. Implementing strategies such as regular communication, recognition of hard work, and proactive management can help improve employee engagement and retention in the behavioral health sector. Here are our key takeaways from the article: Behavioral health has a high employee turnover rate, often as high as 40% to 70%, which impacts care continuity and creates an unstable work environment.The cost of turnover is significant, costing providers up to $4000 per employee, diverting funds from growth initiatives.Understanding where staffing gaps exist is crucial. Understaffing impacts care quality, increases workload, and contributes to burnout, leading to more turnover.Recruitment should focus on hiring for cultural fit, not just skills. Aligning hires with organizational values increases the chances of long-term retention.Onboarding should be considered as a 90-day process. Tracking key performance indicators and regular check-ins can identify potential issues early and ensure they're addressed promptly.Regular and open communication is crucial to keep employees engaged and prevent minor issues from escalating into bigger problems.Weekly, automated pulse surveys can provide real-time feedback from employees, which helps managers address concerns promptly. Regular recognition of top performers can encourage positive behavior.Managers should proactively reach out to employees who seem to be struggling. Addressing performance issues early can prevent dissatisfaction and turnover. Excerpt Turning Around Employee Turnover In Behavioral Health By Cari Rosenberger on OnShift "The average employee turnover rate in behavioral health is estimated at 40%. However, it’s not uncommon to hear of rates as high as 70%. This constant churn of employees not only impacts the overall continuity of care organizations can provide but creates an unstable work environment for staff, often perpetuating the problem.Luckily, there are a number of best practices behavioral health providers can implement to help combat rising turnover while creating a workforce that is both satisfied and engaged. Here are a few key tactics for turning around your turnover issues. Read the Full Article Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
Resource Guide
Turnover and Retention Strategies Among Mental Health Workers
The purpose of this study was to explore retention strategies that healthcare administrators use to retain mental health workers in community mental health clinics. The study was guided by the question: What strategies do HCAs use to retain their MHWs with more than 2 years of experience? ...
The purpose of this study was to explore retention strategies that healthcare administrators use to retain mental health workers in community mental health clinics. The study was guided by the question: What strategies do HCAs use to retain their MHWs with more than 2 years of experience? Visit the Website
Blog Article
How Clinical Teams Reduce Staff Turnover with Virtual Solutions
In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare, the digital era has ushered in transformative changes that extend beyond patient care. In the fast-paced world of healthcare, staff turnover has been a persistent challenge, but now, virtual care solutions are providing innovative ways to tackle this ...
In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare, the digital era has ushered in transformative changes that extend beyond patient care. In the fast-paced world of healthcare, staff turnover has been a persistent challenge, but now, virtual care solutions are providing innovative ways to tackle this issue head-on. In this article, we explore innovative strategies that leverage virtual care solutions to navigate the complexities of staff turnover and foster staffing success in the digital era. Understanding the Staff Turnover Challenge Staff turnover poses a multifaceted challenge for healthcare organizations, encompassing recruitment costs, training investments, and potential disruptions to patient care. In the digital era, where technology plays a pivotal role in shaping healthcare delivery, organizations are increasingly turning to virtual care solutions to address these challenges. Remote Onboarding and Training Virtual care solutions provide a unique opportunity for remote onboarding and training, reducing the logistical challenges associated with in-person sessions. By utilizing online platforms, healthcare organizations can efficiently onboard new staff, ensuring a seamless transition and reducing the time required for orientation.Flexible Scheduling and Work-Life Balance The digital era empowers healthcare professionals with the flexibility to manage their schedules more efficiently. Virtual care solutions enable organizations to offer flexible working arrangements, allowing staff to maintain a healthier work-life balance. This flexibility contributes to higher job satisfaction and reduces burnout, key factors in retaining valuable talent.Telehealth for Staff Well-being Programs Investing in telehealth resources for staff well-being programs can have a profound impact on retention. Virtual mental health services, counseling, and wellness sessions contribute to a supportive work environment, demonstrating an organization's commitment to the holistic well-being of its staff.Enhanced Communication and Collaboration Tools Effective communication is essential for staff engagement and satisfaction. Implementing virtual communication and collaboration tools fosters real-time interaction among team members, irrespective of physical location. This sense of connection and collaboration can positively influence job satisfaction and reduce feelings of isolation, common contributors to turnover.Providing Accessible Continuing Education Virtual platforms offer accessible and cost-effective avenues for continuing education. By providing staff with opportunities for professional development through online courses and virtual conferences, healthcare organizations can demonstrate a commitment to the growth and advancement of their workforce.Utilizing Virtual Care for Patient Engagement Improving patient engagement through virtual care solutions positively impacts staff morale. When healthcare professionals witness the positive outcomes and satisfaction resulting from virtual care initiatives, it contributes to a sense of purpose and job satisfaction, reducing the likelihood of turnover.Data-Driven Insights for Retention Strategies Leveraging data analytics from virtual care platforms can provide valuable insights into staff engagement and satisfaction levels. Organizations can use this data to identify potential areas of concern and implement targeted strategies to enhance job satisfaction and reduce turnover. Embracing the Future of Healthcare Staffing As healthcare continues its digital transformation, the strategic integration of virtual care solutions emerges as a powerful tool in addressing the challenges of staff turnover. Embracing virtual care solutions, from remote onboarding to telehealth programs, not only addresses the challenges of staff turnover but also creates an environment that draws in and keeps top-tier talent. In the digital era, these innovative strategies mark a new path towards healthcare staffing success. InterAct LifeLine is committed to providing treatment programs and organizations with easily accessible, effective, and affordable treatment options using virtual care technology. Virtual care removes geographical constraints or societal stigma that deter individuals from seeking the help they deserve. We empower state and local governments and organizations offering opioid abatement programs with efficient ways to inform, engaged and reach their audiences. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment technology. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
Article
SEO Best Practices for Your Behavioral Health Business
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a digital marketing strategy that aims to improve a website's visibility on search engines like Google. It involves optimizing various elements of a website, including its content, structure, and links, to make it more attractive to search engines. The ...
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a digital marketing strategy that aims to improve a website's visibility on search engines like Google. It involves optimizing various elements of a website, including its content, structure, and links, to make it more attractive to search engines. The ultimate goal of SEO is to rank high on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for specific keywords, leading to increased organic traffic and potential conversions. In the context of behavioral health, SEO is particularly crucial. With the increasing reliance on online resources for mental health information and support, having a strong online presence is key for behavioral health organizations. Through effective SEO strategies, these organizations can ensure that their services are easily discoverable by those who need them the most. By targeting relevant keywords that individuals might use when seeking mental health support or information, behavioral health clinics can attract more visitors to their site, potentially leading to more clients. Thus, SEO plays a vital role in bridging the gap between those seeking help and the services available to assist them. Here are our key takeaways from the article: Optimize your content with relevant keywords that potential clients might use to search for mental health services.Understand the needs and pain points of your prospective clients. Knowing what they're likely to search for can help you target your content better.Create content like blog posts, e-books, and case studies that are optimized for search engines.Make sure your site has both on-page and off-page optimization for SEO.High-quality images can attract readers and help your site rank well. Ensure images have proper titles and alt text.Ensure your website is fast and easy to navigate. High user time on the page and fast site speed are positive signals to search engines.Since many people visit websites from their mobile devices, make sure your website is optimized for both desktop and mobile.Fast site load speeds are crucial. If your site takes too long to load, users may leave, leading to a lower SERP position.Having other websites link to yours boosts your domain authority and signals to Google that your site is a credible source of information.Encourage satisfied clients to leave reviews to provide social proof for your behavioral health clinic. Displaying recognized certifications on your site can demonstrate your expertise and add authority. Excerpt SEO Best Practices for Your Behavioral Health Business By Lindsey Miller on Content Journey "About 226,000 people search for mental health treatment and related terms each month. They’re going online to find answers to their mental health questions and to seek information about getting help for themselves or their loved ones. You want them to find your behavioral health clinic when they search, so you must follow SEO best practices for your behavioral health business." Read the Full Article Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
Article
5 Strategies to Increase Patient Referrals
Referrals serve as the cornerstone for many therapy and treatment programs. They serve as a critical component in expanding the reach of these services, bringing in new clients who might otherwise remain unaware of the available resources. When a former client or a respected professional ...
Referrals serve as the cornerstone for many therapy and treatment programs. They serve as a critical component in expanding the reach of these services, bringing in new clients who might otherwise remain unaware of the available resources. When a former client or a respected professional recommends a program, it carries a significant weight of trust and credibility, often more persuasive than traditional advertising methods.Moreover, referrals are not just beneficial from a business perspective; they also play a vital role in the effectiveness of therapy and treatment programs. Individuals seeking help are more likely to engage fully and openly in a program that comes highly recommended by someone they trust. This pre-established trust can enhance the therapeutic relationship, potentially leading to more successful outcomes. In essence, a robust referral network is not just about growth—it's about facilitating better, more effective care for those in need. Here are our key takeaways from the article: Engage physicians with informative marketing materials to help them understand your services better and establish strong relationships with physicians through in-person visits.Highlight the specialties of your practice that set you apart from competitors. Consider branching out to new specialties if you lack a unique offering.Adopt a proactive referral approach by maintaining a list of doctors and their specialties. Track your referrals to build stronger relationships with local physicians.Consider inviting partnerships with local physicians through personalized letters and business cards.Optimize your website and make sure it is easy to find. Use SEO-rich blogs and keywords that list your services and location.Stay connected with the patient even after their course of care has ended. Encourage past patients to refer others to your practice.Regularly post on social media and share information about your practice, promote services, and engage with your audience. Excerpt 5 Strategies to Increase Patient Referrals By Therapy Brands "Whether you are operating a physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy practice, a key component of success remains referrals. Patients are still the lifeblood of any clinic so the best way to ensure long-term success and growth remains increasing traffic through successful referral strategies. Strong practice management involves focusing on marketing as an integral part of your medical practice. Referred patients are ideal because they are a low-cost acquisition. However, there are other techniques that you can use to increase your referrals to scale your practice. The first focus of marketing is the development of relationships and networks that will drive referrals. The process takes time and may not become at once fruitful. However, with perseverance and dedication, your referral program will grow and expand." Read the Full Article Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
Blog Article
Empowering Alumni as Ambassadors: A Strategic Guide to Boosting Revenue and Enrollments
For individuals working in marketing, admissions, or business development within treatment programs, recognizing the influential role alumni play is crucial. Having experienced the transformative journey of your program firsthand, alumni can become powerful ambassadors, driving referrals, boosting ...
For individuals working in marketing, admissions, or business development within treatment programs, recognizing the influential role alumni play is crucial. Having experienced the transformative journey of your program firsthand, alumni can become powerful ambassadors, driving referrals, boosting revenue, and increasing enrollments. Cultivate a Strong Alumni NetworkThe foundation of effective alumni ambassadorship lies in cultivating a strong and supportive community. Foster connections among alumni through regular events, support groups, and online platforms. A connected and engaged alumni network serves as a powerful engine for positive word-of-mouth referrals.Showcase Authentic Success StoriesOne of the most impactful ways to showcase the effectiveness of your program is through authentic success stories. Encourage alumni to share their journeys of recovery, highlighting the positive outcomes and personal growth they experienced. Use these narratives in your marketing materials, on your website, and across social media to resonate with prospective clients.Implement a Referral Incentive ProgramMotivate alumni to actively refer individuals to your program by implementing a referral incentive program. Offer discounts on follow-up services, exclusive alumni events, or other meaningful perks. This not only acknowledges their contribution but also reinforces a sense of community and shared success.Engage Alumni in Outreach EffortsTap into the expertise of your alumni by involving them in outreach initiatives. Alumni can speak at events, participate in webinars, or contribute articles sharing their insights. Their lived experiences add authenticity and credibility to your program's messaging, resonating with both professionals and potential clients.Leverage Online Platforms for VisibilityIn the digital age, online presence is paramount. Encourage alumni to share their experiences on social media, forums, and review platforms. Positive online reviews and testimonials enhance your program's visibility and reputation, reaching a wider audience exploring mental health or addiction treatment options.Host Alumni Events and ReunionsOrganize alumni events and reunions to foster the sense of community and connection. These gatherings not only provide an opportunity for alumni to reconnect but also serve as networking opportunities where they can share their positive experiences with those considering treatment.Provide Ongoing Support for AlumniShow your commitment to the long-term well-being of your alumni by offering ongoing support. Continued counseling, access to resources, and opportunities for involvement in alumni-focused initiatives contribute to sustained engagement and a willingness to refer others.Gather and Showcase Alumni FeedbackActively seek feedback from alumni to understand their perspectives on the program. Use this feedback to make improvements and adjustments. Publicly demonstrating your commitment to continuous improvement reinforces alumni confidence and trust in your program.Collaborate with Alumni in Marketing CampaignsConsider collaborating with alumni in your marketing campaigns. Feature them in promotional materials, testimonials, and video content. Their participation not only adds a personal touch but also demonstrates the real impact your program has on individuals' lives.Recognize and Celebrate Alumni AchievementsRecognize and celebrate the contributions of your alumni ambassadors. Honor their role in the success of your program through awards, tokens of appreciation, or shout-outs during events. This not only makes them feel valued but also reinforces their commitment to promoting your program. Takeaways By strategically empowering alumni as ambassadors, treatment programs can create a ripple effect of positive referrals, leading to increased revenue and enrollments. The authentic voices of those who have successfully navigated the journey of recovery can be a powerful force for change, resonating with both professionals and individuals seeking the right treatment program. Through community building, incentives, and ongoing support, your program can transform alumni into passionate advocates, propelling sustained growth and success. Remember, every alumni success story is a testament to the efficacy of your program, and sharing these stories can have a profound impact on those seeking help. InterAct LifeLine is committed to providing treatment programs and organizations with easily accessible, effective, and affordable treatment options using virtual care technology. Virtual care removes geographical constraints or societal stigma that deter individuals from seeking the help they deserve. We empower state and local governments and organizations offering opioid abatement programs with efficient ways to inform, engaged and reach their audiences. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment technology. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
Article
The 4th Wave of the Opioid Crisis is Not Receding
The escalating crisis of fentanyl and methamphetamine use, while startlingly apparent in San Francisco, has wider implications across the United States and potentially, globally. The shift in the drug market towards synthetic substances due to their profitability and potency indicates an impending ...
The escalating crisis of fentanyl and methamphetamine use, while startlingly apparent in San Francisco, has wider implications across the United States and potentially, globally. The shift in the drug market towards synthetic substances due to their profitability and potency indicates an impending challenge for healthcare providers nationwide. The lack of FDA-approved treatments for meth dependence further exacerbates the situation.Moreover, the increasing trend of mixed-drug use, particularly fentanyl and meth, adds complexity to the issue, making it harder for conventional approaches to be effective. The combination of these drugs could potentially magnify mental health issues and increase the risk of overdoses.The situation also calls into question the efficacy of current drug policies and enforcement strategies, as seen in San Francisco's struggles. The rise in synthetic drug use could necessitate a reevaluation of these strategies at a national level, including a potential shift towards harm reduction approaches and addiction treatment expansion.Lastly, this trend could also impact socio-economic factors such as workforce productivity, healthcare costs, and law enforcement resources, thereby underscoring the need for comprehensive and multi-faceted solutions. Here are our key takeaways from the article: Drug users are mixing methamphetamine with fentanyl to counteract the latter's side effects.This trend is particularly prevalent in San Francisco, which is experiencing its deadliest year for drug overdoses.Fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid, is being distributed more widely due to its high profitability.During the 12 months concluding in June 2023, the number of drug overdose fatalities reached 110,000, marking a 2.6% rise from the previous year.Users often experience withdrawal symptoms and disrupted sleep patterns from fentanyl, leading them to consume methamphetamine. The combination of meth and fentanyl raises complex issues for healthcare providers.There are FDA-approved medicines such as buprenorphine for opioid addiction but no approved drugs to counter meth dependence.Meth use is believed to increase the risk of severe mental health symptoms, including paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations.San Francisco city officials have declared a state of emergency, created supervised drug-use facilities, and increased police presence to combat the rising death toll. Excerpt San Francisco faces deadliest year for drug overdoses due to rise of fentanyl By Erin McCormick on The Guardian "San Francisco is facing its deadliest year ever for drug overdoses, a trend blamed on the surge of powerful synthetic fentanyl in the US’s illicit drug supply. In the first nine months of 2023, the northern California city saw 692 people die of overdoses, more than in the entire year of 2022, according to new data reported by the city’s medical examiner. The city is on track to see more than 800 deaths this year, topping its highest year ever, 2020, when it saw 720." Read the Full Article Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
Resource Guide
AMA State Toolkit to End the Nation’s Drug Overdose Epidemic
The US CDC reported over 100,000 drug overdose deaths in the 12 months ending in April 2021, a first in history. The highest increase (49%) was among those aged 15-24. In 2020, 28 states saw a more than 30% increase in overdose deaths from the previous year. To address this, the American Medical ...
The US CDC reported over 100,000 drug overdose deaths in the 12 months ending in April 2021, a first in history. The highest increase (49%) was among those aged 15-24. In 2020, 28 states saw a more than 30% increase in overdose deaths from the previous year. To address this, the American Medical Association and Manatt Health released a toolkit for states to implement evidence-based treatments, improve access to addiction medicine, enforce mental health laws, improve pain patient care, and expand harm reduction efforts. The toolkit also identifies funding opportunities for these initiatives.Visit the Website
Resource Guide
AMA Overdose Epidemic Report 2023
The drug-related overdose epidemic in the United States has escalated to alarming levels, with opioids, illicitly manufactured fentanyl, methamphetamine, and cocaine being the primary culprits. Despite a decrease in opioid prescriptions for thirteen consecutive years, the rate of overdose and death ...
The drug-related overdose epidemic in the United States has escalated to alarming levels, with opioids, illicitly manufactured fentanyl, methamphetamine, and cocaine being the primary culprits. Despite a decrease in opioid prescriptions for thirteen consecutive years, the rate of overdose and death related to these drugs continues to rise. New challenges have also emerged in the form of xylazine and other toxic synthetic adulterants. The American Medical Association Substance Use and Pain Care Task Force is working tirelessly to develop evidence-based recommendations for policymakers and physicians to combat this crisis. Although progress has been made in recent years with physicians taking positive actions, the growth of harm reduction services, and policy advancements, these efforts are undermined by inadequate implementation and enforcement of policies that promote affordable, accessible, and evidence-based care for patients with substance use disorders, pain, or those needing harm reduction services like naloxone, syringes, and fentanyl test strips. Disturbingly, certain populations are disproportionately affected. Black and Brown communities, pregnant individuals, and youth are dying at increasing rates compared to other population groups, highlighting the need for targeted interventions in these communities.Visit the Website
Blog Article
The Silent Ambush of Substance Misuse and Addiction
December 7, 1941, will always be a date that “will live in infamy” because of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. As we reflect on this pivotal moment in history, it serves as a stark reminder of the potency of surprise attacks and ambushes. But although we associate ambushes in the theater of ...
December 7, 1941, will always be a date that “will live in infamy” because of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. As we reflect on this pivotal moment in history, it serves as a stark reminder of the potency of surprise attacks and ambushes. But although we associate ambushes in the theater of war, there is a different battleground that many among us face daily: the struggle against substance misuse and addiction. This ambush is marked by unexpected challenges, psychological warfare, and the imperative need for resilience and a strategy to fight back. Substance misuse is often an unseen foe, striking when you least expect it. Substance misuse, much like a lurking enemy, often infiltrates lives without warning with a silent ambush, catching individuals off guard and leaving them grappling with the aftermath. The teenager who thought they were partying casually now feels compelled to keep using. Having a few drinks to relax or unwind now becomes a habit. The unpredictability of when substance misuse might cascade into addiction can be a surprise attack that the individual or their family doesn’t see coming. Addiction can mirror the same experience of warfare. Coping with the disease of addiction can equate to being victim to psychological warfare, impacting one’s mental health and emotional stability. The element of surprise fosters doubt, shame, and confusion for the individual or their family mirroring the chaos of an ambush, as individuals find themselves ensnared in the grip of a foe they may not have seen coming. Addiction can be like a hostile business takeover or unexpected competitive move. Addiction often mirrors what happens every day in business. Substance misuse can be likened to a hostile takeover bid, disruptive technology, or an unexpected move by competitors. But this time, it’s on one's well-being, disrupting relationships, careers, and personal aspirations. The unexpected rise of dependency can leave individuals scrambling to adapt, much like businesses navigating sudden market shifts or competitive threats. Addiction ambushes your personal life. Moving beyond the parallels of war and business, addiction weaves its way into disrupting the fabric of personal lives. The unexpected health crises, fractured relationships, or financial setbacks associated with substance misuse can be equated to personal ambushes. The suddenness of these events often leaves individuals in a state of shock, grappling with the daunting task of rebuilding. Coping with an addiction ambush. 1 in 10 of us will be ambushed by addiction and the collateral damage with friends and family spreads way beyond the individual that is impacted. If substance misuse or addiction has ambushed you or your family, here are some thoughts about what to do next. After an ambush, it’s time to become resilient. While the initial impact of a surprise attack is jarring, surviving, and moving forward is directly related to resilience. Whether nations rebuilding after war, businesses adapting to market shifts, or individuals finding strength in the face of this personal ambush, the ability to endure and adapt can be the difference in who survives or not. Understand the enemy. After Pearl Harbor, the United States was drawn into a war on two fronts against the Japanese and Germans. We studied their warfare tactics, understood their strengths and weaknesses, and prepared ourselves to go to war with knowledge. If addiction has attacked you or your family, it’s critical to understand the disease, how it will ambush and attack you, and the strategies to fight back.Have a plan to counterattack.Although we were wounded after Pearl Harbor, the United States geared up and repaired and rebuilt their Navy, retooled their factories for wartime, and enlisted millions of soldiers and civilians to join the fight. For those fighting addiction, it’s important to marshal resources that can support you, get professionals to help you, and create a battle plan for recovery. Takeaways December 7th should be a reminder that the unexpected can happen to us at any moment. Personally, I’ve been ambushed by divorce, the overdose death of my daughter, and a series of business and financial setbacks. I chose to step back, regroup, recharge, and move forward. Today, surprise attacks or ambushes are something you should expect in your lifetime and addiction and substance misuse are only one of them. How you respond is the difference in whether you fold or survive. InterAct LifeLine is committed to providing treatment programs and organizations with easily accessible, effective, and affordable treatment options using virtual care technology. Virtual care removes geographical constraints or societal stigma that deter individuals from seeking the help they deserve. We empower state and local governments and organizations offering opioid abatement programs with efficient ways to inform, engaged and reach their audiences. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment technology. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
Article
Sweeping Bill to Fight Opioid Addiction Will be Considered by Senate
The Senate health committee is poised to consider a comprehensive bill aimed at addressing the opioid crisis. This marks the first major legislative action in the current year concerning the addiction problem, with approximately 110,000 Americans succumbing to drug overdoses annually, among which ...
The Senate health committee is poised to consider a comprehensive bill aimed at addressing the opioid crisis. This marks the first major legislative action in the current year concerning the addiction problem, with approximately 110,000 Americans succumbing to drug overdoses annually, among which 85,000 are opioid-related. The bill will reauthorize several programs initially created by the SUPPORT Act passed in 2018, which had expired earlier. The legislation will potentially encapsulate several addiction bills previously introduced but yet to be underpinned by the House or Senate. It will potentially include priorities outlined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, but the specifics remain uncertain.The proposed legislation is likely to incorporate several addiction bills introduced previously, but which haven't gained traction. The TREATS Act, part of the proposal, aims to permanently permit health providers to prescribe buprenorphine via telemedicine, bypassing in-person examination. This provision has faced opposition, but has bipartisan support, with the intention to override the DEA's plans of restoring a physical exam requirement. However, the legislation is likely to overlook the Modernizing Opioid Treatment Access Act (MOTAA), which would enable addiction doctors to prescribe methadone directly to patients. Methadone has proven effective in preventing opioid overdose and death and is widely accessible in many Western countries. However, in the U.S., access to methadone is limited to specialized clinics. Here are our key takeaways from the article: The Senate health care committee is set to consider a comprehensive bill aimed at addressing the opioid crisis, according to lobbyists and a congressional aide. If passed, this would be the first significant action by Capitol Hill on the addiction crisis this year. Current data indicates that around 110,000 Americans die from drug overdoses annually, with approximately 85,000 of these involving opioids. The updated SUPPORT Act would continue funding community-based organizations, extend certain provisions for access to addiction medications, and expand treatment access for pregnant women and incarcerated individuals. The TREATS Act, which has bipartisan support, could create a permanent exemption from some laws governing controlled substances.  The American Society of Addiction Medicine is pushing for the inclusion of the Modernizing Opioid Treatment Access Act (MOTAA). This proposal would enable addiction doctors to prescribe methadone directly to patients. The fate of the bill remains uncertain even if it passes the HELP Committee and the full Senate.  Excerpt Sweeping bill to fight opioid addiction will be considered by Senate health committee By Lev Facher and Rachel Cohrs on STAT "The Senate health care committee will consider a sweeping bill next week meant to combat the opioid epidemic, according to four lobbyists and a congressional aide familiar with the legislation.  The proposal would reauthorize a number of programs first created by the SUPPORT Act, an addiction-focused bill that Congress first passed in 2018." Read the Full Article Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct offers virtual care solutions to treatment programs for extended care after in-patient treatment, family support programs and intensive outpatient services. Get in Touch
Article
Update on the Sackler Family and Purdue Pharmaceuticals
The opioid crisis in the United States has been a long and painful battle, with many victims and their families seeking justice for the harm they've endured. Now, Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, has agreed to settle thousands of lawsuits related to the crisis and giving up ownership of the ...
The opioid crisis in the United States has been a long and painful battle, with many victims and their families seeking justice for the harm they've endured. Now, Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, has agreed to settle thousands of lawsuits related to the crisis and giving up ownership of the company. However, this settlement is not without controversy. Members of the Sackler family, who own Purdue Pharma, would be exempt from civil lawsuits and could still retain billions in profits from OxyContin sales. On December 4th, 2023, the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on the legality of this agreement. This case not only carries significant implications for other major product liability lawsuits settled through bankruptcy but also presents a moral conundrum that continues to divide victims and their families. Here are our key takeaways from the article: Purdue Pharma, the company behind OxyContin, has consented to a settlement in response to thousands of opioid-related lawsuits, pledging up to $6 billion to combat the crisis. This agreement would provide legal immunity to the Sackler family, the owners of Purdue Pharma, against civil lawsuits and potentially allow them to retain profits gained from OxyContin sales. The Supreme Court is poised to examine if this deal infringes upon federal law since it proposes bankruptcy protections for individuals who have not filed for bankruptcy. The settlement has sparked controversy with some victims hailing it as a significant turning point, while others protest it, fearing that it might establish a worrisome precedent. Purdue Pharma's intense promotion of OxyContin continues to be identified as a major driving force behind the nationwide opioid epidemic. Excerpt OxyContin maker’s settlement plan divides victims of opioid crisis. Now it’s up to the Supreme Court. By Geoff Mulvihill and Mark Sherman "The agreement by the maker of OxyContin to settle thousands of lawsuits over the harm done by opioids could help combat the overdose epidemic that the painkiller helped spark. But that does not mean all the victims are satisfied.Ellen Isaacs’ 33-year-old son, Ryan Wroblewski, died in Florida in 2018, about 17 years after he was first prescribed OxyContin for a back injury. When she first heard about a potential settlement that would include some money for people like her, she signed up. But she has changed her mind." Read the Full Article Get Started with InterAct LifeLine We believe in a future where healthcare is accessible, personalized, and technologically advanced, and we invite you to be part of it. Get in Touch
Article
Common Misconceptions about Fentanyl
Debunking Common Misconceptions about Fentanyl: Separating Fact from Fiction Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid that has become a significant public health concern in recent years due to its widespread abuse and high potential for overdose. Despite the growing awareness of ...
Debunking Common Misconceptions about Fentanyl: Separating Fact from Fiction Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid that has become a significant public health concern in recent years due to its widespread abuse and high potential for overdose. Despite the growing awareness of its dangers, many misconceptions about fentanyl persist, leading to misunderstandings about its uses, risks, and effects. In this article, we will explore some of the most common misconceptions about fentanyl, debunking myths and providing accurate information about this powerful drug. Here are some common misconceptions about fentanyl: Fentanyl is just another type of painkiller One of the most significant misconceptions about fentanyl is that it's just another type of painkiller. While it is a potent painkiller, it is also highly addictive and has a high potential for abuse. Unlike other painkillers, fentanyl is much stronger and can be lethal even in small doses. Fentanyl is only used for end-of-life care Another misconception about fentanyl is that it's only used for end-of-life care. While it is commonly used to manage severe pain in cancer patients or those who are terminally ill, it is also prescribed for other types of chronic pain, such as back pain or chronic headaches. Additionally, fentanyl is also illegally manufactured and sold on the streets as a recreational drug, which is a significant contributor to the opioid epidemic. Fentanyl is safe as long as it's prescribed by a doctor Many people believe that fentanyl is safe as long as it is prescribed by a doctor, but this is not entirely true. Fentanyl is a highly potent opioid, and even when taken as prescribed, it can be highly addictive and lead to dependence. Additionally, fentanyl can cause dangerous side effects, including respiratory depression, which can be fatal, especially when taken in high doses. Fentanyl is only a problem in the United States Another common misconception is that fentanyl is only a problem in the United States. While the opioid epidemic has been particularly severe in the US, fentanyl abuse and overdose deaths have been reported in other parts of the world as well. Fentanyl is now being trafficked globally, and its illicit use has become a significant public health concern worldwide. In conclusion, it's crucial to recognize these common misconceptions about fentanyl to better understand the risks associated with its use. Fentanyl is a powerful and potentially deadly drug that requires careful management, whether it is being used medically or illicitly. Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Blog Article
Supporting Family Members in Recovery During Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving, a time of gratitude and family gatherings, can be particularly challenging for individuals in recovery from substance abuse. The holiday season frequently elicits emotions of anxiety, depression, and overwhelming stress, which can heighten the allure of using substances as a means to ...
Thanksgiving, a time of gratitude and family gatherings, can be particularly challenging for individuals in recovery from substance abuse. The holiday season frequently elicits emotions of anxiety, depression, and overwhelming stress, which can heighten the allure of using substances as a means to cope. However, with the right support and understanding from family members, it can also be a time of healing and strengthening familial bonds. Navigating the Holiday Season: A Guide to Supporting Loved Ones in Recovery During Thanksgiving Understanding the Challenges The first step in providing support is understanding the struggles that your loved ones are going through. Substance abuse disorders are not a matter of willpower; they are complex diseases that affect a person's brain and behavior. Foster a Substance-Free Environment Creating a safe space for your loved one is crucial. This might mean making the family gathering alcohol-free or removing any triggers that could potentially lead to a relapse. Communicate openly with other family members about the importance of maintaining a substance-free environment. This not only protects the person in recovery but also sends a clear message of support and respect for their journey. Engage in Healthy Activities Plan activities that everyone can enjoy and that don't revolve around substances. This could be a board game marathon, a hike in nature, or a movie night. These activities can help reduce feelings of anxiety and provide a distraction from potential triggers. Open Communication Encourage open and honest communication. Let your loved one know that they can talk to you about their feelings without judgment. It's important to listen actively and validate their experiences. This can help them feel understood and less alone in their struggles. Respect Their Boundaries Every person's recovery journey is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. Some may want to talk openly about their experiences, while others may prefer to keep their recovery private. Respect these boundaries and let your loved one guide the conversation when it comes to their recovery. Provide Emotional Support Recovery can be an emotional rollercoaster. Be there for your loved one through the highs and lows. Let them know that it's okay to feel what they're feeling and that you're there for them no matter what. This can provide a sense of stability and comfort during uncertain times. Encourage Professional Help If your loved one is struggling, encourage them to seek professional help. Therapists and counselors who specialize in addiction can provide valuable guidance and support. There are also numerous support groups both online and offline that can provide community and understanding. Conclusion Supporting a family member in recovery during Thanksgiving isn't always easy, but it's worth it. Your love, understanding, and support can make a significant difference in your loved one's recovery journey. Remember, recovery isn't just about abstaining from substances; it's about building a healthier, happier life. And as a family, you can play a crucial role in supporting this journey. References: : https://www.newsday.com/opinio...: https://www.mayoclinic.org/dis...: https://musetreatment.com/blog...: https://windwardway.com/rehab-...: https://restorationrecoverycen...: https://cornerstoneofrecovery....: https://www.wnky.com/ways-to-s...: https://www.detoxrehabs.net/su...: https://www.brightfuturerecove... InterAct LifeLine is committed to providing treatment programs and organizations with easily accessible, effective, and affordable treatment options using virtual care technology. Virtual care removes geographical constraints or societal stigma that deter individuals from seeking the help they deserve. We empower state and local governments and organizations offering opioid abatement programs with efficient ways to inform, engaged and reach their audiences. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment technology. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Article
Six Ways to Maintain Your Sobriety at Thanksgiving
The holiday season often brings about feelings of anxiety, depression, and overwhelm, which can increase the temptation to resort to substance use as a coping mechanism. Here are some helpful tips from Psychology Today for having a happy Thanksgiving while remaining drug or alcohol ...
Addiction, holidays, Recovery, Sobriety, Thanksgiving
The holiday season often brings about feelings of anxiety, depression, and overwhelm, which can increase the temptation to resort to substance use as a coping mechanism. Here are some helpful tips from Psychology Today for having a happy Thanksgiving while remaining drug or alcohol free.  Here are our key takeaways from the article: Share the workload: If you are in charge of preparing the Thanksgiving meal, don't hesitate to ask for help. This reduces stress and allows you to manage your recovery better. Practice gratitude: When you feel overwhelmed, write a list of things you're grateful for. This helps keep the focus on the positive aspects of the holiday. Volunteer: Helping others can provide a sense of fulfillment and distract from any family tensions.  Invite a supportive friend: Having a supportive friend at a family gathering can help diffuse tension and provide emotional support. Prioritize your health: If attending a family or work function feels too triggering, it's okay to not attend. Your health and recovery should always come first. Excerpt Six Ways to Maintain Your Sobriety at Thanksgiving By Constance Scharff Ph.D. "I first tried to quit drinking on November 11, 1995. By Thanksgiving of that year, I was clean, but I was scared to death of facing a holiday dinner without a drink. I remember standing by the bar in my grandmother’s house, downing Diet Coke in long gulps. I drank an entire case of Diet Coke during the evening, but I stayed sober. Now, I have more tools to maintain my recovery during the holidays." Read the Full Article To learn more about how InterAct LifeLine is revolutionizing virtual care, visit our website or reach out to our team. We believe in a future where healthcare is accessible, personalized, and technologically advanced, and we invite you to be part of it. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Family Support Story
Being Thankful Despite the Heartache
In 2017, my daughter Laura was in Atlanta for Thanksgiving, but we were at our house in Florida. If I had known that she would be dead before Christmas from a drug overdose, I would have kidnapped her, taken her to Florida, and held her tight until the immediate danger had passed. All around me, I ...
In 2017, my daughter Laura was in Atlanta for Thanksgiving, but we were at our house in Florida. If I had known that she would be dead before Christmas from a drug overdose, I would have kidnapped her, taken her to Florida, and held her tight until the immediate danger had passed. All around me, I see Facebook posts, TV ads, and messages from people expressing what they are thankful for this season, but for me, it’s been a little harder to have that perspective. What I’m thankful for has now changed. Here is how this Thanksgiving looks through my lens. Finding Thankfulness I am thankful for being able to have pain and purpose co-exist. Losing a child is the deepest pain anyone can experience and if that pain is not viewed in the right way, it can overwhelm you, ruin your life, and prevent you from moving forward. But out of that pain, has come purpose. The pain of Laura’s death has motivated me to action and lead me to create an educational initiative to focus on parents, educators and children and teach them about the risks of the disease of addiction so everyone can understand their roles in preventing it. I am thankful for being resilient. I have always realized that a number of people depend on me to be present. I run a company, have employees, have customers and have a family that needs me to function. It was hard, but two weeks after Laura died, I went back to work, began writing articles about the lessons I learned from Laura’s life and focused on how to help others. I’m thankful I was gifted with resilience so I could do all of those things instead of crawling into a hole. I am thankful I can celebrate the livingMy son got engaged this year, so I have a wedding to look forward to. My husband has been just the right partner to get me through tough times. I have friends who check in on me and express love for my family and for Laura. My co-workers have been by my side for years and know how to move the ball forward whether I’m there are not. I’m thankful for everyone that is still here. I am thankful that I know Laura is at peace.I once heard from someone in recovery that if they had to spend one more day tortured by the pain of being addicted, they would rather not be here. Laura was tortured, unhappy, in constant struggle and without purpose. Now those struggles are over and she’s at peace. I’m thankful that she’s with her father, grandfather and with God and take comfort that her struggles are behind her. My Takeaway You could be having what you think is the worst year of your life as I did in 2018, but despite that, there is always something to be thankful for. Sit back, reflect, and consider that sometimes things that you think have happened to you have actually happened for you. Pain and purpose can co-exist and I’m thankful for having the perspective to understand that. InterAct LifeLine is committed to providing treatment programs and organizations with easily accessible, effective, and affordable treatment options using virtual care technology. Virtual care removes geographical constraints or societal stigma that deter individuals from seeking the help they deserve. We empower state and local governments and organizations offering opioid abatement programs with efficient ways to inform, engaged and reach their audiences. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment technology. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Blog Post
A Personal Message from The Founder
For 15 years, my daughter Laura and I struggled to understand the disease that had her in its grips and devastated our family. She made one last fateful decision, overdosed and two days later died on December 21, 2017. When we held vigil in ...
For 15 years, my daughter Laura and I struggled to understand the disease that had her in its grips and devastated our family. She made one last fateful decision, overdosed and two days later died on December 21, 2017. When we held vigil in the hospital watching Laura’s life slip away, her close friend in recovery reminded me that she and I were now in a “position of privilege” and not of our own choosing. We had experienced the disease of addiction close up, gained insight from our struggles, and had the potential to make a difference with those that struggle to understand the disease and develop a plan to maintain health and recovery. For over a year, I processed how to turn my grief into purpose and shortly after Laura’s death writing a series of articles, Lessons from Laura, to personalize our struggle and alert others that even the best families are not immune from the disease. In early 2019, how I could make an impact became clear. I had unique experiences as the parent of an addict, had founded and run an adolescent treatment program, and owned a technology company. I discovered that the risk of dying from overdose was now the number one killer of anyone under the age of 50 because of the emergence of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Flooding in from Mexico and disguised in counterfeit pills, heroin, cocaine and even marijuana, someone that may just be experimenting or like Laura, making one bad decision could be poisoned from only a few grains of the synthetic opioid and overdose. I also realized that technology had the potential to detect the leading indicators of overdose from devices that young people wear everyday, their smart watch or fitness tracker, send that data to us and allow our technology to alert others and send help. Laura was only a mile from the hospital and could have been saved if this detection and alerting system had been online.I also learned that there were new tools in the fight against the opioid crisis from the hard work of our states' attorneys general who negotiated over $50 billion in funding from opioid litigation to fund prevention programs, awareness campaigns and connection to recovery and treatment services, a beacon of hope in a difficult fight.But most parents were not focused on the drug that has taken over as the biggest threat to a young person's safety, nor did they want to believe that what happened to our family could happen to them. So it became clear that our mission was to raise their awareness that the hope that it will not happen to you is no longer a strategy to keep their sons and daughters safe.We are committed to use our experience, knowledge, technology and resources to save lives, help families, and create strategies for young people to choose to be healthy and safe.Carolyn BradfieldCEO, Convey Services & InterAct LifeLine
Blog Article
Phoenix Outdoor: A Case Study in Virtual Family Support
In 2004, two technology entrepreneurs founded Phoenix Outdoor, a North Carolina licensed outdoor behavioral program for adolescents ages 13-17. Inspired and motivated by the difficulty in getting family support when their adolescents went through treatment, the team committed to a robust program ...
In 2004, two technology entrepreneurs founded Phoenix Outdoor, a North Carolina licensed outdoor behavioral program for adolescents ages 13-17.  Inspired and motivated by the difficulty in getting family support when their adolescents went through treatment, the team committed to a robust program that parents could participate in on a weekly basis while their adolescents were in treatment.  Because program participants came from all over the country, leadership used their technology backgrounds to launch one of the first family support virtual care programs in the country. Inspired by Their Personal ExperienceThe founders had placed their 15-year old daughter in an outdoor behavioral program, but received no counseling or support during her 6-week stay.  After being traumatized by the difficulty in finding treatment for their daughter, they were called on to make a long-term strategic aftercare choice to enroll her in a therapeutic boarding school.  After meeting 20 families enrolling their adolescents in the same school, it became clear that family support was almost non-existent no matter what pathway each family took to get their child into long-term care. Families came to the orientation traumatized, confused and devastated. The Phoenix Outdoor Family Support Program Families enrolling their adolescents in the Phoenix program were given a plan and process for treating their child, but also were asked to participate in the weekly family support program.  The goals of the program were to reduce their anxiety and stress, uncover the challenges that the family struggled with as a result of their adolescent's behavior and equip them with the tools to make a long term decision for their child and family. The Parent Coordinator Within 24 hours of enrollment, the family received an outreach from a dedicated parent coordinator to explain the process the program engaged in to treat each individual, how the outdoor program worked, and how the program was designed for safety.  The coordinator's job was to let parents know what to expect from Phoenix, what we expected from them, and to reconfirm that they had made an appropriate treatment decision for their child. The Parent Portal Parents had access to an online portal where the program uploaded letters from their child, their daily schedule, what they would be eating, the weather report, and any pictures we had taken in their outdoor treatment setting.  The program would post messages and notes for the parents to access at their convenience. Parent Support Group Before there was Zoom, the parent support group met via GlobalMeet webinar technology each Monday night, lead by a clinical specialist.  Conversations were wide ranging, but included topics such as how to manage and support siblings, how to communicate decisions with friends and family, and long-term care strategies.  Parents would attend these groups even after their children had been discharged. Psycho-Educational Classes An online class was held each Tuesday, lead by the Clinical Director and focused on a specific topic relevant to the family.  Families were educated about the disease of addiction, the roles that family members play that affect  how they function or managing co-existing mental health disorders. The Family Therapist Each adolescent had an assigned therapist, but a different therapist was also assigned to the family.  Each week a family therapy session was held with parents and siblings to have them process through family issues and equip them with the tools they needed to support themselves and their adolescent in treatment. ALANON Over 90% of all adolescent participants were diagnosed with a substance use disorder, and as such, families were asked to participate in at least one weekly ALANON meeting to find support outside of the Phoenix Outdoor community Takeaways Phoenix Outdoor had one of the most innovative and respected approaches to family care by using technology to allow families to participate, no matter where they lived.  The adolescents knew that their families were working as hard as they were to find a solution that lead to health and wellness.  The same strategy that served Phoenix in the mid 2000s is still relevant today to produce better outcomes for the person in treatment as well as their family. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct LifeLine provides treatment programs and organizations with easily accessible, effective, and affordable technology for virtual care and education programs.  We empower state and local governments and organizations offering opioid abatement programs with efficient ways to inform, engaged and reach their audiences. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment technology. Get in Touch
Family Support Story
Phoenix Outdoor: Making the Argument for the Importance of Family Support
This is Laura at age 17 as she graduated from Carlbrook School after spending 2 years in a sequestered, therapeutic boarding school environment. For those of you that don’t know, my daughter Laura died on December 21, 2017 from a drug overdose, just shy of her 30th birthday. When this was taken ...
This is Laura at age 17 as she graduated from Carlbrook School after spending 2 years in a sequestered, therapeutic boarding school environment. For those of you that don’t know, my daughter Laura died on December 21, 2017 from a drug overdose, just shy of her 30th birthday. When this was taken in 2004, Laura had completed wilderness therapy treatment, been in therapeutic school for two years, and was just getting ready to go to college. As a result of our experiences in treatment, my husband and I made the decision to start a licensed wilderness therapy program in 2004, Phoenix Outdoor running it for 3 years, then selling it to CRC Health (now Acadia Healthcare) in 2007. The program was designed to change the way these adolescent treatment programs functioned by focusing significant efforts on treating the family while we were treating their adolescent. We Were a Traumatized Family Laura’s behavior and her drug use was life-threatening. We had tried securing the house, restricting her activities, alerting the schools, therapy and a host of other strategies.... none were working. We hired an educational consultant, picked a program and Laura was on her way to wilderness therapy in late December after she went missing and ended up using cocaine in someone’s basement. I decided to “come out” to my friends and family about what I considered a life-saving decision for Laura, only to be met with a lack of understanding and support that further embarrassed, confused and traumatized us. The wilderness program worked wonders with Laura, but because our family was hurt and confused we were in no position to make the next big decision - what happens after wilderness is over? We designed Phoenix Outdoor to make sure that parents who entrusted their children to us for treatment and had to make that next big decision didn’t have to walk the same path as we did. The Kid is in Treatment:  What's Going on in the Family Friends and family don't get it.I had done a good job hiding the level of chaos that was going on with Laura from friends and family,. They knew some of it, but not the extent of the problem. So when that child needs to leave the home for treatment, they are going to be ignorant of the problem, surprised at what seems like a radical decision, and second-guess your decision. When I told friends for the first time, I heard: “I can’t believe you would send her away. Why haven’t you tried something else?” You will go on a giant guilt trip."If you don’t come get me right now, I’ll hate you and never forgive you as long as I live.” Parents just removed their child’s freedom along with their ability to access the substances that their brain now craves. Kids are going to move heaven & earth to regain access. This was almost always the text that came with the first letter to parents of the several hundred children that we treated. Imagine how guilty those parents must be feeling at this point. The family will second-guess their decision.We are feeling a rash of emotions, guilt for sending our child away, regret for not being able to fix the problem, shame that our child has turned out this way, anger at our child, ourselves & our friends. The list goes on and on. The second guessing is almost paralyzing. First fear, then relief, then panic.Parents know that their child is safety sequestered in treatment and the fear that they have felt melts away into a sense of relief.  But as the days tick by, all of a sudden panic sets in because the release date is coming up soon and they are likely confused and uncertain about what comes next.  Do they bring their child back into the home, commit them to extended treatment or what's next? At Phoenix Outdoor, we helped parents see the courage in their decision. We provided therapy and education for the family so they could equip themselves to make hard decisions, and we gave them the tools to talk to their friends and family in an informed and appropriate way. It worked so well that we gave our competitors our program materials, encouraged them to use it, and then sold to a much larger company with a bigger footprint and more influence. My Takeaway If you are a parent that is struggling to make these tough choices, you are brave, committed and a good parent. You’re doing what you need to do to save a precious life, so don’t second-guess yourself. If you are one of those friends & family members, be there for support. You will never know what it’s like to walk in the shoes of those parents and how difficult their decisions were. Don’t judge because the next time it might be your child that is in that position. Addiction affects the entire family and that family needs support and understanding. InterAct LifeLine is committed to providing treatment programs and organizations with easily accessible, effective, and affordable treatment options using virtual care technology. Virtual care removes geographical constraints or societal stigma that deter individuals from seeking the help they deserve. We empower state and local governments and organizations offering opioid abatement programs with efficient ways to inform, engaged and reach their audiences. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment technology. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Audio Journal
Episode 13 - Parent Playbook - Asking for Help
This Audio Journal series focuses on what it takes to coach your family through the Opioid Crisis with the right game plan, a playbook, an understanding of your opponent and help from your “assistants” when it’s called for. This episode will focus on why you need a good staff around you ...
Podcast
This Audio Journal series focuses on what it takes to coach your family through the Opioid Crisis with the right game plan, a playbook, an understanding of your opponent and help from your “assistants” when it’s called for.  This episode will focus on why you need a good staff around you because no game is winnable if you are the only coach calling the plays.Football coaches know that they don’t have all of the answers.  That’s why they rely on their assistants. Nick Saban of Alabama has hired the best assistant coaches, relies on their advice, and lets them take the lead in their area of expertise. Managing your child when he is oppositional, defiant, losing ground at school, and using drugs that can cause overdose at any minute is not something parents should try and manage without help.  There are plenty of good assistants out there to help parents adjust their strategy, send in better plays to protect their children, and know when the game plan that they have is just not working.  This all seems logical, but parents often fail to know the when, the who and the how to ask for help.  Let’s focus on “the when”.  I would seriously doubt that a football coach waits to consult his assistants after the game gets out of hand.  They ask for advice early and often.  But the same is not true of parents when their child is in trouble.  That’s because parents are often ashamed, traumatized or confused.  It’s never a good idea to wait to ask for help.  When you see your child’s grades drop, their behavior change, or just are worried that things are not right, ask for insight, advice, or help right away.  Waiting can have deadly consequences allowing adolescents to keep using drugs, engage in dangerous behaviors and sometimes lose their lives to overdose.And what about your “pre-game strategy”.  You should avail yourself of the help, strategy and advice of others to learn how you should prevent substance misuse and go on the offense before you have to play the much harder game of defense when your child is already in trouble.  You may want to take a look at one of InterAct LifeLine’s portals called Rethink the Family.com (http://rethinkthefamily.com) where there is an abundance of education about the disease, how to talk to kids, and prevention strategies you can use.Now, let’s explore “the who”.   There are so many people out there that parents already know who can be helpful.  All you have to do is ask.  Let’s start with people at your child’s school.  Teachers have their ear to the ground, know when kids are falling behind, and may see behavioral issues before you do.  I started my career as a middle school teacher and believe me, I knew what was going on. Get to school, schedule a conference with teachers and invite the guidance counselors to join.  If they don’t know all the answers, they will now have their radar up and can be on high alert on your behalf.Then think about your neighbors and friends, particularly those who have kids the same age as yours.  My friends and neighbors were the first to alert me that I had a problem with my daughter Laura.  Their kids were telling them what they were seeing her do at school and the bad crowd that Laura was hanging out with.  Fortunately, I didn’t have to ask for their help; they offered it, but it taught me a lesson that sometimes your best allies are those closest to you.And then there are times when you need professional help.  Consider engaging the services of an adolescent therapist that is trained in substance misuse and addiction.  Think about having a full psycho-educational assessment to understand the issues driving behavior as well as any learning differences that are making their school performance much harder.  Some families opt to hire an educational consultant, experienced in at-risk adolescents who can help you assess the extent of the problem, offer solutions and recommend treatment options.And now for the “how” to ask for help.  Asking for help should seem relatively straightforward but it is almost never that simple. For some parents, it doesn’t seem natural to admit that they can't manage their teenager and have lost control.  They are almost always mortified by the behavior and ashamed to reveal what’s happening.  Parents, I’m telling you that it’s so critical that you swallow your pride, admit what is going on, and be honest about the details.Here is a strategy that works.  Start with letting the individual know that you need to have a confidential conversation about something you are struggling with that is causing you a great deal of stress and anxiety.  Then, let them know who it involves.  Don’t try and make it a hypothetical situation about someone else when it’s you that needs the help.  And don’t hold back when you are giving that person the details.  It will be hard to share your kid’s struggles, but people can’t help you if they don’t know the facts.And finally, let the person know what role you want them to play.  Do you need them to just be a good listener so you can get the problem out in the open to better process it?  Do you need them to offer advice?  Or are you looking for a partner or individual to help you solve the problem?  TakeawaysWhen my daughter Laura got into trouble at age 14, I was fortunate to put my ego, fear and pride aside and accept what my friends shared with me to let me know Laura was in trouble.  I sought the school’s advice to see where Laura was in her academic performance and what we could do to keep her in school and get her back on track.  I put Laura in therapy with someone who specialized in working with adolescents.  And when that didn’t work, I hired an educational consultant to give me a deeper assessment, recommend a treatment program and a strategy to get her enrolled.Asking for help is a sign of strength, a recognition that a team is better than any one individual to solve a problem, and that you can push past your reservations for the sake of your child to get the help you need.
Blog Article
Enhanced Recovery: How Virtual Care Promotes Better Outcomes
The advent of digital technology has revolutionized the global healthcare landscape, with virtual care playing a pivotal role in this transformation. This article explores how virtual care promotes enhanced recovery and better outcomes for patients. ...
The advent of digital technology has revolutionized the global healthcare landscape, with virtual care playing a pivotal role in this transformation. This article explores how virtual care promotes enhanced recovery and better outcomes for patients. Exploring the Link Between Virtual Care, Treatment Adherence, and Recovery Success The Role of Telemedicine in Postoperative Care Telemedicine's role in postoperative care is gaining significant attention due to its potential to improve clinical outcomes and enhance patient recovery. By facilitating remote monitoring and consultations, telemedicine enables healthcare providers to track patients' progress, respond quickly to complications, and provide necessary guidance, contributing to faster and more efficient recovery. Empowering Patients Through Virtual Care Delivery Virtual care delivery empowers patients by improving communication, mixing virtual and in-person care, and developing the practice team's journey. It offers patients the autonomy to manage their health, which can significantly contribute to their recovery process. When patients understand their health condition and treatment plan, they are likely to adhere to prescribed therapies and make necessary lifestyle changes, leading to better outcomes. Expansion of Virtual Care Technology at UAB The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has expanded its use of virtual care technology to guide more patients from surgery preparation through recovery. This approach underscores the value of virtual care in the entire care continuum, from preoperative preparation to postoperative recovery. Through digital experiences, patients receive personalized guidance and support, promoting greater engagement, adherence to care plans, and improved recovery outcomes. HCA Healthcare's Innovative Approach to Surgical Recovery HCA Healthcare has adopted an innovative approach to surgical recovery that promotes better outcomes, decreased opioid usage, and faster recovery times for patients. By incorporating virtual care into their recovery protocol, they have been able to monitor patients' progress remotely, provide timely interventions, and reduce reliance on opioids for pain management, thereby enhancing recovery and reducing associated risks. Enhancing Patient Outcomes with Telehealth Telehealth can significantly improve patient outcomes under value-based care. With remote patient monitoring and virtual patient education, healthcare providers can keep a close eye on patients' health status, promptly address any issues, and provide education resources to help patients manage their health effectively. These strategies not only improve health outcomes but also enhance patients' overall healthcare experience. Maximizing Nutrition, Minimizing Pain Enhanced recovery after surgery often involves discarding traditional practices, such as fasting and powerful painkillers. Instead, it focuses on maximizing nutrition and minimizing pain, which can be achieved effectively through virtual care. For instance, dietitians can provide personalized nutritional advice remotely, and doctors can monitor pain levels and adjust medication doses accordingly. The Future of Virtual Care Looking ahead, virtual health presents a significant opportunity for health systems to enhance their value by improving access and delivering high-quality care. As technology continues to evolve, so will the ways in which it can be utilized to promote better health outcomes. Virtual reality, for example, is being used to improve telemedicine, surgery, and healthcare workers' training. Conclusion In conclusion, virtual care is a powerful tool in enhancing recovery and promoting better outcomes in the healthcare sector. It expands access to care, empowers patients, improves clinical outcomes, and reduces healthcare costs. As more healthcare systems adopt virtual care, we can expect to see further improvements in patient recovery and overall health outcomes. References: : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p...: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p...: https://www.uab.edu/news/healt...: https://investor.hcahealthcare...: https://www.healthrecoverysolu...: https://www.dukehealth.org/blo...: https://www.mckinsey.com/indus...: https://time.com/6155085/virtu... InterAct LifeLine is committed to providing treatment programs and organizations with easily accessible, effective, and affordable treatment options using virtual care technology. Virtual care removes geographical constraints or societal stigma that deter individuals from seeking the help they deserve. We empower state and local governments and organizations offering opioid abatement programs with efficient ways to inform, engaged and reach their audiences. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment technology. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Blog Article
Technology's Role in Addressing the Opioid Crisis
The opioid crisis continues to pose a significant public health challenge, with millions of people across the globe struggling with opioid addiction. As the world seeks solutions to this crisis, technology has emerged as a powerful tool in the fight against opioid misuse and addiction. From virtual ...
The opioid crisis continues to pose a significant public health challenge, with millions of people across the globe struggling with opioid addiction. As the world seeks solutions to this crisis, technology has emerged as a powerful tool in the fight against opioid misuse and addiction. From virtual care platforms to predictive analytics and artificial intelligence, technology-based solutions are revolutionizing the way we prevent, diagnose, and treat opioid addiction. Revolutionizing Opioid Crisis Response and Addiction Treatment Through Technological Innovation Current Technology-Based Solutions Several technology-based solutions are currently being leveraged to combat opioid misuse and addiction. These innovative approaches offer greater convenience to patients, allowing them to receive treatment without the need for physical appointments. A significant technological advancement in the fight against opioid misuse is the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). This technology aims to prevent opioid misuse by providing healthcare providers with a patient's prescription history, thereby preventing over-prescription of opioids. Moreover, technology is also playing a crucial role in improving our understanding of opioid addiction. Healthcare information technology has opened new doors in this regard, enabling us to gather and analyze data about opioid addiction to enhance our prevention and treatment strategies. The Power of Virtual Care Virtual care, enabled by technology, is transforming the way patients receive treatment and support for opioid addiction. With the advent of telemedicine and virtual care platforms, patients can now receive comprehensive care from the comfort of their homes. Virtual care offers numerous benefits over traditional care. First, it provides greater convenience to patients, eliminating the need for travel and enabling them to receive treatment at their preferred time and location. This convenience can be particularly beneficial for patients living in remote or rural areas, where access to specialized care can be limited. Second, virtual care enhances privacy and confidentiality, which can be a significant concern for many individuals struggling with addiction. With virtual care, patients can receive treatment in a private setting, free from the stigma that often surrounds addiction treatment. Finally, virtual care can increase access to specialized care. Through virtual platforms, patients can connect with specialists across the country, receiving the best possible care regardless of their geographic location. The Future: AI and Machine Learning Looking ahead, the potential for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in addressing the opioid crisis is immense. AI tools capable of identifying and adaptively updating factors causing opioid addiction may significantly reduce the likelihood of addiction. AI and machine learning can also improve screening and diagnosis of opioid addiction. By analyzing patterns and trends in patient data, these technologies can identify individuals at high risk of opioid misuse, enabling early intervention and treatment. Furthermore, AI and machine learning can enhance the efficacy of treatment strategies. These technologies can analyze patient data to determine the most effective treatment strategies, enabling personalized care and improving recovery outcomes. Conclusion Technology offers promising solutions in the fight against the opioid crisis. By enhancing our ability to prevent, diagnose, and treat opioid addiction, technology represents a significant step forward in our battle against this global health crisis. As we continue to innovate and develop new technological solutions, there is hope that we can turn the tide on the opioid crisis and help those struggling with addiction achieve recovery and regain control of their lives. References: :https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/...:https://www.forbes.com/sites/...:https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/...:https://policylab.rutgers.edu/... InterAct LifeLine is committed to providing treatment programs and organizations with easily accessible, effective, and affordable treatment options using virtual care technology. Virtual care removes geographical constraints or societal stigma that deter individuals from seeking the help they deserve. We empower state and local governments and organizations offering opioid abatement programs with efficient ways to inform, engaged and reach their audiences. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment technology. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Curated
Busting 4 Myths About Supporting a Family Member in Addiction Recovery
Supporting a family member in addiction recovery is a challenging journey that requires patience, understanding, and resilience. It's essential to remember that recovery is not linear; there will be progress and setbacks, which are both integral parts of the process.This article published online by ...
Supporting a family member in addiction recovery is a challenging journey that requires patience, understanding, and resilience. It's essential to remember that recovery is not linear; there will be progress and setbacks, which are both integral parts of the process.This article published online by Health City helps clear up common misconceptions about this process. Here are our key takeaways from the article: The role of social support in addiction treatment is critical and needs to be reframed among clinicians to improve health outcomes for patients with Substance Use Disorder.The term "codependency" and "tough love" can stigmatize and pathologize family members, which can have a damaging impact on patient outcomes.Family support can look different from family to family, and clinicians should empower family members to support their loved ones in ways they can.Clinicians don't need to adopt a specific model to engage families in care; instead, they should see the patient as part of a social network and find ways to engage their social support.It's crucial to engage families with compassion and empathy, providing them with evidence-based guidance and resources to cope with the stress of caregiving. Excerpt Busting 4 Myths About Supporting a Family Member in Addiction Recovery By Meryl Bailey For chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer — experts acknowledge the vital role caregivers play in helping with disease management, as well as in alleviating daily burdens for their loved ones. Strong social support from patients' relatives, partners, and friends is critical to successful treatment plans. Studies find that compassionate, action-oriented support from family helps patients reduce stress and live longer. In striking contrast, families and loved ones of people with substance use disorder (SUD) often receive mixed messages from society and the healthcare system about their role as caregivers. Longstanding myths and outdated language, such as "codependency" and "tough love," can harm family members and loved ones in treatment. Read the Full Article To learn more about how InterAct LifeLine is revolutionizing virtual care, visit our website or reach out to our team. We believe in a future where healthcare is accessible, personalized, and technologically advanced, and we invite you to be part of it. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch By Aneri Pattani
Article
The Role of Community in Family Support Services
Family support services are crucial for the wellbeing of families, particularly those facing challenges. The community plays an integral role in these services, offering resources and assistance to enhance family resilience and capacity. This article discusses the importance of community in family ...
Family support services are crucial for the wellbeing of families, particularly those facing challenges. The community plays an integral role in these services, offering resources and assistance to enhance family resilience and capacity. This article discusses the importance of community in family support services. Strengthening Families: How Community Engagement Powers Support Services The Community's Role Community support services are instrumental in providing the necessary care for various demographic groups, including the elderly[3]. They serve as a primary social support system during times of illness and other crises. The community also acts as a bridge that links the elderly with their relatives, providing a sense of belonging[4]. Family self-help groups, a community-based innovation, have emerged as a significant component of family support[2]. These groups offer a platform where families can share experiences, exchange ideas, and provide mutual support. Such groups often alleviate the burden on individual family members and cultivate a sense of community. Community support systems also extend to psychosocial rehabilitation, offering recreational activities that foster shared interests and mutual support[3]. These activities not only provide relief but also contribute to the overall wellbeing of individuals and families involved. Impact on Service Utilization  The community's role in family support services extends beyond direct support. It significantly impacts service utilization[5]. For instance, community organizations can influence a parent's willingness to utilize parenting support services. This implies that a well-informed and supportive community can encourage the use of available services, leading to better child-rearing practices and outcomes. Moreover, the presence of visual impairment in elderly persons has been shown to influence the use of community support services[6]. A community that is aware of the unique needs and challenges of visually impaired individuals will be more likely to facilitate the necessary support. Addressing Racism and Promoting Inclusivity The community also has a significant role in addressing racism and promoting inclusivity within family support services. For instance, social service providers are an integral part of the LGBTQ community of Toronto, where they help expose racial integration myths and encourage the creation of needed support services[7]. Community Resources and Education Support Services Communities can restructure education support services and integrate resources, going beyond the full-service school model[8]. By doing so, they can ensure that auxiliary or support services remain available amidst budget cuts. This not only benefits the students but also their families, providing a comprehensive support system that extends beyond the classroom. Support for Mental Health Community support also has a significant impact on mental health. A study on African American adolescents revealed that family, peer, and community support played a crucial role in mitigating suicidality and depression[9]. By fostering positive social forces, communities can significantly contribute to the mental wellbeing of their members. Family Caregivers’ Experiences Family caregivers often rely on community services to assist with their duties[10]. The experiences of these caregivers highlight both the benefits and barriers of using community services. Understanding these experiences can help communities better tailor their services to meet the needs of family caregivers. Conclusion In conclusion, the community plays a pivotal role in family support services. From facilitating service utilization to addressing racism, communities can significantly influence the availability and effectiveness of family support services. By understanding and harnessing the power of community, we can better provide for families in need and create more resilient societies. References https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0002716289503001008 https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1989-30627-001 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02207486 https://academic.oup.com/gerontologist/article-abstract/19/2/169/557778 https://api.taylorfrancis.com/content/chapters/edit/download... https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Paul-Mitchell... https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00918369.2012.648877 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02796015.1996.12085831 https://psycnet.apa.org/journals/ort/81/1/108/ https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1525-1446.2003.20502.x InterAct LifeLine is committed to providing treatment programs and organizations with easily accessible, effective, and affordable treatment options using virtual care technology. Virtual care removes geographical constraints or societal stigma that deter individuals from seeking the help they deserve. We empower state and local governments and organizations offering opioid abatement programs with efficient ways to inform, engaged and reach their audiences. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment technology. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Article
Navigating Online Spaces: Tips for Successful Virtual Family Support Groups
Virtual family support groups have become increasingly popular as technology continues to revolutionize the way we connect and communicate. These online spaces provide an invaluable resource, allowing families to share experiences, offer mutual support, and access professional advice from the ...
Virtual family support groups have become increasingly popular as technology continues to revolutionize the way we connect and communicate. These online spaces provide an invaluable resource, allowing families to share experiences, offer mutual support, and access professional advice from the comfort of their own homes. However, navigating these virtual spaces can be challenging. This article provides practical tips for ensuring your virtual family support group is successful and beneficial for all its members. A Comprehensive Guide to Facilitating Effective and Engaging Virtual Family Support Groups Setting Clear Expectations The first step towards a successful virtual family gathering is setting clear expectations. Participants should understand the purpose of the group, the etiquette for interactions, and the guidelines for maintaining a safe and respectful environment (Clear Hearing Seattle). These expectations should be communicated clearly and reiterated regularly to ensure everyone is on the same page. Planning and Organization A well-structured agenda can help keep the meeting focused and productive. This might include time for introductions, sharing personal experiences, discussing specific topics, and providing resources or advice. Regular check-ins can also be beneficial, allowing participants to express their feelings, ask questions, or raise concerns in a supportive setting (ECLKC - HHS.gov). Providing Adequate Technology Support Not everyone may be comfortable with using technology. It's crucial to ensure all members can access and use the necessary platforms and tools. This might involve providing simple, step-by-step instructions, offering technical support, or even running practice sessions before the actual meeting (Omaha Sinus). Creating an Inclusive Environment It's essential for all members to feel heard and included. Features like closed captioning can make the meetings more accessible to those with hearing impairments. Encouraging the use of headphones can also improve sound quality and make it easier for everyone to participate (Hear Life). Fostering Authentic Connections Virtual family support groups should encourage authenticity and openness. This means creating a space where people feel comfortable sharing their experiences and emotions. Encouraging active participation and maintaining ongoing, two-way communication can help foster genuine connections and build a strong, supportive community (BBH). Being Mindful of Time and Pressures Virtual meetings should be respectful of participants' time and other commitments. Keeping meetings to a set length, starting and ending on time, and ensuring there's a balance between sharing, discussion, and providing support can help maintain engagement and prevent burnout (Pinnacle Services). Conclusion In conclusion, while navigating online spaces for virtual family support groups can be challenging, these tips can help ensure your group is successful and beneficial for all its members. With careful planning, clear communication, and a focus on inclusivity and authenticity, virtual family support groups can offer invaluable support and connection in our increasingly digital world. References Clear Hearing Seattle. (n.d.). Tips for a Successful Virtual Family ReunionOmaha Sinus. (n.d.). Tips for a Successful Virtual Family ReunionECLKC - HHS.gov. (n.d.). Planning for Virtual Family EngagementHear Life. (n.d.). Tips for a Successful Virtual Family ReunionBBH. (n.d.). 10 Tips for Engaging Family Gatherings (Virtually)Pinnacle Services. (n.d.). Top Tips For Virtual Group MeetingsCasey. (n.d.). What do we know about services administered virtually? InterAct LifeLine is committed to providing treatment programs and organizations with easily accessible, effective, and affordable treatment options using virtual care technology. Virtual care removes geographical constraints or societal stigma that deter individuals from seeking the help they deserve. We empower state and local governments and organizations offering opioid abatement programs with efficient ways to inform, engaged and reach their audiences. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment technology. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Blog Article
Why Harm Reduction Doesn't Always Reduce Harm
Harm reduction strategies are increasingly touted as solutions to the opioid crisis[1]. Yet, while these approaches have their merits, they are often not the panacea they are claimed to be. Understanding the complex nature of the opioid epidemic requires acknowledging that harm reduction can ...
Harm reduction strategies are increasingly touted as solutions to the opioid crisis[1]. Yet, while these approaches have their merits, they are often not the panacea they are claimed to be. Understanding the complex nature of the opioid epidemic requires acknowledging that harm reduction can sometimes fall short, leading to unintended consequences[1]. The Limitations of Harm Reduction and the Power of Comprehensive Strategies In theory, harm reduction methods like clean needle programs and overdose prevention medication aim to mitigate the damage of opioid use[7]. However, without a comprehensive support system, these strategies can inadvertently perpetuate the cycle of addiction[4]. Substance use recovery centers often encounter challenges in implementing harm reduction due to the complexity of the opioid addiction landscape[7]. Harm reduction strategies can enable ongoing substance use[7]. They often lack the necessary support for long-term recovery[7]. The focus on immediate harm reduction can divert attention from the root causes of addiction[5,7]. To combat the opioid crisis effectively, we need more than just harm reduction. We need comprehensive opioid abatement programs that tackle the issue holistically, incorporating harm reduction, prevention, and treatment[3]. InterAct LifeLine's opioid abatement solutions are an example of this approach, emphasizing the creation of safe environments that foster recovery while reducing the risk of relapse[2]. As we strive to move beyond the primary focus on harm reduction, it becomes evident that prevention strategies and virtual care programs might become the frontrunners of effective opioid abatement strategies[3]. These approaches not only address the pressing need to expand current strategies, but also offer proven efficacy in promoting health and well-being[3]. Prevention strategies aim to educate and empower individuals, helping them understand the risks associated with opioid use, and thus, preventing addiction before it takes root[5]. Virtual care programs supplement these strategies perfectly. They extend care by bringing opioid treatment programs to the comfort of people's homes, breaking down geographical and logistical barriers[4]. With the convenience and accessibility of virtual care: Individuals can engage in therapy sessions or counseling from anywhere, ensuring consistent support[4]. Information and resources on opioid abatement are readily available, fostering an informed recovery process[4]. It promotes a sense of community among participants, reducing feelings of isolation that often accompany recovery[2]. In essence, prevention strategies, augmented by the advent of virtual care programs, form an effective defense against the opioid crisis[3]. These solutions prioritize empowerment, education, and easy access to support, helping individuals navigate the path of recovery with more confidence and resources[3]. Investing in such comprehensive strategies can make a fundamental difference in the battle against opioid addiction[3]. Conclusion In conclusion, while harm reduction is a vital component of the battle against the opioid crisis, it is not a standalone solution[1]. Understanding the limitations of harm reduction underscores the need for comprehensive opioid treatment programs that not only manage immediate risks but also address the underlying causes of opioid addiction[5]. These programs, like those offered by InterAct LifeLine, hold the promise of a future where opioid settlements are less frequent and recovery is more achievable[2]. ReferencesNational Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Opioid Overdose Crisis. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug...InterAct LifeLine. (n.d.). Opioid Programs. Retrieved from https://interactlifeline.com/p...Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Opioid Overdose: Understanding the Epidemic. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdo...Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). (2019). Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/medicat...World Health Organization. (2009). Guidelines for the psychosocially assisted pharmacological treatment of opioid dependence. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/publicatio...National Institutes of Health (NIH). (2020). Opioid Facts for Teens. Retrieved from https://teens.drugabuse.gov/dr...European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. (2018). Harm reduction: evidence, impacts and challenges. Retrieved from https://www.emcdda.europa.eu/p... If you or someone you know is navigating the complexities of mental health issues or addiction, Interact Lifeline is here to help. We are committed to providing easily accessible, effective, and affordable treatment options. Don't let geographical constraints or societal stigma deter you from seeking the help you deserve. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment services. Your path to recovery can start today. Connect with us at Interact Lifeline, and let's take the first step towards healing together. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Press Release
OpioidIQ — Offers Education, Awareness and Resources for State, Local and Nonprofit Opioid Abatement Response Programs
Overview: Opioid IQ, from InterAct LifeLine is a turn-key technology platform designed to educate communities about the dangers of opioids to prevent substance misuse, overdose deaths and connect individuals to resources, treatment, and support. Designed for state and local governments, nonprofit ...
Overview: Opioid IQ, from InterAct LifeLine is a turn-key technology platform designed to educate communities about the dangers of opioids to prevent substance misuse, overdose deaths and connect individuals to resources, treatment, and support. Designed for state and local governments, nonprofit and recovery community organizations (RCOs), the integrated solution incorporates content and education, connections to treatment services, webinars and support groups, engagement tools and provides outreach to audiences impacted by the Opioid Crisis.St. Petersburg Florida — November 2, 2023 — InterAct LifeLine today unveiled Opioid IQ, a technology platform for agencies that have received opioid abatement funds and need an efficient and automated way to connect their communities to increase awareness, provide education and direct clients to services and community support. Opioid IQ delivers a branded and customized portal that is continuously populated with curated content and education and comes with tools to conduct webinars and online education, outreach to audiences, gather feedback, and collect data to evaluate the program’s effectiveness in real-time.“One of the most important uses of opioid abatement funds is raising awareness of the risks of opioid use, along with the dangers of fentanyl, while directing people to treatment and resources for help,” said Carolyn Bradfield, CEO of InterAct LifeLine. “Opioid IQ uses intelligent tools to provide strategies to help clients maintain a personal recovery program to stay healthy. It helps families who have loved ones struggling with substance misuse by providing tools, resources, and access to counseling. Opioid IQ is a turn-key platform that provides comprehensive opioid-related online resources to stay aware, connected, and educated.”Opioid IQ is automated and comes completely setup requiring minimal resources to maintain and manage. Custom portals are created and branded for each organization and connected to the InterAct digital asset library for a stream of curated content and education. Opioid IQ helps develop an online community through support groups, discussion forums, continuous outreach, and engagement. Analytics reveal the type of content and education being consumed and monitors if outreaches are being read, responses to surveys, and attendance in online groups, forums, or webinars. Data can be used to analyze effectiveness and direct future programs to support the community.“Agencies that have received opioid settlement funds struggle to invest in activities that generate tangible benefits for their community,” added Bradfield. “A good strategy starts with ensuring that those with the greatest needs are aware of help and support in their local community. For individuals that may not have access to technology, InterAct can connect them to free wireless devices and services through the federally-sponsored Affordable Connectivity Program.” Benefits to Opioid Abatement Programs Turnkey Solution — The program comes pre-designed and automated, to reduce compromising staff time or attention.Features — Opioid IQ has comprehensive features for education, engagement, and analysis.Connected Community — It fosters a sense of community by providing a shared platform for learning, collaboration and discussion.Promotes Safety — Ensures community safety through content that educates on recognizing signs of substance misuse while reinforcing the danger of opioids.Secure & Protected — All personal information is HIPAA, CCPA, and ADA compliant. InterAct’s Opioid IQ portal outreaches to and engages audiences via text and email encouraging participation, content viewing, and highlighting opportunities to make valuable connections. The program tracks all interactions including logs-in, content views, or session attendance. Individuals can opt out of having their data displayed or shared. InterAct LifeLine is HIPAA, CCPA, ADA and GDPR compliant. The platform supports Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other video telehealth services. For more information visit: OpioidIQ XXX About InterAct LifeLine InterAct LifeLine is a subsidiary of Convey Services. InterAct’s online and mobile technology helps behavioral health and addiction recovery programs keep individuals and families connected to extended recovery support, online communities, and to family resources and education. They also offers turnkey technology to support federal, state, and local efforts to fight the opioid crisis. InterAct LifeLine SaaS technology provides a continuous flow of content to portals connected to its digital asset library to educate audiences about prevention, recovery, and wellness. Portals are HIPAA, CCPA, ADA and GDPR compliant, offer discussion forums, messaging outreaches, virtual support groups and telehealth connections. Detailed reports and analytics provide outcome studies on the effectiveness of programs. Explore InterAct LifeLine solutions by visiting https://interactlifeline.com or contacting info@interactlifeline.com or calling 888-975-1382. InterAct LifeLine™ and LifeLine Connect™ are trademarks of InterAct LifeLine LLC. INDUSTRY KEYWORDS: addiction prevention, safety net, fentanyl crisis, substance misuse, overdose prevention, wearable devices, mobile application, healthcare, behavioral health, telehealth, therapy, recovery, family support Press Contact Bruce Ahern — (770) 580-0810 InterAct LifeLine and Convey Holdings bahern@conveyservices.com Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Video
What’s The Science On Psychedelics For Mental Health Treatment?
Summary: Psychedelics are rapidly gaining acceptance as a viable form of treatment for various mental health conditions, with cities like Cambridge and Somerville leading the way toward decriminalization. Medical experts, such as Dr. Jerry Rosenbaum of the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress ...
Summary:Psychedelics are rapidly gaining acceptance as a viable form of treatment for various mental health conditions, with cities like Cambridge and Somerville leading the way toward decriminalization. Medical experts, such as Dr. Jerry Rosenbaum of the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital, champion the therapeutic potential of these substances when used under medical supervision. Similarly, Bertha Madras, a Harvard University professor and the director of McLean Hospital’s Laboratory of Addiction Neurobiology, agrees that the neuroscience of psychedelics holds promising avenues for advancing mental health treatment. However, it's key to note that while the field is promising, ongoing research is vital to fully understand the implications and potential effects of these substances in clinical settings. Organizations like the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and the Usona Institute are leading the charge in funding and conducting studies on the therapeutic use of psychedelics. In addition to medical professionals, advocacy groups such as Decriminalize Nature and Students for Sensible Drug Policy are pushing for policy changes that would allow for more research and implementation Excerpt"The cities of Cambridge and Somerville have taken steps this year toward decriminalizing psychedelics, as some medical experts point to evidence that such substances may provide relief from certain mental health conditions when used under medical direction. Where does the science stand on this? In for Jim Braude, Adam Reilly was joined by Dr. Jerry Rosenbaum, the director of both the Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital and the hospital’s new Center for the Neuroscience of Psychedelics; and Bertha Madras, professor of psychobiology at Harvard University, director of McLean Hospital’s Laboratory of Addiction Neurobiology, and a former deputy drug czar in the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy." View on GBH
Article
Raising Awareness: A Frontline Strategy Against the Opioid Crisis
The Power of Awareness as a Preventive Measure The opioid crisis has been a silent war, ravaging lives across the globe. As the number of opioid-related deaths continues to escalate, it's becoming increasingly clear that raising awareness about the dangers and repercussions of opioid ...
The Power of Awareness as a Preventive Measure The opioid crisis has been a silent war, ravaging lives across the globe. As the number of opioid-related deaths continues to escalate, it's becoming increasingly clear that raising awareness about the dangers and repercussions of opioid misuse is not just a supplementary measure - it's a frontline strategy. Awareness is a potent tool in combating any public health issue, and the opioid crisis is no exception. It serves as the first line of defense, arming people with knowledge and understanding about the risks associated with opioid misuse, the signs of addiction, and the available treatment options. Increased awareness helps to demystify the opioid crisis, breaking down misconceptions and stigma. Too often, opioid addiction is misunderstood as a moral failing rather than recognized as a disease. By highlighting the medical nature of addiction, awareness campaigns help shift perceptions, fostering empathy and support for those struggling with opioid misuse. Heightened awareness enables early intervention. Understanding the signs and symptoms of opioid misuse can lead to timely recognition, prompt action, and potentially save lives. It empowers individuals, families, and communities to seek help, reducing the chances of an overdose and paving the way for recovery. Prevention is another crucial aspect where awareness plays a pivotal role. Awareness programs that target high-risk groups or the general public can provide valuable information about the potential dangers of opioids, alternative pain management strategies, and safe disposal methods for unused medications. This can significantly reduce the initiation of non-medical opioid use and prevent the transition to addiction. Being aware of the issues surrounding the opioid crisis can also influence policy-making and resource allocation. Greater public awareness can translate into increased political will and funding for opioid prevention and treatment programs. It can drive the implementation of policies that promote responsible opioid prescribing practices, enhance access to naloxone - a drug that can reverse an opioid overdose, and expand the availability of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). Awareness aids in creating supportive communities. When the public is educated about the opioid crisis, they're more likely to become advocates for change, contributing to a collective effort to combat the crisis. They can offer support to those in recovery, participate in local prevention efforts, and push for changes at the community level. To conclude, raising awareness about the opioid crisis is a critical first step in addressing this public health emergency. It provides the foundation upon which other strategies — prevention, early intervention, treatment, policy changes — can be built. As we continue our fight against the opioid epidemic, let's ensure that awareness remains at the forefront of our efforts. Only then can we hope to turn the tide on this devastating crisis. To learn more about how InterAct LifeLine is revolutionizing virtual care, visit our website or reach out to our team. We believe in a future where healthcare is accessible, personalized, and technologically advanced, and we invite you to be part of it. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Curated
Principles for the Use of Opioid Settlement Funds
Summary This report outlines a comprehensive strategy to combat the opioid crisis, emphasizing the expansion of diversion programs, funding for harm reduction and anti-stigma initiatives, as well as equitable access to treatments. It advocates for the engagement of community members in ...
SummaryThis report outlines a comprehensive strategy to combat the opioid crisis, emphasizing the expansion of diversion programs, funding for harm reduction and anti-stigma initiatives, as well as equitable access to treatments. It advocates for the engagement of community members in formulating solutions, particularly in minority communities. The principles for using funds from opioid litigation focus on developing a fair and transparent process for fund allocation. This process includes identifying areas of need based on data, receiving input from diverse groups involved in the epidemic, and ensuring representation from affected communities in the decision-making process. The report also lists several resources that provide evidence-based interventions and strategies to further aid in addressing the opioid epidemic.Our TakeawaysThe report emphasizes the importance of funding programs in minority communities with diverse leadership, which have a track record of hiring from the surrounding neighborhood.It supports the development of a fair and transparent process for deciding how to spend funds from opioid litigation.The allocation of funds should be guided by public health leaders, with active engagement from people and families with lived experience.Data should be used to identify areas where additional funds could make the biggest difference. This could include groups not reached by current interventions or geographic areas needing specific programs.The planning process should include input from diverse groups involved in different parts of the epidemic, such as treatment providers, law enforcement personnel, social service organizations, and recovery community organizations.Communities should be engaged in the decision-making process, with people receiving treatments being part of the discussions.The report emphasizes the importance of gaining input from the public to raise the profile of the newly developed plan and to provide a platform for those with insights to contribute.Equitable distribution of funds should be ensured, with representation from affected communities included in the decision-making process.The report provides resource compilations that contain evidence-based interventions to address the opioid epidemic.The overall approach of the report centers on a comprehensive strategy to combat the opioid crisis, with an emphasis on expanding diversion programs, funding harm reduction, fighting stigma, and ensuring equitable access to treatments. Excerpt From the Principles: "With the influx of funding streams from the opioid litigation, jurisdictions must avoid what happened with the dollars that states received as part of the litigation against tobacco companies. Those landmark lawsuits were hailed as an opportunity to help current smokers quit and prevent children from starting to smoke. Unfortunately, most states have not used the dollars to fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs. Overall, less than 3% of revenue from the settlement and tobacco taxes went to tobacco control efforts. Failure to invest these dollars in tobacco prevention and cessation programs has been a significant missed opportunity to address the greatest cause of preventable death in the United States.To guide jurisdictions in the use of these funds, The Principles for the Use of Funds From the Opioid Litigation were created." To learn more about how InterAct LifeLine is revolutionizing virtual care, visit our website or reach out to our team. We believe in a future where healthcare is accessible, personalized, and technologically advanced, and we invite you to be part of it. Get in Touch
Curated
Using Opioid Settlement Cash for Police Gear Like Squad Cars and Scanners Sparks Debate
The allocation of opioid settlement funds towards law enforcement technology, such as police scanners, in lieu of substance misuse prevention, harm reduction, or treatment initiatives, can be viewed as controversial for several compelling reasons: Does this divert from the intended purpose? Could ...
The allocation of opioid settlement funds towards law enforcement technology, such as police scanners, in lieu of substance misuse prevention, harm reduction, or treatment initiatives, can be viewed as controversial for several compelling reasons:  Does this divert from the intended purpose?  Could the funds potentially be misallocated?  Is there a beneficial long term impact?  The list goes on and on, but this article published online by KKR Health News summarizes the issues. Here are our key takeaways from the article: Money shouldn't be spent on things that have proven not to make a difference.It's impractical to cut police out of the equation when determining what would make the most impact on the fentanyl crisis.The crackdown on offenders has proven to be ineffective so is it time to invest more in treatment and social services?Should we spend more money on jail upgrades - making the argument that this funding is worth it.What do clinicians and treatment providers really think about spending money on law enforcement?The implications of giving money to sheriff's departments in Louisiana have consequences. Brandon del Pozo was a police officer for 23 years before becoming an assistant professor at Brown University, where he researches policing and public health. When it comes to opioid settlement funds, he says, “you can’t just cut the police out of it. Nor would you want to.” (ZANE DEL POZO) Excerpt Using Opioid Settlement Cash for Police Gear Like Squad Cars and Scanners Sparks Debate By Aneri Pattani Many communities are finding it difficult to thread that needle. With fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, flooding the streets and more than 100,000 Americans dying of overdoses each year, some people argue that efforts to crack down on drug trafficking warrant law enforcement spending. Others say their war on drugs failed and it’s time to emphasize treatment and social services. Then there are local officials who recognize the limits of what police and jails can do to stop addiction but see them as the only services in town. What’s clear is that each decision — whether to fund a treatment facility or buy a squad car — is a trade-off. The settlements will deliver billions of dollars, but that windfall is dwarfed by the toll of the epidemic. So increasing funding for one approach means shortchanging another. Read the Full Article To learn more about how InterAct LifeLine is revolutionizing virtual care, visit our website or reach out to our team. We believe in a future where healthcare is accessible, personalized, and technologically advanced, and we invite you to be part of it. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch By Aneri Pattani
Curated
A Rural County’s Choice: Use Opioid Funds to Pay Off Debt, or Pay Them Forward to Curb Crisis
Opioid settlement funds are specifically earmarked to address the devastating impacts of the opioid epidemic, which includes prevention, treatment, and harm reduction efforts. Investing these funds in capital improvements, which are typically infrastructure projects, may divert resources away from ...
Opioid settlement funds are specifically earmarked to address the devastating impacts of the opioid epidemic, which includes prevention, treatment, and harm reduction efforts. Investing these funds in capital improvements, which are typically infrastructure projects, may divert resources away from the immediate needs of individuals and communities affected by opioid addiction.  However, Green County, Tennessee made a different decision. Here are our key takeaways from the article: A retired nurse weighs in on the argument that money should go for treatment and counseling to stem the tide of losing employees and contributing to the homelessness crisis.Addiction has created a scenario where counties have gone into debt to address addiction.  The perspective on why they should be reimbursed.Rural communities are justifying that opioid settlement money should be used to retire the debt accumulated from dealing with the the opioid crisis.Tennessee's strategy to manage the opioid settlement money combines legislative oversight and local government oversight, but 70% is controlled by the Opioid Abatement Council that has rigorous standards.Rural counties often don't have treatment programs, so should those funds be used to create local treatment options? The Greene County Anti-Drug Coalition gives presentations at local schools and community events to educate youth and their parents on the risks of drug use. Despite asking, as of April 2023, the coalition had not received any opioid settlement funds from the county. (WENDY PEAY/GREENE COUNTY ANTI-DRUG COALITION) Excerpt A Rural County’s Choice: Use Opioid Funds to Pay Off Debt, or Pay Them Forward to Curb Crisis By Aneri Pattani Over the past two years, rural Greene County in northeastern Tennessee has collected more than $2.7 million from regional and national settlements with opioid manufacturers and distributors. But instead of helping people harmed by addiction, county officials are finding other ways to spend it.They have put $2.4 million toward paying off the county’s debt and have directed another $1 million arriving over more than a decade into a capital projects fund. In March, they appropriated $50,000 from that fund to buy a “litter crew vehicle” — a pickup truck to drive inmates to collect trash along county roads. Read the Full Article To learn more about how InterAct LifeLine is revolutionizing virtual care, visit our website or reach out to our team. We believe in a future where healthcare is accessible, personalized, and technologically advanced, and we invite you to be part of it. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch By Aneri Pattani
Video
As Opioid Money Starts to Flow In, States Decide How to Use It
Navigating the Complexities of Opioid Settlement Fund Allocation Deciding how to allocate opioid settlement funds poses a significant challenge for states across the nation as evident by the PBS News Hour segment focused on North Carolina. On one hand, there's a pressing need to address the ...
Navigating the Complexities of Opioid Settlement Fund AllocationDeciding how to allocate opioid settlement funds poses a significant challenge for states across the nation as evident by the PBS News Hour segment focused on North Carolina. On one hand, there's a pressing need to address the devastating impact of the opioid epidemic on communities, including funding for addiction treatment, prevention, and recovery services. On the other hand, states grapple with the complexity of distribution, as there are multiple stakeholders with valid claims to these funds. Lawmakers face tough decisions about whether to allocate resources to bolster healthcare infrastructure, support law enforcement efforts, or invest in education and prevention programs. Striking the right balance is crucial to ensuring that the funds are distributed equitably and effectively in the fight against the opioid crisis. Additionally, transparency and accountability mechanisms must be in place to track the impact of these allocations and ensure they are making a tangible difference in the lives of those affected by opioid addiction.
Curated
The 4th Wave of the Fentanyl Crisis
Fentanyl mixed with cocaine or meth is driving the '4th wave' of the overdose crisis Take 2 minutes to listen to the NPR segment on their Morning Edition that describes the the 4th Wave of the Fentanyl Crisis Summary Recent studies have identified a "fourth" wave to the disturbing trend of ...
Fentanyl mixed with cocaine or meth is driving the '4th wave' of the overdose crisisTake 2 minutes to listen to the NPR segment on their Morning Edition that describes the the 4th Wave of the Fentanyl CrisisSummaryRecent studies have identified a "fourth" wave to the disturbing trend of polysubstance overdoses, most significantly involving the combination of opioids and stimulants. The data indicates that the use of these substances together, known as "speedballing", is becoming increasingly common. This increase in polysubstance use is particularly prevalent in different regions depending on the preferred drug of choice, with the Northeast seeing a rise in fentanyl and cocaine use, while the South and West report a higher usage of methamphetamine. This growing issue, often referred to as the "fourth" wave of the opioid crisis, is becoming a major concern due to the severe health risks associated with this drug combination, including an elevated risk of overdose.Our TakeawaysGiven these rising concerns, it's paramount to take immediate and effective measures to counter this "fourth wave". The first step is expanding education and awareness regarding the dangers of polysubstance use, emphasizing how deadly combinations like "speedballing" can be. Next, healthcare professionals should be provided with additional training and resources to identify and treat stimulant use disorder. Thirdly, there's an urgent need to increase access to and training for the use of the overdose antidote, Narcan. This life-saving drug must be made widely available in areas with high drug usage. Lastly, the implementation of stringent policies to regulate and control the drug supply can help prevent these dangerous combinations from reaching the streets, and efforts should be made to strengthen rehabilitative and therapeutic options for those affected by addiction. Excerpt The 4th Wave of the Overdose CrisisFrom the reporting partnership with WYPR and KFF Health News. for NPR "The mixture of stimulants like cocaine and meth with highly potent synthetic opioids is a fast-growing driver of fatal overdoses in the U.S." "We're now seeing that the use of fentanyl together with stimulants is rapidly becoming the dominant force in the U.S. overdose crisis," says Joseph Friedman, the lead author of the study and a researcher at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine. "Fentanyl has ushered in a polysubstance overdose crisis, meaning that people are mixing fentanyl with other drugs, like stimulants, but also countless other synthetic substances." Read the Article on NPR To learn more about how InterAct LifeLine is revolutionizing virtual care, visit our website or reach out to our team. We believe in a future where healthcare is accessible, personalized, and technologically advanced, and we invite you to be part of it. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Curated
The State of Mental Health in America
The primary goal of Mental Health In America is to provide a comprehensive snapshot of the state of mental health among both adults and youth in every state and the District of Columbia. The data gathered aims to serve as a valuable resource for policy and program planning, analysis, and ...
The primary goal of Mental Health In America is to provide a comprehensive snapshot of the state of mental health among both adults and youth in every state and the District of Columbia. The data gathered aims to serve as a valuable resource for policy and program planning, analysis, and evaluation. It strives to track changes in the prevalence of mental health issues and access to mental health care, helping to understand how changes in national data reflect the impact of various legislation and policies. Ultimately, the objective is to stimulate dialogue and improve outcomes for individuals and families dealing with mental health needs. Here are some of our takeaways from the report:The "State of Mental Health in America" report provides an in-depth analysis of the nationwide status of mental health amongst adults and youths, focusing on access to health care, insurance coverage, and prevalence of mental health issues. The report serves as a critical tool for policy and program planning, analysis, and evaluation, with a goal to instigate dialogue and enhance outcomes for those with mental health needs.The key findings indicate a significant concern for future trends in mental health care within the United States. The high percentage of untreated individuals, both among adults and youths, suggests a growing mental health crisis if no measures are taken to address the existing barriers to treatment. The factors contributing to this include the high costs of care and a lack of insurance coverage.Furthermore, the disparity in insurance coverage among different ethnic groups indicates a systemic issue that could further deepen the health inequality in the future. The substantial shortage of mental health providers, signified by the ratio of one provider for every 350 individuals, may worsen the situation, leading to higher numbers of untreated individuals if the growth in mental health professionals doesn't keep pace with the increasing demand.Looking ahead, it is crucial to address these barriers in order to prevent a more widespread mental health crisis, ensure equitable access to care, and cater to the growing demand for mental health services.Example key findings from the report include:16.39% of youths reported experiencing at least one major depressive episode in the past year, with 59.8% of those suffering from major depression receiving no mental health treatment.Over half (54.7%) of adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment, with 28.2% reporting they were unable to get the treatment they needed due to high costs. 10.8% of adults with a mental illness are uninsured, with Hispanic adults being the least likely to have health insurance. In the U.S., there exists a significant scarcity of mental health providers, with an estimated ratio of one mental health provider for every 350 individuals. Excerpt The State of Mental Health in AmericaCreated by Mental Health America Mental Health America (MHA) is committed to promoting mental health as a critical part of overall wellness. We advocate for prevention services for all, early identification and intervention for those at risk, integrated services, care and treatment for those who need them, and recovery as the goal.We believe that gathering and providing up-to-date data and information about disparities faced by individuals with mental health problems is a tool for change. Access the Full Report To learn more about how InterAct LifeLine is revolutionizing virtual care, visit our website or reach out to our team. We believe in a future where healthcare is accessible, personalized, and technologically advanced, and we invite you to be part of it. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Press Release
New Virtual Care Platform for Behavioral Health and Addiction Recovery Programs
St. Petersburg Florida — October 18, 2023 — InterAct LifeLIne today unveiled a new Virtual Care solution for behavioral health and addiction treatment programs that improves the ability to offer extended treatment, intensive outpatient, or family support. Powered by portal and integrated ...
St. Petersburg Florida — October 18, 2023 — InterAct LifeLIne today unveiled a new Virtual Care solution for behavioral health and addiction treatment programs that improves the ability to offer extended treatment, intensive outpatient, or family support. Powered by portal and integrated mobile technology, InterAct’s Virtual Care make treatment, education, community connections and support accessible to more clients and their families as an affordable treatment option. Once an individual completes in-patient treatment, Virtual Care improves recovery by keeping them connected to treatment and support communities longer. Virtual Care removes the restriction of bed space or licensing limits to serve more clients and provides additional treatment options to increase revenue for recovery programs. “People that stay connected to aftercare services using virtual engagement experience less relapse and improved recovery,” said Carolyn Bradfield, CEO of InterAct LifeLine. “Engagement and support beyond in-patient treatment is key, as approximately 85% of people relapse within a year after rehab treatment without a close, interactive connection.” InterAct Virtual Care improves recovery, educates, and supports families, and helps to prevent substance misuse while allowing clients to participate from the privacy of their home. As a family support program, Virtual Care empowers families with strategies to support their loved ones in recovery while at the same time healing the family. The program comes pre-designed and automated to reduce strain on staff time or attention with options to outsource support groups or individual telehealth treatment. InterAct offers Virtual Care at no financial risk to behavioral health and addiction recovery programs through a revenue share model that can be converted to an annual subscription as participation in the program accelerates. Custom portals are created and branded for every treatment facility and connected to the InterAct digital library for an automated stream of curated content and education. Virtual Care creates a strong online community through support groups, discussion forums, continuous outreach, and engagement. Clients can establish a daily schedule to maintain structure and accountability with personal calendars that deliver reminders ensuring they keep commitments and stay on track. “Other companies that offer virtual solutions or apps often bypass treatment program to connect directly with the individual,” added Bradfield. “InterAct’s perspective is that the treatment program should be integrally involved in all virtual care. We partner with behavioral health and addiction recovery programs to empower their success and help them prolong relationships with clients and their families.” Benefits to Behavioral Health and Addiction Recovery Programs Expand Treatment Options — Go beyond in-patient programs to offer extended care, intensive outpatient, or family support.Increase Revenue — Virtual Care removes facility restrictions to serve more clients for longer periods, generating recurring revenue without expanding overhead.Extend Client Relationships — Enroll clients in Virtual Care at time of admission and keep them connected to the program for extended periods, months or even years.Turnkey Solution — The program comes pre-designed and automated, without compromising staff time or attention.Market Differentiation — Virtual Care distinguishes programs by expanding services with new and innovative options.Improve Outcomes — People that stay connected to treatment longer relapse less and have improved recovery. InterAct’s Virtual Care portal outreaches to and engages clients and families via text and email to encourage participation, content viewing, and highlight opportunities to make valuable connections. The program tracks all interactions including logs-ins, content views, or session attendance. Individuals can opt out of having their data displayed or shared. InterAct LifeLine is HIPAA, CCPA, ADA and GDPR compliant. The platform supports Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other video telehealth services. For more information visit: InterAct Virtual Care XXX About InterAct LifeLine InterAct LifeLine is a subsidiary of Convey Services. InterAct’s online and mobile technology helps behavioral health and addiction recovery programs keep individuals and families connected to extended recovery support, online communities, and to family resources and education. They also offers turnkey technology to support federal, state, and local efforts to fight the opioid crisis. InterAct LifeLine SaaS technology provides a continuous flow of content to portals connected to its digital asset library to educate audiences about prevention, recovery, and wellness. Portals are HIPAA, CCPA, ADA and GDPR compliant, offer discussion forums, messaging outreaches, virtual support groups and telehealth connections. Detailed reports and analytics provide outcome studies on the effectiveness of programs. Explore InterAct LifeLine solutions by visiting https://interactlifeline.com or contacting info@interactlifeline.com or calling 888-975-1382. InterAct LifeLine™ and LifeLine Connect™ are trademarks of InterAct LifeLine LLC. INDUSTRY KEYWORDS: addiction prevention, safety net, fentanyl crisis, substance misuse, overdose prevention, wearable devices, mobile application, healthcare, behavioral health, telehealth, therapy, recovery, family support Press Contact Bruce Ahern — (770) 580-0810 InterAct LifeLine and Convey Holdings bahern@conveyservices.com Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Curated
The Fastest-Growing Behavioral Health Providers’ Secret Sauce
In recent years, the rise of telehealth and digital services has revolutionized the behavioral health sector. In an article from Behavorial Health Business, they delve into the growth, strategies, and future prospects of various behavioral health organizations. It underlines how telehealth has ...
In recent years, the rise of telehealth and digital services has revolutionized the behavioral health sector. In an article from Behavorial Health Business, they delve into the growth, strategies, and future prospects of various behavioral health organizations. It underlines how telehealth has expanded access to mental health services, particularly during the pandemic. Noteworthy is the adaptive strategies of TimelyCare, employing telehealth solutions to cater for college students’ mental health needs. The article also highlights the boom in autism therapy providers, with a focus on The Stepping Stones Group and Behavior Nation. Lastly, the crucial role of institutional partners in leading patients to these organizations is discussed. Here are our key takeaways from the article: Utilizing Telehealth Services: Companies such as TimelyCare have successfully employed telehealth solutions to cater to the mental health needs of college students, providing them with the privacy and flexibility they require.Addressing Rising Demand: The Stepping Stones Group and Behavior Nation have seized the opportunity presented by the rapid increase in autism diagnoses, providing crucial services to this growing demographic.Expanding Accessibility: Behavior Nation has leveraged insurance coverage to make intensive autism therapy services more affordable, thereby increasing access for caregivers and families.Implementing a One-Stop Shop Model: Forge Health has differentiated themselves in a market full of point solutions by offering a comprehensive range of outpatient services, positioning themselves as a one-stop shop for behavioral health needs.Establishing Partnerships: Companies like TimelyCare and Forge Health have found success by forging relationships with institutional partners who can guide potential patients to their services. Excerpt The Secrets to the Fastest Growing Behavioral Health Companies By Chris Larson | September 1, 2023 in Behavioral Health Business The INVEST Conference brought together owners, operators, and investors of behavioral health practices in Chicago this week. Despite industry-wide challenges, many behavioral health companies are experiencing remarkable growth because of innovative approaches propelling them forward in the marketplace. In the September article appearing on the Behavioral Health Business site, Chris Larson profiles how companies are growing and thriving in the behavioral health industry. "In mid-August, 36 behavioral health companies appeared on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S. These companies, in no small part, developed strategies to overcome industry challenges. On top of that, executives whose companies were on the list told Behavioral Health Business that prioritizing corporate infrastructure was key." Read the Full Article To learn more about how InterAct LifeLine is revolutionizing virtual care, visit our website or reach out to our team. We believe in a future where healthcare is accessible, personalized, and technologically advanced, and we invite you to be part of it. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Research Report
TeleHealth Is Effectively Augmenting Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Programs
The initial findings of several National Association for Behavioral Healthcare (NABH) members indicate that relative to in-person services, Telehealth delivery of care produced similar or better outcomes for PHP and IOP patients. This paper discusses the impact of regulatory flexibilities on ...
The initial findings of several National Association for Behavioral Healthcare (NABH) members indicate that relative to in-person services, Telehealth delivery of care produced similar or better outcomes for PHP and IOP patients. This paper discusses the impact of regulatory flexibilities on Telehealth PHP and IOP services, emerging research findings on Telehealth PHPs and IOPs, and recommendations for policymakers.
Blog Article
Interpreting Virtual Care: Insights from Focus Groups
Virtual care is a term synonymous with convenience, technological progression, and healthcare evolution. But what does this term really mean to those who experience it? As part of our mission at InterAct LifeLine, we decided to delve deeper into this question: "When you think of virtual care, what ...
Virtual care is a term synonymous with convenience, technological progression, and healthcare evolution. But what does this term really mean to those who experience it? As part of our mission at InterAct LifeLine, we decided to delve deeper into this question: "When you think of virtual care, what comes to mind?". Our objective was to gain a comprehensive understanding of virtual care from the viewpoint of those who are directly affected by it. Analyzing the Data We conducted a series of focus group sessions, combed through the transcripts, and came up with fascinating insights. The respondents' views on virtual care ranged from convenience and accessibility to concerns about impersonal care and tech-related issues. Below are some standout points: Convenience and Accessibility: The majority of respondents associated virtual care with easy access and the convenience of receiving health services from anywhere. Impersonal Care: Some respondents expressed concerns about the impersonality of virtual care, fearing the lack of human touch.Tech-related Issues: A few respondents raised issues concerning the reliability and user-friendliness of the technology used in virtual care. Key Takeaways from the Focus Group The focus group data revealed a variation in anticipation and apprehension toward virtual care. The one common thread was the recognition of its importance in modern healthcare. Here are a few poignant takeaways: The accessibility and convenience offered by virtual care is highly valued.There is a need for a balance between leveraging technology and maintaining the human touch in care provision.Reliable, user-friendly technology is a crucial component of successful virtual care. Conclusion Virtual care, as interpreted by our focus group, is a complex blend of convenience, accessibility, and technological advancement, tinged with concerns about personalization and tech-reliability. At InterAct LifeLine, we are dedicated to enhancing our virtual care solutions by listening, learning, and adapting to the feedback provided by our valued users. To learn more about how InterAct LifeLine is revolutionizing virtual care, visit our website or reach out to our team. We believe in a future where healthcare is accessible, personalized, and technologically advanced, and we invite you to be part of it. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
News Clipping
From ABC News: St. Pete mother creates app to reduce overdose deaths after losing daughter
View the full article on ABC Action News here: https://www.abcactionnews.com/... Carolyn Bradfield created Interact Lifeline after her daughter died from an overdose. The company connects people to online treatment after rehab and spreads information on the dangers of drugs. ...
ABC, interact lifeline, LifeLine Connect
View the full article on ABC Action News here: https://www.abcactionnews.com/... Carolyn Bradfield created Interact Lifeline after her daughter died from an overdose. The company connects people to online treatment after rehab and spreads information on the dangers of drugs. PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — A mother in St. Petersburg is making it her life mission to reduce the number of overdose deaths in our country. According to the CDC, more than 100,000 people died from a drug overdose in 2022 alone. Carolyn Bradfield started a company called Interact Lifeline. Its original purpose was to educate people on the dangers of fentanyl and opioids. It also aims to keep people connected to treatment after they get out of rehab. Bradfield started the company after she lost her daughter to an overdose in 2017. “Like many, many families over the past years, I had a personal tragedy in my family. My daughter overdosed and died at Christmas,” Bradfield said.A tragedy that most mothers never recover from. Bradfield said she felt her daughter's death was a call to action.“Pretty soon after her death, I started researching why were people relapsing and overdosing at such a high rate,” Bradfield said.From there, Bradfield used her technology and business background to create Interact Lifeline. It's a technology service that focuses on helping recovery programs and keeping people connected to treatment online after rehab.She's also working on an app that will launch next year. This will actually be able to detect a potential overdose. Bradfield said, “It’s designed to prevent overdoses and overdose deaths by taking data out of your fitness tracker.” The app connects with your Apple Watch, Fitbit, or whatever you use to track your fitness. From there, it monitors your vitals and heart rate. The team can then detect a potential overdose. “So the minute we see that happen, we reach out, we give you 30 seconds to respond to the ‘are you ok’ but at the same time were also alerting your emergency contacts,” Bradfield said.The app has your exact location so they can get help to you as soon as possible. Bradfield said this would have saved her daughter's life. “Now, my daughter, when she overdosed, she was a mile from the trauma hospital. She was around a lot of people; they did not intervene,” Bradfield explained. She said she hopes this app can save lives and prevent other families from dealing with the devastation that her family went through. She also encourages everyone to have Narcan in their medicine cabinet or even carry it in a purse. That can save someone's life. You can buy Narcan over the counter, or the locations below offer free Narcan. Specialty Care Center at 1105 E. Kennedy Blvd.University Area Health Center at 13601 N. 22nd St.Sulphur Springs Health Center at 8605 N. Mitchell Ave.Tuberculosis Center at 8515 N. Mitchell Ave. By: Keely McCormick
Blog Article
Understanding the Future of Virtual Care in Mental Health and Addiction: Results of a Recent Survey
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rise in virtual care solutions across various healthcare sectors. The mental health and addiction care industry is no exception to this trend. Therapists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals have increasingly turned to virtual ...
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rise in virtual care solutions across various healthcare sectors. The mental health and addiction care industry is no exception to this trend. Therapists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals have increasingly turned to virtual telemedicine solutions to provide care to their patients in the current times of social distancing and lockdowns. However, the effectiveness of virtual care in mental health and addiction treatment continues to be a topic of debate among medical professionals and patients alike. To gain more insights into the current and future state of virtual care in mental health and addiction, we conducted a survey. In this article, we analyze the findings of our survey to help readers better understand the future of virtual care in this highly critical field of medicine. Survey ResultsWe conducted our survey between August and September 2023. The survey was conducted online and collected responses from mental health professionals, patients, and caregivers. The respondents were asked about their views on virtual care, its effectiveness in providing mental health and addiction treatment, and the challenges they face. The survey found that more than 86% of the respondents were comfortable with virtual care solutions for mental health and addiction treatment and are currently offering some form of care. In fact, 68% of treatment programs offer Telehealth appointments, and at least 43% offer aftercare, family support, or virtual intensive outpatient services. While some 11% of respondents do not currently offer virtual care options, 100% indicated they intend to offer options in the near future. Most respondents believed that virtual care is effective in improving outcomes, with 88% of professionals reporting that the greatest benefit is better education for wellness. This was followed by more flexible access to care at 94%, extended connection to treatment and better access to support groups at 89%. However, despite these positive perceptions, a large portion of the respondents mentioned that they believed virtual care cannot always replace in-person care delivery, especially in more severe cases or based on the drug of choice. One of the biggest challenges identified in virtual care delivery was the issue of privacy and security of patient information. Almost 40% of the respondents expressed their concerns about data confidentiality and security in virtual care delivery. Other significant challenges identified were a lack of non-verbal cues communication during virtual sessions, resource management, lack of access to stable internet connections, and technological challenges with platforms. 87% of healthcare professionals who responded to the survey plan to continue providing virtual care or begin offering solutions. They believe that virtual care has many benefits, including increased access, convenience, and flexibility. Another portion of our survey dove into how beneficial the respondents found virtual care to be in different aspects of their mental health and addiction treatment programs. When it came to increased revenue, 61% found that virtual care would be beneficial to their existing programs. Virtual care can enhance revenue streams for treatment centers in several ways. Primarily, it allows them to serve more patients, including those beyond their geographical location, and offers flexibility in scheduling, which can potentially lead to a higher number of billable hours. For increasing their connection to patients, 78% found it beneficial. Virtual care provides an increased connection to patients by breaking down geographical barriers, enabling therapists and professionals to reach and treat individuals who may not have access to these services. In terms of differentiating the services they offer, none of the respondents found virtual care to be not beneficial. However, a striking 39% remained neutral on the impact, with 22% finding it somewhat beneficial and 39% acknowledging it as very beneficial. The perception of virtual care in improving patient outcomes was more polarized. While no one found it not beneficial, 17% rated it not very beneficial. However, the majority leaned towards beneficial with 83%. Finally, in terms of increasing efficiency for themselves or their staff, none of the respondents found virtual care to not be beneficial. A minority of 5.6% found it not very beneficial, another 5.6% remained neutral, while the majority 89% found it to be beneficial to their organizations. These results demonstrate that, while there are differing opinions on the benefits of virtual care, the majority of respondents find it at least somewhat beneficial in various aspects of mental health and addiction treatment.In the next part of our survey, we asked treatment centers about their perceptions of patient concerns regarding the use of virtual care. A range of concerns were identified by respondents. The most commonly raised issues were related to technology, with respondents specifically noting concerns about patients' access to necessary hardware, computer equipment, and stable internet connections. Several respondents pointed out concerns about the privacy and confidentiality of information during virtual sessions. The inability to obtain medications other than pharmacy redirects, and patients' levels of engagement with caregivers in a virtual setting were also highlighted as potential issues. Moreover, respondents worried about patients feeling less connected in a virtual environment. It was suggested that an in-person therapeutic alliance should ideally be established before transitioning to virtual care. The lack of face-to-face interaction and the impersonal nature of virtual sessions were also mentioned as potential patient concerns. A significant concern raised was the authenticity of virtual care—some respondents felt it wasn't seen as "real" treatment. One respondent emphasized that virtual care could eliminate the core interpersonal aspect of therapy and felt that it should not be the norm but rather an extension of in-person treatment. Finally, there were concerns about patients managing increased screen time, the lack of confidence in using technology, and the risk of exacerbating feelings of disconnection and isolation in an already disconnected world. Some respondents insisted on the necessity of in-person treatment components and voiced concerns about promoting virtual care. Interestingly, one response indicated that they believed there were no concerns at all about patients participating in virtual care. The survey respondents shared diverse concerns about the provision of virtual care. These encompassed various areas, including privacy and confidentiality of information, technology-related issues, and the potential loss of human connection in a virtual setting. Some respondents pointed out issues related to substance use disorders. They noted that patients might shortcut their path to obtain ‘comfort meds’ and expressed skepticism about progress to recovery through telemedicine. A recurring theme in the responses was disparities in access to care across large catchment areas. Concerns about safety and stricter admission criteria for serious cases were also mentioned. Some respondents highlighted that unless a trusting in-person relationship has been established, the benefits of virtual care could be minimal. Technical glitches, such as internet or power outages, were seen as potential barriers to effective care delivery. The survey also revealed concerns about funding and the added burden of managing an additional system. A few respondents expressed their concerns over the reduced efficacy of interventions and a decrease in the quality of therapeutic connections. They felt that the seriousness with which clients attended virtual appointments was inferior to in-person visits. Despite these concerns, it is noteworthy that some respondents were already providing care virtually, indicating a level of adaptation and acceptance of this new mode of care delivery. Conclusion The survey results indicate that virtual care has become an important part of mental health and addiction care delivery. It is an effective alternative to in-person care and has helped many patients improve their mental health outcomes. However, while virtual care has numerous advantages, some challenges remain, such as privacy and security concerns, technological issues, and a perceived inability to replace in-person care for severe cases. Our survey suggests that virtual care will continue to grow and it has become an integral part of providing care. However, it is imperative to address the identified concerns to ensure that virtual care is delivered safely, beneficially, and effectively in mental health and addiction care. If you or someone you know is navigating the complexities of mental health issues or addiction, Interact Lifeline is here to help. We are committed to providing easily accessible, effective, and affordable treatment options. Don't let geographical constraints or societal stigma deter you from seeking the help you deserve. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment services. Your path to recovery can start today. Connect with us at Interact Lifeline, and let's take the first step towards healing together. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Blog Article
A Proclamation on National Recovery Month
President Biden Declares September As Recovery Month During National Recovery Month, we celebrate the more than 20 million Americans who have had the courage to seek help for substance use disorder, showing millions of others that recovery is possible. We honor their resilience and recommit to ...
President Biden Declares September As Recovery MonthDuring National Recovery Month, we celebrate the more than 20 million Americans who have had the courage to seek help for substance use disorder, showing millions of others that recovery is possible.  We honor their resilience and recommit to making sure that every American has access to the services and support they need to rebuild lives of purpose and hope. Read the full proclamation
Blog Article
Supporting Loved Ones: Seven Tips for Assisting Someone in Addiction Recovery
Navigating the turbulent waters of addiction recovery is a daunting task that no one should face alone. As a loved one, your support can be a pivotal element in someone's journey towards sobriety. Here are seven tips to help you provide the most effective support to your loved one during their ...
Navigating the turbulent waters of addiction recovery is a daunting task that no one should face alone. As a loved one, your support can be a pivotal element in someone's journey towards sobriety. Here are seven tips to help you provide the most effective support to your loved one during their recovery process. How to Effectively Support Someone Through Their Journey of Substance Use Recovery 1. Educate Yourself Understanding addiction and recovery is the first step towards providing meaningful support. Addiction is a complex condition that affects both the mind and body, often driven by underlying mental health issues. By educating yourself about the nature of addiction, the process of recovery, and the challenges your loved one may face, you can provide empathetic and informed support. 2. Encourage Treatment Encourage your loved one to seek professional help. This could involve finding treatment resources or locating a therapist who specializes in addiction counseling. Remember to have calm, rational responses prepared for potential objections, and to emphasize the importance of seeking help. 3. Offer Substance-Free Fun Providing a safe, substance-free environment can help your loved one avoid triggers that might lead to relapse. Engage in activities that both of you enjoy and that promote a healthy lifestyle, such as exercise, cooking, or attending cultural events. 4. Vocalize Your Support Expressing your pride in your loved one's progress can significantly boost their motivation and self-esteem. Let them know that you believe in their ability to overcome addiction and that you'll stand by them throughout their journey. 5. Listen Active listening is a powerful tool. Give your loved one the opportunity to openly share their feelings, fears, and hopes without judgment. This can help them process their emotions and feel understood. 6. Facilitate Other Support The support of peers and social networks can keep individuals engaged in treatment and committed to their recovery. Consider suggesting resources like SMART Recovery Friends & Family, which offer science-based, secular support group meetings. 7. Take Care of Yourself Finally, remember to take care of yourself. Supporting someone through recovery can be emotionally draining. Ensuring your own physical, emotional, and mental health is essential not only for your well-being but also for your capacity to provide effective support.  Conclusion By following these steps, you're not just helping a loved one navigate their path to recovery, but also fostering a deeper understanding and stronger bond between you. Remember, recovery is a journey, not a destination, and your support can make all the difference. References: : https://www.healthpartners.com...: https://www.familyaddictionspe...: https://americanaddictioncente...: https://www.mayoclinic.org/dis...: https://www.octoberroadinc.net...: https://www.familyaddictionspe...: https://oasas.ny.gov/recovery/...: https://drugfree.org/article/h...: https://www.reidhealth.org/blo... If you or someone you know is navigating the complexities of mental health issues or addiction, Interact Lifeline is here to help. We are committed to providing easily accessible, effective, and affordable treatment options. Don't let geographical constraints or societal stigma deter you from seeking the help you deserve. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment services. Your path to recovery can start today. Connect with us at Interact Lifeline, and let's take the first step towards healing together. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Blog Article
Broadening the Horizon: The Value of Virtual Care in Diversifying Treatment Services
The global health landscape is rapidly changing with the advent and incorporation of digital technology into healthcare delivery. Virtual care, an integral part of this transformation, has emerged as a vital tool in broadening the horizon and diversifying treatment services. This article explores ...
The global health landscape is rapidly changing with the advent and incorporation of digital technology into healthcare delivery. Virtual care, an integral part of this transformation, has emerged as a vital tool in broadening the horizon and diversifying treatment services. This article explores the value of virtual care in expanding access to treatment, enhancing patient outcomes, and addressing the challenges in healthcare delivery. How Virtual Care Can Help Treatment Centers Offer a Wider Range of Services Expanding Access to Care Virtual care has the potential to significantly increase access to treatment services. A report by Accenture reveals that virtual behavioral health services could expand access to care for more than 53 million people. Similarly, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is committed to improving prevention, treatment, and recovery support services for mental illnesses and substance use disorders through virtual care. Telehealth services are also on a steep upward trajectory, with startups using funding to grow their communities, expand treatment databases, and advance research. This expansion in access to care is particularly significant for individuals living in remote areas, where traditional healthcare facilities may be inaccessible. Improving Patient Outcomes Another key value of virtual care lies in its capacity to improve patient outcomes. For example, Philips, a global leader in health technology, and U.S. healthcare provider CoxHealth have co-designed an in-house virtual care solution aimed at improving patient outcomes and increasing staff satisfaction. The collaboration illustrates how technology companies and healthcare providers can work together to create tailored virtual care solutions that address specific patient needs and improve health outcomes. Enhancing Patient Engagement and Experience Virtual care is not just about providing medical services remotely; it's also about enhancing the patient experience. McKinsey reports that virtual care is a key element in the future of healthcare delivery in the United States, as shown by its continued adoption and ever-increasing popularity. Furthermore, the American Medical Association (AMA) has developed a telehealth framework for provider practices that demonstrates the value of virtual care in improving patient engagement. By enabling patients to participate actively in their care, virtual care can lead to better health outcomes and improved patient satisfaction. Overcoming Challenges Despite its numerous benefits, virtual care also faces several barriers. However, these challenges are not insurmountable. By providing medical services across geographic borders and sharing clinical expertise with patients and other healthcare professionals, telehealth practitioners can overcome these barriers. Conclusion In conclusion, virtual care is revolutionizing healthcare delivery by broadening the horizon and diversifying treatment services. It is expanding access to care, improving patient outcomes, and enhancing the patient experience. As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, virtual care will undoubtedly play an increasingly critical role in shaping the future of healthcare. References: : https://www.fiercehealthcare.c...: https://store.samhsa.gov/sites...: https://www.fiercehealthcare.c...: https://www.philips.com/a-w/ab..: https://www.mckinsey.com/indus...: https://www.ama-assn.org/pract...: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p... If you or someone you know is navigating the complexities of mental health issues or addiction, Interact Lifeline is here to help. We are committed to providing easily accessible, effective, and affordable treatment options. Don't let geographical constraints or societal stigma deter you from seeking the help you deserve. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment services. Your path to recovery can start today. Connect with us at Interact Lifeline, and let's take the first step towards healing together. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Blog Article
Bridging Borders: The Impact of Interstate Compacts on Addiction Treatment Centers
The landscape of addiction treatment in America is changing dramatically, thanks in part to the implementation of interstate compacts. These agreements between states are redefining how we approach addiction treatment and are breaking down barriers that previously limited access to care. ...
The landscape of addiction treatment in America is changing dramatically, thanks in part to the implementation of interstate compacts. These agreements between states are redefining how we approach addiction treatment and are breaking down barriers that previously limited access to care. Understanding the Role of Interstate Compacts in Expanding Access and Enhancing Quality of Treatment Services What is an Interstate Compact? An Interstate Compact is a legally binding agreement between two or more states that is designed to resolve issues that cross state lines. These agreements cover a wide range of areas, from transportation and environmental issues to health care and education. When it comes to addiction treatment, interstate compacts have the potential to significantly increase the reach of treatment centers and improve access to care for those struggling with substance use disorders. The Impact on Addiction Treatment Centers Increased Access to Care One of the primary benefits of interstate compacts is that they allow for increased access to care. In the past, those seeking treatment for addiction were often limited by geographical constraints. If the best treatment center for their specific needs was located in another state, they would have to navigate a complicated web of regulations and licensing requirements to receive care. Interstate compacts simplify this process, allowing treatment centers to provide services across state lines without additional licensing. Improved Quality of Care Interstate compacts also have the potential to improve the quality of care provided by addiction treatment centers. By pooling resources and sharing best practices, treatment centers can learn from each other and continually improve their services. This collaborative approach leads to more effective treatment strategies and better outcomes for those struggling with addiction. Enhanced Data Sharing Data sharing is another key aspect of interstate compacts. These agreements often include provisions for sharing data between states, which can be invaluable in tracking trends in substance abuse and evaluating the effectiveness of treatment programs5. This shared data can help treatment centers identify areas of need and adapt their services accordingly. Conclusion Interstate compacts represent a transformative shift in the way we approach addiction treatment in America. By bridging borders and breaking down barriers to care, these agreements are making it easier for individuals struggling with substance use disorders to access the help they need. As more states join these compacts, the impact on addiction treatment centers will only continue to grow. References: : https://www.healthit.gov/topic... If you or someone you know is navigating the complexities of mental health issues or addiction, Interact Lifeline is here to help. We are committed to providing easily accessible, effective, and affordable treatment options. Don't let geographical constraints or societal stigma deter you from seeking the help you deserve. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment services. Your path to recovery can start today. Connect with us at Interact Lifeline, and let's take the first step towards healing together. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Blog Article
Shifting Paradigms: The Pandemic's Impact on Medical and Mental Health Care
The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching implications beyond the immediate health crisis it precipitated. It has significantly affected various sectors, with healthcare being at the epicenter. The pandemic has not only strained healthcare resources but also spotlighted the urgent need for ...
The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching implications beyond the immediate health crisis it precipitated. It has significantly affected various sectors, with healthcare being at the epicenter. The pandemic has not only strained healthcare resources but also spotlighted the urgent need for comprehensive mental health care. The isolation and loneliness accompanying lockdowns and social distancing measures have led to a surge in mental health issues, necessitating a paradigm shift in healthcare responses. Tracing the Evolution of Healthcare: From Immediate Medical Responses to Long-term Mental Health Solutions in the COVID-19 Era Healthcare systems worldwide have faced unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic. The immediate response required an intensive focus on managing the physical health impacts of the virus. However, the indirect effects of the pandemic on mental health are now coming to the forefront. Mental Health America (MHA) reports increasing numbers of anxiety, depression, loneliness, and other mental health issues since the pandemic's onset. These issues have been exacerbated by the social isolation resulting from lockdown measures and the general fear and uncertainty surrounding the virus. A survey by WHO corroborated this dramatic change in mental health assistance during the pandemic. Front-line hospital staff, already under immense pressure, have been particularly affected. A study found that COVID-19 considerably impacted their psychological well-being. Even before the pandemic, healthcare providers (HCPs) were experiencing a higher prevalence of mental health disorders. This situation worsened with the COVID-19 exposure, epidemiological factors, and the increased workload and stress associated with the pandemic. The pandemic has underscored the interconnectedness of physical and mental health and the need for an integrated approach to healthcare. This realization is driving changes in how healthcare systems respond to mental health needs. For instance, telehealth services have seen a significant uptick during the pandemic, providing an alternative means for patients to access mental health services while minimizing the risk of viral transmission. Moreover, the mental health impact of the pandemic has highlighted the importance of preventive measures and early intervention. Strategies such as regular mental health screenings for high-risk groups, including healthcare workers, and public awareness campaigns about mental health resources can help mitigate the pandemic's long-term mental health impacts. Conclusion In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a paradigm shift in medical and mental health care. It has highlighted the need for healthcare systems to be adaptable and responsive to changing circumstances. As we move forward, it is crucial to carry these lessons forward and continue to prioritize mental health alongside physical health. References: : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/...: https://www.kff.org/mental-hea...: https://mhanational.org/mental...: https://www.thelancet.com/jour...: https://bmcpublichealth.biomed...: https://www.frontiersin.org/ar...: https://academic.oup.com/qjmed...: https://www.mayoclinic.org/dis... If you or someone you know is navigating the complexities of mental health issues or addiction, Interact Lifeline is here to help. We are committed to providing easily accessible, effective, and affordable treatment options. Don't let geographical constraints or societal stigma deter you from seeking the help you deserve. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment services. Your path to recovery can start today. Connect with us at Interact Lifeline, and let's take the first step towards healing together. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Blog Article
The Future is Here: Embracing Telehealth Appointments in Addiction Treatment
The COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst in the healthcare field, accelerating the shift towards digital health technologies. Among these, telehealth has emerged as a game-changer, enabling individuals to access vital healthcare services remotely. This trend has been particularly notable in ...
The COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst in the healthcare field, accelerating the shift towards digital health technologies. Among these, telehealth has emerged as a game-changer, enabling individuals to access vital healthcare services remotely. This trend has been particularly notable in the realm of addiction treatment, where telehealth appointments have shown great potential in improving accessibility and outcomes. Exploring the Advantages and Impact of Telehealth Appointments in Revolutionizing Patient Care Telehealth, or telemedicine, refers to the use of digital platforms to deliver health care services remotely. It allows healthcare providers to offer consultations via video calls, phone calls, or text messaging, thus eliminating the need for patients to physically visit a healthcare facility. In addiction treatment, this model can be exceptionally beneficial, offering increased flexibility and accessibility while reducing barriers such as stigma and geographical constraints. The pandemic necessitated a rapid transition to telehealth services in many areas of healthcare, including addiction treatment. As lockdowns and social distancing measures made in-person appointments challenging, telehealth became an essential tool in continuing to provide care to individuals struggling with substance use disorders. One of the main advantages of telehealth is its potential to increase access to addiction treatment services. Many individuals face geographical barriers to accessing care, living in areas with limited or no addiction treatment facilities. Telehealth can bridge this gap, allowing these individuals to access care from their homes. Moreover, telehealth can help reduce the stigma associated with seeking addiction treatment. Patients can receive care in the privacy of their own homes, which may make them feel more comfortable and willing to engage in treatment. Despite its benefits, there are challenges associated with implementing telehealth in addiction treatment. These include technological barriers, such as lack of access to reliable internet or devices, and regulatory issues, such as restrictions on prescribing medication-assisted treatment (MAT) via telehealth. Additionally, some patients and providers may prefer in-person interactions, and not all aspects of addiction treatment can be effectively delivered remotely. However, with ongoing advances in technology and policy changes in response to the pandemic, many of these challenges are being addressed. For instance, regulatory changes during the pandemic have temporarily allowed for increased use of telehealth for MAT, demonstrating the potential for further policy adaptations in the future. Conclusion In conclusion, telehealth represents a promising tool in addiction treatment, offering opportunities to improve access to care and reduce stigma. Despite current challenges, the continued evolution of technology and policy suggests a bright future for the integration of telehealth in addiction treatment. As we move forward, it will be crucial to continue research and innovation in this area, ensuring that telehealth services are accessible, effective, and tailored to the needs of individuals struggling with substance use disorders. References: : https://archives.nida.nih.gov/...: https://www.mayoclinic.org/hea... If you or someone you know is navigating the complexities of mental health issues or addiction, Interact Lifeline is here to help. We are committed to providing easily accessible, effective, and affordable treatment options. Don't let geographical constraints or societal stigma deter you from seeking the help you deserve. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment services. Your path to recovery can start today. Connect with us at Interact Lifeline, and let's take the first step towards healing together. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Blog Article
Navigating Through Challenges: Uncovering the Barriers Faced by Addiction Treatment Centers
Addiction treatment centers play a crucial role in society, providing care and support for individuals grappling with substance use disorders. However, these centers face a myriad of challenges that can hinder their ability to deliver effective treatment. This article aims to explore these barriers ...
Addiction treatment centers play a crucial role in society, providing care and support for individuals grappling with substance use disorders. However, these centers face a myriad of challenges that can hinder their ability to deliver effective treatment. This article aims to explore these barriers in-depth, focusing on the difficulties encountered by both patients and providers, and suggesting potential solutions to overcome them. Identifying the Obstacles to Service Delivery and Strategies for Overcoming Them in Addiction Care One of the primary challenges faced by addiction treatment centers is the stigma associated with substance use disorders. Despite growing recognition of addiction as a chronic disease, societal stigma persists. This often discourages individuals from seeking help and creates additional stress for those in recovery. The fear of judgment can also prevent people from fully engaging in treatment, thereby impacting its effectiveness. Another significant barrier is the geographical accessibility of treatment centers. Many individuals live in areas where there are limited or no addiction treatment facilities. This problem is particularly pronounced in rural areas, where the lack of transportation options can further exacerbate the issue. Moreover, even when services are available, they may not be affordable for many individuals, creating another layer of barrier to access. The quality of care provided is another critical challenge. Some treatment centers have been criticized for using aggressive sales techniques, price-gouging patients, and providing substandard care. These practices not only exploit vulnerable individuals but can also lead to poor treatment outcomes. Furthermore, addiction treatment often requires a multi-faceted approach, including medical intervention, counseling, and social support. However, many treatment centers struggle to provide comprehensive services due to a lack of resources or trained staff. This can result in fragmented care that fails to address all aspects of a patient’s needs. Patients themselves also face numerous challenges during recovery. Relapse is a common issue, with many individuals going through treatment multiple times before achieving sustained sobriety. This highlights the need for ongoing support and relapse prevention strategies within treatment programs. Despite these significant challenges, there are promising strategies to improve the effectiveness and accessibility of addiction treatment. Telehealth technologies, for instance, can potentially overcome geographical barriers, allowing individuals to access care remotely. Policies that increase funding for addiction services and improve insurance coverage can also make treatment more affordable. Moreover, efforts to reduce stigma can enhance treatment engagement. This could involve public education campaigns to increase understanding of addiction and recovery, as well as training for healthcare providers to ensure compassionate, non-judgmental care. Conclusion In conclusion, while the challenges faced by addiction treatment centers are considerable, they are not insurmountable. With a combination of technological innovation, policy changes, and a commitment to improving the quality of care, it is possible to create a system that effectively supports individuals on their journey to recovery. References: : https://www.samhsa.gov/...: https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedce...: https://www.npr.org/2021/02/15...: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/b...: https://mayflowerrecovery.com/... If you or someone you know is navigating the complexities of mental health issues or addiction, Interact Lifeline is here to help. We are committed to providing easily accessible, effective, and affordable treatment options. Don't let geographical constraints or societal stigma deter you from seeking the help you deserve. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment services. Your path to recovery can start today. Connect with us at Interact Lifeline, and let's take the first step towards healing together. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
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St Pete Mom Creates Overdose Detection App
When Carolyn Bradfield's daughter Laura died from a drug overdose a few days before Christmas in 2017, she committed to helping other families avoid a similar tragedy. Bradfield, a St. Petersburg resident, is now using her subject and technological expertise to mitigate the exponential rise in ...
When Carolyn Bradfield's daughter Laura died from a drug overdose a few days before Christmas in 2017, she committed to helping other families avoid a similar tragedy. Bradfield, a St. Petersburg resident, is now using her subject and technological expertise to mitigate the exponential rise in fatal overdoses. She founded InterAct Lifeline to aid the 85% of people - like her daughter - who relapse after exiting rehabilitation and treatment centers. Her solution is LifeLine Connect, a mobile application that utilizes biometric data from wearable fitness trackers and smartwatches. If vital signs indicate a potential overdose, the app will notify emergency contacts and direct first responders to the user’s location.
Press Release
National Fentanyl Prevention and Awareness Day
St. Petersburg, FL — August 21, 2023 — InterAct LifeLine’s founder lost her daughter to overdose 5 years ago, but since that time, the deaths from fentanyl-laced illegal drugs has escalated dramatically. Carolyn Bradfield turned grief into purpose and refocused her company to develop a ...
St. Petersburg, FL — August 21, 2023 — InterAct LifeLine’s founder lost her daughter to overdose 5 years ago, but since that time, the deaths from fentanyl-laced illegal drugs has escalated dramatically. Carolyn Bradfield turned grief into purpose and refocused her company to develop a mobile application and SaaS solution that collects data from fitness trackers and smartwatches, notifies if vital signs indicate suspected overdose, alerts contacts and directs emergency help to the individual’s location. Designed for families of adolescents and young adults, LifeLine Connect will integrate off-the-shelf wearables, assess vital signs, and provide real-time geolocation. It is scheduled for widescale release by early 2024.
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‘It Could Be Your Kid’ St. Pete Start-Up Battles Fentanyl Overdoses
July 18, 2023 by Mike Sunnucks Carolyn Bradfield’s daughter Laura suffered a fatal drug overdose in 2017, just a few days before Christmas. She was 29 years old. “She didn’t make her 30th birthday,” Bradfield said, noting her daughter’s challenges with substances and visits to ...
Fentanyl, InterAct, Overdose
July 18, 2023 by Mike SunnucksCarolyn Bradfield’s daughter Laura suffered a fatal drug overdose in 2017, just a few days before Christmas. She was 29 years old. “She didn’t make her 30th birthday,” Bradfield said, noting her daughter’s challenges with substances and visits to rehab centers in hopes of some improvements. Now, Bradfield, who lives in St. Petersburg, hopes to bring technology to combat rising numbers of fatal overdoses in Florida and across the nation. InterAct LifeLine: Tragic Beginnings Bradfield and Bruce Ahern are spearheading InterAct LifeLine LLC and its sister company Convey The startup effort focuses on bringing digital services and assistance to rehabilitation patients after they leave treatment centers. The pair are rolling out a smart-watch app, Lifeline Connect. The app aims to help loved ones keep track of those struggling with dangerous substances. The companies have operations in St. Pete and the Atlanta area. Bradfield knows the business and personal sides of the venture. She and Ahern have senior- and principal-level experience with teleconferencing, telemedicine, and other digital and technology platforms. Bradfield also knows the heartache of losing a child. She said her daughter Laura struggled with drugs and addiction for 15 years. The struggles started when she was 14 and included multiple visits to rehabilitation centers. Laura overdosed in late December 2017. Bradfield said she died in an Atlanta area hospital four days before Christmas. “It Could Be Your Kid” Bradfield said her daughter probably would have died earlier in the current substance landscape. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid frequently manufactured in China and smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico, is 50 times more powerful than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. It’s also more deadly. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control projects 109,940 fatal drug overdoses between February 2022 and February 2023. (The most recent data available.) More than 8,000 of those deaths happened in Florida, with most of the fatal overdoses tied to fentanyl. Deadly drug overdoses increased from less than 20,000 fatalities annually in 1999 and 2000 to the current levels of more than 105,000 deaths each year. The dangerous opioid is cheap to make, easy to transport, and used in fake pain pills and other medications. Increasingly, it’s mixed with illegal narcotics. In many ways, fentanyl has created instances of Russian roulette with users — from the experienced to first timers — not knowing what’s mixed in with their drugs. That’s increased the number of dreaded telephone calls and knocks on the door around Florida and other states. “It could be your kid,” Bradfield said, noting the dangers to first-time or neophyte users who might get the wrong pill from the wrong person at the wrong party or event. “It’s not just the addicted.” Help After Rehab Her main impetus is to use technology to make rehabilitation efforts more effective after patients check out of centers. Bradfield said there are frequent trends of those struggling with addiction going back to those behaviors in the weeks and months after visits to often-expensive inpatient centers. “People didn’t stay connected to the rehab. They didn’t have enough structure and accountability,” Bradfield said in an interview with The Gabber Newspaper. She and Ahern want to work with treatment centers, behavioral health groups, and educational partners to help extend those connections and offer digital resources aimed at the root of addictions and relapses. “We are going to take our technology and we are going to use it offer digital treatment (services), extensive amounts of education, support groups, and other groups that will help you if you are struggling with other things [like] depression, PTSD, anxiety,” she said. Levels of anxiety, depression and other mental and behavioral health challenges are up, according to Mental Health America and its 2023 annual surveys. Fifteen percent of Americans had substance abuse problems in the last 12 months, according to the group, with 93.5% not receiving any treatment. Fifty million Americans are facing mental health challenges with another 12.1 million saying they seriously considered suicide, according to MHA. Carolyn Bradfield (right) and her late daughter, Laura. photo by Brittany Kelland Digital Safety Net The St. Petersburg pair are rolling out an app for parents and other loved ones that link to their kid’s smartwatch or Fitbit. The app connects those watches by tracking movements and vital signs. If someone goes silent on the app or shows signs of distress, the concerned parent or family member can then try to contact them or their social circle or can call 911. In some overdose instances, minutes and seconds can be a matter of life and death. “It just gives you a safety net around the kid,” Ahern said. Bradfield said Laura was found overdosing at a RaceTrac gas station in Atlanta. “We got a knock on the door at 4:30 in the morning,” she said, noting that if responses to the overdose had been faster Laura might have had a great chance of surviving. She said a number of fatal overdoses — during and after the pandemic — happen when people are alone and struggling with other mental and behavioral health issues. “A lot of these people are overdosing alone at home,” she said. Ahern said the target price on the app is $19.99 per month. That price will cover two people and their smartwatches. The company is also crowdsourcing via GoFundMe and has a nonprofit arm aimed at helping lower-income households with costs. Access to care and high costs of inpatient and other treatment services is a major behavioral health issue, she said. “Laura was in 10, 15 programs. We spent a lot of money on rehab and none of it worked,” Bradfield said. The pair hopes to gain more momentum via word of mouth and proselytizing from families and kids who gain from the digital treatment offerings as well as the smartwatch app, which they hope saves lives. “I want one parent in every high school as an evangelist,” he said. That will help spread the word and prove proof of concept in a behavioral health and treatment space looking for plenty of answers. by Mike Sunnucks
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Join the Movement: How Staying Connected Can Facilitate Recovery and Prevent Relapse
In today's digital age, the world of healthcare has expanded beyond traditional brick-and-mortar facilities. The advent of virtual care has revolutionized the way addiction recovery is approached, providing individuals with new opportunities to stay connected and receive the support they need. In ...
In today's digital age, the world of healthcare has expanded beyond traditional brick-and-mortar facilities. The advent of virtual care has revolutionized the way addiction recovery is approached, providing individuals with new opportunities to stay connected and receive the support they need. In this article, we will explore the power of virtual healthcare in facilitating recovery and preventing relapse. How Digital Platforms are Revolutionizing Mental Health and Addiction The Rise of Virtual Healthcare Virtual healthcare, also known as telehealth or telemedicine, utilizes technology to deliver medical and healthcare services remotely. This approach has gained significant traction in recent years, offering a range of benefits that have transformed the way addiction recovery is approached. By leveraging video conferencing, online platforms, and digital tools, virtual care has made it possible for individuals to access treatment and support from the comfort of their own homes. The Importance of Staying Connected Staying connected plays a crucial role in addiction recovery. It provides individuals with the support, guidance, and accountability they need to overcome challenges and maintain sobriety. The value of connection cannot be underestimated, and virtual care offers a powerful platform to facilitate these connections. Support from Anywhere, Anytime One of the key advantages of virtual care is the ability to access support from anywhere at any time. Individuals no longer need to travel long distances or wait for scheduled appointments to connect with healthcare professionals and support networks. With just a few clicks, they can join virtual support groups, engage in teletherapy sessions, and access online recovery communities. This level of convenience and accessibility ensures that individuals can receive the support they need, regardless of their geographical location or time constraints. Continuity of Care Virtual care enables the continuity of care, ensuring that individuals have ongoing support throughout their recovery journey. Regular check-ins, teletherapy sessions, and virtual appointments allow healthcare professionals to monitor progress, address concerns, and make adjustments to treatment plans when necessary. This ongoing support and engagement significantly reduce the risk of relapse by identifying potential triggers early on and providing timely interventions. Conclusion The world of virtual healthcare has transformed addiction recovery by providing individuals with new opportunities to stay connected, receive support, and access specialized treatment. The convenience, accessibility, and privacy offered by virtual care have revolutionized the way recovery is approached, facilitating ongoing care, and preventing relapse. By embracing virtual care and staying connected, individuals can join a movement that is redefining the landscape of addiction recovery. Now more than ever, it is crucial for individuals to explore the possibilities and benefits of virtual care. Embracing this technology-driven approach to healthcare can ensure that individuals receive the support they need, even in challenging times. Let us join the movement and harness the power of connection to facilitate recovery and prevent relapse. References: : https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help... If you or someone you know is navigating the complexities of mental health issues or addiction, Interact Lifeline is here to help. We are committed to providing easily accessible, effective, and affordable treatment options. Don't let geographical constraints or societal stigma deter you from seeking the help you deserve. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment services. Your path to recovery can start today. Connect with us at Interact Lifeline, and let's take the first step towards healing together. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
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The Importance of Connection: Building Bonds Through Online Recovery Communities
In a world that is increasingly digitized, online platforms have become our new meeting places, redefining the way we connect and communicate. A shining example of this digital revolution is the emergence of online recovery communities, which have proven to be a lifeline for many individuals ...
In a world that is increasingly digitized, online platforms have become our new meeting places, redefining the way we connect and communicate. A shining example of this digital revolution is the emergence of online recovery communities, which have proven to be a lifeline for many individuals grappling with mental health and addiction issues. These platforms, like ours, have ushered in a new era of support and connection that sets them apart from traditional forms of care. Breaking Barriers With Virtual Communities A Safe Space to Connect and Grow Online recovery communities are built on the bedrock of safety and acceptance. They serve as sanctuaries where members can openly share their experiences, feelings, and struggles without any fear of judgement or stigma. In these spaces, every story matters, every emotion is valid, and every struggle is recognized. Facilitating Meaningful Interactions Our online platform offers various features designed to facilitate meaningful interactions among its members. From discussion forums and private messaging to virtual meetings and webinars, these features encourage members to connect, share, and learn from each other. Each interaction strengthens the bonds within the community, creating a supportive network that extends beyond the digital realm. Devotion to Supportive Communities The beauty of online recovery communities lies in their unwavering commitment to nurturing supportive communities. It's not just about providing a platform; it's about fostering a sense of belonging, understanding, and mutual support. This strong emphasis on connection sets the world of online recovery apart from traditional forms of care, making it an invaluable resource for those on the path to recovery. Empowering Members on Their Recovery Journey Beyond being a platform for connection, our online recovery community is a hub of resources designed to assist members on their recovery journey. From educational materials and self-help tools to personalized recovery plans and expert advice, these resources provide members with the knowledge and skills they need to navigate their recovery journey. Conclusion In conclusion, our online recovery community is more than just a platform; it’s a beacon of hope, a source of support, and a testament to the power of connection. By fostering a safe and supportive environment, we are ensuring that no one has to face their recovery journey alone. If you or someone you know is navigating the complexities of mental health issues or addiction, Interact Lifeline is here to help. We are committed to providing easily accessible, effective, and affordable treatment options. Don't let geographical constraints or societal stigma deter you from seeking the help you deserve. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment services. Your path to recovery can start today. Connect with us at Interact Lifeline, and let's take the first step towards healing together. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
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Revolutionising Healthcare and the Potential of Virtual Care
In the evolving world of healthcare, virtual care is a game-changer. It is redefining how we access and deliver medical services, making healthcare more convenient, accessible, and cost-effective. At the forefront of this revolution is InterAct LifeLine, leading the way in leveraging the potential ...
In the evolving world of healthcare, virtual care is a game-changer. It is redefining how we access and deliver medical services, making healthcare more convenient, accessible, and cost-effective. At the forefront of this revolution is InterAct LifeLine, leading the way in leveraging the potential of virtual care. The Revolutionary Impact of Virtual Care on Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Understanding Virtual Care Virtual care, encompassing telemedicine and remote monitoring, is transforming healthcare delivery. Telemedicine enables video or phone appointments between patients and healthcare practitioners, while remote monitoring allows healthcare providers to track patients' health data remotely. This combination ensures continuous patient care, irrespective of geographical barriers. Virtual Care: A Necessity in the Modern World The necessity for virtual care has been underscored by the current global pandemic. With social distancing measures in place, virtual care provides a safe and effective way for patients to access healthcare services. Moreover, virtual care is increasingly being accepted and adopted by patients and healthcare providers alike. According to a report by McKinsey, while there's an imbalance in usage, there's a growing consensus that virtual care can improve access for the underserved. The Advantages of Virtual Care Virtual care offers numerous benefits. It eliminates the need for travel, making healthcare accessible to those in remote areas. It also provides flexibility, allowing patients to schedule appointments at their convenience. Furthermore, it can be more cost-effective than traditional in-person therapy. The Challenges Ahead Despite its advantages, virtual care also poses some challenges. These include patient skepticism, privacy concerns, and regulatory hurdles. However, these challenges are not insurmountable. With technological advancements and stringent cybersecurity measures, the healthcare industry is continuously working to address these issues. Conclusion Virtual care is revolutionising the healthcare industry, and InterAct LifeLine is proud to be a part of this transformation. We remain committed to leveraging technology to deliver high-quality, accessible, and cost-effective virtual care services. As we navigate the future of healthcare, we invite you to join us in embracing the potential of virtual care. Together, we can make healthcare more accessible and effective for all. References: : https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/...: https://intouchhealth.com/...: https://hbr.org/2022...: https://www.mckinsey.com/indus...: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p...: https://www.forbes.com/sites/t... If you or someone you know is navigating the complexities of mental health issues or addiction, Interact Lifeline is here to help. We are committed to providing easily accessible, effective, and affordable treatment options. Don't let geographical constraints or societal stigma deter you from seeking the help you deserve. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment services. Your path to recovery can start today. Connect with us at Interact Lifeline, and let's take the first step towards healing together. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
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Why Digital Platforms are the Next Big Thing in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment
The landscape of mental health and addiction treatment has been dominated by traditional, in-person care for decades. However, the advent of digital platforms is poised to revolutionize this field, making treatment more accessible, efficient, and effective. ...
The landscape of mental health and addiction treatment has been dominated by traditional, in-person care for decades. However, the advent of digital platforms is poised to revolutionize this field, making treatment more accessible, efficient, and effective. How Digital Platforms are Revolutionizing Mental Health and Addiction The Current Landscape of Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Traditional treatment methods for mental health and addiction issues typically involve a combination of medication and therapy. While these treatments can be effective, they often come with significant challenges. For instance, patients may face logistical issues, such as long travel times to clinics or scheduling conflicts. Additionally, the stigma associated with seeking help for mental health or addiction can deter individuals from pursuing treatment. The Rise of Virtual Care Platforms Enter digital platforms. These innovative solutions offer remote mental health and addiction treatment services, effectively addressing many of the challenges associated with traditional care. Virtual care platforms provide a range of services, including online counseling, medication management, and peer support groups. By allowing patients to access these services from the comfort of their homes, digital platforms reduce barriers to treatment and encourage more individuals to seek help. The Advantages of Digital PlatformsDigital platforms are not just convenient; they also offer several unique advantages. For example, they can use algorithms to personalize treatment plans based on individual patient data. Moreover, digital platforms can facilitate constant communication between patients and healthcare providers, leading to more responsive care.The Future of Digital PlatformsThe potential of digital platforms extends far beyond their current applications. With further advancements in technology, these platforms could offer even more comprehensive services, such as virtual reality therapies or AI-driven counseling. As such, digital platforms are poised to fundamentally change the way mental health and addiction treatments are delivered. Conclusion In conclusion, digital platforms are set to transform mental health and addiction treatment. By overcoming the limitations of traditional care and leveraging the power of technology, these platforms offer a promising solution to the mental health crisis. As we move into the future, it's clear that digital platforms will play an increasingly crucial role in healthcare. References: : https://nida.nih.gov/research...: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/...: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/... If you or someone you know is navigating the complexities of mental health issues or addiction, Interact Lifeline is here to help. We are committed to providing easily accessible, effective, and affordable treatment options. Don't let geographical constraints or societal stigma deter you from seeking the help you deserve. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment services. Your path to recovery can start today. Connect with us at Interact Lifeline, and let's take the first step towards healing together. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
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Breaking Barriers: How Virtual Care Makes Addiction Treatment Accessible
In the modern era, where technology is revolutionizing all aspects of, healthcare is no exception. of the most significant advancements is virtual care, a service that has transformed the landscape of addiction treatment. With millions of people globally struggling with addiction, virtual care ...
In the modern era, where technology is revolutionizing all aspects of, healthcare is no exception. of the most significant advancements is virtual care, a service that has transformed the landscape of addiction treatment. With millions of people globally struggling with addiction, virtual care emerges as a powerful tool to make addiction treatment more accessible and effective. How Virtual Care Overcomes Traditional Roadblocks in Addiction Treatment Virtual Care and Addiction Treatment Virtual care, also known as telehealth or telemedicine, is the use of digital information and communication technologies to access health care services remotely. It is particularly beneficial in addiction treatment, offering a lifeline to those who might otherwise struggle to access traditional, in-person services. One of the most compelling benefits of virtual care in addiction treatment is its accessibility. It eliminates geographical barriers, allowing individuals in remote or underserved areas to receive vital support. Additionally, virtual care addresses time constraints, providing patients the flexibility to schedule sessions when it's most convenient. Virtual care also offers privacy and anonymity, critical factors for many battling addiction. The fear of stigma often prevents individuals from seeking help. However, virtual care allows patients to receive treatment discreetly, reducing the anxiety associated with in-person appointments. Moreover, evidence suggests that virtual care can be as effective as traditional methods in treating addiction. Multiple studies have compared addiction treatment delivered via telehealth with in-person treatment, showing promising results. Overcoming Obstacles with Virtual Care Despite its myriad benefits, addiction treatment is often fraught with obstacles. The cost of treatment, lack of local resources, and fear of stigma can deter individuals from seeking help. However, virtual care is poised to break down these barriers. Virtual care often costs less than traditional in-person therapy, making treatment more affordable. Moreover, with the rise of online platforms, patients now have a wealth of resources at their fingertips, including counseling, support groups, and educational materials. Perhaps most importantly, virtual care provides a safe, non-judgmental space for individuals to seek help. Patients can access services from the comfort of their homes, eliminating the fear and shame often associated with in-person treatment. Conclusion The advent of virtual care marks a significant stride in making addiction treatment more accessible. By breaking down barriers and leveraging the power of technology, we can reach more individuals in need and provide them with the tools to reclaim their lives. As we continue to innovate, virtual care will undoubtedly play an integral role in the future of addiction treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, consider the benefits of virtual care. Reach out to healthcare providers who offer these services and take the first step towards recovery today. References: : https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help...: https://americanaddictioncenters.org/...: https://telehealth.hhs.gov/providers...: https://ps.psychiatryonline.org/...: https://www.addictioncenter.com/...: https://www.gatewayfoundation.org... : https://www.hazeldenbettyford... If you or someone you know is navigating the complexities of mental health issues or addiction, Interact Lifeline is here to help. We are committed to providing easily accessible, effective, and affordable treatment options. Don't let geographical constraints or societal stigma deter you from seeking the help you deserve. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment services. Your path to recovery can start today. Connect with us at Interact Lifeline, and let's take the first step towards healing together. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
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How to Connect with Kids to Prevent Fentanyl Overdose
73% of Young People Don't Know Fake Pills Contain Fentanyl This April, over 3,000 people gathered in Atlanta from across the country, as they have done for the past 12 years, to focus on how to mitigate the impact that illegal drugs have had on our society. We’ve all heard about the ...
73% of Young People Don't Know Fake Pills Contain Fentanyl This April, over 3,000 people gathered in Atlanta from across the country, as they have done for the past 12 years, to focus on how to mitigate the impact that illegal drugs have had on our society. We’ve all heard about the Opioid Crisis, but over the last few years, fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, has been the game changer that has been an inflection point to make the Opioid Crisis more deadly than it’s ever been. Many of the sessions were focused on harm reduction strategies like the distribution of Narcan, the drug to reverse overdose, ways to invest the dollars from the $56B opioid legal settlements, or legal strategies to toughen the penalties for distributing the drug. But while those initiatives are attempting to produce results, it was clear that we need to get the word out to our young people whose decision to experiment by taking that pill someone gave them might be their last. Fentanyl is involved in more deaths of Americans under 50 than any other cause of death (CDC) Just say no doesn't work any more! If any of you were around during the time that Reagan was president, you were also around for first lady Nancy Reagan’s ground-breaking campaign to reduce substance abuse by “just saying no”. While that campaign proved to be popular and somewhat effective, today’s young people who have access to social media and are much more sophisticated would likely be turned off. A lesson from Brevard County, Florida One of the most interesting sessions was from Brevard County, Florida as they crafted two social media campaigns: “I Choose Me” and “Better Without It”. What made these campaigns interesting is that they carefully considered their target audience and what strategies work to reach and persuade kids to go in a different direction. The “I Choose Me” campaign was focused on helping guide their audience to things that they could do vs. things they can’t do. The point was that young people will often do the opposite if you tell them what they can’t do or will just turn a deaf ear. Therefore, the campaign focused on making choices that made them healthier, happier, better people and safer. The campaign was supported by social media, videos and other collaterals and became one of the most talked about at the event. The Vision Session Vision sessions were delivered by paid sponsors in the mid-afternoon with one of the more interesting ones from Rescue, the Behavioral Change Agency that focused on the building blocks of a good messaging strategy designed to get people to make a change. Here was their concept. If you want to convince and persuade someone to do something they are not doing today, or stop doing something you don’t want them to do, you must cross 4 barriers: Do they have enough knowledge to understand the problem? If not, you start there by elevating their understanding.Do they believe the problem you are outlining pertains to them, or will they “otherize” it by concluding that this isn’t me, it’s a problem others have?Can they see themselves engaging in the behavior you want them to adopt?Will they repeat the behavior so it’s now wired into what they do everyday? How do you raise awareness? If you want to reach young people, you must get the message out where they go to watch videos or to connect with friends on social media. They follow influencers, watch TikTok videos, and get most of their information in small bites via text, Twitter, or Instagram. Educate them to protect them t is crucial for young people to understand the dangers of fentanyl because it is an extremely potent synthetic opioid that is many times more potent than other opioids such as morphine and heroin. Even small amounts of fentanyl can lead to a potentially fatal overdose. Fentanyl is often mixed with other drugs, such as heroin or cocaine, and sold on the street as counterfeit pills or powder. Young people may be unaware that they are taking fentanyl or may underestimate its potency, leading to unintentional overdose and death. LifeLine Connect Building technology to use data from wearables to detect overdose, alert others and send help to prevent fentanyl overdose deaths. Learn More
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The 2023 Summit in Atlanta Addresses the Fentanyl Crisis
A National Conference to Address the Fentanyl Crisis This April, over 3,000 people gathered in Atlanta from across the country, as they have done for the past 12 years, to focus on how to mitigate the impact that illegal drugs have had on our society. We’ve all heard about the Opioid ...
A National Conference to Address the Fentanyl Crisis This April, over 3,000 people gathered in Atlanta from across the country, as they have done for the past 12 years, to focus on how to mitigate the impact that illegal drugs have had on our society. We’ve all heard about the Opioid Crisis, but over the last few years, fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, has been the game changer that has been an inflection point to make the Opioid Crisis more deadly than it’s ever been. The Summit attracted people in law enforcement, treatment professionals, officials in public health, local, state and federal government and a host of others who collectively are trying to make a dent in what is one of the deadliest health crisis we face today, killing as many people in the last decade as we lost to Covid 19. Fentanyl is the "Game Changer" Why has fentanyl changed the game? Today, overdose kills over 100,000 people a year, but now fentanyl is present in about 75% or more of those deaths. This drug is flooding in from Mexico, is cut into almost every street drug or counterfeit pill and is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. In fact, the DEA revealed in their session that 6 of 10 counterfeit pills they tested had a fatal dose of fentanyl present. So kids who never were diagnosed with a substance use disorder decide to experiment, get handed a pill and unintentionally play Russian roulette because that pill may just have been “spiked”. Fentanyl is lucrative for the drug dealer. Fentanyl is cheap to make, easy to transport because of how small the substance is, and is highly profitable to the cartels. Most of the drugs we’ve come to know began their life as an agricultural product. Heroin starts with poppies; cocaine from a cocoa plant; marijuana from the leaves of a plant. It takes land and effort to grow the key ingredients of those drugs. However, fentanyl is synthetic and made easily in a lab or in your kitchen. What do the people at the Rx Summit say is being done to reverse the tide? No single initiative, answer or approach can solve what is the most complex health crisis in America. And everyone you ask has a different point of view. We heard from Republican congressionals that we need to close the border to stop the flow and from the Democrats that more social programs are needed.The head of the FDA touted the release of Narcan as an over-the-counter medication to reverse overdose, but the question becomes how to widely distribute it, teach people how to use it, an make sure they have Narcan with them. The CDC revealed their social media campaigns, videos, and educational resources to raise people’s awareness. And law enforcement was seeking reclassification of fentanyl as a Class A narcotic with much stiffer penalties for distributing it. A glimmer of hope is on the horizon, but comes with caveats. States went after the pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors and successfully negotiated global settlements that will result in over $56B in funds to go toward prevent, treatment and recovery services. The federal government has set aside over $44 B in grant money to augment the effort. Control of funding is in the hands of the people at the local level, but how to spend it is usually in the hands of a committee who is facing such a complex problem with so many pathways to make a dent that the answers are just not clear. The Summit amplified the level of confusion that exists at the local level who are generally operating without a blueprint and often with little experience or background in substance misuse and addiction. While we’re figuring things out, people are dying in record numbers. Kentucky congressman, Hal Rodgers started the Rx Summit 12 years ago, and it will continue to take the collective wisdom of all the stakeholders to use their creativity, experience, and knowledge to get the fentanyl crisis under control. We must be more innovative, try new approaches, leverage the power of technology and communication strategies that work to keep those airplanes flying so we don’t have to deal with the tragedies of the 300 people who lose their lives each day, destroy their families and leave loved ones devastated.  LifeLine Connect Building technology to use data from wearables to detect overdose, alert others and send help to prevent fentanyl overdose deaths. Learn More
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The Role of Pharmaceutical Companies in the Opioid Crisis
How Pharmaceutical Companies Fueled the Opioid Epidemic The role of pharmaceutical companies in the opioid crisis is a complex and controversial issue. Many experts believe that the overprescription of opioids by healthcare providers played a major role in the ...
How Pharmaceutical Companies Fueled the Opioid Epidemic The role of pharmaceutical companies in the opioid crisis is a complex and controversial issue. Many experts believe that the overprescription of opioids by healthcare providers played a major role in the epidemic. However, pharmaceutical companies also played a significant role in promoting the use of opioids for chronic pain management, and their marketing and lobbying practices have been called into question. Here are some of the ways in which pharmaceutical companies have contributed to the epidemic: Overprescription of Opioids Pharmaceutical companies marketed opioids aggressively to healthcare providers, emphasizing their effectiveness in treating chronic pain and downplaying the risks of addiction and overdose. This led to the widespread overprescription of opioids, with many patients being prescribed higher doses and for longer durations than recommended. Addiction & Overdose The overprescription of opioids led to widespread addiction, with many patients becoming dependent on these drugs to manage their pain. This, in turn, led to a sharp increase in overdose deaths, as patients who were unable to access opioids through legal channels turned to illegal drugs like heroin and fentanyl. Marketing & Lobbying Practices Pharmaceutical companies engaged in aggressive marketing and lobbying practices to promote the use of opioids for chronic pain management. They also funded organizations and research that supported the use of opioids, while opposing regulations that would have limited their distribution. Liability & Legal Action Pharmaceutical companies have faced lawsuits and legal action from individuals, states, and local governments for their role in the opioid crisis. Many have been found liable for misleading marketing practices and have been ordered to pay large settlements. Public Backlash The role of pharmaceutical companies in the opioid crisis has also led to widespread public backlash, with many people calling for increased regulation and accountability for these companies. Overall, the effects of pharmaceutical companies in the opioid crisis have been devastating, contributing to widespread addiction, overdose deaths, and social and economic costs. While some progress has been made in holding these companies accountable, many experts argue that more needs to be done to prevent future crises and ensure that patients receive safe and effective pain management. Explore our Insights pavilion to read more articles on the opioid crisis.Learn More Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
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The Availability of Narcan in the Opioid Crisis
Narcan Approved for Over-the-Counter Purchase As of 2021, Narcan (naloxone), a medication that can rapidly reverse an opioid overdose, has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an over-the-counter (OTC) drug. This means that individuals can purchase ...
Narcan Approved for Over-the-Counter Purchase As of 2021, Narcan (naloxone), a medication that can rapidly reverse an opioid overdose, has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an over-the-counter (OTC) drug. This means that individuals can purchase and use Narcan without a prescription from a healthcare provider. The FDA's decision to approve Narcan as an OTC drug is part of the agency's efforts to combat the opioid epidemic in the US. By making Narcan more easily accessible, it is hoped that more lives can be saved in the event of an overdose. Making Narcan (naloxone) available as an over-the-counter (OTC) drug can help the opioid crisis in several ways: Increased Accessibility  By making Narcan available without a prescription, it can be more easily obtained by those who need it. This includes individuals who use opioids themselves, as well as family members, friends, and other bystanders who may witness an overdose. Faster Response Time With Narcan readily available, it can be administered more quickly in the event of an overdose. This can help to prevent overdose-related deaths and give individuals a greater chance of survival. Reduced Stigma The availability of Narcan as an OTC drug can help to reduce the stigma associated with opioid use and overdose. It sends a message that addiction is a treatable medical condition, and that there is help and support available to those who need it. Cost Savings OTC Narcan can potentially be more affordable and accessible to those who do not have insurance or cannot afford a prescription. Overall, increasing the availability of Narcan through OTC status can help to save lives and address the public health crisis of opioid overdose deaths. However, it is important to note that OTC Narcan is not a substitute for comprehensive addiction treatment and other harm reduction strategies.Continue reading more articles on addiction prevention here:Read More Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
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How the Pandemic Shifted Technology's Role in Addiction and Recovery Services
The Role of Technology The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technology for addiction support services, and many people have become accustomed to receiving support services in this way. While these changes were born out of necessity, they have the potential to transform ...
The Role of Technology The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technology for addiction support services, and many people have become accustomed to receiving support services in this way.While these changes were born out of necessity, they have the potential to transform the way addiction and recovery services are delivered in the long term. Here are some ways in which people have adapted to receiving addiction support services using technology during the pandemic: Telehealth Many addiction treatment providers have pivoted to providing telehealth services, which allow people to receive therapy and counseling via video conference or phone. Telehealth has allowed people to continue to receive vital support services while avoiding in-person contact and reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Online Support Groups Online support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, have become increasingly popular during the pandemic. These groups provide a safe and supportive environment for people to share their experiences and struggles with addiction and receive encouragement and support from others in recovery. Mobile Apps There are many mobile apps that provide support and resources for people in recovery from addiction. These apps can be used to track progress, connect with others in recovery, and access helpful information and resources. Virtual Recovery Coaching Virtual recovery coaching allows people to work with a coach or mentor remotely to develop a recovery plan, set goals, and receive support and encouragement. This can be particularly useful for people who may not have access to in-person recovery support services in their area. Overall, while the pandemic has presented many challenges for people in recovery from addiction, it has also highlighted the potential of technology to provide flexible and accessible support services. Many people have found these services to be effective and convenient, and they may continue to be used even after the pandemic subsides.Explore more valuable resources and informative articles on the topic of recovery in our Insights catalog.Read More Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
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The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) in the Fight Against Opioids
The ACP, A Game Changer Connecting People in the Fight Against Opioids The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a program launched by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States to help low-income households access affordable high-speed internet services. The ...
The ACP, A Game Changer Connecting People in the Fight Against Opioids The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a program launched by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States to help low-income households access affordable high-speed internet services. The program is part of the broader Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) initiative, which was established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to help individuals and families stay connected during the public health emergency. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a game-changer in the fight against opioids for several reasons, including: Access to Telehealth The ACP provides affordable high-speed internet access, making telehealth services accessible to underserved communities. This program enables people in rural or remote areas to receive medical care, including mental health services and addiction treatment, without leaving their homes. Education & Awareness The ACP provides people with the resources and knowledge they need to understand the dangers of opioids, including how to recognize the signs of addiction, how to safely dispose of medication, and how to access addiction treatment. Support for Recovery The ACP connects individuals in recovery with resources and support services, including online recovery support groups, virtual meetings, and peer-to-peer support. Accessibility  The ACP provides individuals with easy access to information and resources on opioid addiction, including prevention and treatment options. This program connects people with community resources, treatment centers, and support groups, ensuring that they have the resources they need to overcome addiction. Overall, the Affordable Connectivity Program plays a crucial role in connecting people in the fight against opioids by providing access to education, support, and treatment resources to those who need them the most.Explore our education library here:Read More Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Article
Are We in the Dark About Fentanyl?
Spreading Awareness of the Risks of Fentanyl You hear about fentanyl on the news, but there is still a large number of people out there that are undereducated about its risks and potential to kill themselves and their loved ones. Take a look at why vital information about ...
Spreading Awareness of the Risks of Fentanyl You hear about fentanyl on the news, but there is still a large number of people out there that are undereducated about its risks and potential to kill themselves and their loved ones. Take a look at why vital information about this very deadly drug is not making it into the hands of the people that need to know the risks. There are several reasons why communities may be undereducated about the risks of fentanyl: Lack of information Fentanyl is a relatively new drug in the illegal drug market, and many people may not have heard of it or know much about its effects. Additionally, information about fentanyl may not be widely disseminated to the public through traditional channels such as schools or healthcare providers. Stigma The stigma associated with drug use may prevent people from seeking information about fentanyl or discussing it openly. This may contribute to a lack of awareness about the risks of fentanyl and other drugs. Limited access to education and prevention programs Some communities may lack access to education and prevention programs that provide information about the risks of fentanyl and other drugs. This may be due to limited funding or resources, or a lack of awareness about the need for these programs. Changing nature of the opioid epidemic The opioid epidemic has evolved over time, with fentanyl becoming a more prominent factor in recent years. It may take time for education and prevention efforts to catch up with these changes and for communities to become more aware of the risks associated with fentanyl. Misinformation There is a lot of misinformation circulating about fentanyl, which can contribute to confusion and misunderstandings about the drug. For example, some people may believe that fentanyl is only dangerous if injected, while others may believe that it is not as potent as it actually is. Overall, there are several factors that may contribute to a lack of education about the risks of fentanyl in communities. Addressing these factors will require a multi-pronged approach that includes education and prevention programs, funding and resources, and efforts to reduce stigma and misinformation.Read more articles about prevention to recognize the warning signs of potential addiction, understand who is most at risk and implement strategies to prevent the onset of the disease. Read More Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Article
Why Online Recovery is a Game Changer for Rural America
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#sticky { position: sticky; position: -webkit-sticky; background: #e8ebe8; width: 80px; height: 80px; top: 70px; display: flex; justify-content: center; align-items: center; box-shadow: 0 0 5px #000; } .extra, #wrapper { width: 75%; margin: auto; background-color: #9ad996; } #wrapper { height: 800px; } .extra { height: 100px; } body { font-family: georgia; height: 1000px; } @media (min-height: 768px) { #wrapper { height: 2000px; } } Online Recovery Support Groups & Their Benefits  It's no secret that the opioid crisis has had the most profoundly negative impact on citizens in rural America. It is estimated that there are 250,000 fewer treatment specialists available to work with people in crisis and often the needed support network fails to meet the needs of people who live in less densely populated areas. However, while the Pandemic was teaching us how to work remotely, it also was teaching us how to deliver much needed support services for people in rural America. Online support groups offer several benefits for individuals seeking recovery support, including: Accessibility  Online support groups can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, making it easier for individuals who live in remote areas or who have mobility issues to access support. This also eliminates the need for transportation, which can be a barrier to attending in-person support groups. Anonymity Online support groups can be anonymous, allowing individuals to participate without revealing their identity if they choose. This can be particularly helpful for people who feel stigmatized or ashamed about their addiction and may be hesitant to seek support in person. Flexibility Online support groups offer greater flexibility in terms of scheduling and frequency, as many groups are available 24/7 and can be accessed at any time. This can be especially helpful for individuals with busy schedules or who may need support outside of traditional office hours. Variety There are many different online support groups available, each with its own focus and approach. This allows individuals to find a group that meets their specific needs and preferences. Support from Peers Online support groups offer the opportunity to connect with others who are experiencing similar challenges and struggles. This can provide a sense of validation, empathy, and support that can be very helpful in the recovery process. Reduced Stigma Online support groups can help reduce the stigma associated with addiction by providing a safe and supportive environment for individuals to share their experiences and struggles without fear of judgment or discrimination. Overall, online support groups can be an effective and convenient way for individuals to receive recovery support, and they offer several unique benefits that may not be available with in-person support groups. Read more articles on recovery and the process of treating and managing the disease ofaddiction to achieve wellness here. Read More Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Article
The Cavalry Has Arrived
Over $50B in Opioid Settlement Funds Find their Way to State Governments & Local Organizations For those of who who haven't watched a Western in a while, the pivotal moment in the movie is when the cavalry comes just in time to win the battle and save the day. Never ...
Over $50B in Opioid Settlement Funds Find their Way to State Governments & Local Organizations For those of who who haven't watched a Western in a while, the pivotal moment in the movie is when the cavalry comes just in time to win the battle and save the day.  Never is a cavalry needed more than in the fight against opioids that is killing over 100,000 of our friends and family each year. The very dedicated teams inside the Attorney Generals' offices across all states have created a strategy to hold the manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids accountable for the immense harm these drugs have done to decimate our rural communities, destroy families and take more lives than the Vietnam and Gulf Wars combined.   So now that the cavalry has arrived and they have brought over $50B in settlement dollars to date to fight the war on opioids, what does this all mean to you, your family and others that have been impacted by addiction, overdose, or death?   Here is what you need to know about the settlement: Way different than the Tobacco Settlement! In 1998, state governments reached a 25-year, $246 billion deal with the country’s largest tobacco companies to hold the industry accountable for the lethal effects of smoking and provide support for anti-tobacco programs.  But that deal had no requirements in how the money was spent, so the vast majority went to fund state programs not related to tobacco or its consequences. We learned from the tobacco fiasco and the strategy for dealing with the opioid crisis was designed quite differently.  The vast majority of the funds must be used for "opioid abatement" to improve treatment, recovery services, offer education and focus on prevention.  Any organization receiving funds must report back each year to detail how that money is spent to ensure that this time, funds will go to the purpose it was intended for. So, where did the money come from? $26 billion comes from manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and “big three” distributors McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health.  This settlement was reached in February 2022. CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart agreed to settle their claims with state, local, and tribal governments which added another $13.9B in 2022.   Other litigation is underway with settlements on the horizon from Purdue Pharmaceuticals, Mallinckrodt, Teva, Abbvie, and Endo enriching the available opioid settlement funds by almost $15B. How can the funds can be used? There are very specific controls of what the money can and can't be used for.  States can use 15% of those funds to offset administrative expenses or fund state-run opioid related abatement programs.  States can also use 15% of the money for whatever they want such as administrative expenses, but keep in mind that this number is very conservative compared to what happened to the $246 tobacco settlement money. That means that 70% of the money will flow down to local organizations that are on the front-line of the opioid crisis, particularly in rural areas.  And they will be required to use 70% of the money future opioid abatement such as prevention programs, improved recovery services or better treatment. Is there a plan? Every state has the ability to craft a plan that works for their state.  Take Colorado as an example.  Colorado is divided into 19 regions that are governed at the local level.  Each region has a different set of opioid-related issues, but if you look at the southern part of the state, the population is being decimated with the influx of fentanyl across their boarders.  These regional organizations have advisory committees to help address the needs of the people in their particular region. The bottom line is that states are focused on the unique needs of their citizens and are doing their homework to make sure that this settlement money is spent where it will have the most impact. So what are the risks? There is a lot of money that is flowing into organizations that are typically underfunded or bootstrapping how they currently manage an out-of-control opioid crisis.  So there are risks that the funds will not be spent in ways that have the most impact.  If the states put this money in a "general fund", then legislators may spend it in ways that are not useful.  If local organizations don't get help and guidance, they may not have the background or sophistication to think beyond traditional programs that have proven to be ineffective. Yes, the cavalry has arrived and that charge has been lead by the diligent work of the attorney generals and their staffs in the states where you live.  But that's only one battle in a long war against the misuse of opioids and the resulting casualties of this on-going war.  If you want to know how your state plans to spend the money and if you want to get involved, do your research by going to the Opioid Settlement Tracker created by Christine Minhee, a young lawyer who is crusading to ensure transparency on how funds are being allocated to each state and what the plan is to invest those dollars. View other articles regarding the Opioid Settlement to learn more about how states and local governments are using settlement funds for opioid prevention and abatement.View Articles Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Article
How Technology Has Entered the War in Fighting the Opioid Crisis
Technology: How Can it Help? Technology is being increasingly used in opioid abatement programs to address the opioid epidemic and support individuals in recovery. Learn how technology is now the latest weapon in the fight against the opioid crisis. ...
Technology: How Can it Help? Technology is being increasingly used in opioid abatement programs to address the opioid epidemic and support individuals in recovery. Learn how technology is now the latest weapon in the fight against the opioid crisis. Some of the ways technology is being used in these programs include: Telemedicine Telemedicine involves the use of technology, such as video conferencing, to provide medical care remotely. Telemedicine can be particularly useful in opioid abatement programs for individuals in remote or rural areas who may have difficulty accessing medical care. It can also reduce the stigma associated with seeking treatment for substance use disorders. Mobile Apps Mobile apps can be used to track medication adherence, manage pain, and provide support for individuals in recovery. For example, some apps provide daily affirmations, mindfulness exercises, and coping strategies to help individuals manage cravings and stress.  Prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) PDMPs are electronic databases that track prescription drug dispensing and use. They can help identify patterns of prescription drug abuse and inform interventions and treatment strategies. Electronic health records (EHRs) EHRs can help facilitate communication and coordination of care between different healthcare providers involved in opioid abatement programs. They can also provide real-time data on patient outcomes, which can help inform treatment decisions.  Wearable technology Wearable technology, such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, can be used to monitor vital signs and provide feedback on physical activity levels. This information can be used to inform treatment decisions and provide motivation and support for individuals in recovery. Overall, technology can play a valuable role in opioid abatement programs by improving access to care, supporting individuals in recovery, and providing real-time data to inform treatment decisions. However, it is important to ensure that technology is used in a responsible and ethical manner and that it does not replace the human connection and support that is essential for successful recovery.Learn more about how InterAct Lifeline leverages technology to improve recovery, reduce relapse and prevent substance misuse.Learn More Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Article
What Every Parent Needs to Know about Fentanyl
The Dangers of Fentanyl Five years ago, I lost my 29-year old daughter to overdose after a 15-year struggle with addiction. She used just about every illegal drug on the list, including opioids and the risk of her overdosing was always there. However, if we were talking about ...
The Dangers of Fentanyl Five years ago, I lost my 29-year old daughter to overdose after a 15-year struggle with addiction. She used just about every illegal drug on the list, including opioids and the risk of her overdosing was always there. However, if we were talking about Laura today, her risk of overdose would have skyrocketed because of the prevalence of Fentanyl. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. It is often prescribed for pain, but it is now mass produced by the Mexican cartels, shipped into the United States and is added to other street drugs like cocaine or heroin.  And just a tiny dose can kill you. It's time that all of us, particularly parents, get our heads out of the sand and elevate our understanding of this powerful and dangerous opioid. Here is what you need to know: The New Phase of the Opioid Epidemic During the past seven years, soaring quantities of fentanyl have flooded into the United States, creating the most lethal drug crisis in American history to become significantly worse. The fentanyl most often associated with overdoses is made in labs, sold illegally as a powder, dropped onto blotter paper, put in eye droppers and nasal sprays, or made into pills that look like other prescription opioids. What are the statistics telling us? Fentanyl is now the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 49, according to a Washington Post analysis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can't track overdose deaths in real-time and counts the death toll for 2021. So a year ago, it calculated the overall number of drug overdoses at 107,622. Two-thirds were due to fentanyl. Overdose deaths skyrocketed during the Pandemic. According to the Washington post,"From 2019 to 2021, fatal overdoses surged 94 percent, and an estimated 196 Americans are now dying each day from the drug — the equivalent of a fully loaded Boeing 757-200 crashing and killing everyone on board." How does fentanyl affect you? Fentanyl binds to the opioid receptors in the brain that control pain and emotions. Continued use makes it hard to feel any pleasure other than when you are taking the drug. Aside from that, there are other side effects such as drowsiness, nausea, confusion, extreme happiness, constipation, problems breathing and unconsciousness. What happens when you overdose on Fentanyl An overdose occurs when the drug produces serious adverse effects and life-threatening symptoms. When people overdose on fentanyl, their breathing will slow or stop. This decreases the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain, a condition called hypoxia. Hypoxia can lead to a coma and permanent brain damage, and death.  (This is what ended my daughter's life). Signs of an overdose are: Falling asleep, loss of consciousness Shallow or no breathing Limp body (though may be rigid with fentanyl)Choking or gurgling soundsSmall, constricted, 'pinpoint' pupils (may be difficult to see in an emergency)Pale blue or cold skin, lips, or nails (factors including skin tone could make this difficult to see) So how do I minimize the risks to my friends or family? First, knowledge is power. Parents should proactively have the conversation with their kids to educate them about the hidden dangers of fentanyl and how it can be mixed into other drugs they might consider relative harmless like pot. They should assume high overdose risk no matter what drug they might use. Fentanyl is undetectable by sight, smell, or taste. Fentanyl Test strips are a harm reduction tool that detects the presence of fentanyl mixed into a substance, such has cocaine or heroin. Never in the history of the War on Drugs declared by Richard Nixon decades ago have we faced such an unprecedented threat from a substance that is easy to make, hard to detect and flooding into our country. It's critical we understand the risk from fentanyl and make sure we educate those around us to not play Russian Roulette by buying opioids off the street or assuming that there is no risk of fentanyl when you use other drugs like cocaine or pot. Take a look at what happened to five friends in Colorado to get an up close and personal look at the damage fentanyl can do. Read the Article Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Article
The Ostrich Effect
The "Ostrich Effect" in Substance Abuse There is a term that psychologists often refer to as the "Ostrich Effect". Simply put, this is an attempt to avoid any information, news or conversation that you might consider uncomfortable or unpleasant. All of us have been guilty of ...
The "Ostrich Effect" in Substance Abuse There is a term that psychologists often refer to as the "Ostrich Effect". Simply put, this is an attempt to avoid any information, news or conversation that you might consider uncomfortable or unpleasant. All of us have been guilty of hiding our heads in the sand if we don't want to hear bad news about our health, finances, meeting our goals or even our weight if we're worried we just haven't lost enough from our latest diet. The Ostrich Effect is an attempt to protect ourselves from the emotional impact of hearing bad news; however, when it comes to facing the realities of the substance misuse landscape, the potential to die from an overdose and the damage caused to your family, it's time to get our heads out of the sand and start to pay attention. Here are some reasons that many of us become ostriches when it comes to the difficult realities of substance misuse, addiction and overdose. This would never happen to me I joined a Facebook group run by Compassionate Friends that is devoted to parents who have lost an adult child to overdose. Aside from heartbreaking stories of grief and loss, so many of the members of this group are stunned by their seemingly normal child who overdosed and died.  Will this happen to someone in your family?  Well, the statistics are now working against us with over 107,000 dying from overdose each year, primarily from fentanyl that is now laced into pills bought off the street, pot, cocaine and many other substances that you would never expect. It can happen to you and now it's happening to families all around you. But I have good kids I had a "good kid" who played soccer, was a girl scout and a good student, but at age 14 she started smoking pot, then it went downhill from there. All "good kids" have brains that are not fully developed until about age 26, so exposure to substances or alcohol at young ages will rewire the brain of at least 1 in 10 adolescents turning them into full-blown addicts by the time they leave high school.  "Good kids" experiment, but that experimentation leads to a very big number of them developing the disease of addiction that has to be managed over a lifetime. I would know if someone I love is using I founded and ran a licensed treatment program for adolescents ages 13-17 (Phoenix Outdoor). One of the most common things parents would say to us is, "I had no idea."  Your kids and family members are smarter than you think and when it comes to abusing substances and they are masters at hiding that fact from you, finding ways to fund their habit, and staying under the radar. If you think you are smarter or more perceptive than your teenager, your coworker, your spouse or friend, think again. People misusing substances get really good at fooling those around them. It's just pot - how bad could that be? If you smoked pot years ago when you were in high school and college, be aware that the pot your kids are consuming is much more potent than what you might remember. People do and can become addicted to it with side effects that include mental health issues like depression, a drop in IQ, impacts on coordination, and overall demotivation. Marijuana is not harmless. It can cause psychosis, other significant side effects, and addiction,  but when mixed with an opioid such as fentanyl, there are even greater risks including death. Fentanyl is hard to detect so you may not even know it's there. It couldn't be addiction.  They can just stop whenever they want to. And maybe that's true with some people, but for others who have developed the disease of addiction, it's way harder than you think.  The brain has now been rewired and it overproduces dopamine in the presence of a substance which is a huge shot to your pleasure center.  Addicts are often compelled to use vs. choosing to use. You can put your head in the sand and think this issue will just magically disappear, but the reality is that it takes work to break the habit and treat the disease over the long haul. I grew up in a small Georgia town that was so conservative, you couldn't even buy alcohol and certainly there were few or no drugs available when I was in school. But times today are quite different.  People, particularly adolescents, now have so many other ways to find substances, experiment with them, and get addicted. So if you think it would never happen to you, that you have good kids or that you are smarter than the rest of us in being able to detect and solve the problem, think again. You are an "ostrich" if you stick your head in the sand, fail to learn about the landscape we now find ourselves in, and raise your awareness about the impact of the opioid crisis that is right in your backyard, whether you know it or not. When your head comes out of the sand, you can learn how to prevent misuse and prevent the disaster that could happen to you.Learn more about the warning signs of addiction and how to prevent substance abuse below.Read More Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Blog Article
The Unseen Threat: Fentanyl Lacing in Commonly Abused Drugs
The current opioid crisis gripping the United States and other parts of the world is a stark reminder of the destructive power of addiction. However, an even more insidious threat lies beneath the surface: the lacing of commonly abused drugs with fentanyl. This synthetic opioid, up to 100 times ...
The current opioid crisis gripping the United States and other parts of the world is a stark reminder of the destructive power of addiction. However, an even more insidious threat lies beneath the surface: the lacing of commonly abused drugs with fentanyl. This synthetic opioid, up to 100 times more potent than morphine, presents a significant public health hazard. The Growing Epidemic of Fentanyl-Contaminated Substances Understanding Fentanyl  Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid used medically to manage severe pain, such as advanced cancer pain. However, its potency and euphoric effects have led to its misuse. Illicitly produced fentanyl and its analogs are often mixed with heroin or cocaine, significantly increasing their potency and potential for overdose. The Impact of Fentanyl on Public Health The impact of fentanyl on public health has been devastating. In 2018, nearly 70% of the 67,367 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. involved an opioid, with synthetic opioids, primarily illicitly manufactured fentanyl, being the most common drug involved. The problem has escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a 38% increase in synthetic opioid-involved overdose deaths for the 12-month period ending June 2020 compared to the previous 12-month period. The Severity of Overdose Cases The risk of overdose increases significantly when fentanyl is added to other drugs. Because it is so potent, even a tiny amount can cause an overdose. Moreover, people often don't know that the drugs they're using are laced with fentanyl, leading to accidental overdoses. Fentanyl Lacing in Commonly Abused Drugs Fentanyl is increasingly being found in other drugs, including cocaine, methamphetamine, and counterfeit pills disguised as common prescription medications. This is particularly concerning because people who use these drugs may not have any tolerance to opioids, making them highly susceptible to an overdose. Identifying and Avoiding Laced DrugsIdentifying laced drugs can be difficult, as fentanyl is often mixed into drugs or pressed into pills without changing their appearance. However, several harm reduction strategies can help reduce the risk: Use test strips: Fentanyl test strips can detect the presence of fentanyl in drugs. Never use alone: If an overdose occurs, having someone present can call for help. Carry naloxone: Naloxone can reverse an opioid overdose and save a life. Conclusion The fentanyl crisis underscores the urgent need for comprehensive strategies to address substance abuse and addiction. As we continue to grapple with this issue, let's strive to raise awareness about the dangers of fentanyl-laced drugs and take action to protect ourselves and our communities. References: : https://www.dea.gov/factsheets/...: https://nida.nih.gov/...: https://www.cdc.gov/...: https://health.ucdavis.edu/blog/...: https://www.dea.gov/alert...: https://www.hhs.texas.gov/...: https://harmreduction.org/issu...: https://nida.nih.gov/publicati... If you or someone you know is navigating the complexities of mental health issues or addiction, Interact Lifeline is here to help. We are committed to providing easily accessible, effective, and affordable treatment options. Don't let geographical constraints or societal stigma deter you from seeking the help you deserve. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment services. Your path to recovery can start today. Connect with us at Interact Lifeline, and let's take the first step towards healing together. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Press Release
InterAct LifeLine Launches InterAct Cares Nonprofit Fund-Raising Organization
Atlanta, GA — December 3, 2019 — GivingTuesday — InterAct Lifeline, a SaaS technology solution for addiction treatment and prevention, today announced InterAct Cares, a nonprofit division that supports providing online portal technology and telehealth access at zero or reduced cost to ...
Atlanta, GA — December 3, 2019 — GivingTuesday — InterAct Lifeline, a SaaS technology solution for addiction treatment and prevention, today announced InterAct Cares, a nonprofit division that supports providing online portal technology and telehealth access at zero or reduced cost to collegiate recovery communities, civic groups, and nonprofits whose mission is to fight the opioid crisis. Donations to InterAct Cares defray the cost of the technology to groups that provide education, treatment or social services to clients or communities that don’t have funding to purchase and manage the technology.
Press Release
InterAct Unveils Addiction Support Platform to Address Opioid Crisis in Rural America
Atlanta, GA — August 12, 2020 — InterAct LifeLine, today launched the InterAct Opioid Resource Platform, an addiction education knowledgebase designed to support Rural Health Initiatives at the federal, state and local level. The Opioid Resource Platform delivers patient and family support ...
Atlanta, GA — August 12, 2020 — InterAct LifeLine, today launched the InterAct Opioid Resource Platform, an addiction education knowledgebase designed to support Rural Health Initiatives at the federal, state and local level. The Opioid Resource Platform delivers patient and family support tools and telehealth resources to provide relief from the opioid crisis in rural communities where access to treatment is often unavailable. The InterAct platform complies with HIPAA regulations and ADA accessibility and is custom branded for state, regional, municipal or school districts, along with private treatment programs. Each portal is connected to a centralized online library populated with current educational resources on a wide range of drug-related topics, family support and wellness strategies. Community organizations can use the InterAct Opioid Resource Platform to connect and refer individuals to local resources, community contacts and virtual support groups.
Press Release
InterAct LifeLine Addresses Alarming Increase in Overdoses During COVID-19 Pandemic
Atlanta, GA — August 11, 2020 — InterAct LifeLine, a telehealth platform delivering education and content on addiction and wellness, has moved from a beta program to full release offering addiction treatment programs as well as state and local community groups the ability to use technology for ...
Atlanta, GA — August 11, 2020 — InterAct LifeLine, a telehealth platform delivering education and content on addiction and wellness, has moved from a beta program to full release offering addiction treatment programs as well as state and local community groups the ability to use technology for remote patient monitoring and keeping individuals connected virtually after they have completed an addiction rehab program. InterAct LifeLine offers structure and accountability, virtual connections to support groups and treatment professionals, along with education about how to maintain recovery and individual monitoring when needed. InterAct is a sister company of Convey Services.
Press Release
InterAct LifeLine Launches Strategic Advisory Board
Atlanta, GA — December 10, 2019 — InterAct Lifeline, a SaaS technology solution for addiction treatment and prevention, today announced the formation of its Strategic Advisory Board. The new board is composed of accomplished leaders in the mental health, telehealth and related ...
Atlanta, GA — December 10, 2019 — InterAct Lifeline, a SaaS technology solution for addiction treatment and prevention, today announced the formation of its Strategic Advisory Board. The new board is composed of accomplished leaders in the mental health, telehealth and related technology industries. The board will provide strategic input and support and will be chaired by Carolyn Bradfield, Founder, and CEO of InterAct.
Press Release
InterAct Launches an Integrated Technology Solution for Substance Abuse Treatment, Collegiate Recovery and Substance Abuse Prevention
Atlanta, GA — August 1, 2019 — InterAct today launched InterAct LifeLine, the first in a series of online technology solutions designed to reduce addiction relapse, improve long-term recovery care and offer drug abuse prevention support for families. LifeLine helps addiction treatment and ...
Atlanta, GA — August 1, 2019 — InterAct today launched InterAct LifeLine, the first in a series of online technology solutions designed to reduce addiction relapse, improve long-term recovery care and offer drug abuse prevention support for families. LifeLine helps addiction treatment and collegiate recovery programs leverage technology to better serve their clients, students and families, keeping them connected and improving patient outcomes. InterAct is a newly-formed subsidiary of Convey Holdings and built on portal and networking technology developed by Convey Services.
Article
Learning the Hard Way
Learning Hard Lessons from the Tobacco Settlement "As state and local officials weigh proposed multibillion-dollar settlements to resolve cases against Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, and other drug companies in the U.S. opioid epidemic, public health experts have noted a cautionary tale ...
Learning Hard Lessons from the Tobacco Settlement"As state and local officials weigh proposed multibillion-dollar settlements to resolve cases against Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, and other drug companies in the U.S. opioid epidemic, public health experts have noted a cautionary tale contained in the past and present of an even larger agreement.In an interview with the Gazette, Brandt, the Amalie Moses Kass Professor of the History of Medicine and a professor of the history of science, looked back on the Big Tobacco deal and shared his views on the best strategy for distributing funds from pending opioid settlements.Read the Article
Article
Understanding Opioid Settlement Spending Plans Across States: Key Components and Approaches
Unlocking the Key Components of the Opioid Settlement Agreements Article by by Sam Mermin, Rebekah Falkner, Katie Greene "To understand common challenges and promising practices for state leaders in opioid settlement planning and spending, NASHP is engaging key state leaders across the country to ...
Unlocking the Key Components of the Opioid Settlement AgreementsArticle by by Sam Mermin, Rebekah Falkner, Katie Greene"To understand common challenges and promising practices for state leaders in opioid settlement planning and spending, NASHP is engaging key state leaders across the country to understand the structure and status of their current opioid settlement planning activities. NASHP is also analyzing governing materials and entities such as state legislation, opioid settlement agreements and spending plans, advisory committees, and other entities charged with disbursing state funding, as referenced in NASHP’s tracker.  With many states still establishing processes and administrative structures to guide settlement spending, understanding key responsibilities outlined in settlement agreements and how different states have approached planning can help support states in promoting greater transparency, coordination, and efficacy of opioid settlement spending."Read the Article
Web Page
Opioid Settlement Tracker Website
Online Resource Guide to Opioid Litigation Settlements From the website: "OpioidSettlementTracker.com is written and produced by Christine Minhee . She tracks opioid settlements and states’ opioid settlement spending plans to discover whether funds from the opioid litigation will indeed be ...
Online Resource Guide to Opioid Litigation SettlementsFrom the website:"OpioidSettlementTracker.com is written and produced by Christine Minhee. She tracks opioid settlements and states’ opioid settlement spending plans to discover whether funds from the opioid litigation will indeed be spent to bolster the public health response to drug use. Christine originally launched this site in 2019 as a Soros Justice Fellow and Visiting Scholar at the University of Washington School of Law, where she co-authored “The Cure for America’s Opioid Crisis? End the War on Drugs” (Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, with Steve P. Calandrillo, Kim Kardashian’s favorite Barbri instructor). She now uses the data she has amassed to assist governments and select non-profit organizations better understand the opioid settlement landscape. She specifically advocates for harm reduction uses of funds. She is a Dean’s Medal winner from UW Law, holds a B.A. from Stanford University, and is a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism’s Publishing Course."Visit Opioid Settlement Tracker
Resource Guide
Principles for the Use of Funds From the Opioid Litigation
John's Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health recently published 5 principles to help guide state and local organizations in their use of funds from the opioid abatement settlements. According to their website: "States, cities, counties, and tribes will soon be receiving funds from opioid ...
John's Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health recently published 5 principles to help guide state and local organizations in their use of funds from the opioid abatement settlements.  According to their website: "States, cities, counties, and tribes will soon be receiving funds from opioid manufacturers, pharmaceutical distributors, and pharmacies as a result of litigation brought against these companies for their role in the opioid epidemic that has claimed more than half a million lives over the past two decades. Visit the Website
Article
Overdose Rates Skyrocket During the Pandemic
Overdose Rates Skyrocket During the Pandemic More than 106,000 persons in the U.S. died from drug-involved overdose in 2021, including illicit drugs and prescription opioids. The figure above is a bar and line graph showing the total number of U.S. drug overdose deaths involving select illicit or ...
Overdose Rates Skyrocket During the PandemicMore than 106,000 persons in the U.S. died from drug-involved overdose in 2021, including illicit drugs and prescription opioids. The figure above is a bar and line graph showing the total number of U.S. drug overdose deaths involving select illicit or prescription drugs from 1999 to 2021. The bars are overlaid by lines showing the number of deaths by gender from 1999 to 2021 Read the Article
Video
Can the Brain Recover From Addiction?
In this episode, Can The Brain Recover From Addiction, we explore the brain's recovery from addiction to substances, like opioids and alcohol, and whether our brains are capable of making a complete recovery from any damage sustained from substance abuse and dependence. Can the brain recover from ...
Addiction, Alcohol, Drugs, Recovery, Science
In this episode, Can The Brain Recover From Addiction, we explore the brain's recovery from addiction to substances, like opioids and alcohol, and whether our brains are capable of making a complete recovery from any damage sustained from substance abuse and dependence. Can the brain recover from addiction? Description from Brief Brain Snacks
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The Other Prescription Drug Problem: ‘Benzos’ Like Valium and Xanax
In her article Temma Ehrenfeld says, "We’ve heard plenty about the opioid epidemic. But there’s another less recognized prescription drug problem: benzodiazepines like Ativan, Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin. While doctors are prescribing fewer painkillers, prescriptions for these anti-anxiety ...
Addiction, benzos, prescription pills, valium, xanax
In her article Temma Ehrenfeld says,"We’ve heard plenty about the opioid epidemic. But there’s another less recognized prescription drug problem: benzodiazepines like Ativan, Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin. While doctors are prescribing fewer painkillers, prescriptions for these anti-anxiety drugs are still going up."This article discusses the dangers of benzos and how they are often being overprescribed leading to abuse. Read the full article
Audio Journal
Episode 19 - InterAct Studios: Exploring the Risk Factors of Addiction with Dr. Sandy Newes
Carolyn: (00:00) Hello, I'm Carolyn Bradfield. And I'd like to welcome our listeners to the Audio Journal series from interact LifeLine. Interact LifeLine is a technology service focused on helping addiction treatment and collegiate recovery programs keep individuals connected to treatment, to ...
Podcast
Carolyn: (00:00) Hello, I'm Carolyn Bradfield. And I'd like to welcome our listeners to the Audio Journal series from interact LifeLine. Interact LifeLine is a technology service focused on helping addiction treatment and collegiate recovery programs keep individuals connected to treatment, to community and to their families to improve recovery and reduce relapse. **Introduction Music** Carolyn: (00:27) Good afternoon everyone, or morning whenever you're listening to this podcast. This is Carolyn Bradfield. I'm the CEO of Interact Lifeline and we are starting a new series in our podcast called Interact Studios. In this podcast we're going to have conversations with people that are from our industry in the mental health addiction and recovery space. And hopefully people that listen will learn a lot from our talk. So what I'd like to do today is introduce you to Dr. Sandy Newes. say hi, Sandy so people can hear your voice. Sandy: Hi everyone. Carolyn: I'm in Atlanta, Georgia. Sandy is in lovely Asheville, North Carolina, and, Sandy and I have known each other for a number of years. We worked together in the industry at Phoenix outdoor, an outdoor behavioral healthcare program in North Carolina. Sandy was our clinical director, as well as our testing psychologist. And so I have a deep level of respect for her in terms of her understanding of working with adolescents and young adults who had been struggling with substance misuse and addiction. And beyond working with adolescents and young adults, Sandy also has had significant contact with their parents, to help them understand the journey that their own with their loved one in terms of working, and helping them recover. Sandy also in my opinion, is one of the best testing psychologists in the country and so she does a complete analysis of an individual to understand their learning styles, their behavioral issues, and their mental health issues to provide parents and the individual with a thorough understanding of what's causing them to struggle along with making recommendations to move forward and to be healthier. Sandy has an extensive history in training and education. She works with other clinicians to help them better understand how to work with at-risk clientele, and she is especially focused on those that are struggling with substance misuse. So Sandy, you've got a million credentials, to your name, but beyond what I just shared in terms of our personal experience together, round out for the audience, the other areas that you focus on. Sandy: (03:21) So my broad areas are trauma, chronic stress, anxiety and self regulation issues of which addiction is a part of that. And I really believe that those are the underlying pieces in addiction. And so I have a private practice and Asheville as Carolyn mentioned. And not only do I test do testing, I see individual clients, about a third of my practice are adult or young adults, primarily in adults, some adolescents, but in early recovery or mid level recovery from addiction, as well as people who are struggling with chronic stress and anxiety. And I incorporate a real brain-based focus on working. So I use skills to help regulate the nervous system and help teach people how to balance their brains, which has everything to do with behavior. And I also incorporate neurofeedback into that. And then I do training around those types of things for not only clinicians, but also staff at therapeutic programs nationwide. Carolyn: (04:24) You are by far one of the smartest people that I know and certainly well-respected in the industry. So again, you're welcome. so, and yeah, our first initial minutes in this conversation, we've used the word addiction quite a lot. And as a psychologist you've treated hundreds of adolescents and young adults that are struggling with addiction over the years. So let's get the audience a level set definition of what addiction really is. So in layman's terms, can you just give us a good understanding about what we're, what we're facing here, what really is addiction? Sandy: (05:08) Sure. There's a tremendous amount of science around the way addictive substances impact the brain. And, but I'm not going to go into that right now, but it is really important to understand that this is a brain-based disease that people who, whose substance use moves into addiction have a different response to the same substances and their chemical responses and their brain respond differently than people who use and don't become addicts. And so essentially what happens is some kind of different chemical process happens in the brain that leads an individual, It can start in adolescence and move into adulthood. That leads them to become increasingly preoccupied with using the substance. That sets up a whole different brain-based kind of physiological response and that leads to increased preoccupations and ultimately cravings and those preoccupations and cravings lead to the individual really not recognizing the impact of their behavior or prioritizing the substance use above all of that. So it has nothing to do with willpower, moral or character. It has everything to do with the way the brain interacts with the substance that continues to worsen over time. Carolyn: (06:27) You know, I'm glad that you mentioned that this is not what a lot of people think it is, which is a moral failing or a series of bad choices. But actually the disease has a real root in science and you know, a real brain disorder that makes these choices more and more difficult for a person that is seeking the substance, and Interact, We've been studying the government statistics. And so we know that once a person enters rehab for substance misuse and addiction and they come out after their 30 days, there's an extraordinarily high relapse rate sometimes, often as high as 85% in the first year. So what makes this disease of addiction so doggone difficult to treat? Sandy: (07:17) Well, there's a couple of different factors. The first is that these traditional 30 day programs are really focused 100% on helping a person gets sober, which has to happen obviously for them to recover from addiction. But they teach all of these structures and they just don't hold up in the real world because the stresses that an individual faces away from the treatment program tend to override all of the understanding that the person has gotten in their treatment program where they were isolated from stresses of day to day functioning. Not to mention temptation for addiction. So, you know, there's that, there's the excessive focus on just plugging them into these structures that we hope will be helpful, such as 12 step that which can be helpful, but for some people isn't theirs. But bigger than that, I think there's a huge miss of the brain-based piece, which relates to the mental health issues that underneath addiction is suffering underneath that are mental health issues. And associated with all of that is the way that events, that one experiences in one's life impacts their brain. So stressful events, overwhelming events, traumatic events impact our brains. And then that sets us up for that physiological brain-based response to addiction that I already mentioned. So our brain gets into this place of activation from stress, from trauma, from difficult things. And then the substances have more of an effect. And so without addressing that underlying brain-based self-regulation piece, people leave treatment programs committed to sobriety. But the environment happens, life happens, stress happens, our brain gets into a dysregulated state, it gets more activated, it gets more stressed essentially. And then it becomes more and more difficult to simply not use by going to meetings and doing all the other things that are taught in these 12 step based programs. Carolyn: (09:20) You know? So for my own personal experience with my daughter, she would go to a treatment program for 30 days. She would get clean and sober look great, but then come out and struggle. And for a lot of the reasons that you meant, you mentioned that it also seems to move that a lot of treatment revolves around looking at this as an acute disease. So after 30 days you're, you know, you're much better and not really the chronic disease that it is. You want to talk a little bit about, why addiction is a lifetime worth of management versus 30 days in rehab? Sandy: (10:00) Well, it's because that once your brain, I mean, so there's so many different levels to that question. That's a really difficult question to answer. But I mean, at a neuroscientific level, once your brain gets hardwired into, you know, that this substance, there's literally neural pathways that are built in the brain that like this substance is the thing that makes you feel better. And so when that gets activated, that really takes over and becomes so preoccupying in a distorted way. People don't realize that. But beyond that, there's an inner part that, you know, there's an interpersonal factor. So most of the stressors and traumas and overwhelming events that we experience in our modern day life. You know, there's like events like car accidents and you know, difficult things, but it's a lot interpersonal, this family stuff or it's rejection or it's lost. It's, you know, getting bullied by peers. It's getting kicked out of the group. It's, you know, failing to make the soccer team. All of these things are really difficult, immense to navigate in adolescence. And they have something to do with deep belonging and struggles with interpersonal relationship, which set up relationships to be the thing that triggers people into getting overwhelmed and they're getting activated. And when we get activated and we get overwhelmed, our thinking brain literally goes offline. We know this also from neuroscience, that stress, that activation leads us to be unable to use our good thinking skills, which is don't go to the bar, don't pick up. That's a really bad idea. Go to a meeting, talk to your sponsor. That all requires your ability to kind of think your way through and make it happen. But what we know is when our brains get activated, I refer to as getting "out of the zone" that thinking brain goes offline and then often all of those things go out the window. So one of the missing links in treatment is that people have these relationships that are safe and kind of contrived essentially in a treatment program. And then we go out into the real world and relationships are hard and we're not teaching people how to develop and maintain and stay in and feel safe in relationship or choose people that they can do that with wisely. So there's all of these different kind of things that are essentially stacked against the addict ability to recover because we're missing some of those components in the treatment programs and relationships skills and self regulation skills and managing stressors of life skills like that's inherent. That's that is the whole life. And when you don't know how to manage those things and keep yourself regulated and keep stress from overwhelming, you, the capacity to really think through and keep using all the good coping skills that we learned in treatment becomes really diminished at times of heightened stress or activation. Does that make sense? Carolyn: (13:08) Yeah, that makes total sense. And you know, you and I worked together at Phoenix outdoor and that program focused on adolescents, 13 to 17 years old. So all those skillsets of regulation, making good choices, that help keep you healthy are, are lots more difficult for an adolescent because they just aren't mature enough yet. So, you know, at Phoenix outdoor, we not only work with a number of adolescents, but we had a very robust family support program, so we had the opportunity to talk with and engage with lots and lots of parents. And so based on your experience in the program, how aware do you think parents are, and understanding the extent to which their kids who were coming into our program were struggling with the diseases still? Do you think they, they understood it, knew it or we're just not educated? Sandy: (14:11) I mean, I think that hardly any of them understood or knew very little about it, especially at the adolescent level. I mean there's so many different cultural lenses through which we view substance use and some, you know, subcultural groups like using drugs and alcohol and adolescence is considered normal and it's just, it's almost considered a rite of passage in other groups. You know, it's so far from parents own worldview or their own lens or their own experiences, adolescents that they literally don't even see it when it's right in front of their face. And that's not their fault. It's because they're not watching for it. And then kind of all of that really culminates in parents really not knowing when, you know, quote unquote experimentation has become really problematic, either because they're, their child is hiding it so well or they're not being alerted by the schools or anywhere else, or they're just not conditioned to see it as a problem. But all of that, it's just parents are very uneducated about how serious that can get, how rapidly it can progress. And essentially more than that, like how much addiction really takes hold of a person. And I think that's the part that people just don't get, is that like intense preoccupation and how it drives somebody into their own world to where it seems like a completely reasonable thing to deal from parents or you know, do things that are extraordinarily hurtful to the people who care about them in order to get at the drugs or the alcohol that they're looking at. And I think that's the part that people don't get. you know, and then they start just trying to punish and shame the child and essentially that just contributes further to the problem. So by the time we get here, it's way more difficult to address the issues than it is if we'd, if parents were more educated and saw some of those more early warning signs. Carolyn: (16:14) Sandy, as you know, from knowing me, that parallels my own personal experience. my daughter started using substances beginning with alcohol, then cascading into drugs at age 14. And I was completely uneducated about the risk that was out there. I had no idea about how much trouble that she was in at that point. so I appreciate and understand that my own experience paralleled, that of the clients that we worked with. So I've thought about this a lot, especially given the fact that my daughter is no longer with us. But if you could have a conversation with those parents when their kids are not in our program, but they were much younger, what warning signs should they pay attention to that their child might be at higher risk of developing this disease? What would you say to somebody who's kids eight, not 18. Sandy: (17:22) The first thing is look at your family history. So there is undeniable research that families who for whom addiction runs in the family, whether that'd be alcoholism or drug addiction or just problematic substance use or heavy substance use that that runs in the family. If you can look back and the parents and the grandparents and the aunts and the uncles and going back, the more that there is, the more at risk your child is. And so that that simple fact alone should be informing parents view from minute one. If you have a strong family history of addiction or problematic substance use, then it's really important to begin really early taking active steps to keep your child from ever using. The second piece of that is that age of first use is strongly associated with addiction. So kids who start using earlier are more likely to become addicted. So if you have on 11 year old who's out experimenting with marijuana, this is not quote unquote normal behavior. I mean it is in some circles and it is among some groups, but this is not healthy. And so it's really important to come down really hard on that. And by that I mean, I don't mean like punitive and horrible. I just mean like take that as a tremendous risk factor. And if you've got both of those things, age, early, age of first use and a strong family history, then you're headed for trouble. Or you could be your, your percentages are much higher risk to looking at those factors. The next one is, Carolyn: (19:07) Let me interrupt you because I want to explore that one thing a second. So my daughter was 14. So age of early use would definitely apply to her. And also from our research we understand that use has become pervasive in middle school. So kids are starting to use much, much younger than that. Talk a little bit about the developing brain and when it really gets developed and what happens when you interrupt that development with substances. I think people need to understand why early use well is critical, Sandy: (19:45) Right. So in adolescence, essentially our brains become scrambled. So they did, they've kind of, associated adolescence with like around the age of three when you're born and you did start to develop neural structures and then kind of early on in childhood, those things sort of reorganize and restructure themselves. And kids go through periods where they cannot control their impulses is essentially the toddler years. And they've associated adolescence with that, that the brain kind of organizes itself through early childhood and in adolescence it all kind of splits apart and then restructures itself again. And so adolescents are extremely prone to problems with impulse control. They have difficult time regulating their emotions cause at the same time they're also separating from parents. That's part of their job is to create an identity separate from parents and other caregivers in school and things such as that. So all of this creates a perfect for drugs and alcohol to come in while the brain is restructuring itself, enter drugs and alcohol and suddenly pathways that are associated with wanting that substance are formed. So there's like literally neuropathways that create this connection to craving drugs and alcohol. At the same time. This is a really critical time for adolescents to be learning how to have healthy, increasingly more mature, connected, intimate relationships with people other than family members. Learn how to manage their emotions, learn how to make good, healthy decisions, learn how to control their impulses. Like, yeah, well, yeah, sure you want to drive your car a hundred miles down the highway cause it seems fun, but not a good idea. So you're not going to do it. But so all of these different things create this perfect storm where drugs and alcohol not only create neural pathways and again those with a history of addiction and their family are more versed for this. But then drugs and alcohol curb the normal development of some of these essential skills that set adolescents and young adults up to move into healthy adulthood where they can control their impulses, make good decisions, choose things that are healthy for them, recognize risk, what isn't, isn't safe for them to do what is or isn't good idea. And ultimately it really impacts the brain's overall developmental process. Now, brain doesn't fully develop until age of 25. We know that the frontal and prefrontal cortex, which is the thinking brain, is not fully developed until age 25. And so we add that into the mix and adolescence and into young adulthood and it really negatively impacts that part. And that part is critical for an independent, well-functioning, successful adult who's able to initiate decisions, engage in a career, raise a family, and have good, healthy relationships. Carolyn: (22:53) So, you've mentioned this a couple of times in our conversation about, kids that are not in their zone. And I want to go back to, the focus that we talked about, which is, you know, the conversation we might have with mom and dad, much earlier, to point out what, who's at risk. So let's talk a little bit about the overly emotional child who's constantly blowing hot and cold. Who just can't seem to stay in the zone where they're not exploding or overreacting. How much should we as parents be worried when we have a child like that, as a potential risk factor for some that someone that might misuse substance and develop addiction. Talk about kids not staying in their zone? Sandy: (23:45) That's a great question. So, I was actually gonna say that as kind of the third risk factor for parents to watch for, which is kids who can't emotionally regulate, and emotionally regulate means, you know, a child who just gets overwhelmed by their emotions and it can start when they're young with good emotions. Like it doesn't have to be all quote unquote bad or difficult emotions. But when you see a child who gets overrun with excitement or overrun with anger or overrun with anxiety, and they can't shift out of it and it skews their perceptions of things and they just get wrapped up in it, or when they get upset, they just lose control of themselves. Like they yell and they scream or they throw things and they just have an extraordinarily difficult time calming down. Like that is high, high risk for addiction right there. And the reason is is because enter drugs and alcohol and suddenly you can calm down, enter drugs and alcohol and suddenly that overwhelming anxiety that you're experiencing is no longer an issue. And you can go out into the world and talk to people and become really upset or mad, enter drugs and alcohol and suddenly you can calm that feeling. So these overwhelming feelings, enter drugs and alcohol and they become like seemingly the perfect tool. So not only that, like, Oh wow, does that ever feel amazing? But also then when you begin to use that instead of learning healthy, mature skills to regulate your emotions, which we call getting back into the zone, right? Then we don't, we miss the opportunity to learn the skills. And so the drugs and alcohol become increasingly more important for that. All of that then relates to the development of the brain, right? That frontal and prefrontal cortex, which is required to do that. So those three things all are, are happening at the same time. And it starts with a child who struggles with regulating their emotions in early childhood. And I'm talking again early childhood can be toddlerhood all the way up to like age eight, nine, 10. I have a nine year old right now who really struggles when he gets mad. All those things happen. And I know that that puts him at high risk and that's something that I need to monitor. So I need to teach him those skills now so that he doesn't need drugs and alcohol as much later to help him with it. Carolyn: (26:13) Yes. I think that's an excellent point. You know, that if you've got a child that's struggling with that, just be on higher alert. The other thing that I know you and I mutually experienced when we've worked with adolescents at Phoenix outdoor, we observed that a large percentage of them have problems keeping up with their schoolwork. How might those kids that struggle with learning differences be at higher risk. Why, might they, why do we have such a large percentage that had learning issues in our program that focused on substance misuse? Sandy: (26:54) Well, I mean, there's a lot of different factors to that too. There's kind of the internal experience of never quite feeling like you fit in, always struggling, always falling behind. So, you know, substances become a way to manage that, those self esteem issues. There's also the fact that many types of learning issues, especially, you know, ADHD being one of them also negatively impact the capacity to self-regulate. So it, it again relates to the frontal part of their brain that, you know, great brain in the front, the frontal cortex is required to regulate emotions. So when you have learning differences of some sorts, that part becomes even more impaired. Putting one at higher risk for the things that I just mentioned. And then there's the social aspects of it that, you know, using drugs and alcohol in adolescents and young adulthood is essentially a way to be cool. The way to get attention. It's a way to find, you know, social power and social capital, in a world in which maybe you feel like you're being left behind. And so that classic, you know, kid who like hangs on the outskirts and lures the other kids over to get attention and look at me, I looked at, I'm so cool, I got drugs. You should hang out with me. Isn't this fun? You know, that kind of thing becomes extraordinarily compelling for a child who's always felt like they're on the outskirts, not to mention the drugs and alcohol might help them figure out like, Oh, look at me, I can, you know, have a few drinks and be social. So helping to manage all the social anxiety. So certainly that puts kids also at higher risk for a variety, for a variety of different reasons. So it's also something to begin to notice in elementary school if your child is having learning differences, just taking those extra steps to know that they're at higher risk. So we got to watch more carefully and be more proactive from a prevention perspective. Carolyn: (28:49) You know, I think it also falls that a kid can fall in both ends of the spectrum. They can either have learning differences, so they might get made fun of because they can't keep up. But then you take the kid on the opposite end of the spectrum that's super smart and they may be socially awkward as well, so they get bullied. You know, so I think that we, we as parents need to look at both ends of the spectrum as well. So, another risk factor that we're aware of and I know that we've talked about before, are something that we call adverse childhood experiences. So, you know, often times society worries most about the, the kid whose home life is in disarray there they've suffered abuse, violence, they live on the other side of the tracks. Their environment is really chaotic, but I think you and I both learned that children can experience other issues that they consider to be difficult or adverse that they have a hard time responding to. So I'll take my own situation with Laura. The year that she started using, she entered high school for the first time, she changed her sport from soccer to rowing. We moved to a new neighborhood and I got married, you know, so like you talk about like all these changes and, and, her balls. So talk a little bit about the impact of these adverse or negative childhood experiences as it relates to elevating, a kid's risk. What the parents need to know. Sandy: (30:38) Well, it's because of the way that it impacts our brains. Again, I mean it all comes down to brains and how addiction is a brain based disease. And so anything that's going to impact our brains can be ultimately associated with higher risk for addiction. And so what we now know is that, you know, they refer to it as trauma or adverse childhood events, ACEs, that the higher the, you know, the more of those that you have more impacts your brain development, which I can say more about but, it's important to recognize that these are, these events are anything that overwhelms a child's ability to cope or anything at all in a child's life that overwhelms their sense of safety and security and predictability in their world. And so why that impacts our brains is because then that activates the part of our brain that is 100% focused on keeping us alive. And it sets us into survival mode, which is a much more reactive mode, which is really adaptive when we live in the woods and you've got bears and tigers working about that are ready to eat you. So you can react really fast. But it's not really adaptive in a world in which there aren't really predators and where the predators are essentially other people, their family members or their people at school or their teachers. And that's just a brain-based. Again, that's not that really is that not that divorcing parents are really tigers, it's just that that sets up the, the survival part of the child's brain. And when the survival part of the brain is in charge, it's really reactive. We're scanning the world for threat. And again, it takes that thinking brain offline or it diminishes its functioning. So the more of these events that we experience more activated, our nervous system is in readiness to fight tigers or to run from tigers or to freeze in the face of tigers. And that puts us in a really reactive state, which in that reactive state is the exact opposite of what kids need to be able to learn, to be able to engage in healthy relationships, to learn math, to plan, and ultimately to control their impulses and to control their emotions because it impacts the thinking part of the brain. The thinking part of the brand new, slow, the survival part of the brain moves fast. When a child experiences overwhelming events, the survival brain is in charge. And so it diminished the capacity for the child to develop the ability to self regulate. And that ability to self regulate means emotions and behaviors. And that has everything to do with whether or not they're going to be able to choose not to use drugs or alcohol or to be able to regulate their use if they do choose to use. Carolyn: (33:17) So one of the things that I know for sure with parents of, elementary school kids is that they don't feel like they should focus on a disease that their children may never get. But, the reality based on government research is that we know one in 10 adolescents will become addicted before they even leave high school. And now we've explored a lot of the reasons why you focused your conversation on the genetic link and how critical that is. It's the same as if somebody has a genetic link to diabetes. There's a much higher chance that, a child will develop diabetes in their lifetime. You talked about emotional regulation and the importance of, watching a kid more closely if he's becomes dysregulated. We've talked about learning differences, kids that can't keep up or that are overly intelligent, being different and, and struggling to fit in. And we've talked about these adverse childhood experiences that, the child has a fight or flight response to that really causes their brain to go into overload. So I'm sure people listening to this, if their mom and dad or grandparents were probably freaked out at this point, now that we've gone through that. but let's talk about what mom and dad should be doing to lower the risk. So if they could only do three things to lower the risk that their child will be one of those statistics, what advice would you give them? What are the top three things they ought to be thinking about? Sandy: (35:07) That's a really good question. I mean I would really focus on that emotion regulation piece. And if you don't know what that means, right? That means you can look up mindfulness for kids, mindfulness in schools, and it's not all mindfulness. I talk about it as kind of trauma and resilience or self regulation skills, but mindfulness is an easy entry point to that. Teach your kids skills, how to regulate their emotions, teach them how to calm down, teach them to recognize when they're out of their zone and teach them ways to get back in their zone. Related to that, if you can, you don't get your schools on board with that. That's a really critical piece is to begin. And more and more schools are doing it. They're kind of recognizing that it falls under the umbrella of trauma informed care, but it's really a preventative tool. So get involved in, in ways with communities, with teachers in ways that your kids learn that and begin to just language that at school. Like normalize that. Like, Oh wow, you're having a hard time regulating your anger. How do we help you get back in your zone? Those kinds of things are so, so critical. the second is really educating your child and yourself. Like recognize what those early warning signs are, what is or is not normal and start talking to your kids about that early. Like one of the things that my friend says that her dad always said to her is that "some things are too good and you must never do them." And I think that's valid, right? Like, you know, teach kids about addiction, but this is a thing and let's not pretend it's not happening. Because even if it doesn't happen to your child's, certainly they're going to know somebody for whom it does. And you know, just begin to have an open dialogue and do your best to stay in relationship with your child. Spend time with them, keep those lines of communication open. And as part of that really monitor technology use, which is a whole separate conversation, but I'm convinced that too much technology use is a gateway drug and three, assess your risk factors like look at your own family history, look at your child. Does they, do they struggle with emotion regulation? are they at higher risk? Do they have a community of kids that they connect with that they feel safe and supported and valued and understood and if not, start early and try to help them find that. And then last just take active strides to really look for the places where they might actually be able to use and keep your eyes on it, right? Like, like you know, maybe consider drug testing early, but certainly supervise them very closely. Do not hesitate to monitor their phones. Look, listen, look at their calls, look at their texts, find out where they are on social media, pay attention and just tell your child that that's why you're doing it. It's my job as a parent to keep you safe. There's a lot of things out there that are not safe for you. Drugs and alcohol is a big one. And I'm going to watch you really, really closely while you learn the skills to be able to work through this to yourself. But until then, I'm going to step in and help you be able to make good decisions, because this could kill you and I'm not willing to let that happen. So really taking those kinds of steps from an early age, not from an alarmist perspective, but from a prevention perspective. And if you normalize it when they're in elementary school this is what we're doing to protect you for the future, then it's not so hard to bring it in later when you might get more pushback cause you're already doing it. Carolyn: (38:53) So, in recap, the things that parents ought to be doing proactively are teaching their kids to, be able to emotionally regulate themselves, stay in their zone. I'm getting connected to schools and communities so that you know what's going on and that you're having conversations, educate yourself as parents, understand the disease, understand the risk factors and find an age appropriate way to talk to your children early so that they are educated and not scared, but they're educated. Monitor their technology, monitor the kids. Consider drug testing. I don't think there's anything wrong with it, but you know, as parents, your job is to keep them safe and you should do all those things. I'm going to add to that, list Sandy and you can comment on it. My personal advice, and this is after struggling with my daughter for 15 years would be as follows, adopt the attitude that it can happen to you. We grew up in the middle class neighborhood, we had great neighbors. My kid was girl scout, et cetera. You would never look at her and think that she's at risk. So I think we all need to adopt the attitude, no matter what we see in elementary school. It can happen to your kid. And once it does, it makes life a lot more difficult. The second thing I would advise parents would be to not be ashamed. it is no reflection on your parenting skills. It has no reflection on your moral failing if you have a child that develops the disease. So being transparent about it, asking for help, connecting with others that have expertise I think is critical, and not blaming yourself, for what's happening to your child. The third thing I would advise parents, and you mentioned it, but I want to bring it up again, which is when when your kids are actively seeking substances, they will do things that will terribly hurt your feelings. They will steal from you, be mean to you, try and misdirect you. And it's really not a reflection of how much they do or don't love you. It's just a part of the disease and you have to understand that they'll do things that don't make sense to you. But it is not personal, it's just a function of the disease. So if you could stand to give parents any last words of advice before we wrap up, what would you tell them? What would be your best piece of advice? Sandy: ( 41:33) Intervene earlier instead of later. If you have a child that you can see as high risk and their risk is emotion regulation or anxiety, get them into therapy in elementary school there's no stigma, there's no problem work to create the structures before they ever use. And if they start using early intervene actively, quickly. So get them into therapy. Don't hesitate to put them in a treatment program as an adolescence if they need it. Wilderness therapy often also referred to as outdoor behavioral healthcare can be super effective for adolescents, but the earlier we intervene, the better it is. Don't hesitate to take, to really respond really, really strongly. And again, as you're, if you, your assessment of your risk factors goes up, then the degree to which sort of the magnitude of your response early on should also go up. Like don't wait until they're using heroin. You know, by that time the recovery is so much more difficult, take and take active strides to keep them from using. The longer that they can go without using, the more their brains will be developed. So, so start early, respond, you know, strongly get the structures in place to support them both avoiding using and that they have a place to go if they do use. And really beyond that, the biggest thing that's that I think is hard about recovery is for people, adolescents, adults, all of us to, to find community. And that's, I think one of the biggest things that I didn't mention that drives people back to relapse. So create community for your kids that isn't about technology. Help them find friends, help them find groups, socialize with other parents who share your values so that they have a place to land where they feel supported and they feel safe. And I think that that is hugely important and start that early. Carolyn: (43:46) So Sandy, very good conversation. I thank you so much for your insight and wisdom. Hopefully, this will be shared around with parents, with grandparents and others that want to know more about the disease that need to understand who's at risk and ways to protect them. So this is Carolyn Bradfield and Dr. Sandy Newes with Interact Lifeline Studios. We thank you for your time and attention and we will end the podcast. Thank you so much, Sandy. Sandy: (44:18) Thank you for having me, Carolyn. I appreciate it. You're certainly welcome. Outro: Interact lifeline here to make a difference in how people manage the disease of addiction, reducing the right of relapse and improving the recovery process. We offer treatment and collegiate recovery programs, a technology service to keep families connected to treatment, to support communities and to family. This is Carolyn Bradfield and you've been listening to our Audio Journal from Interact Lifeline.
Audio Journal
Episode 18 - The Gift of Community
Make connections to help support you as you battle addiction If you are struggling with addiction or have an addict in your family, going it alone is never a good idea. I was fortunate in many ways that when my 14-year old daughter began her struggle, I had close friends that were there for me ...
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Make connections to help support you as you battle addiction If you are struggling with addiction or have an addict in your family, going it alone is never a good idea.  I was fortunate in many ways that when my 14-year old daughter began her struggle, I had close friends that were there for me who had watched Laura grow up and knew I needed help.  And people were there for me throughout the 15 years we battled the disease, and in the end when she overdosed and died. You need help and support around you to give you perspective, a sanity check, relief and acceptance and that comes by finding a community that you can connect to.  Communities help us feel connected and a part of something, but they also have strong benefits when it comes to helping you as you battle the disease of addiction for yourself or for a loved one. Communities allow us to benefit from the lessons others have learned so we don’t have to learn from our own mistakes.  Communities can inspire us when we watch members achieve things that go right in their lives.  Communities give us contacts we can call on when we need help.  Knowing others that are going through the same things we are, learning from them and getting their support is a very important gift that you can give yourself. Our company, InterAct LifeLine, supports collegiate recovery communities, organized groups for people in recovery on college campuses.  The gift of belonging to those communities as a student is a higher graduation rate, a higher GPA, a much lower return to substance misuse and frankly, friends you keep your entire life. For those struggling with addiction, finding communities of sober, like-minded people promotes healthy social interaction replacing the circle of people that misused substances with others that you can connect with without worrying about being around drugs or alcohol.  Communities provide support when counseling is not available, and its people are often just a phone call away. But if you are a family member that is helping a loved one fight addiction, finding communities of other family members may not be as obvious as it is for the person who is finding community in addiction support groups.  Here are a few ideas for where to go find the gift of community. Connect to online support groups. Social media can be a powerful tool to find others that are going through the same challenges you are, share your thoughts without judgment, and find strategies that help you move forward.  For me, I belong to several Facebook groups focused on loss of a loved one from overdose.  The stories I read are sad, but also reminders of how many of us are turning grief into purpose trying to make a difference in the lives of others.  All it takes on Facebook is to access groups, enter keywords to find groupa that you relate to the most and ask to join. Find a support community in Al-Anon or other organizations.  Most of us have heard of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, AA and NA, but did you know that the same organization has support groups for families who have a loved one battling addiction?  It’s called Al-Anon that uses the same 12-step philosophy to help families heal.  If 12-Step is not your thing, then there are many other ways to connect to family support groups.  If you just google “family support groups for addiction” you will get links to a number of support communities and likely find those who have meetings in your area. Find a non-profit focused group on family support.  As I mentioned earlier, I lost a daughter to overdose and found a non-profit called Compassionate Friends that focuses on helping families cope with loss.  SAMSHA, a government organization focused on substance abuse and mental health, has a national hotline that can connect families to support organizations.  (1-800-662-HELP).   There is Parents of Addicted Loved Ones or PAL for short with a national directory of meetings in your area which have both an educational component and time for sharing.  The list goes on and on, but these non-profits are here to help, connect you to others who are going through the same issue, and are easily found online. And don’t forget about the support group you already know, your family and friends.  The people closest to you may not be fully aware of how you struggle, so they often seem to sit on the sidelines until you ask them to jump in.  They may not be able to empathize at the level you would like them to because it’s hard to understand unless you have experienced coping with an addicted loved one, so it’s up to you to paint a picture of how your life has changed and what you struggle with. And it’s also important that you are clear about the type of help you need.  Do you just need a friendly ear to air out your issues?  Are you asking for them to weigh in on what they think you should do?  Do you need a partner to help you solve a problem?  Or do you just need a break to focus on something that’s fun and normal? Takeaways Often when we struggle with addiction, it seems right to hide what is going on because we are ashamed, shy about sharing our struggles, and don’t believe we can find people to understand and support us.  However, this thought process is counterproductive to helping you manage through what is arguably one of the most difficult challenges you will face.  The gift of community is powerful, keeps you centered, helps you with strategies and most importantly, reminds you that you are not the only one struggling.  Communities reinforce the fact that you   are not alone in this fight.
Audio Journal
Episode 17 - The Gift of Self-Care
How to keep yourself healthy, centered, balanced & connected when you struggle with an addicted loved one This will be my second Christmas without my daughter Laura who struggled for 15 years with addiction but lost her life to overdose on December 21, 2017, right before the holidays. In the ...
Podcast
How to keep yourself healthy, centered, balanced & connected when you struggle with an addicted loved one This will be my second Christmas without my daughter Laura who struggled for 15 years with addiction but lost her life to overdose on December 21, 2017, right before the holidays. In the two years since her death, I’ve taken care of myself in some ways, but not in others.   Battling addiction with a loved one or battling it as an addict takes a toll on you personally. There is the stress of not knowing what is going to happen next, the lack of sleep when you stay up through the night hoping to hear the door open and your loved one walk in, the constant anxiety.  If you don’t care for yourself, then your health and well-being will suffer. Self-care is complex, but it’s a gift that you should try and give yourself.  Don’t think of it as something selfish, but rather something necessary to stay strong.  Here are some thoughts for all of us who need to do more to care for ourselves with the gift of self-care. Set healthy boundaries.  When you are surrounding by addiction, you have to set physical, emotional and mental limits so that you avoid being manipulated, used or violated by the addicts in your life. Boundaries are simply guidelines that you express to others so that they know how you want to be treated and what happens when they cross those boundaries.  In my relationship with my daughter, some of the boundaries I set included what I needed her to contribute to the house while she was living there, how I needed to be communicated with respectfully, and the rules around any type of substance use around me or in my home. Take care of your body.  For me, taking care of my body was not on my “to do” list after my daughter died.  As a result, I gained weight, ate poorly, got very little sleep and just overall felt physically weak.  When you are fighting addiction yourself or on behalf of a loved one, you have to take care of your body.  Start by adding a healthy dose of exercise to your routine.  You don’t have to do cross-fit or run a marathon, but you can start by simply walking 30 minutes a day. Exercise releases those endorphins that make you feel better, relieves stress, and helps you connect with others if you engage in sports activities. Because sleep affects our mood, helps us keep a healthy weight and reduces stress, trying to keep a regular sleep pattern is important.  Start by recognizing what your sleep patterns are and where they are off balance.  Then change your routine to eat earlier, not watch TV as your go to sleep routine, and keep your room cool and quiet. And finally, eating healthy has some very strong benefits.  If you are in recovery, then don’t replace drug use with a new bad habit of eating poorly like adding processed foods or sugars.  A good diet improves your mood and is a cornerstone of selfcare. Use mindfulness to reduce stress and increase a feeling of well-being.  Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgment. Being mindful makes it easier to appreciate the pleasures in life as they occur, helps you become fully engaged in activities, and creates a capacity to deal with the adverse events that has been coming your way.  And if you are struggling with addiction, there are quite a few zingers that you struggle with.   People who practice mindfulness find that they are less likely to obsess about what may happen to them in the future or have regrets over the past.  Mindfulness helps people become less preoccupied with success or concern themselves on how others might judge them.  There are many ways to practice mindfulness, but most often this is done with meditation, and finding time to sit quietly, let your thoughts come without judging them, and focusing on relaxed breathing. Self-care means finding balance in your life. When you are struggling, it’s very tempting to be single threaded on fighting the disease itself and start to drop things that you found enjoyment in.  Your life can quickly get out of balance. Balance involves doing the things you have to do but making sure to not drop the things that you like to do.   And watch out for areas where you might be overdoing it.  For a time, my daughter went to multiple AA meetings every single day, but then failed to do other things that kept her healthy like exercising or just connecting with friends. Practice social selfcare. It’s very easy to withdraw when you are suffering.  You may not want to let others in and have to explain your struggles to them but letting others in is an important part of self-care.  There are a number of support groups where you will find others that are experiencing some of the same issues with addiction that you are.  There are family members and friends willing to support you if they know what kind of help or understanding you need.  You may want to talk to a counselor or therapist so you can process your feelings by talking about them out loud.  Self-care involves finding and nurturing connections so that you don’t go it alone. Remember that being an addict or having one in your family takes a toll on your most valued relationships, so it’s important to keep in contact with them, be honest about your struggles and get support. And don’t forget about practical self-care.  Anxiety comes from things that we feel are out of control, so look around you and see what might look like it’s within your control that you can do something about.  If your house is a mess, then bring order to the chaos by cleaning it up.  Go through your clothes and stuff and take a lesson from Marie Kondo and if your stuff doesn’t give you joy, then find a way to rehome it.  When my daughter died, we sold our 5,000 square foot home and moved to something smaller requiring me to purge all of those things that I had stuffed away that I never used.  Getting control of the clutter and getting rid of it was a form of practical self-care. Takeaways Self-care is an integral part of healing yourself and making well-being a priority.  To give yourself that gift, you need to let people know how you want to be treated, focus on your physical well-being, use mindfulness to keep yourself centered, find balance in your life, and staying connected to others.  Self-care also means keeping our environment stress free, clutter free and organized.  Self-care is a gift that you can give yourself that brings balanced to a life that addiction has thrown out of balance.
Audio Journal
Episode 16 - The Gift of Forgiveness
One of the bests gifts to give yourself during the holidays, forgiveness This will be my second Christmas without my daughter Laura who struggled for 15 years with addiction but lost her life to overdose on December 21, 2017, right before the holidays. But even when Laura was with us, holidays ...
Podcast
One of the bests gifts to give yourself during the holidays, forgiveness This will be my second Christmas without my daughter Laura who struggled for 15 years with addiction but lost her life to overdose on December 21, 2017, right before the holidays. But even when Laura was with us, holidays were often stressful because I never knew what kind of tension and drama she might create for the family. It’s so easy to sit back during the holidays and beat yourself up. Your friends are all having a wonderful Christmas dinner, opening their gifts, and connecting with family. Your family may have been turned upside down, so you reflect on how you managed to get yourself in this mess. You look at what you did or didn’t do to create such a dysfunctional family, holiday or in my case lose a loved one. So now it’s time to open up the gift of forgiveness. It’s not your fault. I repeat, it’s not your fault. Your loved one had a genetic predisposition to develop the disease of addiction because the genes that trigger it run in families. Ten people could go to a party, have a drink and not feel uncontrollably compelled to keep going. But that 1 person in 10 that is genetically pre-disposed will have their brain’s reward center triggered to need more of the substance that caused their dopamine production to go wild. It’s not your fault that those genes ran in your family just as it’s not your fault if you have diabetes in your genes. Your loved one didn’t develop the disease because of you. Don’t blame yourself because of your parenting. Parenting is hard enough no matter what someone tells you. Everyone makes mistakes and you’ve likely made more than a few when it comes to managing an adolescent that become oppositional, then defiant, then a drug user and then an addict. Trust me that I was one of those parents with my daughter Laura. But you need to give yourself a break. It’s hard to make the best decisions when you are in the middle of a war and under siege. Addiction may have come on quickly not giving you the time to be fully informed and ready. Everyone makes mistakes, even parents with those picture-perfect kids. It’s time to forgive yourself for any parenting missteps during this crisis. Forgive those people around you. You are going to be surprised at the friends, family and co-workers who just didn’t understand the depth of your struggles. You may feel their scrutiny and disapproval and find them distancing themselves from you. Although that may seem terrible, it’s perfectly understandable that they don’t really understand because nobody can unless they have walked in your shoes. When I first sent my daughter Laura to wilderness therapy treatment, I chose a New Year’s Eve party to announce my decision to my friends, some of which knew about our struggles and others did not. I was greeted with, “How could you?” and “Why didn’t you try other things first?”. At first, I was insulted and horrified that they just didn’t get it because that was one of the hardest decisions of my life. But then on reflection, I began to understand why they didn’t get it. They had never had an experience like this. I decided to forgive those people and years later shared with them how their comments did me a favor to enlighten me about how to better manage my conversations with others when it came to my daughter and help others do the same. And finally, forgive the addict you love. My daughter did some terrible things in the throes of her disease. She would go months without answering my calls or texts making me fear if she was safe. She would attack me verbally when I pressed her about her behavior. She lied to me to get me to do the things that she needed so she could keep using drugs. Although I was angry with her, fortunately, I let that go before she overdosed and died. In her final weeks, I shared with her that we were both adults and had the right to make adult decisions, even though we were in disagreement about what those decisions were. Addicts can be the most frustrating, unlovable, and difficult people to be around. But in the light of the brain disorder they have, it’s important to direct your anger and frustration where it belongs most, at the disease itself. It’s not to say that you should roll over and just let any behavior go. When your loved one crosses boundaries and treat you disrespectfully, you should develop language that goes something like this: I have a problem that I need your help with.When you do this, this is how it makes me feel.In the future, I would appreciate it if you could change what you do.Can I get your help on this? Takeaways Forgiveness is a difficult thing, but powerfully healing. Forgive yourself first because addiction is a complex disease to understand and it’s not something that you caused. Forgive yourself for mistakes you make along the way in trying to help your loved one. Forgive others around you who haven’t walked in your shoes and may not understand. And most importantly, forgive your loved one. They wouldn’t have chosen to live such a difficult life and you never know when your next encounter with them might be your last.
Audio Journal
Episode 15 - The Gift of Knowledge
The holidays can be a dreaded time of the year if someone you love is suffering or has lost their battle with the disease of addiction. This will be my second Christmas without my daughter Laura who struggled for 15 years with addiction but lost her life to overdose on December 21, 2017, right ...
Podcast
The holidays can be a dreaded time of the year if someone you love is suffering or has lost their battle with the disease of addiction.  This will be my second Christmas without my daughter Laura who struggled for 15 years with addiction but lost her life to overdose on December 21, 2017, right before the holidays.  It’s hard to think about gift giving during this time of year, because the holidays may be filled with regret, grief, or stress.   This Audio Journal focuses on gifts, not for others on your list, but those that you should give to yourself.  Today’s episode is devoted to the gift of knowledge. I’ve talked to countless parents and family members who are struggling to make sense of their loved one’s substance misuse, crazy behavior, and personality change.  We often mistake addiction as a moral failing or a series of bad choices, failing to recognize that addiction is a chronic complex brain disease.  Now, let’s figure out how to unwrap the gift of knowledge so you are more prepared to deal with it. Start with understanding the science behind addiction.  Addiction is a brain disease and there is a scientific underpinning about how it manifests itself and progresses.  Let me take another brain disease that millions of us know about as an analogy, Alzheimer’s. There is a scientific and physical reason that people’s memories disappear.  It has to do with plaque coating the transmitters in the brain that allow one to process and act on information.   Once there is enough plaque build-up, signals can’t get through and memory fails.  People that have Alzheimer’s are not being difficult or frustrating’ their brain is misfiring. The human brain is wired to reward us when we do something pleasurable. Exercising, eating, and other pleasurable behaviors directly linked to our health and survival trigger the release of a neurotransmitter called dopamine that makes us feel good and encourages us to keep doing what we’re doing.  But the brain can also be rewired in harmful ways when it’s exposed to drugs. When someone takes a drug, their brain releases extreme amounts of dopamine causing the brain to overreact, reducing dopamine production in an attempt to normalize these sudden, sky-high levels the drugs have created. And this is how the cycle of addiction begins because the individual will seek those substances to get that dopamine rush. So that’s part of the science of addiction.  It’s the brain’s rewiring to overproduce dopamine levels that rise and crash, causing the person to seek more of the substance to level themselves out.  You next level of knowledge should be around the condition itself.  Addiction is not an acute disease that can be treated quickly and cured.  It’s a chronic condition that will last a lifetime and requires on-going maintenance and management.  When you treat diabetes, you can’t take insulin just once, feel better right away, then stop. You have to manage yourself with medication, diet and lifestyle change over a lifetime.  The same is true of addiction. People go to rehab to treat the acute symptoms and get stabilized.  They come out looking healthy, but it’s a mistake to believe that because their acute symptoms have been dealt with the person is cured.   Without the proper long-term plan, the chances are 85% that they will return to substance misuse in less than a year following rehab.  It’s important to know the difference in the characteristics of an acute vs. a chronic disease so you know that you must play the long game. That brings us to the next knowledge gift which is know how to manage the disease long-term.  This is the most complex part of the equation and requires the most knowledge and research.  It’s important that you understand that the recovery and disease management process have many components.  First, there is a need for structure and accountability.  Because addiction has impacted the logic center of the brain, making the smallest decisions on what to do and where to go may be difficult for an addict, so the more help in this area the better. Then, there is a need for connections.  Addicts need to connect with treatment professionals, connect with each other for support, and connect with family.  The more people that are in the equation, the better the recovery process.  Next, there is the need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  This involves a good diet, exercise, stress reduction, anxiety management and a commitment to health and wellness. For some people, medication is helpful, something we call Medication Assisted Therapy or MAT.  This has to be a careful decision because some medications, as with my daughter Laura who used Suboxone, can be misused and counterproductive to recovery. The bottom line is that having the knowledge of how to manage the disease long-term empowers you to make the right decisions to support yourself or your addicted loved one. And the final gift you need to unwrap is the knowledge of how you fit into the process.  The family’s understanding, support, and role in the recovery process is critical to the long-term health of the person that is addicted.  It starts with understanding that this is a disease, not a moral failing so the addict doesn’t feel more shame and guilt than he or she already does.  It then falls to what you can do to help treat the disease vs make it worse.  If you have a diabetic in your family, you don’t feed them cake.  It’s important to know what you should do and what you should avoid to help keep your loved one healthy.  The first “to do” on the list is to set expectations and boundaries so the person knows what to expect from you.  The next is to understand the warning signs that your loved one is being triggered to return to substance use coupled with an understanding of how to have that conversation and what they are willing to do to let you help them.  There are many more elements that go on this list, so it’s important to understand the “do’s and don’ts” of your role in the recovery process. Takeaways Knowledge is a powerful gift and with the disease of addiction, it’s critical.  You have to understand the science behind the disease, the characteristics of the condition, how to manage it as a chronic disease and your role in keeping the person you love healthy.   It’s said that knowledge is power and with the disease of addiction, empower yourself to understand it so you can manage it on behalf of yourself and your loved ones.
Audio Journal
Episode 14 - Gifts to Give Yourself During the Holidays
The holidays are the most wonderful, but often the most dreadful time of the year if someone you love is suffering from or has lost their battle with the disease of addiction. This will be my second Christmas without my daughter Laura who struggled for 15 years with addiction but lost her life to ...
Podcast
The holidays are the most wonderful, but often the most dreadful time of the year if someone you love is suffering from or has lost their battle with the disease of addiction.  This will be my second Christmas without my daughter Laura who struggled for 15 years with addiction but lost her life to overdose on December 21, 2017, right before the holidays.  But even when Laura was with us, holidays were often stressful because I never knew what kind of tension and drama she might create for the family. For those of us who have been through the struggle our perfect holiday gift might be that of peace, tranquility, and for the person who we remembered before they developed the disease to be the one that shows up for the holidays.   For me, my perfect gift would be just one more moment to watch Laura unwrap her gifts, sit by the fire or laugh at the dinner table.  So, knowing that we likely get gifts that are well meaning, but not exactly what we wished for, here are some gifts that you can give yourself for the holidays that can last you throughout the year and hopefully for a lifetime. Give yourself the gift of knowledge.  I’ve talked to countless parents and family members who are struggling to make sense of their loved one’s substance misuse, crazy behavior, and personality change.  Yet, they have failed to research the disease of addiction, understand how it progresses, learn how it changes the brain, and what it takes to treat it.    You would never think to fight cancer without going online, understanding the symptoms and how the disease progresses, checking out treatment options and learning how to beat it.  The same applies with the disease of addiction.  Give yourself the gift of knowledge so you can understand it, have a strategy to respond and know what to do to fight the disease. Open up the gift of forgiveness. It’s not your fault.  I repeat, it’s not your fault.  Because I’m empowered with an understanding of the disease, I don’t blame myself for my daughter’s death or her 15-year struggle.  And I’ve forgiven myself for any wrong decisions I made along the way when we were in the middle of the fight.  Addiction is complex and often the decisions the person afflicted makes are irrational and confusing.   Until that person decides to get healthy and manage the disease, you don’t really have the power to cure it for them.   If a diabetic eats cake, fails to take their insulin and doesn’t follow the doctor’s instructions, do you blame yourself if they get sicker?   The same is true with addiction Unwrap the gift of self-care. It’s super hard battling the disease and believe me the fight takes a toll on you personally.  There is the stress of not knowing what is going to happen next, the lack of sleep when you stay up through the night hoping to hear the door open and your loved one walk in. There’s constant anxiety.  If you don’t care for yourself, then your health and wellbeing will suffer. Self-care is complex, but may involve a health and wellness routine, mindfulness & meditation, counseling, or connecting with friends and doing something fun. Look for the gift of community. Going this alone is never a good idea.  You need help and support around you to give you perspective, a sanity check, relief, and acceptance.  There are many communities you can connect to, but for me, I turned first to my close friends and family who watched Laura grow up, saw how I parented, and didn’t judge my parenting skills.  Then, it was going to a community of other parents who had put their children into treatment and who were going through a shared experience with me.  I relied on Al-Anon to gain perspective on the disease of addiction and our role in the process of healing.  I’m now involved in several Facebook groups where parents share their experiences in losing someone to overdose.  Remember, you are not alone. Takeaway Trust me, that I personally understand how it feels not only to battle addiction with a loved one, but to lose someone when they lose the fight.  But my personal philosophy is that if you don’t understand the disease, forgive yourself for the things you feel you did wrong, care for yourself so you don’t become one part of the collateral damage, and look for help and support  in others, you will have a much harder time coping with the circumstances you now find yourself in. Now, I haven’t always followed my own advice.  When Laura died, I stopped doing the things that were keeping me healthy.  I ate poorly, gained weight, stopped exercising and didn’t manage my grief as well as I could have.  But that is changing, and I’ve given myself the gifts that I just shared with you which is part of my journey to return to health, wellness, and happiness. Keep tuning into the Audio Journal over the holidays, because I am going to give you some practical advice on each of these gifts, how to find them, and how to make sure you unwrap them.
Audio Journal
Episode 12 - Parent Playbook – No Unforced Errors
This Audio Journal series focuses on what it takes to coach your family through the Opioid Crisis with the right game plan, a playbook, an understanding of your opponent and help from your “assistants” when it’s called for. This episode will focus on how to avoid unforced errors that put ...
Podcast
This Audio Journal series focuses on what it takes to coach your family through the Opioid Crisis with the right game plan, a playbook, an understanding of your opponent and help from your “assistants” when it’s called for.  This episode will focus on how to avoid unforced errors that put your parenting game at risk. I watched Auburn and Alabama slug it out in the Iron Bowl with three touchdowns coming from errors made by both teams.  Unforced errors can make the difference between a win and a blowout.  Think about all the games that have been won or lost based on turnovers, missed assignments, dropped passes, or interceptions.   Often these unforced errors result when players or coaches don’t stick to the game plan, are unprepared or just not paying attention. There are number of unforced errors that parents make that are critical mistakes leading to big problems when it comes to drugs and alcohol.  Let’s look at those mistakes and ways to avoid them. The first unforced error is chalking up your child’s troubling behavior to growing pains or just being a teenager.   You’ve been living with your child for years, watching how they behave, perform in school, and if they comply with the rules. But then all of a sudden, things start to change.  They start to get defiant and disrespectful.  They have huge mood swings.  They begin to hide out in their room and keep you away from their friends and what they are up to.  They dress differently and their friend group has changed.  Are these signs of teenage growing pains?  Maybe, but if your child’s actions start to disrupt your family life, cause you to be suspicious and distrustful, or cause them to underperform in school or in their favorite sports team, look deeper and get an outside opinion to see if you have a bigger issue than that of just being a teenager. Another unforced error is to fail to secure items in your house that your child should not have access to.  If you drink and have bottles of alcohol lying around, it’s time to lock up your wine and your liquor cabinet.  Substance misuse often begins by sneaking alcohol from your supply and refilling your bottles with water.  If you have unused prescriptions from a doctor or dentist’s visit or a stay in the hospital, safely dispose of those expired medications or lock them up.  You don’t want to be your child’s drug dealer.  And unfortunately for some families, you need to stop leaving cash or valuables lying around.  This was one of my unforced errors and my daughter Laura took leftover Vicodin, raided my wine cellar and took money out of my wallet.  I left my car keys on a rack by the door, enabling her to sneak out at night, take the car and meet up with people she shouldn’t have been with. And what about the error of trying to be the cool parent.  I’ve talked to many parents who believe that it is inevitable that their teenagers are going to drink or smoke pot, so why not keep them safer by having them experiment with those things at home.  Big mistake.  Exposing the teenage brain to substances while it is still developing is a sure-fire way to risk your child may be the 1 in 10 that will develop the disease of addiction. It’s important that you understand the science behind adolescent brain development and what substances do to short circuit the normal brain development process.   My daughter began using drugs at age 14, developed the disease of addiction, and fought it for 15 years.  Her brain development stopped about that age making it much harder for her to become a functional adult. And what kind of signal are you sending to your child when you allow them to break the law by using alcohol before they legally are allowed to so or to smoke pot when it’s still illegal in most states?  And don’t believe for a minute that your kid can’t get addicted to marijuana.  It’s much more potent than when you were in college.   It’s never cool to let your teenagers use drugs and alcohol in your home or to participate with them. In addition to trying to be cool, another unforced error that parents make is trying too hard to be liked.  A football coach never thinks about whether his players will like him less when he sets up the starting lineup, makes a substitution, or sits someone on the bench.  Coaches can’t win if you second guess all your decisions, benchmarking them on a popularity index.  The same is true in parenting. Expect your teenagers to dislike many of your decisions when you have to make them in order to keep your kid accountable, have them comply with the rules, and keep them safe.  So, don’t hesitate to put them on restriction, take their phone, and confiscate their car keys if they break your rules.  And what if their behavior is sending up warning signals that cause you to suspect they are using drugs?  Then, get much more aggressive with your responses.  Search their room, drug test them, monitor their electronics, and restrict who you let them connect with. Remember that you are a parent first and foremost, not a participant in a popularity contest. One of the biggest errors a parent can make is being too ashamed to ask for help.  You will know it when things have gotten beyond your control.  I knew it when Laura was 15.  I tried to lock down the house and alarm the windows, but Laura continued to sneak out.  I took her to school, only to have her walk out the back door and fill her water bottle with vodka that she bought from the seniors.  And finally, she went missing for days.  I was mortified by her behavior, but knew I needed help and I involved everyone I could to give it to me. I understand that many parents are ashamed that things have gotten so out of control and the good kid their family, friends and neighbors knew is doing things that are terrifying.  But the mistake is hiding, waiting, or failing to disclose what you are struggling with.  Remember, you’ve likely never seen situations like this before, so call for backup.  You have school guidance counselors, church leaders, friends, family, therapists and a host of others ready to step in and assist. And last but not least, it’s always an unforced error when you fail to get the facts so you can make better decisions.   In the mid-2000’s we founded and ran a licensed adolescent treatment program and worked with hundreds of families whose teens were out of control, using drugs, and in need of an intervention.  They seemed in shock when their teenagers spilled the beans to us, revealing what they were up to and how they had kept their parents in the dark.  We realize where there is smoke there is fire, and the fire is a lot hotter than you realize.  Parents have quite a few tools to find out what their kids are up to, but often fail to use them. A simple drug test you buy from CVS or Walgreens will give you an idea what substances your kids may be using.  Monitoring your child’s electronics will let you know who they are texting, what they are saying, if they are researching subjects on the Internet that are drug related or if they are connecting with their drug dealers.  Use the tools, get the facts, and then make better decisions. Takeaways Teams that have unforced errors like turnovers, dropped passes or stupid penalties often lose the game because of those mistakes.  Parents can’t afford to make those mistakes because the stakes are so much higher. Don’t chalk up troubling behavior to teenage growing pains unless you have all the facts to support that conclusion. Make your home a safe place by removing or locking up items that can cause trouble such as unused prescriptions or alcohol.  Don’t try and be the cool mom and dad letting your kids drink and do drugs with you or in your home.  And don’t try and go it alone without asking for help when things have become beyond your control. When my daughter Laura got into trouble at age 14, I was naïve, took my eye off the ball and made quite a few unforced errors. Those errors allowed her to get away with her drug use long enough to become addicted and struggle with the disease that took her life 15 years later, only 2 years ago.  Unforced errors, no matter how innocent they may seem at the time, can have deadly consequences.
Audio Journal
Episode 11 - Parent Playbook – How to Be Data Driven
This Audio Journal series focuses on what it takes to coach your family through the Opioid Crisis with the right game plan, a parent playbook, an understanding of your opponent and help from your “assistants” when it’s called for. This episode will focus on the value of analyzing the data to ...
Podcast
This Audio Journal series focuses on what it takes to coach your family through the Opioid Crisis with the right game plan, a parent playbook, an understanding of your opponent and help from your “assistants” when it’s called for.  This episode will focus on the value of analyzing the data to understand the facts so you can make the right play calls. Nick Saban at Alabama implemented a GPS tracking system to monitor his player’s activity in practice so he could better predict if his team’s practice strategy wore his players out or kept them ready to go, particularly in post-season play.  He relied on data as much as his experience and instincts to create the right practice plan. Unfortunately, technology was not there when my daughter Laura started going off the rails in high school, using drugs, and engaging in very risky behavior. So, what type of systems, data, and facts do you need to have at your disposal to make better decisions on behalf of your child to protect them? Answer the question that is most critical. Is my child using drugs?  I’ve talked to quite a few parents who think their kids are in trouble, caught them drinking or smoking pot, and suspect they are doing more. But they’ve never drug tested them to confirm what they suspect.  A drug test may show that they did indeed smoke pot or a breathalyzer can confirm how much alcohol they have been drinking.  So, if that data comes back confirming what you suspect don’t hesitate to ground your kid, let them know that more testing is likely, take their car keys away and make sure they get and understand why this is a big deal. However, your decisions as a parent might be entirely different if the test reveals that they are doing something more dangerous like testing positive for cocaine, meth, opioids or heroin.  You may need to go above and beyond grounding them and taking their car.  The bottom line is that you need to know the facts to make intelligent decisions. Drug testing kits are inexpensive, easy to find at any local drug store or online, and easy to use.  Just follow some simple guidelines.  Make them random.  Research the potential countermeasures your kid may use to fool the test.  And most importantly, never apologize for using a test that could save their life and give you the data you need. Monitor how your child is connecting with others electronically.  Cell phones and laptops are now common tools that most middle and high schoolers use obsessively.  When they are used appropriately, they allow parents to stay in touch with your kids and allow kids to learn more about the world around them.  But those same tools can also be a way for kids to get into trouble.  My daughter used her phone to coordinate sneaking out in the middle of the night to smoke pot on the golf course, connect with high-school seniors who were selling her vodka she used during school and later with her drug dealers. So, let’s get the facts when it comes to understanding if your kids’ electronics are an asset or a liability.  Cell phone have parental controls so you can disable them at night.  You can install software to monitor texting.   The same applies to tablets and laptops.  Don’t hesitate to use software to monitor keystrokes so you can know what your kids search for, who they message, and what they are posting on social media.  And don’t forget to disable or take away the laptop before you go to bed because it’s also an engine to message their friends. Verify that your kid is where they say they are.  When my daughter Laura was in high school, she let me drop her off at school only to leave through the back door.  She had me take her to sports practice only to leave with a friend.  She told me that she was at dad’s house and told her dad she was with me. You get the picture.  As she got older, we installed a GPS tracking system on her car to follow where she was and to know what parts of town, known for drug dealers, she was in.  Today’s kids have smart phones and they are never very far away from them.  That gives you the opportunity to use technology to locate the phone thus locating the kid.  Our company InterAct LifeLIne is going above and beyond and in 2020 will offer SafetyNet, a technology program for parents that combines wearables and mobile technology to keep your kid located, remind them to show up for their commitments and verify that they are there by asking for check ins.  Before SafetyNet comes online, use the find my phone feature to keep track of where your kids say they are. Know the facts about your child’s school performance. When my son and daughter came home from school, I might have asked, “How did your day go?” or “How did you do on that test?”  The standard response that every parent hears is “good”, “fine”.  One of the key indicators that your child is engaged in substance misuse is a dramatic and unexpected drop in grades.  So how do you get the data you need to know the facts and not wait for the report card to come out. First, ask if your school has a parent portal.  If so, grades and assignments are posted regularly and not just at the end of the semester.  Ask your childrens’ teachers for their email address or look on the school’s website to find their contact information.  Reach out to teachers periodically to not only understand your children’s grades, but if they are missing homework assignments or underperforming unexpectedly.  And if the data tells you there’s a problem, request a live meeting with the teachers and school counselors to see what they know. Monitor your kids’ connections and posts on social media.  Back to my daughter Laura.  Facebook and Instagram weren’t around when she was in high school, but the minute she got her Facebook account, the first thing I did was to look at who she friended.  There were the usual suspects that had been her friends and soccer teammates in middle school, but then there were quite a few others that were clearly part of the drug culture, which was easy to spot from their posts and pictures.  Insist that you are one of their connections on social media, then monitor their timeline frequently.  If you have technology to monitor the keystrokes on their smart phones, tablets or laptops it’s a lot easier to keep tabs on what they post and who they connect with.  Takeaways If you are walking on the field in the fight against substance misuse and addiction and have none of the data you need to make strategy or game-time decisions, then be prepared to have a much more difficult time winning.  You need to know where your kid really is, who they are with, and what they are up to.  You need to have the data to know if your child is using and if so, what drugs are in their system.  You need to get the facts about how they perform in school to see if there is a drop off.   And look closely at their connections and posting history on social media. My daughter started her journey into drug use and addiction over 17 years ago when technology wasn’t as sophisticated to give me the facts I needed, so I was playing the game with the wrong information, flying blind and often making the wrong calls.  Laura lost her battle 2 years ago when she overdosed and died.  I often think that if I had the command of the facts, the outcome might have been different and the loss we took might have been avoided.
Audio Journal
Episode 10 - Parent Playbook: How to Play Offense
If you listened to the last Audio Journal, we focused on what it takes to coach your family through the Opioid Crisis with a game plan, a playbook, an understanding of your opponent and help from your “assistants” when it’s called for. This episode will focus on what every successful college ...
Audio Journal, Podcast
If you listened to the last Audio Journal, we focused on what it takes to coach your family through the Opioid Crisis with a game plan, a playbook, an understanding of your opponent and help from your “assistants” when it’s called for.  This episode will focus on what every successful college football coach knows and understand, that it’s much easier to play offense vs. always be on the defensive. Football coaches don’t start preparing during the game; they start way in advance by scouting the competition, evaluating their players, understanding what plays produce results and just committing the time to do their homework.  Your child may or may not ever use drugs or get addicted, but the reality is that 1 in 10 high schoolers will develop the disease of addiction before they even leave high schoool and that child may be yours.  We’re going to start the Parent Playbook by understanding how you can play offense before you have to play the much more difficult game of defense. Playing offense in the game against substance abuse begins with a good prevention strategy.  It’s hard for parents to get motivated to execute a prevention strategy when their child is a good student, a girl scout, an athlete and an all-around good kid.  All of those things applied to my daughter until she started using drugs at age 14, became addicted and was in for the fight of her life, only to overdose and die after a 15-year struggle.  I never played offense, so I spent 15 years playing the tougher game, defense. Here’s how to execute a good offensive prevention strategy. Start your game strategy by understanding the risk factors.  The disease of addiction runs in families so understand if it’s present in yours, your spouse’s or your extended family.  Developing the disease requires a genetic link that kicks off the propensity of one’s brain to respond in overdrive in the presence of drugs and alcohol.  Children that find it difficult to regulate their emotions, who have been bullied, who have had learning differences are all at higher risk.  And think about children who have experienced other changes or difficulties they struggle with like managing through a divorce, a move to a new neighborhood or school, enduring stressful situations or trauma. They are statistically at much higher risk than other kids, so evaluate if this applies to your family.  InterAct LifeLine has been collecting great content and education and making it available in online portals to help parents understand the risk of addiction so they can be better prepared. All you have to do is visit rethinkthefamily.com and there is great information waiting for you. Next, talk to your kids and educate them about the risks.  Executing an offensive strategy is most successful when you prepare your team to understand the game they are playing. Start early and have conversations about substances in an age-appropriate way.  Kids learn science in school, so give them a science lesson on what might happen to the brain when they drink or do drugs.  Help them know what drugs are out there and what they need to do to avoid them.   In addition to helping parents understand the risk of addiction, InterAct also gives you the help you need to use the right words to begin the conversation with your kids at any age. Consider proactively and randomly drug testing your middle or high schoolers. Don’t think of drug testing as a punishment, but rather as a gift.  Your kids can now blame their crazy parents when they choose to turn down the chance to smoke pot or take pills because they can tell their friends they are being drug tested and are sure to be caught.  Drug tests can be bought at any drug store and are cheap and easy to use.  Your child may try and fool the system, so you have to make tests random and take countermeasures to make sure that the tests give you the right results. Trust but verify.  My daughter would tell me that she was at rowing practice, with a friend, or engaged in a school activity.  But that wasn’t the truth.  She was not where she said she was and engaged in activities that she didn’t want me to know about.  Back then, I didn’t have the same technology tools that parents have today.   You have the ability to find my iPhone or install technology on your kid’s phone or laptop to monitor their keystrokes and messages.  Our company InterAct LifeLine is going to help parents out with our 2020 product release, SafetyNet to use the smart phone coupled with wearables to help you geolocate your child and ask for check-ins to prove they are where they said they would be.  Coach from the field not from the stands.  If you are going to play offense, you have to know the players on the field.  Volunteer at your child’s school, meet with the teachers, and understand the environment by talking to other parents. Know your child’s friends, have them over, meet their parents, and understand what their environment is like if your child goes out with them or over to their house.  There is nothing that compares to being right in the middle of the action vs. being in the stands, having your child tell you what is going on through their filter. Takeaways Addiction is a chronic disease just like diabetes.  Once you have developed it, you will always have it and have to manage it to stay healthy.  You and your child will always be playing defense instead of offense.  That’s why a good offensive strategy focuses on prevention and includes understanding the risk factors and helping your children understand the risks.  Playing offense may include proactively drug testing your kids to give them an excuse to still be cool and blame everything on you.  You should try and communicate that while you trust your child, today’s deadly drug environment requires you to verify.  And no game is won if the coach is not totally involved. Had I been educated and prepared to play offense with both my son and daughter, I might have been able to prevent or delay Laura’s drug use giving her brain a chance to develop so it was less vulnerable to the substances that kicked off the disease.  Instead, after Laura began using drugs at age 14, I stayed on the field playing defense for 15 long years, a very difficult game that unfortunately I didn’t win as she overdosed and died 2 years ago.   So, let’s commit to prevention and playing offense because nobody wants to play the same game as I did.
Audio Journal
Episode 9 - Using the Parent Playbook to Coach Your Family
We’re coming to the end of the college football season where an elite group of teams will realize their dreams of winning their division, being tapped for a bowl game or being selected for the national championship playoffs. Every one of the teams had one thing in common; they started their ...
Audio Journal, Podcast
We’re coming to the end of the college football season where an elite group of teams will realize their dreams of winning their division, being tapped for a bowl game or being selected for the national championship playoffs.  Every one of the teams had one thing in common; they started their season with a game plan, did their research and homework to create the plan and adjusted it dynamically for each and every game. Coaches like Nick Saban of Alabama, Kirby Smart of Georgia, Dabo Swinney of Clemson or Ryan Day of Ohio State lead their staff to look at the talent they’ve recruited, understand their opponents, analyze the impact of playing at home or away and spent  countless hours crafting a game plan that will produce a win. If you are the coach of your family and have children, particularly adolescents, the most important game you will ever play and one you cannot afford to lose is against the disease of addiction brought on in large part by the Opioid Crisis.  You have to have a game plan, a playbook, an understanding of your opponent and get help from your “assistants” Here is an overview of what college football coaches do to win each and every week and the lessons that we, as the coaches of our families, can learn when we are on the field, fighting against the drug use that sidelines our kids, takes them out of the game, and cripples or kills them. First, you have to prepare for game day.  Football coaches don’t start preparing during the game; they start way in advance by scouting the competition, evaluating their players, understanding what produces results and just committing the time to do their homework.  Your child may or may not ever use drugs or get addicted, but the reality is that 1 in 10 high schoolers will develop the disease of addiction so you may be the ones that have to take the field.  You need to act “as if” you will get the call to play in the game of your life and be prepared in advance.  Learn the factor that contribute to make your children more at risk.  Ask yourself what are the telltale signs of drug use?  Understand your opponents: the drugs, the bad friends, the dealers so if you get the call, you’ve done your homework. And think about how much harder it is to play defense when your child is already using vs. offense where you focus on prevention.   Learn how to control the game by being proactive, educating your child, monitoring them, and executing a prevention strategy. Become data driven.  Nick Saban at Alabama implemented a GPS tracking system to monitor his player’s activity in practice so he could better predict if his team’s practice strategy wore his players out or kept them ready to go, particularly in post-season play.  He relied on data as much as his experience and instincts to create the right practice plan. If you are walking on the field in the fight against substance misuse and addiction and have none of the data you need to make strategy decisions, then be prepared to have a much more difficult time.  You need to have the data drug tests provide to know if your child is using and if so, what drugs are in their system.  You need to get the facts about how they perform in school to see if there has been a drop off.  You need to know where your kid really is, who they are with, and what they are up to. Good coaches don’t commit unforced errors.  Every college football coach cringes at unforced errors that can make the difference between a win and a blowout.  Think about all the games that have been won or lost based on turnovers, missed assignments, dropped passes, or interceptions.   Often these unforced errors result when players or coaches don’t stick to the game plan, are unprepared or just not paying attention. There are number of unforced errors that parents make that cause them to make critical mistakes leading to big problems when it comes to drugs and alcohol.  They fail to notice the warning signs.  They don’t hold their child accountable for their actions.  They don’t have a handle on where their child is, who their friends are and what they are up to.  These unforced errors can make it much more difficult to get the result you need. Know when to pivot.  I’ll never forget the National Championship, Georgia vs. Alabama, Kirby Smart against Nick Saban.  I sat in Mercedes Benz stadium watching the Bulldogs pummel the Crimson Tide in the first half.  But in the second half, Saban adjusted, pulled out his starting quarterback, changed the game plan and beat us in overtime.  He pivoted when he needed to. Ben Franklin tells us that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result.  It’s time to pivot when your attempts to get a correction from troubling and dangerous behavior your children are engaging in that aren’t working.  A pivot means changing the game plan that may include seeking treatment for your child, random drug testing, monitoring locations where they say they are and requiring check ins, a change of schools or a host of other decisions that can change the trajectory of the game.  Be willing to make a game time decision when you are not getting the right result. Rely on your assistants.  Good coaches know that they don’t have all of the answers.  That’s why they rely on their assistants. Back to Nick Saban of Alabama.  He has hired the best assistant coaches, relied on their advice, and let them take the lead in their area of expertise. Managing your child when he is oppositional, defiant, losing ground at school, and using drugs that can cause overdose at any minute is not something parents should try and manage without help.  There are plenty of good assistants out there to help parents adjust their strategy, send in better plays, protect their children, and know when they need to change the game plan completely. Takeaways I’m sure many of you listening to this are thinking that you may never have to take the field because your kids are never going to be those 1 in 10 who use drugs, get addicted, and have their lives changed forever.  I was one of those parents who lost their daughter to overdose 2 years ago.   I was never prepared to play the game because I didn’t do my homework to understand the reality of drug use in our community, now known as the heroin triangle.   I didn’t have a good game plan, the right assistants or pivoted quickly enough.  The result was that Laura struggled with addiction off and on for 15 years, only to lose her battle at age 29. Parents, you are the coach of a game that you have to win.  Winning requires hard work, strategy, persistence, getting help when you need it, changing what doesn’t work, and keeping your child safe.  This is the first in a series of Audio Journals that take the parent playbook, break it down for you, and help you coach a winning game.
Audio Journal
Episode 8 - Technology to Take on the Opioid Crisis
Audio Journal Technology to Take on the Opioid Crisis When I look at my iPhone or open up my laptop, I’m like most people going to Facebook. But unlike most people, I’m not spending very much time checking in with my friends or searching for the latest products I can’t do without. ...
Audio Journal, Podcast
Audio Journal Technology to Take on the Opioid Crisis When I look at my iPhone or open up my laptop, I’m like most people going to Facebook.  But unlike most people, I’m not spending very much time checking in with my friends or searching for the latest products I can’t do without.  I’m watching the posts of families in Facebook groups that I belong to that are expressing profound grief, sadness and despair over losing a loved one to overdose or their own personal struggles with addiction.  I belong to those groups because my daughter Laura overdosed and died two years ago after struggling for 15 years battling heroin, opioids and meth. Addiction, driven in large part by the opioid crisis, is killing many of our young people at an alarming rate, decimating rural communities who lack access to treatment, costing our economy over a trillion a year, and ruining the lives of millions of families nationwide.  After processing my grief over the loss of my daughter, I decided to do something about it using the technology my company built over the last 8 years that has served countless businesses who sell services through independent sales agencies. In my business career, I’ve become aware of technologies that are transforming medical healthcare making it easy and affordable to monitor patients in their home, have telehealth doctor visits and transmit vitals to the cloud.  I decided that it was time to see if my company’s technology could also transform addiction and mental healthcare and change the trajectory of how we extend care, monitor people struggling with the disease, improve how people recover and start to reduce those rising death rates. The treatment industry has to find a way to make a shift and leverage technology the same way that medical healthcare has.  There are too many patients and not enough therapists to keep up with everyone that needs help, patients need better ways to access treatment remotely, the cost of treatment needs to go down, patients need to be connected to treatment longer and our understanding of the disease needs to change. So, this year I created InterAct LifeLine, a technology company that partners with treatment providers to accomplish all of those things.  Beyond that, we support the very successful collegiate recovery communities so they can automate themselves and serve the growing number of students that need their help.  In a little less than a year, we’ve been able to transform the technology we have used in the business marketplace and launch successful pilot programs in collegiate recovery and addiction treatment.  Here is what we are doing and why it is works. InterAct keeps people connected longer.  The research is clear.  If you stay connected to a treatment program for at least six consecutive months, the chances are that relapse will go down.  Why is this critical?  The relapse rate after a 30-day stay in rehab is around 85% in the first year often in the first couple of months.  There are a lot of reasons for that alarming statistic, but the main one is that although addiction is a chronic disease, but we treat it like an acute one.  That means that once the patient looks good after rehab, we release them without a good way to have the longer-term treatment plan that they really need. So how does InterAct’s technology keep people connected?  Technology provides programs with portal technology that automates many of the processes that staff would be required to do to run an extended care program.  Let’s take a look at how that works. First, we help programs provide structure and accountability for their clients once they have left a residential setting.  When you go to treatment, your day is planned for you.   Your meals, therapy sessions, group meetings and even down time is scheduled, and frankly, there is a lot of comfort and security in not having to make those decisions when you are fighting to get healthy.  But when you check out, that structure goes away leaving the person to make those decisions, fend for themselves and lose the accountability that is so helpful in staying healthy.  InterAct’s technology offers personal calendars where the program or the individual can add commitments like meeting with their sponsor or recovery coach, going to an AA meeting, or showing up at work.  Text reminders are sent multiple times before each calendar event and the system can ask for the person to “check in” so they know that the program cares and is holding them accountable.  Having a schedule seems simple, but for someone trying to recover, this level of structure is often quite difficult. Our technology promotes connections to community.   Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the most successful and long-standing group organizations in the world.  Collegiate Recovery Communities produce higher GPA’s & graduation rates and astoundingly low relapse rates among their participants.   Why is that?  The answer is that being connected to support communities is a vital component for addicts to stay healthy.  Knowing that, how does technology make it easier for programs to keep their participants connected?  There are many times people just can’t or won’t make it to a face to face meeting.  The live too far away, don’t have the right transportation, or may be overly anxious about meeting others face to face.  That’s where technology comes in handy because all you need is a connection to the Internet and a smart phone to get connected to community.  InterAct provides virtual support groups with guided discussions over webinar technology.  Portals have offer online discussion forums for people to ask questions, share solutions, and get help.  And for collegiate recovery programs, we are building a national directory of program alumni so they can get in touch with each other, no matter where they live. Our technology automates the processes of reaching out and checking in.  The staff at any program don’t have enough hours in the day to sit down and call everyone, text them or check in one by one.  That’s where InterAct’s technology comes in.  Our portal system can send out reminders to login or show up for meetings automatically.  We create simple questionnaires that people can respond to that let a program know how they are doing.  The technology can even score those responses and alert the team if there are issues that need to be addressed.  And that brings us to education.  It is so vital that people understand not only the disease but the ways you can maintain your health.   If you have heart disease, you are educated to modify your diet, your exercise and change many things about your lifestyle.  Do those things and your chances of dying from a heart attack drop dramatically.  The same thing applies to the importance of education in addiction.  Once you understand the disease, you can create a nutritional and exercise plan, use mindfulness and meditation to reduce anxiety, and learn how to treat other disorders like depression that often go hand-in-hand with the disease. InterAct is built for education.  We have created an extensive online content and education library, with information collected from the best resources out there, carefully organized by subjects to make things easy to find.  Every program that works with us has a portal that is connected to the library for a continuous feed of great information.  And portals don’t wait for people to come look.  The system automatically alerts you when there is an interesting article to read, a video to watch, or an e-book to download with links to go right to it. And then there is help for the family.  I’m particularly passionate about this because having a family that’s involved, educated about their role in the recovery process and healthy themselves after being in a battle they didn’t choose dramatically improves how their loved one and the family recover.  Our technology delivers a robust family support program that is turnkey for the program that has our solution. Portals provide education not only for the patient, but for their family.  Virtual support groups and discussion forums keep families connected for ideas, strategies and help.  InterAct partners with telehealth organizations to provide connections to family therapists or psychiatrists so families can start to heal and repair their family systems.  And we’re partnering with professionals to create an online family assessment tool to give that family more insight into where they need help. So, how will we know if this is working or not?  Technology can help give us the answers.  So many programs don't have the time or resources to follow up on their patients to understand how effective they are.  Keep a patient connected longer-term and you have a much better understanding of your results.  Our technology is data driven.  We record how often you visit the portal and what content you interact with.  We know if you checked in to appointments, how you answered your questionnaire, or if you read your messages.  That data can be compiled and used to produce outcomes studies so programs can adjust and get better. And it doesn't stop there.  We are now working on a partnership with a well-known fitness tracking company to take data continuously out of wearables that track your steps and your vitals, scrub that data, and use it to monitor your recovery health.  Imagine being alerted if someone is going into overdose, knowing where they are, and getting help in time.  Imagine understanding your stress levels and proactively being able to reduce them.  Or what about monitoring your sleep patterns so you can get the rest you need.  All of that data is out there, and we will repurpose it so we keep people safer and healthier. In 2020, we will use the same technology with its monitoring and tracking capabilities, power to connect people to community, educate them, and the ability to detect overdose and launch SafetyNet, a prevention program for parents and adolescents.   1 in 10 students develop the disease before they leave high school, but it’s entirely preventable if you are educated, know the risk factors and take steps to prevent it. Takeaway Technology alone can’t solve the opioid crisis, but it can make a profound difference.  We believe in partnerships and providing this important weapon to the programs and treatment professionals that are in the fight every day.  Look at the impact technology has had on medical care and just imagine what it can do for people trying to recover from addiction.  Then ask yourself:  What if we can provide treatment to more people and keep them connected longer?  What if we can bring families into the process and help them heal at the same time?  What if we can monitor your vitals and better protect you from overdose? I ask those questions every day and wonder what if I had had those tools for my own daughter.  Perhaps she wouldn’t have been one of those statistics and she would be at our Thanksgiving table and opening her Christmas presents.  InterAct is dedicated to make sure that more families can spend the holidays together so it’s a time of joy and not one of grief and regret.
Audio Journal
Episode 7 - The Elderly, the Forgotten Victims of Addiction
Audio Journal The Elderly, the Forgotten Victims of Addiction For 20 years, my mother in law had a great relationship with the man she fell in love with when she met him on a cruise at age 74. But things changed dramatically a few years ago. As he aged, he experienced a number of health ...
Audio Journal, Podcast
Audio Journal The Elderly, the Forgotten Victims of Addiction For 20 years, my mother in law had a great relationship with the man she fell in love with when she met him on a cruise at age 74.  But things changed dramatically a few years ago.  As he aged, he experienced a number of health issues that plague so many of the elderly.  His joints started to fail, his health declined, and he began to experience persistent pain.  Enter a less than competent doctor who managed his health issues with only one strategy, prescribe opioids. It didn’t take long for the 90-year old to become addicted, needing more and more of the medications to manage his pain so he could get through the day, despite the fact that those medications became less effective over time.  He was now addicted, and along with many other addicts, his loving and caring personality changed.  He became angry, irritable, blaming and abusive.  He engaged in the same drug-seeking behavior we would normally associate with a teenager. Ultimately the relationship ended when my mother in law had enough and now, she’s spending her final years alone. Is this story unique among the elderly?  Unfortunately, it is not. It is estimated that 17% of individuals over age 65 struggle with the disease of addiction.  Perhaps they’ve been struggling with addiction for years, but more often they have developed the disease after being over prescribed pain medication without a long-term plan to transition from pills to deal with the underlying causes of the pain. The fact is that addiction among the elderly goes unrecognized and undiagnosed robbing them of getting the help that they need.  This trend is made worse because family and medical professionals are not informed about the risks of addiction in the elderly, office visits to the doctor are often hurried and healthcare providers often overlook substance abuse among the elderly. Not recognizing addiction in the elderly is made worse because they often have medical or behavioral disorders that mimic symptoms of substance abuse, such as depression, diabetes, or dementia. There are certain times in an elderly person’s life that make them more vulnerable for developing addiction.  Here are a few. People retire.  You get up and go to work daily, have a purpose, and have structure in your life.  Then you retire, have lots of time on your hands, miss your work friends, and have a hard time adjusting.  Stress around making that change often motivates individuals to turn to alcohol to cope.   Not to mention that many of the elderly haven’t planned well enough so the loss of income and financial stress also becomes triggering events. The person has experienced the death of a family member, their pet or close friends.  As we age, the people that have been important in our lives start to die off.  One loses their spouse, their best friend, or their brothers or sisters.  Grief and depression set in and substances became a coping mechanism. As we get older, our sleep patterns change.  I remember that my dad when he aged, he began to wake up in the middle of the night, move to the couch and find it hard to go back to bed.  With changing sleep patterns, the elderly may seek relief in prescription pills. Being relocated or placed in a nursing home is often a catalyst for being overprescribed.  Audit the medications a nursing home patient takes, and you might be astounded at how many mood stabilizers, pain pills, sleeping pills and anti-anxiety drugs are prescribed so these individuals become more manageable.  The downside consequence is that they become addicted and face the consequences that come along with the disease. The people most at risk are those facing mental or physical declines.  My mother in law’s husband had joint problems, needed hip replacement and experienced chronic pain.  My mother in law had osteoporosis and multiple trips to the hospital with broken bones.  She was on a long-term diet of opioids that had totally lost their effectiveness. Drug and alcohol abuse among the elderly is particularly dangerous because senior citizens face more deteriorating effects brought on by sustained substance abuse. As we age and reach 65, we have a decreased ability to metabolize drugs or alcohol along with increased brain sensitivity to them. This makes it dangerous for seniors to use drugs or alcohol at all, even if the person isn’t addicted. Prescription benzos, such as Valium, that are used to treat anxiety, pain or insomnia, are some of the most dangerous prescription drugs for seniors. Doctors love prescribing them even though they are highly addictive. The rate of senior citizens addicted to benzos has increased every year. So, now that you know that we have a real problem with our senior citizens, what should we do about it?  The first step is to recognize if there is a problem and here are some clues. Watch out for slurred speechLook for physical changes such as weight loss, decreased appetite and unkempt appearance or poor hygiene.Notice an increase in their drinking habits.  If they normally had an occasional glass of wine, but now drink daily, that’s a warning sign.Watch for repeated requests to go to the doctor without a corresponding medical reason to do so.  My father in law was doctor shopping for pain pills.Notice repeated falls or blackouts.  That may not be aging, but substance abuse.Think about behavior you would spot in your teens as being problematic that may be characteristic of drug seeking – lying, hiding, anger or deflection.Watch for other mental issues such as anxiety or depression. Now that you suspect substance abuse or addition, what should you do?   This is different than working with a teenager that you have control over, so you have to manage it differently. First, attend doctors’ meetings with your family member.  Challenge the doctor on their pain management strategies and propensity to prescribe.  Ask for strategies that get to the root of the problem vs. just masking it. If your loved one is in a nursing home or assisted living, ask for a medication review.  You may be shocked at how many drugs they are on and what is just not necessary. Be loving, but direct with your loved one if you suspect a problem. Tell them what you are observing and collaborate to help them address the problem.  Don’t be judgmental and prepare that they may be resistant to the conversation but be persistent. Consider treatment.  Research indicates that older people do just as well in addiction treatment as do younger ones.  A recovery strategy for the elderly may just help them refocus on find purpose in their lives, giving back, and being less disconnected and unhappy. Takeaway In the midst of the Opioid Crisis, let’s not forget that we owe it to our seniors to pay attention, recognize that they are vulnerable, and we should take steps to help them live a pain free, addiction free and happier life.
Audio Journal
Episode 6 - The Power of Gratitude
The Power of Gratitude You may be struck that the topic of this audio journal is gratitude, especially in the midst of the opioid crisis, the deaths of 70,000 people each year from overdose and the ravages of an addiction pandemic. After the loss of my daughter Laura to overdose 2 years ago ...
Audio Journal, Podcast
The Power of Gratitude You may be struck that the topic of this audio journal is gratitude, especially in the midst of the opioid crisis, the deaths of 70,000 people each year from overdose and the ravages of an addiction pandemic. After the loss of my daughter Laura to overdose 2 years ago gratitude has been the one thing that has helped me through what could have been an unbearable loss.  I am grateful for the time I had with her, for the lessons her disease taught me, for having the insight to use my knowledge of technology to create a new company to take on the opioid crisis and for my friends who have reached out, stayed in touch and have been supportive. I belong to Facebook groups focused on addiction and the loss of loved ones to the disease and one overarching theme is that grief has sucked people into the deepest and darkest of holes that they cannot seem to crawl out of.  Not only have they lost a loved one, but they’ve lost marriages, friends, jobs, and most tragically themselves.  If you are struggling with addiction yourself, trying to create a recovery plan, attempting to  help a family member who is trying to get clean and sober, or trying to cope with the loss of someone you loved from overdose, here are some reasons to consider a shift in focus to appreciate what you still have vs. what you have lost,  Here is how gratitude is helpful. Being grateful makes you a happier person.  Research reveals that if you just spend 5 minutes a day writing down what you are grateful your feeling of long-term happiness will go up and sustain itself over time. Gratitude reduces your feelings of jealousy.  When my daughter starting using drugs at age 14 and spent most of her teenage and young adult years in and out of treatment, I found myself feeling jealous when I watched my friends shop for their daughters’ prom dresses, teaching them  to drive or contemplating where  they were  going to college.  However, I was blessed in having several young ladies in my life without their mothers that allowed me to do those things that I couldn’t do with Laura.  My gratitude at having those opportunities and experiences did wonders in making those jealous moment disappear. Gratitude makes us less self-centered.  When we face challenges, it’s natural to focus on how bad we feel and how those challenges affect us.  Being grateful by its very definition causes us to start thinking about others which can be very healing.  For me, I tell Laura’s story repeatedly in an effort to offer insight and help to other struggling families making me grateful that I had the opportunity to help. Gratitude helps you exert and regain more control over your life.  Addiction is a disease by its very nature that causes one to lose control over choices.  If you have an addicted family member, you understand how little control you have over getting them to stop using and stop taking risks.  Studies have found that gratitude increases people’s self-control, and it increases their ability to wait.   According to the researchers, gratitude is like a self-control buffer helping you be ready to resist temptation and do the right thing. An attitude of gratitude promotes health.  Dealing with addiction takes a toll on your health Research shows that grateful people are generally healthier, so it’s good to get all the help we can. So, knowing that gratitude makes you happier and healthier and has a range of other benefits, how in the face of overwhelming challenges can we start to develop gratitude in our lives?  The secret is to start small, and over time, gratitude becomes part of who you are. Start by focusing on what you have, rather than what you don’t have. When you struggle with addiction yourself, have a family member that is struggling or experience the grief over the changes in your life or the loss of a loved one, it’s easy to focus on what you have lost. Practicing gratitude is all about being thankful for what you have versus focusing on all the things that you don’t have, which makes you feel negative, jealous and angry. Honor the progress you or others around you have made.   Recovery is a series of small victories that combine into lasting change.  Don’t beat yourself or others up when there are setbacks, rather be grateful for the steps forward. Appreciate the small things.  We are surrounded by a host of small things that improve our lives, give us pleasure, or make us smile.  Take time to think about how good your first cup of coffee tasted, how pretty your rose bush is, the cardinal that landed on your window or just the feeling of sunshine on your face. Sometimes it helps to write things down in a gratitude journal so you can look back and remember things that made you smile. Make it a goal to give to others daily.  Teaching someone how to solve a hard math problem helps you be better at math. Being generous with your time by extending yourself to others is a big part of practicing gratitude. There are plenty of ways to give back in small ways.  Pay for the Starbucks coffee for the person behind you.  Help someone bring their groceries in.   Lend an ear to someone else struggling.  Over time those small acts of kindness add up and increase your sense of well-being. Learn how to meditate. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Some people practice mindfulness by focusing on a word or a phrase, but it is also possible to focus on what you're grateful for (the warmth of the sun, a pleasant sound, a favorite food). Takeaways I lost my daughter Laura just before Christmas, so coming into the holiday season could be a time of regret, loss, and sadness.  Although I have those feelings, I also take this time to reflect on what I still have, be grateful for those gifts and recommit to be of service to others who struggle with their at-risk teenager who they just caught with pills, their spouse who is on their 3rd treatment  program and how they are going to pay for it, the student trying to manage their recovery in college....and  the list goes on. Gratitude has helped me acknowledge the goodness in my life, the ways I can continue to make an impact through InterAct LifeLine, and the strength I’ve been given to turn grief into purpose.
Audio Journal
Episode 5 - Turning Grief into Purpose
Podcast Transcript: Turning Grief into Purpose How My Company Transformed to Take On the Opioid Crisis If there ever was a charmed life, I was sure that I was living it. I grew up in the perfect small town, raised by the picture-perfect parents. My grades were outstanding, and I ...
Addiction, debunk, Mental Health, program, Recovery, Treatment
Podcast Transcript: Turning Grief into Purpose How My Company Transformed to Take On the Opioid Crisis If there ever was a charmed life, I was sure that I was living it. I grew up in the perfect small town, raised by the picture-perfect parents. My grades were outstanding, and I breezed through college, married the popular guy from my hometown and settled into having it all....2 beautiful kids, a loving husband and a technology career. But sometimes life throws you curve balls, and it threw me some big ones that hit me right between the eyes and knocked me for a loop. My handsome husband descended into alcoholism leading to a divorce when I turned 40. Not understanding that we were dealing with addiction, a disease that runs in families, I was blindsided when my 14-year-old daughter began using drugs that took us on a 15-year journey of rehab, relapse and more treatment. I got educated through my experience with Laura, even opening a licensed therapeutic program for adolescents, but I was not prepared for the knock on the door that came at 4:00 AM when two very nervous and uncomfortable Roswell police officers let me know Laura had overdosed and had been “transported”. For two agonizing days we watched her struggle on life support only to learn what I already had accepted that she had been without oxygen for too long and her brain had lost the ability to tell her body what to do...she was dying from the inside. Although many friends and family held vigil with us at the hospital, one conversation stood out with a friend Laura had met in treatment who found her path to recovery after a serious heroin addiction. She said something surprising as we passed time in the waiting room, “You know, Carolyn, you and I are now in a position of privilege.” She went on to explain that we had a story to tell, an experience we had learned from, and the ability to change lives to prevent other families from experiencing the heartache of drug addiction and overdose. And that was the moment that everything changed for me. Starting the Journey Being the businessperson that I am, I started researching, reading, writing and thinking. Some of what I found shocked me. Laura was not alone in being on the hamster wheel of treatment and relapse. 85% of those that go to rehab relapse in the first year, often in the first few months after treatment. Laura was back in treatment over 10 times during the years. People were treating her addiction as an acute disease – 30 days and you’re good to go. But in reality, this disease is chronic, just like diabetes, and needs management over a lifetime. And treatment providers did a great job stabilizing the patient but didn’t continue to work with or follow them, despite research that proved a significant reduction in relapse if they did. The importance of connections After talking to a number of people in long-term recovery, in collegiate recovery communities and those running treatment programs, I realized that “connections” were a strong indicator of those that could make the move from rehab to long term recovery. So, what do people suffering from addiction need to be connected to? Let’s start with their treatment program. My daughter checked in and almost always developed trusted relationships with the program, got help getting sober, and bared her soul to her recovery coaches and therapists. Staying connected to those that helped her in the most critical time of need could have helped Laura craft a plan to recover. 30 days of rehab was not enough time and the structure, accountability and on-going education she needed was not there once she checked out. Government research indicates that individuals who stay connected to their treatment program for at least 6 consecutive months following rehab have a much lower rate of relapse. Addictions treatment depends heavily on group support, a very important way those having gone through treatment recover. The most successful group support organizations are AA and NA, Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous. If patients could stay connected to the same groups of people they bonded with in acute treatment or rehab, then those trusted relationships could be extended offering comfort in a shared experience. But sometimes making and keeping those connections are problematic because individuals may not have transportation, are worried about their privacy or just ashamed of their disease. And what about the connection to family? Many families became disconnected as they tried to navigate the difficulties in helping their loved one manage a disease they just didn’t understand. But family understanding, help and support is critical to recovery. So, what if those connections could be repaired and strengthened? When a family has an addicted loved one, the family system becomes dysfunctional, under attacked, stressed beyond belief, so finding a way to reconnect needs to be addressed and prioritized. As we can see, connections to treatment, support communities and family can make all the difference in helping people sustain recovery. As it just happened, I own a technology company that makes connections possible every day in the business world. We use our portals to connect vendors to channel sellers, educate them and inspire them to action. So, I started asking myself a number of “what if” questions. What if the same technology could be used to create connections for those that had been in addictions treatment? What if we could use our services to educate and engage families? What if we could help treatment programs automate and keep their patients connected longer so they could get the extended treatment they needed without having to be in in-patient care? What if we could provide the desperately needed accountability, structure and education individuals so desperately needed? The answers were right in front of me. Our technology was built for this purpose and had all of the features and capabilities that we needed. And that’s when we decided to create InterAct LifeLine to take the technology that had served the business world so well and repurpose it in service of addiction treatment and recovery. One of the things I’ve been able to do in my long career is use technology to change processes with the best example coming from my time the audio teleconferencing industry. The addictions treatment industry is right for a process change. And that’s where InterAct comes in. I found lots of mobile apps floating around the addiction world, most of them attempting to bypass the treatment provider and go straight to the individual. I decided that partnership with providers was a better strategy and that offering services using technology could extend the relationship with the patient and their family, offer education and understanding, add accountability and structure and create connections to support communities. Here is our vision for InterAct LifeLine to support extended treatment, reduce relapse and improve recovery. Every treatment program using InterAct gets their own portal, an online location to house education, support connections, and outreaches to patients and families.Program portals are connected to a centralized content library where the best resources from around the country on addiction, recovery, family support and wellness strategies automatically refresh portals with current content.Structure and accountability are achieved with personal calendars, appointment reminders, and check-ins. Clients commit to a schedule and we help them keep it.Families participate in discussion forums, attend virtual support groups and are offered telehealth connections to family therapists.Mobile technology can keep patients located and monitor their vitals to detect overdose. In 2019, we’re testing with addictions treatment programs and collegiate recovery communities and getting great results. Our hope is to reach as many programs as possible, increase access to treatment, take on the opioid crisis, and help people understand and manage this chronic disease. Back to Laura for a minute. It’s heartbreaking to think what might have happened if she had these tools available when she struggled so hard to turn things around. I’m committed to the goal of helping families with other loved ones like Laura not go through the grief and suffering that addiction brings. We make strides with other diseases all the time...AIDS is no longer a death sentence....cancer is being beaten back.....and certainly we can do the same thing with addiction.
Audio Journal
Episode 4 - Market Drivers for Technology in Mental Health and Addictions Treatment
Podcast Transcript: Every president since Bill Clinton has tried to tackle the question of how to improve healthcare in America, but the government can’t seem to find its footing with a solution that pleases everyone. But quietly, private enterprise has been advancing the ball in medical ...
Addiction, debunk, Mental Health, program, Recovery, Treatment
Podcast Transcript: Every president since Bill Clinton has tried to tackle the question of how to improve healthcare in America, but the government can’t seem to find its footing with a solution that pleases everyone. But quietly, private enterprise has been advancing the ball in medical care by introducing new insurance models, concierge medicine and technology solutions to make access to healthcare more streamlined and cost effective. These advances, driven by the private sector, are dropping the cost of accessing primary care, allowing people to get connected from the privacy of their home, and making it less likely that they will readmit after a stay in the hospital. Unfortunately, the world of mental health and addictions treatment has not yet taken advantage of technology in the treatment process. Addictions and mental health patients just don’t have access to the same digital experiences that streamline treatment, lower cost, and reduce the chances that they will readmit needing more acute care. In this audio journal, we will take a look at the drivers in the mental health and addictions treatment world that make having a technology strategy essential and not optional as we go into 2020. Let’s look at what is going on in the marketplace that make incorporating technology into treatment an important trend. Number one is a severe shortage of treatment professionals. The shortage of mental health professionals in the United States is a huge and growing problem, especially as the country continues to move towards realizing the importance of mental health treatment. In the U.S., nearly 1 in 5 people have some sort of mental health condition, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. A 2016 report released by the Health Resources and Services Administration projected the supply of behavioral health workers to be approximately 250,000 people short of the projected demand by 2025. The bottom line is there are just not enough people to treat those that need it. Technology has the potential to make the professionals that we do have more efficient and better able to treat more clients using solutions like telehealth appointments. Unfortunately, the opioid crisis is driving demand The need for more effective and accessible substance abuse treatment has increased with the opioid addiction epidemic, specifically in more rural areas. The numbers are alarming. It is estimated that over 10 million people in the US currently abuse opioids with 130 people dying each day from overdose. And the crisis is more acute in remote areas that have many residents who been come addicted and need to be treated. Unfortunately, those areas are less attractive to treatment professionals. However, connecting to patients remotely with telehealth appointments or other virtual options allow the professional to be anywhere and have a conversation with a patient that needs their help, even in harder to reach areas. Some patients just can’t get to a treatment professional. Patients who have been treated and are recovering at home, patients who are not mobile because they lack adequate transportation, have lost their license, and who live in rural, remote areas often can’t make it to their appointments. As long as a patient has a way to connect to the internet, telehealth enables them to access therapists, recovery coaches and support groups. There is definitely a need to reduce stigma and increase privacy with some patients. While there’s a broader acceptance that addiction is a disease that requires treatment and other mental health disorders often come with the landscape, stigma is still a problem for some patients. Often, the shame and stigma associated with the disease is more crippling than the disease itself. Access to treatment through telehealth solutions can offer patients more options to ensure their privacy is protected. Weekly therapy appointments or group support meetings could be done over the web from home or after work hours so patients can maintain their privacy. Staying connected reduces relapse. It’s a fact that the relapse rates after an in-patient rehab stay are 85% in the first year, often in the first few months following treatment. We would never accept these poor results for any other medical treatment, but it’s become the norm in the world of addiction treatment. Although there is not a consensus about why so many people relapse, one statistic is clear: the longer a person stays connected to the program that offered rehab treatment, the lower the relapse rate is. Technology offers the opportunity to automate the extended care process, keep patients connected longer and improve outcomes. Offering technology solutions as treatment options makes it easier to produce outcome studies. When someone comes out of a 30-day rehab, they look healthy, have drugs out of their system and start the recovery process. So, ask a treatment program how that person is doing a year from now, the true test of treating a chronic disease successfully, and most programs will not be able to tell you. If programs were able to extend treatment, follow their clients, and use technology to measure how people are engaging and recovering, then measuring the effectiveness of the treatment would be easier. Technology provides the opportunity for data driven solutions to understand patient outcomes. Takeaways The addiction and mental health industries can no longer afford to ignore the technologies that are transforming medical healthcare. There are too many patients and not enough therapists to keep up with everyone that needs help with technology being one of the best solutions to create efficiencies to treat more people with less resources. Beyond that, patients need better ways to access treatment remotely, reduce the cost of treatment, maintain their privacy, and keep connected to treatment longer.
Audio Journal
Episode 3 - Debunking Addiction Myths
Podcast Transcript: Debunking Addictions Myths We live in a world of urban myths. You’ve heard the stories that we never really landed on the moon; it was all shot in a sound studio. Or what about the myth that we are storing aliens in Roswell, New Mexico after their space crafts ...
Addiction, debunk, Mental Health, program, Recovery, Treatment
Podcast Transcript: Debunking Addictions Myths We live in a world of urban myths. You’ve heard the stories that we never really landed on the moon; it was all shot in a sound studio. Or what about the myth that we are storing aliens in Roswell, New Mexico after their space crafts cashed on Earth? Myths seem to be part of our culture, but unfortunately, they exist in the way people view others who struggle with addiction. Let’s look at some of the more common myths and debunk them as we get more educated about the reality behind addiction. Myth #1: Addiction is a choice. Nobody would make the choice to be addicted. Perhaps the person made the choice to misuse substances, but certainly did not make a choice to become an addict. Addiction is a “complex disease of the brain and body that involves compulsive use of one or more substances despite serious health and social consequences”. For an addict, the “reward center” of the brain that produces a pleasurable feeling, is hijacked when the drug or substance is used. The brain naturally produces dopamine, a reward neurotransmitter, but the use of drugs or alcohol produces an excesses release of dopamine each time it used. This results in a “high”. Once the high wears off, the individual’s brain craves more of the drug to obtain the same pleasurable rush it received the first time. To continuously achieve the high the drug will have to produce a similar dopamine release each time. This requires an ever-increasing amount of the target substance. What may look like a choice to you is a brain-driven compulsion to the addict. Myth #2: Willpower and choices are all that’s needed to get and stay sober. It is more than simply choosing to ignore the urge to use drugs, it’s a recognition that addiction is a CHRONIC and COMPLEX brain disease which is an important first step in eliminating this addiction myth. Addiction creates neurological changes that alter one’s ability to think and act. And while the person may able to verbalize their desire to quit, the brain will convince them otherwise. Recovery from substance abuse requires a process that addresses the whole person. With some tools and support, recovering addicts will be able to better combat physical and psychological dependence on their drug use healthfully and what looks like bad choices will slowly disappear. Myth #3: Addiction only happens to certain kinds of people. Addiction can happen to anyone, no matter their upbringing, what neighborhood they live in, who their parents are, their personality type, or school performance. There are genetic, social, and psychological risk factors that put some people at greater risk—but it has nothing to do with a person’s character. My normal middle-class family lost both a husband and a daughter to the disease. Nobody would have ever guessed that we would be at risk. It can happen to anyone, at anytime and anywhere. Myth #4: People with addiction are hopeless. Many people can and do keep the disease of addiction in remission, most often referred to as recovery. Once treatment begins, someone with a substance use disorder can manage the disease, just as they would any other chronic illness. With the right treatment, recovery is possible for everyone. Myth #5: Treatment for drug addiction should be a one-shot deal. Like many other illnesses, drug addiction is a chronic disorder. To be sure, some people can quit drugs "cold turkey," or they can quit after receiving treatment just one time at a rehab facility. But most of those who abuse drugs require longer-term treatment and, in many instances, repeated treatments. Addiction is not an acute disease you are cured from in 30 days. It is like other diseases that require a lifetime of management to stay healthy. Myth #6: People have to hit rock bottom before they seek help. You don’t wait for the most severe symptoms to happen when you are having heart issues. You go to the ER. Many factors motivate a person to enter and complete substance abuse treatment before they hit "rock bottom." Pressure from family members and employers, as well as their own recognition that they have an unmanageable problem; can be powerful motivating factors. Teenagers under the age of 18 can be admitted to treatment by their parents even if they are not willing participants. Myth #7: Addiction should be treated alone without focusing on other mental health issues. Addiction is a complex brain disease and the same rewiring of the brain is often accompanied by other disorders such as anxiety, depression or PTSD. Addiction treatment should take a holistic approach to identify and manage the other disorders to ensure sustained recovery. Addressing the myths of addiction requires that we educate ourselves, educate those that are struggling with the disease, their families, loved ones, friends and coworkers. Education elevates understanding and empowers people to best support the individual as they go through the long-term process to manage and control the disease. Let’s debunk the myths and face the reality of how we should view the disease and those that are afflicted. InterAct LifeLine’s mission is to help provide that education to clients of treatment programs, to families going through the journey and to anyone else that is struggling to manage the disease. Being informed is a first step in reducing relapse, improving recovery, and not judging people who are trying to return to health and wellness.
Audio Journal
Episode 2 - The Case for Family Support
Podcast Transcript: InterAct LifeLine The Case for Family Support Intro Hi, I’m Carolyn Bradfield and I’d to welcome our listeners to our audio journal series from InterAct LifeLine InterAct LifeLine is a technology service focused on helping addictions treatment and collegiate ...
family support, improve recovery, reduce relapse
Podcast Transcript: InterAct LifeLine The Case for Family Support Intro Hi, I’m Carolyn Bradfield and I’d to welcome our listeners to our audio journal series from InterAct LifeLine InterAct LifeLine is a technology service focused on helping addictions treatment and collegiate recovery programs keep individuals connected to treatment, to community and to their families to improve recovery and reduce relapse. Today our focus is making the case about the importance of keeping families connected as a critical factor to relapse prevention and recovery. Years ago, my 15-year old daughter Laura became a danger to herself as her drug use escalated out of control. I got professional advice, enrolled her in a wilderness therapy program, followed by a long-term commitment to a therapeutic boarding school. Right after enrollment in the school, 20 families gather for our orientation. It took us 4 hours to go around the room, introduce ourselves and share why are child had enrolled. The room was full of emotion. We were all heartbroken that we had failed to keep our child safe, that they were using drugs, and had to be stabilized in wilderness. As I thought about how we could have been more prepared and less traumatized, it became clear that none of us had received any family support or guidance during the wilderness programs. We were totally unprepared emotionally to leave our child in the hands of others to finish out their high school experience. That insight led me to create Phoenix Outdoor, a licensed adolescent wilderness program in North Carolina. The first order of business was to create a family support program that soon became the gold standard in the industry and later incorporated into most wilderness therapy programs. I’d like to share why family programs are critical when it comes to supporting a loved one who is either in treatment or managing their recovery process. Families are undereducated about addiction It’s very easy to focus on the behaviors that have disrupted your family life. From my own experience, I was angry and frustrated when Laura snuck out, took the car on a joy ride, didn’t show up for school, and began to steal things. I knew she was using drugs, but had no idea that her drug use had initiated the onset of the disease of addiction. My situation repeats itself in most families. We get angry, think that our loved one has more control over their actions than they do, and fail to understand the science behind this brain disease. Family support programs should provide an education on the condition so families better understand how it develops, progresses and can be treated. Families are traumatized by the experience. There is nothing worse than the fear you feel when your child is missing, is putting themselves in harm’s way, or is threatening you. I experienced many sleepless nights when Laura was unaccounted for, knowing she was with a dangerous crowd, and not knowing how to find her. Add to that the shame that I felt when my friends talked about the accomplishments of their children knowing that my child may not make it through high school or even make it home at night. Being traumatized lowers a family’s ability to understand the situation, know how to make good, rational decisions in support of their loved one who is struggling and how they can take care of themselves. A family support program gives them an opportunity to share experiences with other families who are struggling, get counseling and develop a way to move past the trauma. Decision making has become much more difficult I shared that it took 4 hours for 20 families to introduce ourselves through our tears and sadness of sending our children away in order to keep themselves. Without a family support program to help guide us none of us were really prepared to make such an important decision. We didn’t have the support to explore whether our child come home under different circumstances, if a shorter-term stay would have worked, or what other options we had in front of us. The bottom line is that in order to make good decisions on behalf of your loved one or with your loved one, having family support to guide that process is critical. The family system may not be functioning well Having an addicted family member can weaken or destroy even the most healthy of family systems, but in one that is already weak, dealing with addiction can be catastrophic to the family. In my own case, I was divorced, newly remarried, starting a new job where I traveled and dealing with raising my two teenagers without the involvement of their father. When Laura became compromised, it not only put my marriage at risk, but made it very difficult on my teenage son, my parents and other family members who stepped in to help. Had we worked on our family system, changing the way we managed our communication, structure and accountability for Laura, and helped her understand and manage her disease, the family system would have functioned much better. Create an environment for recovery Someone who has undergone treatment for addiction may very well either return to live at home or reconnect with their family. Families who have gone through and continue to go through a family support program learn the do’s and don'ts about how to support their loved one so they create an environment that supports recovery. They learn how to hold that person accountable without blame. They learn how to communicate openly about what they struggle with. They better understand wellness strategies and how to implement them for the entire family. Incorporating the family into treatment and into the recovery process does not begin and end with a 1-day visit to a treatment program or the occasional Al-Anon meeting. It requires on-going education to understand the disease and how to treat it. Families need to get healthy, move past the anger and trauma, and become good decision makers for themselves and sometimes for their family member. They need to stay connected to others in their situation for support, strategies, and guidance. Without family support, it’s much harder for the addict to stay in recovery, begin to regain a sense of who they were before substance use, and to reconnect to the family. InterAct LifeLine is dedicated to helping improve recovery and reduce relapse through our technology services used by collegiate recovery and treatment programs. A key component of our programming is family education, family support, and an automated way to help programs keep families connected. I’m Carolyn Bradfield and you’ve been listening to the InterAct LifeLine audio journal.
Audio Journal
Episode 1 - Recovery or Remission? How We Think About Treatment for Addiction
Podcast Transcript: InterAct LifeLine Recovery or Remission? Intro We’d like to welcome our listeners to our audio journal series. I’m Carolyn Bradfield, CEO of InterAct LifeLine, a technology service focused on helping addictions treatment and collegiate recovery programs keep ...
Addiction, Mental Health, program, Recovery, remissiioin, Treatment
Podcast Transcript: InterAct LifeLine Recovery or Remission? Intro We’d like to welcome our listeners to our audio journal series. I’m Carolyn Bradfield, CEO of InterAct LifeLine, a technology service focused on helping addictions treatment and collegiate recovery programs keep individuals connected to treatment, to community and to their families to improve recovery and reduce relapse. Audio Journal September was National Recovery Month, created by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration otherwise known as SAMHSA. Held every September the focus is to educate people that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with mental and substance use disorders to live healthy and rewarding lives. I’d like to dig into addiction and the concept of recovery in the way we treat people that are struggling with the disease. The first thing we need to define is the type of disease that addiction represents. When a person develops the disease, the symptoms are often acute, severe and obvious. People experience a loss of control over choices, cravings and compulsive using, and physical withdrawal if they don’t maintain substance use. There are many other conditions that you would recognize that also have acute symptoms. You pass out from diabetes, can’t breathe during an asthma attack, or experience chest pains during a heart attack. The symptoms appear rapidly but can be treated if caught in time averting a tragic outcome. However, diabetes, asthma and heart disease don’t just go away after a stay in the hospital. They are chronic conditions that stay with you and require on-going treatment and maintenance to keep them in check. In other words, people with those diseases can live healthy and productive lives as long as they take steps to manage their disease, even if the condition is always present. Addiction must be thought of in the same category, a chronic disease, yet when we treat the symptoms in rehab, reversing those acute symptoms we pronounce the individual “recovered” or in recovery. I often wonder if the better term for what we’ve accomplished is that we put the individual into remission? Let’s explore the difference in the two terms. Recovery, in the medical sense, means that the person has all signs of the disease gone and there is a complete return to health. You break a bone, set it, and now your arm is as good as new. You experience appendicitis, get your appendix removed, and the symptoms never return. We tag those with the disease of addiction as “recovered” or “in recovery” if they complete treatment and are no longer using. But perhaps the better way to think about it is that the disease is in remission. A person with the disease has a brain with a predisposition to use again if it is triggered with stress, anxiety, poor health habits and temptations in their environment. They are not really recovered, but rather living healthy lives because they are treating their chronic condition that is now in remission. Recovery, the term used by SAMHSA and so many others, does not mean that you are disease free. But it does not mean that if you complete rehab, you can go out into the world, return to the habits that brought the onset of the disease and stay healthy. Recovery should mean that you craft a long-term plan to stay in remission that includes a health and wellness strategy that keeps you asymptomatic. Unfortunately, we continue to treat addiction as an acute disease, manage the symptoms, but fail to have a longer-term plan to stay healthy. That is why relapse rates, according to SAMHSA, are in the 85% range in the first year following acute treatment. If this were any other disease that could be put into remission, an 85% rate of having the acute symptoms return so quickly after expensive treatment would be totally unacceptable. Imagine going to your dentist having crown, only to tell you to expect that it will fall out in a month or so, you would never accept that. Here are some thoughts on how to truly put the disease into remission vs. simply “recover” only to need acute treatment again. #1 Stay connected to treatment longer Studies show that individuals who maintain a connection with the program that treated them for the acute symptoms, aka rehab, for 6 consecutive months following treatment dramatically reduce the rate of relapse. You don’t have to occupy a bed in a rehab facility to continue treatment. There are on-going after-care options through intensive outpatient programs, addictions therapists and other aftercare solutions that offer structure, accountability, and create new habits to promote health and wellness. #2 Get connected to a community There is nothing that compares to having a community of others who are committed to managing their disease in a healthy way. Community allows one to share strategies, get support to overcome struggles, and focus on a lifestyle that is free from substances. Communities can be physical through meetings or virtual through online support groups. Take collegiate recovery communities as an example. According to the Association for Recovery in Higher Education, individuals who join a collegiate recovery community on campus have a higher GPA, higher graduation rate, and lower relapse rate. Students stay connected to each other, to a shared experience, and to a shared strategy to maintain wellness. #3 Stay connected or reconnect to family Most families are undereducated about the disease of addiction. They don’t understand the malfunctioning of the brain and the irresistible urges to misuse substances, chalking up the condition as a moral failure vs. the disease that it really is. Connecting to an educated family ready to support the individual with the disease provides structure, understanding, support and help to craft a strategy to stay in remission. Let’s celebrate those that are committed to overcoming their disease, recovering from the acute symptoms and maintaining a plan to keep the disease in remission so they can continue to live a healthy and productive life. InterAct LifeLine is here to make a difference in how people manage the disease of addiction, reducing the rate of relapse and improving the recovery process. We offer treatment and collegiate recovery programs a technology service to keep individuals connected to treatment, to support communities and to families. This is Carolyn Bradfield and you’ve been listening to our audio journal from InterAct LifeLine.
Article
The Connection Between Substance Use Disorders and Mental Illness
Substance Misuse & Mental Health Disorders are Connected According to NIDA, "Many individuals who develop substance use disorders (SUD) are also diagnosed with mental disorders, and vice versa. Multiple national population surveys have found that about half of those who experience a mental ...
Addiction, Alcohol, Drugs, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Substance Abuse
Substance Misuse & Mental Health Disorders are ConnectedAccording to NIDA, "Many individuals who develop substance use disorders (SUD) are also diagnosed with mental disorders, and vice versa. Multiple national population surveys have found that about half of those who experience a mental illness during their lives will also experience a substance use disorder and vice versa. Although there are fewer studies on comorbidity among youth, research suggests that adolescents with substance use disorders also have high rates of co-occurring mental illness; over 60 percent of adolescents in community-based substance use disorder treatment programs also meet diagnostic criteria for another mental illness."This article explains the comorbidity between substance use disorders and mental illness. Read the Article
Blog Article
The Advantages of Virtual Care in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment
In an increasingly digital world, it's no surprise that healthcare services have also taken a technological turn. One of the most prominent shifts is the rise of virtual care, especially in mental health and addiction treatment. Virtual care platforms have revolutionized the way we approach these ...
In an increasingly digital world, it's no surprise that healthcare services have also taken a technological turn. One of the most prominent shifts is the rise of virtual care, especially in mental health and addiction treatment. Virtual care platforms have revolutionized the way we approach these issues, providing myriad benefits that address many traditional barriers to care. Exploring the Multifaceted Advantages of Virtual Care in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Breaking Down Barriers Virtual care eliminates many obstacles that patients often face when seeking traditional mental health and addiction treatment. A study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) suggests that virtual care provides similar or even better outcomes compared to in-person therapies.One significant hurdle that virtual care overcomes is stigma. Many individuals hesitate to seek help due to fear of societal judgment. By offering greater discretion for patients, virtual care ensures that individuals can access the help they need privately and confidently.Another barrier that virtual care tackles is geographical distance. Not everyone lives within easy reach of a healthcare facility or specialist. Virtual care makes it possible for individuals living in remote areas to access high-quality mental health and addiction treatment services. Affordability and Accessibility Virtual care also addresses the issue of affordability. Traditional therapy and addiction treatments can be costly, deterring many from pursuing the help they need. However, online therapy platforms offer more affordable options, making treatment more accessible to a larger population.Furthermore, virtual care ensures constant accessibility. Many virtual care platforms provide 24/7 monitoring and mental healthcare, allowing patients to reach out whenever they require assistance. This instant access to necessary resources is invaluable for individuals dealing with mental health issues or addiction. Personalized and Consistent Care Virtual care is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It allows for personalized care, tailored to each patient's unique needs. This aspect is crucial in treating mental health conditions and addictions, as every individual’s journey is different.Consistency is another advantage of virtual care. Regular check-ins and therapy sessions are essential for recovery. With virtual care, patients can maintain consistent contact with their healthcare providers, ensuring they stay on track with their treatment plan. Leveraging Virtual Care To fully benefit from virtual care, individuals should ensure they have a stable internet connection and a private space for their online sessions. It's also crucial to research and choose a reputable virtual care platform that aligns with one's specific needs.Several credible platforms offer virtual care services, such as Talkspace, BetterHelp, and Headspace. These platforms have qualified professionals who provide a range of services, from cognitive-behavioral therapy to mindfulness meditation. Conclusion Virtual care offers a promising solution to the challenges faced in mental health and addiction treatment. It breaks down traditional barriers, offers affordability and accessibility, and provides personalized and consistent care. As technology continues to advance, we can expect virtual care to become an even more integral part of our healthcare system. References: : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p...: https://mountainside.com/blog/...: https://www.marylandrecovery.c...: https://apn.com/resources/uniq...: https://headlandsats.com/telem...: https://www.adsc.com/blog/the-... If you or someone you know is navigating the complexities of mental health issues or addiction, Interact Lifeline is here to help. We are committed to providing easily accessible, effective, and affordable treatment options. Don't let geographical constraints or societal stigma deter you from seeking the help you deserve. Reach out to us for more information about our digital mental health and addiction treatment services. Your path to recovery can start today. Connect with us at Interact Lifeline, and let's take the first step towards healing together. Get in Touch Get Started with InterAct LifeLine InterAct connects individuals to treatment, supportcommunities & families to improve recovery. Get in Touch
Article
Learn the Fentanyl Facts
Powerful, Potent, Deadly From the national organization that organized May 9, 2023 Fentanyl Awareness Day, "Illicitly manufactured fentanyl and its dangers, while well-documented by health professionals and law enforcement, are largely unknown to the general population and even more so to ...
Powerful, Potent, Deadly From the national organization that organized May 9, 2023 Fentanyl Awareness Day, "Illicitly manufactured fentanyl and its dangers, while well-documented by health professionals and law enforcement, are largely unknown to the general population and even more so to its most vulnerable population: youth and young adults. According to the CDC, fentanyl is involved in more deaths of Americans under 50 than any other cause of death, including heart disease, cancer, and all other accidents. Among teenagers, overdose deaths linked to synthetic opioids like fentanyl tripled in the past two years, yet 73% have never heard of fake prescription pills being made with fentanyl." Learn the Facts It's Killing Young People Fentanyl is involved in more deaths of Americans under 50 than any other cause of death, including heart disease, cancer, and all other accidents. Young People Are Not Informed Among teenagers, overdose deaths linked to synthetic opioids like fentanyl tripled in the past two years, yet 73% have never heard of fake prescription pills being made with fentanyl." Fentanyl Is a Powerful & Deadly Synthetic Opioid Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. It isa major contributor to fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the U.S.(CDC) Overdose Deaths are Skyrocketing 250 Fentanyl Overdose Deaths Each DayImagine a jumbo jet crashing each day killing everyone on board.  Now you see the number of people that die daily because they made a mistake and were poisoned by fentanyl. Know the Facts It is important for people to know about the risks of fentanyl because it is a highly potent synthetic opioid that is extremely dangerous. Fentanyl is estimated to be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and even a small amount can cause an overdose or death. Fentanyl is often mixed with other drugs, such as heroin or cocaine, and can be difficult to detect. It is also sometimes sold as counterfeit pills or mixed into other drugs without the user's knowledge. Due to the potency of fentanyl and its prevalence in the illicit drug market, it has become a leading cause of drug overdose deaths in many countries, including the United States and Canada. Education and awareness about the risks of fentanyl are crucial in preventing overdose deaths and reducing the harm associated with drug use. LifeLine Connect Building technology to use data from wearables to detect overdose, alert others and send help to prevent fentanyl overdose deaths. Learn More
Video
What is Fentanyl? An Explainer Video from Vancouver, Candada
Explainer Video from British Columbia For anyone that is unfamiliar with fentanyl, this is a great video from Vancouver, Canada that reviews what the drug is, who is at risk and why is it so deadly. Fentanyl was detected in 80% of overdose deaths in British Columbia in 2017 and ...
Explainer Video from British Columbia For anyone that is unfamiliar with fentanyl, this is a great video from Vancouver, Canada that reviews what the drug is, who is at risk and why is it so deadly. Fentanyl was detected in 80% of overdose deaths in British Columbia in 2017 and that statistic is now true for overdose deaths in the United States.Help is on the Way!InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile solution that utilizes data from smart watches and fitness trackers to detect leading indicators of overdose, alert others and send help. (Coming Soon!)Visit LifeLine Connect
Video
ABC News Report on Fentanyl
Report from ABC News This synthetic opioid, often mixed with heroin, is so toxic that people easily overdose and drug agents don special suits to handle it. Help is on the Way! InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile solution that utilizes data from smart watches and fitness trackers to detect ...
Report from ABC NewsThis synthetic opioid, often mixed with heroin, is so toxic that people easily overdose and drug agents don special suits to handle it.Help is on the Way!InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile solution that utilizes data from smart watches and fitness trackers to detect leading indicators of overdose, alert others and send help. (Coming Soon!)Visit LifeLine Connect
Video
Fentanyl , Other Opioid Drugs behind 54% Increase in Overdose Deaths in 6 Years:
DEA warns about fentanyl being sold to kids Federal officials are sounding the alarm over the dangers of fentanyl pills . Help is on the Way! InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile solution that utilizes data from smart watches and fitness trackers to detect leading indicators of overdose, ...
DEA warns about fentanyl being sold to kids Federal officials are sounding the alarm over the dangers of fentanyl pills .Help is on the Way!InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile solution that utilizes data from smart watches and fitness trackers to detect leading indicators of overdose, alert others and send help. (Coming Soon!)Visit LifeLine Connect
Video
The Hidden Epidemic: US Fentanyl Crisis Worsens
The Crisis Worsens Law enforcement, students and parents present dire warnings as the nation continues to see a rise in fentanyl overdose deaths. Help is on the Way! InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile solution that utilizes data from smart watches and fitness trackers to detect leading ...
The Crisis WorsensLaw enforcement, students and parents present dire warnings as the nation continues to see a rise in fentanyl overdose deaths.Help is on the Way!InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile solution that utilizes data from smart watches and fitness trackers to detect leading indicators of overdose, alert others and send help. (Coming Soon!)Visit LifeLine Connect
Video
Fatal Fentanyl Deaths are on the Rise in the US
Easy to Buy Counterfeit Pills Laced with Fentanyl on Social Media Fatal overdoses linked to the synthetic opioid fentanyl have been steadily climbing in the United States. "CBS Evening News" managing editor and anchor Norah O'Donnell reports on how teens are buying the drug on social media. Then ...
Easy to Buy Counterfeit Pills Laced with Fentanyl on Social MediaFatal overdoses linked to the synthetic opioid fentanyl have been steadily climbing in the United States. "CBS Evening News" managing editor and anchor Norah O'Donnell reports on how teens are buying the drug on social media. Then Desilynn Smith, the clinical supervisor with Gateway to Change rehabilitation center, joins CBS News' Vladimir Duthiers to discuss the loss of her husband to a fentanyl overdose and her work to prevent drug-related deaths in her community.Help is on the Way!InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile solution that utilizes data from smart watches and fitness trackers to detect leading indicators of overdose, alert others and send help. (Coming Soon!)Visit LifeLine Connect
Video
A Deadly Combination: Fentanyl and Xylazine - Tranq
A Deadly Combination Public health officials revealed Thursday that xylazine, a non-opioid veterinary tranquilizer, has been discovered in the bloodstreams of four fatal fentanyl overdose victims. Kelsi Thorud reports. Help is on the Way! InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile solution that ...
A Deadly CombinationPublic health officials revealed Thursday that xylazine, a non-opioid veterinary tranquilizer, has been discovered in the bloodstreams of four fatal fentanyl overdose victims. Kelsi Thorud reports. Help is on the Way!InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile solution that utilizes data from smart watches and fitness trackers to detect leading indicators of overdose, alert others and send help. (Coming Soon!)Visit LifeLine Connect
Video
How Fentanyl Kills: A CBC News Explainer
This is Your Brain on Fentanyl Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid — a painkiller similar to morphine. But its recreational use is becoming a public health crisis and increasing problem for law enforcement across the country. Help is on the Way! InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile ...
This is Your Brain on FentanylFentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid — a painkiller similar to morphine. But its recreational use is becoming a public health crisis and increasing problem for law enforcement across the country. Help is on the Way!InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile solution that utilizes data from smart watches and fitness trackers to detect leading indicators of overdose, alert others and send help. (Coming Soon!)Visit LifeLine Connect
Video
What is fentanyl? KSAT Explains
More than 100,000 people in the U.S. died of drug overdoses in 2021 SAN ANTONIO – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the pharmaceutical fentanyl is a synthetic opioid approved for treating severe pain, typically advanced cancer pain. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times ...
More than 100,000 people in the U.S. died of drug overdoses in 2021SAN ANTONIO – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the pharmaceutical fentanyl is a synthetic opioid approved for treating severe pain, typically advanced cancer pain. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and is prescribed as transdermal patches or lozenges. The CDC says the most recent cases of fentanyl-related harm, overdose, and death in the U.S. are linked to illegally made fentanyl. Overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone, which includes fentanyl and fentanyl analogs, increased by over 56% from 2019 to 2020, according to the CDC.Help is on the Way!InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile solution that utilizes data from smart watches and fitness trackers to detect leading indicators of overdose, alert others and send help. (Coming Soon!)Visit LifeLine Connect
Video
Dad of Ohio State student talks about her overdose death
Tiffany Iler, Ohio State Student Dead at 21 Tiffany Iler, 21, was a student at the Ohio State University. She died in May as a result of fentanyl intoxication. Help is on the Way! InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile solution that utilizes data from smart watches and fitness trackers to ...
Tiffany Iler, Ohio State Student Dead at 21Tiffany Iler, 21, was a student at the Ohio State University. She died in May as a result of fentanyl intoxication.Help is on the Way!InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile solution that utilizes data from smart watches and fitness trackers to detect leading indicators of overdose, alert others and send help. (Coming Soon!)Visit LifeLine Connect
Video
Phoenix mom opens up about losing her son to an overdose
Isaiah Dies From Fentanyl at Age 15 A Phoenix mother is opening open about the heartbreaking loss of her 15-year-old son because of an overdose and she said she found out on Snapchat he had taken a pill. Help is on the Way! InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile solution that utilizes data ...
Isaiah Dies From Fentanyl at Age 15A Phoenix mother is opening open about the heartbreaking loss of her 15-year-old son because of an overdose and she said she found out on Snapchat he had taken a pill.Help is on the Way!InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile solution that utilizes data from smart watches and fitness trackers to detect leading indicators of overdose, alert others and send help. (Coming Soon!)Visit LifeLine Connect
Video
She took one pill and it killed her. She didn't know it was laced with fentanyl
One Pill Killed Her Drug overdoses killed more than 107,000 people in the U.S. in 2021. Synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl, were involved in the majority of those deaths. Help is on the Way! InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile solution that utilizes data from smart watches and fitness ...
One Pill Killed HerDrug overdoses killed more than 107,000 people in the U.S. in 2021. Synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl, were involved in the majority of those deaths.Help is on the Way!InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile solution that utilizes data from smart watches and fitness trackers to detect leading indicators of overdose, alert others and send help. (Coming Soon!)Visit LifeLine Connect
Video
Families left behind share their thoughts on combating the crisis of fentanyl
The Faces of Fentanyl from Tampa The overdose crisis is getting worse and the drug, fentanyl, is a big reason why. It's cheap, extremely addictive and 100 times stronger than morphine. 10 Tampa Bay hosted a discussion with a group of people who lost loved ones due to an overdose. None of them knew ...
The Faces of Fentanyl from TampaThe overdose crisis is getting worse and the drug, fentanyl, is a big reason why. It's cheap, extremely addictive and 100 times stronger than morphine. 10 Tampa Bay hosted a discussion with a group of people who lost loved ones due to an overdose. None of them knew the drugs they bought were laced with fentanyl.Help is on the Way!InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile solution that utilizes data from smart watches and fitness trackers to detect leading indicators of overdose, alert others and send help. (Coming Soon!)Visit LifeLine Connect
Video
Fullerton Teen Dies of a Fentanyl Overdose
17-Year Old Trining Dies from Fentanyl Overdose Chrisa Cornejo is mourning the death of her 17-year-old daughter, Trinity Cornejo. Cornejo says Trinity had come home after a party with friends on Sept. 30 and was later found unresponsive by Trinity's aunt. Cornejo says she believes this was ...
17-Year Old Trining Dies from Fentanyl OverdoseChrisa Cornejo is mourning the death of her 17-year-old daughter, Trinity Cornejo. Cornejo says Trinity had come home after a party with friends on Sept. 30 and was later found unresponsive by Trinity's aunt. Cornejo says she believes this was her daughter's first time trying drugs. She says she hopes her daughter's death isn't in vain and others learn from this. "I would send her your articles about these issues, and these deaths, and I thought she understood and I thought she would never take that risk, but teenagers are curious and dealing with a lot of pressure," Cornejo said. Cornejo says she believes drug dealers are using social media to connect with teens. She has a message for parents."These dealers deliver substances of the teen's choice. They come in masks when they come in their cars," Cornejo said. "They either know what they're doing and don't want to get caught, or don't know what they're doing and don't care. Either way it's just drugs are no longer drugs. What you think you're getting is most likely laced with something else."Help is on the Way!InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile solution that utilizes data from smart watches and fitness trackers to detect leading indicators of overdose, alert others and send help. (Coming Soon!)Visit LifeLine Connect
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High School Baseball Player Dies After Apparent Fentanyl Overdose
17 Year Old High School Athlete Dead from Fentanyl Classmates are mourning the death of a promising Woodland Hills student-athlete, who died of fentanyl poisoning last week. El Camino Charter High School baseball player Cade Kitchen is being remembered as a kind, easygoing 17-year-old who was ...
17 Year Old High School Athlete Dead from FentanylClassmates are mourning the death of a promising Woodland Hills student-athlete, who died of fentanyl poisoning last week. El Camino Charter High School baseball player Cade Kitchen is being remembered as a kind, easygoing 17-year-old who was dedicated to his team. Even students that didn’t know him personally are devastated by the news, and cannot believe that the fentanyl crisis hit their community. Parents are increasingly concerned. "It’s heartbreaking for the family. It’s heartbreaking for the students, it’s a wake-up call," said Dean Messerman, whose son is a junior at the school.Help is on the Way!InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile solution that utilizes data from smart watches and fitness trackers to detect leading indicators of overdose, alert others and send help. (Coming Soon!)Visit LifeLine Connect
Video
Fighting Fentanyl: The Crisis – Episode 1, Part 1
The Story of Kevin McConville n Part 1, Episode 1 of “Fighting Fentanyl: The Crisis,” we introduce Hays CISD audiences to the local fentanyl crisis in our community. It opens powerfully with the tragic story of Kevin McConville who would have been a senior at Lehman High School, Class of 2023. ...
The Story of Kevin McConvillen Part 1, Episode 1 of “Fighting Fentanyl: The Crisis,” we introduce Hays CISD audiences to the local fentanyl crisis in our community. It opens powerfully with the tragic story of Kevin McConville who would have been a senior at Lehman High School, Class of 2023. However, just two weeks before the start of his senior year, he died from a suspected fentanyl overdose - never knowing it was fentanyl he took. Additionally, this video showcases first responders and their work on the front lines.Help is on the Way!InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile solution that utilizes data from smart watches and fitness trackers to detect leading indicators of overdose, alert others and send help. (Coming Soon!)Visit LifeLine Connect
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Protect Yourself from the Dangers of Fentanyl
A Powerful Video from the CDC Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl is being added to other drugs because of its extreme potency, which makes drugs cheaper, more powerful, more addictive, and ...
A Powerful Video from the CDCFentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl is being added to other drugs because of its extreme potency, which makes drugs cheaper, more powerful, more addictive, and more dangerous. Drugs may contain deadly levels of fentanyl, and you wouldn’t be able to see it, taste it, or smell it. However, fentanyl test strips are a simple, inexpensive, and effective way to test drugs for fentanyl and help prevent overdose. Learn more about the dangers of fentanyl and ways to protect yourself at cdc.gov/stopoverdose/fentanyl.Help is on the Way!InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile solution that utilizes data from smart watches and fitness trackers to detect leading indicators of overdose, alert others and send help. (Coming Soon!)Visit LifeLine Connect
Video
Fentanyl Overdose Survivor Shares Her Story
A Brush with Death With thousands of lives cut short by tainted drugs, Sofia Christoff said she considers herself one of the lucky ones. However, she still bears the weight of her brush with death. Help is on the Way! ...
A Brush with Death With thousands of lives cut short by tainted drugs, Sofia Christoff said she considers herself one of the lucky ones. However, she still bears the weight of her brush with death. Help is on the Way! InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile solution that utilizes data from smart watches and fitness trackers to detect leading indicators of overdose, alert others and send help. (Coming Soon!) Visit LifeLine Connect
Video
Tacoma mom has warning for other parents after her son dies of fentanyl overdose
Speaking Up in an Effort to Save Lives One woman who lost her son to an overdose is speaking out in an effort to save lives. She said he wasn't a drug user, and he took what he thought was Percocet, but it ended up being fentanyl. Help is on the Way! InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile ...
Speaking Up in an Effort to Save LivesOne woman who lost her son to an overdose is speaking out in an effort to save lives. She said he wasn't a drug user, and he took what he thought was Percocet, but it ended up being fentanyl.Help is on the Way!InterAct LifeLIne is developing a mobile solution that utilizes data from smart watches and fitness trackers to detect leading indicators of overdose, alert others and send help. (Coming Soon!)Visit LifeLine Connect
Article
The Business of Fentanyl
Powerful, Potent, Profitable This April, over 3,000 people gathered in Atlanta from across the country, as they have done for the past 12 years, to focus on how to mitigate the impact that illegal drugs have had on our society. We’ve all heard about the Opioid Crisis, but over the last ...
Powerful, Potent, Profitable This April, over 3,000 people gathered in Atlanta from across the country, as they have done for the past 12 years, to focus on how to mitigate the impact that illegal drugs have had on our society. We’ve all heard about the Opioid Crisis, but over the last few years, fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, has been the game changer that has been an inflection point to make the Opioid Crisis more deadly than it’s ever been. Many of the sessions were focused on harm reduction strategies like the distribution of Narcan, the drug to reverse overdose, prevention strategies to raise people’s awareness of the risks, or legal strategies to toughen the penalties for distributing the drug. One of the more enlightening sessions came from the DEA, Drug Enforcement Agency, who took us through an explanation of the “business of fentanyl”. Fentanyl is Lucrative for the Drug Cartels What is fentanyl? For those of you who may not be familiar with the drug, it’s a synthetic opioid and about 50 times more powerful than heroin and 100 times more powerful that morphine. It’s added to counterfeit Adderall or Xanax , laced into heroin, added to cocaine and even to put gummies. And if added in the wrong quantities, which it often is, then a very small amount of the drug almost always leads to a fatal overdose.  According to the DEA, 6 of 10 counterfeit pills they confiscate contain a lethal dose of fentanyl. Why do the cartels love it? Drug cartels don’t get out of bed in the morning unless they can make a profit. And fentanyl is highly profitable. Let’s think about what it takes to produce other drugs and how this is different for fentanyl. If you want to produce heroin, cocaine, or marijuana, you must start by growing a plant. That takes land, farming, harvesting and processing and you could lose your crop to weather, to your fields being destroyed or to a lack of local labor. Now contrast that with how fentanyl is produced. There are no plants involved, no growing seasons and no risk that drug enforcement will find and destroy your fields. It’s synthetic, made in a lab or even in your kitchen and the ingredients are dirt cheap. The cartels get fentanyl from China, then use the powder to mix into other street drugs like heroin, cocaine or counterfeit pills.Deep Dive with PBS News Hour So why juice up other drugs with fentanyl? Fentanyl is much more potent that heroin, by about 50 times, and it’s much more addictive. Add fentanyl to another drug and the person gets a new kind of high and a more powerful addiction to the substance. Cartels need their customers to keep coming back for more and a much more addictive substance ensures they will keep buying. Why is fentanyl easier to smuggle? You’ve seen video and news reports when drug enforcement confiscate heroin that they’ve seized at the border, transported by sea, or trucked in. Those big bales take up a lot of space and the cartel had to go to significant effort to conceal them. Fentanyl, as a stand-alone substance, before it is ever mixed into another drug comes in much smaller quantities because of its potency. That means it’s easier to transport, easier to hide and easier to get into the country. The DEA shared that there is already enough fentanyl in the United States to kill every man, woman and child 5 times over. How do you stop the fentanyl money machine? Just like any business, cartels depend on repeat customers who are motivated to use a fentanyl laced product, get hooked on its powerful addictive qualities, and keep coming back for more. If demand is cut because people become aware of the elevated and deadly overdose risk, we just might reduce the number of repeat customers, reduce profit and send the cartels back to their more traditional, but less deadly drug trade. Make it less lucrative for the cartels If fentanyl took off because it was a lucrative business decision for the cartels, we need to find ways to make it less lucrative by cutting the supply from China, making it harder to transport to the customer, and decreasing the number of repeat buyers of contaminated products. If those things happen, there will be a pivot to something else by the cartels with the hope that their next business venture doesn’t keep killing the customers that drive their profits. LifeLine Connect Building technology to use data from wearables to detect overdose, alert others and send help to prevent fentanyl overdose deaths. Learn More
Article
Lessons from the Tragic Tale of Paul Murdaugh
I took a break today at lunch and turned on the Netflix 3-part series, The Murdaugh Murders, a Southern Scandal. You'd have to be living under a rock not to be inundated with the sensational trial of Alex Murdaugh, a prominent South Carolina attorney, now on trial for the murder of his wife Maggie ...
I took a break today at lunch and turned on the Netflix 3-part series, The Murdaugh Murders, a Southern Scandal. You'd have to be living under a rock not to be inundated with the sensational trial of Alex Murdaugh, a prominent South Carolina attorney, now on trial for the murder of his wife Maggie and son Paul.But if all you takeaway from this sensationalized story is a "who dun it" crime, then you are missing a tragic tale of what happens when you have a family history of underage drinking, substance misuse and addiction that decimated this family and tragically affected the people around them.I encourage you to watch the series, but pay particular attention to how it all started with Paul Murdaugh in Episode 1 and what can be learned from their family tragedy that applies to millions of other families. Image from fitsnews.com Paul Murdaugh started drinking at a very young age In the Netflix documentary, episode 1chronicles how Paul drank daily and to excess.  According to Morgan Doughty, Paul’s ex-girlfriend, Paul drank alcohol almost every day as a teenager, often becoming grossly intoxicated.  In the documentary, Morgan details the Murdaugh family holidays, get togethers and vacations where underage drinking was an accepted part of their family dynamics. So was Paul on the way to becoming an alcoholic and an addict?  The statistics on that are quite frightening.  The adolescent brain continues to form until about the age of 26 and for many adolescents, excessive abuse of alcohol or substances has the potential to "rewire" the brain to pursue those substances in the face of increasingly negative consequences.  From everything I see, Paul was likely in the throws of addiction before he even left high school. Evidence Photo They all knew and turned a blind eye. The Murdaugh family made it easier for Paul and his friends to get alcohol and engage in some heavy partying in high school.  Morgan Doughty said his parents handed over their credit card for Paul to buy alcohol and alternatively would even give Paul alcohol to party with his friends  Paul's older brother and parents knew he was using his brother's ID to buy liquor and beer.And Paul wasn't just drinking, he was blitzed.  There are videos showing him bombed on boat trips, at parties, and at his house in plain view of his parents who often joined in the festivities with him.   Evidence Photo Paul's reckless behavior, fueled by alcohol, lead to tragedy One tragic night, 3 teenage couples got together for a ride in Paul's boat to an oyster roast.  Heavy drinking began early and accelerated as the teenagers attended the party and ended up at a bar.  Before they even left the oyster roast, everyone was concerned that Paul, the driver of the boat, was blitzed, but they got in the boat anyway to go home. The boat crashed into a bridge near Parris Island, sending  passengers flying overboard and killing Mallory Beach, the girlfriend of one of Paul's best friends.Paul allegedly used a credit card belonging to his mother, and an ID belonging to his brother Buster to purchase alcohol from a convenience store earlier that day. Substance misuse and addiction seems to run in the Murdaugh family According to reports on CNN, Alex Murdaugh's best friend testified that Murdaugh told him that he had been addicted to opioids for 20 years, potentially driving him to steal money from his law firm to feed his expensive daily habit.  If Alex's admitted addiction to opioids pans out to be true, it certainly made it more likely that Paul might follow in his footsteps.Addiction runs in families.  The American Addiction Centers Resource (AACR) states that first-degree relatives of someone with a history of addiction are between 4 to 8 times more likely to develop problems with addiction themselves when compared to those who do not have a family member with an addiction.  Couple a genetic predisposition to addiction along with underage drinking and you have a deadly combination that stacked the deck against Paul. A broken community system failed Paul and contributed to the tragedy The officers did not offer Paul Murdaugh a field sobriety test when they responded to the deadly boat crash, even though he was visibly drunk.  Although Paul was charged with two counts of boating under the influence, his family helped him easily bond out and while awaiting trial the state did not restrict him from drinking alcohol or driving a boat.  Paul's blood alcohol tests came back showing he was 3 times over the legal limit, yet even after the accident, it appears nobody suggested that he get help. The Net Out South Carolina Attorney General's OfficeWe are not here to debate whether Alex killed Paul and his mother Maggie.  Our job is to look at what lead up to Paul's alcohol abuse and the tragic death of his friend Mallory Beach.  Paul drank heavily as a kid, did so at home and with the blessing of his parents, had his drinking funded by his parents' credit card, and was observed many times by his family and friends being grossly intoxicated.For any parent that thinks its cool to party with their teenagers or their friends, let this be a lesson.  You never know which kid will become addicted, what they will do when they are blitzed out of their mind, and the unintended consequences and tragedies that may result.  Paul Murdaugh, if given the help he needed for his compulsive drinking, might still be alive today and his friend Mallory might be attending college instead of being a statistic.
Infographic
Understanding PTSD and Substance Use
From the infographic: 27% of Veterans in VA care diagnosed with PTSD also have substance use disorder(SUD)
Addiction, Alcohol, Drugs, Mental Health, Ptsd, Substance Abuse, veterans
From the infographic: 27% of Veterans in VA care diagnosed with PTSD also have substance use disorder(SUD)
Article
Basic Life Skills Your Student Needs Before Going to College
According to College Parents of America, "College is a time where young adults go off into the “real world” and begin to become adults. There are many skills that we assume these young adults have, but they may not know how to apply them in their own environment. These skills may seem obvious ...
adolescent, adulthood, adulting, College, life, parent, Skills
According to College Parents of America, "College is a time where young adults go off into the “real world” and begin to become adults. There are many skills that we assume these young adults have, but they may not know how to apply them in their own environment. These skills may seem obvious to us, but in order to set our students up for success, we need to make sure they are prepared."This article lists a number of important life skills every young adult should have before going to college. Read the full article
Article
Addiction Recovery: 7 Reasons Why Mindfulness is Such an Effective Treatment
The Center for Mindful Psychotherapy describes mindfulness as "a state of being in the present moment. We release the regrets of the past and we take a break from our fears about the future. Life unfolds in the here and now and mindfulness helps us accept and understand this."Mindfulness has become ...
Addiction, meditation, Mindfulness, practice, Recovery, Strategy
The Center for Mindful Psychotherapy describes mindfulness as "a state of being in the present moment. We release the regrets of the past and we take a break from our fears about the future. Life unfolds in the here and now and mindfulness helps us accept and understand this."Mindfulness has become a go to treatment for all kinds of addiction including addictions to drugs, sex, alcohol, gambling, food, internet, and more. This article gives 7 reasons why mindfulness is an effective treatment for addiction recovery. Read the full article
Article
How Opioid Addiction Occurs
According to The Mayo Clinic, "Anyone who takes opioids is at risk of developing addiction. Your personal history and the length of time you use opioids play a role, but it's impossible to predict who's vulnerable to eventual dependence on and abuse of these drugs. Legal or illegal, stolen and ...
Addiction, Drugs, epidemic, Fentanyl, Heroin, opioid, Overdose, Science
According to The Mayo Clinic, "Anyone who takes opioids is at risk of developing addiction. Your personal history and the length of time you use opioids play a role, but it's impossible to predict who's vulnerable to eventual dependence on and abuse of these drugs. Legal or illegal, stolen and shared, these drugs are responsible for the majority of overdose deaths in the U.S. today."This article discusses how even short-term pain relief can lead to life threatening problems.Read the full article
Article
Mental Health: Keeping Your Emotional Health
According to familydoctor.org, "Emotional health is an important part of your life. It allows you to realize your full potential. You can work productively and cope with the stresses of everyday life. It helps you work with other people and contribute to society. It also affects your physical ...
Emotion, emotional health, Health, Mental Health, self care
According to familydoctor.org, "Emotional health is an important part of your life. It allows you to realize your full potential. You can work productively and cope with the stresses of everyday life. It helps you work with other people and contribute to society. It also affects your physical health. Research shows a link between an upbeat mental state and physical signs of good health. These include lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease, and a healthier weight."This article discusses the importance of maintaining good emotional health. Read the full article
Article
Shame: The Core of Addiction and Codependency
According to Darlene Lancer, "Shame is so painful to the psyche that most people will do anything to avoid it, even though it’s a natural emotion that everyone has. It’s a physiologic response of the autonomic nervous system. You might blush, have a rapid heartbeat, break into a sweat, freeze, ...
Addiction, Alcohol, codependency, Drugs, Recovery, Shame
According to Darlene Lancer, "Shame is so painful to the psyche that most people will do anything to avoid it, even though it’s a natural emotion that everyone has. It’s a physiologic response of the autonomic nervous system. You might blush, have a rapid heartbeat, break into a sweat, freeze, hang your head, slump your shoulders, avoid eye contact, withdraw, even get dizzy or nauseous."This article discusses how shame can lead to addiction and is the core feeling that leads to many other codependents' symptoms.Read the full article
Video
'They were poisoned': Fentanyl-laced drug kills five friends
Tragedy in Colorado from Fentanyl Overdoses Last February, a group of friends in a Denver suburb took cocaine, but five of them died. Colorado detectives determined it was laced with a deadly amount of synthetic fentanyl. Efforts to find out who was responsible for this mass overdose - and ...
Tragedy in Colorado from Fentanyl OverdosesLast February, a group of friends in a Denver suburb took cocaine, but five of them died. Colorado detectives determined it was laced with a deadly amount of synthetic fentanyl. Efforts to find out who was responsible for this mass overdose - and prosecuting them - highlighted another challenge in the nation’s fentanyl drug crisis.
Video
Hidden Epidemic: US fentanyl crisis worsens | Nightline
The Hidden Dangers of Fentanyl from ABC Nightline Law enforcement, students and parents present dire warnings as the nation continues to see a rise in fentanyl overdose deaths.
The Hidden Dangers of Fentanyl from ABC NightlineLaw enforcement, students and parents present dire warnings as the nation continues to see a rise in fentanyl overdose deaths.
Video
New report details the scale of the U.S. opioid crisis and its link to drug trafficking
Overview of the Opioid Crisis from PBS News Hour February 9, 2022 "The opioid overdose crisis that killed more than 100,000 Americans in a year is being called one of the most pressing national security and public health challenges facing the U.S. A majority of the overdoses are driven by the ...
Overview of the Opioid Crisis from PBS News HourFebruary 9, 2022"The opioid overdose crisis that killed more than 100,000 Americans in a year is being called one of the most pressing national security and public health challenges facing the U.S. A majority of the overdoses are driven by the potent synthetic opioid fentanyl. Maryland Rep. David Trone, co-chair of the federal Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking, joins William Brangham to discuss."
Article
Tips for Celebrating the Holidays with Recovering Family Members and Friends
According to Peter Gaumond, "This time each year can be stressful for anyone, but the holidays present a special challenge for people recovering from an addiction. Those in long-term recovery typically are adept at navigating the minefield of temptation at holiday social gatherings. But many of ...
Christmas, Family, holidays, Recovery, Thanksgiving
According to Peter Gaumond,"This time each year can be stressful for anyone, but the holidays present a special challenge for people recovering from an addiction. Those in long-term recovery typically are adept at navigating the minefield of temptation at holiday social gatherings. But many of those in their first year of recovery, their friends, and family members wonder how best to celebrate the holidays safely, comfortably, and joyously."Read this article to learn how to help those in recovery get through the holidays.Read the full article
Article
Why are the Holidays so Stressful to People in Addiction Recovery?
According to Elizabeth Brico, "Holidays are notoriously stressful for everyone, and especially so for people newly in addiction recovery (or even people who have been in recovery or remission for a long time). Many people relapse during the holidays—so it’s crucial that you provide extra ...
Addiction, holidays, insights, Recovery, Stress
According to Elizabeth Brico,"Holidays are notoriously stressful for everyone, and especially so for people newly in addiction recovery (or even people who have been in recovery or remission for a long time). Many people relapse during the holidays—so it’s crucial that you provide extra support to your loved one during this time."Read this article to learn about why holidays can be so stressful for people in addiction recovery, so that you can better understand and help a loved on in recovery.Read the full article
Podcast
Lifeline with Carolyn Bradfield
Your browser does not support the audio element. Listen to this powerful episode and learn how one woman turned her own journey of having a child with addiction and unthinkable loss into what would become a lifeline for others. Carolyn Bradfield shares her and Laura's story on this episode ...
Podcast, relevate
Your browser does not support the audio element. Listen to this powerful episode and learn how one woman turned her own journey of having a child with addiction and unthinkable loss into what would become a lifeline for others.  Carolyn Bradfield shares her and Laura's story on this episode of the Relevate Podcast.   If you've ever loved someone with addiction or fear that is the direction they may be headed, Carolyn shares from her own experience with clarity, knowledge and empathy.  There is so much to learn from her story. You'll also hear of some exciting technology developments, spearheaded by her company InterAct LifeLine, designed to provide a lifeline and layer of protection for those who struggle with addiction. To learn more, visit:  interactlifeline.com Also mentioned in this episode: - Missy Owen's organization, Davis Direction Foundation, founded in memory of her son, Davis - The Connection, an addiction recovery support center in Forsyth County (metro Atlanta) To learn more about the host of the Relevate Podcast, Rena Olsen, click here. Thank you for subscribing and being a supporter of this series!  Please help spread the word by sharing this episode on your social media networks and with others. Listen to more episodes of Relevate here
Article
Recognizing Alcoholism as a Disease
In his article Buddy T says, "One of the difficulties in recognizing alcoholism as a disease is it just plain doesn't seem like one. It doesn't look, sound, smell and it certainly doesn't act like a disease. To make matters worse, generally, it denies it exists and resists treatment." This ...
Addiction, Alcohol, Alcoholism, Disease
In his article Buddy T says,"One of the difficulties in recognizing alcoholism as a disease is it just plain doesn't seem like one. It doesn't look, sound, smell and it certainly doesn't act like a disease. To make matters worse, generally, it denies it exists and resists treatment."This article discusses the neurobiology of alcoholism. Read the full article
Article
Opioid Misuse in Rural America
Opioid Misuse Hits Rural America Hard "As of March 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that drug overdose death rates continue to rise in both rural and urban areas. In five states, California, Connecticut, North Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia, the rate of drug-overdose ...
Opioid Misuse Hits Rural America Hard"As of March 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that drug overdose death rates continue to rise in both rural and urban areas. In five states, California, Connecticut, North Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia, the rate of drug-overdose deaths in rural counties were higher than those in urban counties. In addition, a December 2017 survey by the National Farmers Union and the American Farm Bureau Federation found that as many as 74 percent of farmers have been directly impacted by the opioid crisis."Read the Article

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