Teen Challenge New England | Breaking News Archive
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Breaking News Archive

July 2017

Lost in a circle of lies

June 2017

Deadly toll from opioids in US will only get worse, experts say

Calling it “brain disease” makes addiction harder to treat

The demon was coursing through their veins

In just one year, nearly 1.3 million Americans needed hospital care of opioid-related issues

Baker attends first national opioid meeting

Dark Web deepens the opioid crisis

Estimate says drug deaths in US are rising faster than ever

Some clinics seek profits in opioid crisis

Teaming up in the opioid fight

May 2017

Suspected drug stealing persists at veterans hospitals

Overdose deaths in Ohio pass 4,000

Pigeon ‘caught with backpack of drugs’

FDA chief calls for ‘forceful steps’ to curb opioid epidemic

Opioid deaths down in quarter

Sales executive for opioid maker was addicted

‘Gray death’ is newest US opioid threat

April 2017

This is your teenager’s brain on pot

Taking opioid fight out to sea

These mothers of suicides don’t think marijuana is harmless

US opioid report singles out state

Amid grief, another burden

Public Bathrooms Become Ground Zero In The Opioid Epidemic

Panel examines care of pregnant addicts

March 2017

Rate of infants born on opioids soaring

Senator calls for data on five makers of opioids

Heroin use in US has sharply increased

Excellent article for parents.

Teen Challenge does not agree with certain statements on addiction made by Newt Gringrich and Patrick Kennedy. We believe, through a relationship with Jesus Christ, you can be set free from addiction.

In Between Life and Death, Opioid Use Can Cause Dozens of Injuries

US uses the most opioids, per capita

Police find unattended child in drug bust

Internet fuels underage sex trafficking

February 2017

As opioid deaths rise in Lynn, funds being cut

Help-not-handcuffs drug effort thriving

New warning on teens, marijuana

Hide and Seek – What parents need to know

Prescribing opioids ingrained in dentistry

Teen Challenge Brockton, a faith-based drug treatment program, is changing lives

Teen Challenge New Hampshire helps men recover from addiction

Opioid toll near 2,000 in 2016

Taunton opioid toll still rising.

January 2017

Opioid deaths up 16 percent last year

Addiction is not a disease

Memory loss in some Mass. opioid users raises alarms

New England lawmakers debate opioid crisis, marijuana

Tackling opioid crisis head on

A new program targets children of opioid addicts

Some are taking opioids meant for pets

Baby ingests fentanyl, is revived

Opioid crisis sways doctors

Pilot allegedly passed out in cockpit

From humble beginnings, an alleged drug ring

December 2016

Addiction crisis fuels human trafficking

Opioids slipping into US via mail

Of heroin and heroes

Baker’s puzzling retreat on  opioids

The deadliness of needles

Opioid’s hold on parents taking a toll on children

November 2016

New details emerge in Marlborough death

A family’s loss to opioid addiction becomes a gift to others.

10% of alcoholics, drug addicts get help, US says

DA discusses efforts to treat area’s drug-addicted babies

Prosecutors cite drugs, alcohol in fatal crash

Nursing homes urged on opioid addiction training

Opioid epidemic slowing progress on HIV

Fentanyl fuels boost in overdose deaths Use of heroin, prescription drugs appears to fall

By Felice J. Freyer

GLOBE STAFF

More than ever, the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl is claiming lives in Massachusetts, fueling an overdose death toll that continues to rise, according to data released Wednesday by the state Department of Public Health.

During the first half of 2016, deaths from opioid overdoses were higher than in the same period last year.

That happened despite an apparent decline in the use of heroin and prescription drugs. Prescriptions for opioid painkillers were at their lowest level since early 2015, and heroin and prescription drugs were found less frequently in the bloodstreams of overdose victims than in the past.

Read more …

Maine has second-highest rate of babies born addicted to opioids –

BY PETER MCGUIRE STAFF WRITER

The federal CDC says the rate was 30.4 of every 1,000 births in 2012, double what it was in 2008.

Maine ranked second among 28 states in 2012 for the number of babies born with a drug withdrawal syndrome primarily caused by exposure to opioids while in the womb, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released Friday.

According to CDC statistics compiled from the 28 states that have publicly available data, the incidence rate of neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS, in Maine was 30.4 per 1,000 hospital births in 2012, almost double the rate from 2008. Vermont was the only state with a higher incidence rate in 2012, at 30.5 births per 1,000.
Read more…

New Numbers Show Opioid Epidemic Rages On In Massachusetts

The opioid epidemic is getting worse, not better, in Massachusetts. More men and women died after an unintentional overdose in the first six months of 2016 than during the same period last year, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). And the state has revised the total number of deaths last year: up. Just over four people died, on average, every day.

“We continue to face an unprecedented opioid epidemic with the numbers continuing to rise,” Dr. Monica Bharel, DPH commissioner, said.

Read more …

26 overdoses in just hours: A small West Virginia city faces its demons

They’re just showing up and dying.”

Those six words made emergency responders’ ears perk up in Huntington, W.Va., when they buzzed over the radio. An official was quoting a caller who needed help at a local home.

“I just caught a bit of that,” another official replied. “What are people showing up and doing?”

“All they can tell us is that ‘people are showing up and dying,’” the first official said. “We’re not sure what’s going on.” Read more …

Lonely fight

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Heroin has scourged rural areas of the country, such as in New England, where Christian addiction recovery resources are mostly absent.
by Emily Belz
Vol. 31, No. 16 – August 6, 2016
Posted on Friday, July 22, 2016, at 1:00 am
Rural Vermont is beautiful this time of year. The Green Mountains are especially green, and buttercups line the hilly two-lane roads through Christmas tree farms and produce stands. Beehives buzz, cows crowd together under shade, and American flags wave outside of many homes. Read more …

 Boston’s Methadone Mile

Methadone Mile is a stretch of Massachusetts Avenue where methadone clinics brush up against an open air drug market. This is where people come to get high and sober. Recovery, relapse, danger, grief, and hope all fill people’s daily lives. This year, Boston Globe photographer Keith Bedford and two Globe reporters spent time on Methadone Mile, gaining people’s trust and telling their stories. In Sunday’s Globe, learn more about who they met.
Read more…

 

 

Opioids issued less often in Mass.

Prescription rates indicate more caution
By Felice J. Freyer

GLOBE STAFF

Many doctors in Massachusetts sharply curtailed prescriptions for opioids over the past 18 months, according to new data that suggest the pipeline for drugs that fueled the state’s deadly opioid-abuse crisis may be shrinking.Athenahealth, a Watertown company that provides electronic medical records, released an analysis Wednesday showing that opioid prescriptions in the physician practices that use its software fell 25 percent since the beginning of 2015. That was a steeper drop than for medical practices nationwide, which recorded a 13 percent decline.

Read more…

Health Connector will eliminate copays for addiction treatment

People fighting addiction who get subsidized insurance will no longer have to pay for outpatient medication and counseling starting next year, a move officials hope will reverberate throughout the insurance market.

The Massachusetts Health Connector, a state agency serving people who don’t obtain insurance through an employer, is requiring Connector insurers to eliminate all out-of-pocket costs for medication-assisted treatment that includes drugs such as methadone or Suboxone along with counseling. The Connector’s governing board approved the plan unanimously Thursday.

Read more…

OPINION | PAUL D. THACKER

Senate should release opioid report

LIKE MANY AMERICANS, I want to know how we got to the point that nearly 30,000 of our fellow countrymen and women died last year from overdosing on opioids. Many answers can be found in a report written by staff working in the US Senate. But the senators overseeing the report have failed to release it.

As a former investigator on the Senate Finance Committee, I have professional reasons for wanting to see the report made public. I also have personal reasons — I lost two cousins to opioids, and my father unwittingly became briefly addicted to fentanyl when he was prescribed the drug for back pain. Read more …

Heroin use in U.S. reaches “alarming” 20-year high – CBS NewsHeroin use has reached the highest level in 20 years in the United States, according to a new global drug report that calls the trend “alarming.”

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime released its World Drug Report 2016 today. The annual report examines the health impact of opiates, cocaine, cannabis, amphetamine and other substance abuse around the world.

The report said heroin is the deadliest drug worldwide, and said its increasing use in the U.S. is of particular concern.

There were about one million heroin users in the U.S. as of 2014, almost three times the number in 2003. Deaths related to heroin use have increased five-fold since 2000. Read more…

US official addresses addiction

Surgeon general visits ‘Methadone Mile,’ says nation must change attitude toward treatment

US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy visited what some locals call “the worst intersection in Boston’’ on Friday as part of his effort to talk to prescribers nationwide about how they can address the country’s rising opioid crisis.

The Boston stop on Murthy’s “Turn the Tide Rx’’ tour brought him to the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program on Albany Street, at the heart of “Methadone Mile,’’ so nicknamed for the cluster of homeless shelters and drug addiction programs there that draw people battling substance abuse from across the city. Accompanied by the program’s top officials and state Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, Murthy toured the facility and met with patients who shared their stories of stigmatization and recovery.  Read more …

Opioids linked to a variety of deaths

Overdoses aren’t only issue in study

By Lindsey Tanner, ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHICAGO — Accidental overdoses aren’t the only deadly risk from using powerful prescription painkillers. The drugs may also contribute to heart-related deaths and other fatalities, new research suggests.
Among more than 45,000 patients in the study, those using opioid painkillers had a 64 percent higher risk of dying within six months of starting treatment, compared to patients taking other prescription pain medicine. Unintentional overdoses accounted for about 18 percent of the deaths among opioid users, versus 8 percent of the other patients.

‘‘As bad as people think the problem of opioid use is, it’s probably worse,’’ said Wayne Ray, the lead author and a health policy professor at Vanderbilt University’s medical school. ‘‘They should be a last resort, and particular care should be exercised for patients who are at cardiovascular risk.’’

Read more…

Fatal overdoses, falls on rise in US

WASHINGTON — Accidents are killing more Americans each year, increasingly from overdoses and falls.

A report from the National Safety Council said that in 2014, about 136,000 Americans died accidentally. That’s up 4.2 percent from the year before and a jump of 15.5 percent over a decade. And the accident rate has risen despite a 22 percent plunge in car crash deaths since 2005.

Overdose and accidental poisonings are up 78 percent over a decade — pushing aside car crashes as the No. 1 accidental killer in the United States. They killed 42,032 people, about 6,000 more than vehicle accidents. Opioid overdoses killed 13,486 people in 2014, the nonprofit safety council reported.
Read more…

I have a drug history. The hospital didn’t seem to listen.

It was roughly halfway into a Saturday evening flight from Miami to Boston when I began to wonder if I was going to survive the night. What had started as a sharp pain on the right side of my abdomen now felt as if my gut were being hacked at with a phalanx of rusty chisels. The only explanation I could think of was that my appendix had burst and I was dying of sepsis.

After we landed, I was taken by ambulance to the emergency room at Massachusetts General Hospital. Over the next hour or so, I received five separate injections totaling the equivalent of 29 milligrams of morphine. Sometime around 4 a.m., I learned that my appendix was fine; the cause of my suffering was a pair of kidney stones lodged in my ureter.

One of the stones was roughly twice as long as the ureter is wide, which meant it would require surgery — and the soonest that could occur was at the very end of the following day. I’d need to be injected with a lot more painkillers before then — and I’d likely be sent home with a prescription for more. That was something I’d been dreading for years. Read more…

Critical care

ADr. Sharon F. Daley, chief of pediatrics at Cape Cod Hospital, held a baby being treated for symptoms of withdrawal.s the state grapples with the opioid crisis, smaller communities have been hit particularly hard. At Cape Cod Hospital, that has led to a change in policy — and attitude — when dealing with drug-dependent newborns. Read more…

 

 

 

 

Police worry about rash of overdoses behind the wheel

Six motorists were found overdosed in traffic or unconscious in parked cars in New Bedford last month.

NEW BEDFORD — The opioid crisis has moved behind the wheel in this gritty port city and in other corners of Massachusetts, authorities said. In April, six motorists were found overdosed in traffic here or slumped unconscious in parked cars.

The spike in overdosed drivers has introduced a new dimension to the heroin epidemic, which is killing an average of four people a day in Massachusetts

Read more…

 

Opioid overdose deaths by Mass. town in 2015

The opioid crisis has hit Massachusetts hard, particularly in some communities.

The map below shows the number of opioid overdose deaths per capita in 2015 for each city and town across the state. View map here…

Mass. hospital visits for opioid abuse soar

The emergency room at Boston Medical Center.The epidemic of opioid abuse in Massachusetts is often measured in deaths, such as the 1,099 people who succumbed to overdoses last year. But most people who are addicted don’t die. Instead, by the thousands, they wind up in hospitals.

A newly released analysis by a health commission shows that opioid-related hospital visits in the state nearly doubled from 2007 to 2014.

Those visits — including emergency room treatment, observation stays, and admissions — soared to nearly 57,000 in 2014, up from 31,000 in 2007. Read more…

Obama steps up US effort to fight abuse of heroin and painkillers

ATLANTA — President Barack Obama, confronting a national epidemic of heroin and prescription drug abuse, met here Tuesday with recovering addicts, doctors and law enforcement officials to underscore his determination to tackle a problem some critics say he left until too late in his administration.

“We are seeing more people killed because of opioid overdoses than from traffic accidents — think about it,” Obama said at a meeting of the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit. “It has to be something right up at the top of our radar screen.” Read more…

New Boston police opioid unit focuses on treatment, not just arrests

03292016 Boston Ma Lieutenant Detective Brian J. Larkin (cq) Commander, Drug Control Unit left at a meeting with other city agencies who are joing efforts to combat heroin overdoses. Jen Tracey (cq) Director of the Mayor's Office of Recovery Services is at right. Globe/Staff Photographer Jonathan Wiggs

When the Boston police opioid squad responds to a heroin overdose, officers follow standard procedure: Interview witnesses, collect evidence, start hunting down the dealer.
Then, investigators go a step further. They talk to stricken friends and family members and suggest support groups and help hot lines. If the overdose victim survives, unit members recommend rehabilitation centers and programs that teach overdose prevention, offer needle exchanges, and provide overdose-reversing drugs. Read more…

 CDC warns doctors about the dangers of prescribing opioids

WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday released final guidelines warning doctors to be more cautious about prescribing opioids to adults as concern grows over the abuse of painkillers across the country.
The agency is recommending that nonopioid drugs be prescribed whenever possible and that when opioids are given to patients, low doses and less than a week’s supply should be provided. Read more …

Governor Baker signs opioid bill

Governor Charlie Baker embraced Chris Herren, a former Celtics player and recovering addict.
In an emotional ceremony, Governor Charlie Baker on Monday signed into law a measure that places tighter state control on opioids, in an effort to stanch the supply of the addictive drugs.
Baker trumpeted the bipartisan legislation as “the most comprehensive measure in the country to combat opioid addiction.” And then the governor was overcome by feeling, face contorted with emotion, as he acknowledged the heartbreaking losses families have endured.
Voice wavering, he offered a simple supplication: “May today’s bill passage signal to you that the Commonwealth is listening and we will keep fighting for all of you.” Read more…

Governor Charlie Baker embraced Chris Herren, a former Celtics player and recovering addict.

Mass. should not legalize marijuana

 

By Charlie Baker, Maura Healey and Martin J. Walsh  

THIS NOVEMBER, VOTERS in Massachusetts will be asked whether to legalize marijuana. Our state has already decriminalized the drug for personal use, and we’ve made it legally available for medical use. The question before us now is whether marijuana should be fully legal and widely available for commercial sale. We think the answer is “no.”

Read more…

Mass. had highest rate of abused children in nation

Massachusetts reported the highest rate of abused and neglected children in the nation in fiscal year 2014 and had nearly the same number of victimized children the following year, according to newly released state and federal figures.

Advocates also blamed the opioid crisis, pointing to a number of cases in which addicted parents had abusedor neglected their children.
 Read more…

Cutting off the opioid epidemic at the root

IT’S BEEN neaStephanie Robtoy, 25, waited for the start of a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. Before joining the program, she had been addicted to opiods for a decade.rly two years since the state declared prescription drug and heroin addiction a public health emergency. Since then, we’ve had an all-hands-on-deck approach from lawmakers, police and fire chiefs, health professionals, and community groups.

But our collective efforts haven’t been enough. Until we change the culture around how opioids are prescribed, and dramatically reduce the number of pills available, people will continue to die. Read more…

 

Female addicts given an alternative to prison

TAUNTON —Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, center, faces reporters as Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker, left, and Mass. Attorney General Maura Healey, right, look on during a news conference, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, at the Statehouse in Boston. Baker signed a bill into law Monday officially ending the state's longstanding practice of sending women with alcohol or substance abuse problems but who have committed no crimes to the state prison for women in Framingham. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) The Baker administration unveiled a new drug treatment unit for women at Taunton State Hospital on Thursday, marking a shift from what one official called “the Dark Ages” of sending female addicts to a state prison in Framingham for detox services.

The Women’s Recovery from Addictions Program, or WRAP, will open 15 beds on Tuesday for women who are ordered by a judge under a law known as Section 35 to undergo treatment for drug or alcohol dependency. An additional 30 beds are scheduled to be available at the hospital this summer. Read more …

 The pain of an addict’s parent

SALEM — The day you learn your child is an addict, your life changes forever.

Fear and guilt and anger and other people’s ignorance sever you from the world you knew. Maybe, before, you had your own life. You decided how your days would go; imagined a future. Not now. Now, you belong to heroin, almost as completely as your child does — the child to whom you always gave everything, thinking that would save her from this.  Read more…

CMello

Interview – Chris Mello, Teen Challenge New England (Brockton)

Listen to the interview by clicking here.

Teen Challenge in Brockton offers Christianity-based approach to addiction

BROCKTON – Several residents at a long-term residential addiction recovery program in Brockton said that it is giving them something that medication-assisted treatment rehabs never did: Faith that they can recover. Read more…

Data show opioids’ deadly toll

People 25 to 44 years old are hardest hit by the opioid overdose epidemic that has left thousands dead in Massachusetts, according to new data from the state Department of Public Health.
On Wednesday, the state released for the first time a demographic portrait of the still-growing health crisis, and that report found certain groups bear a disproportionate burden. Read more…


45 Opiate Overdoses Reported in Brockton, Massachusetts, Last Week

Brockton, Massachusetts, is a city in crisis.

Between Wednesday and Saturday of last week, 45 people overdosed on opiates, and all saved by Narcan.

Mayor Bill Carpenter says the numbers are staggering.

“We average about three overdoses per day. Today we’ve had four,” he said.  Read more….

Massachusetts House to vote Wednesday on comprehensive opioid bill

deleo drug.JPG

BOSTON — The Massachusetts House plans to vote on Wednesday on a comprehensive bill to address opioid addiction.

“The opioid epidemic drains vitality from our cities and towns, extinguishes lives and steals souls,” said House Speaker Robert DeLeo, D-Winthrop, during a press conference on Monday. “By bringing the light of this legislation, we can defeat the scourge.” Read more…

 

 

Anatomy Of Addiction: How Heroin And Opioids Hijack The Brain

 (LA Johnson/NPR) When Jack O’Connor was 19, he was so desperate to beat his addictions to alcohol and opioids that he took a really rash step. He joined the Marines.

“This will fix me,” O’Connor thought as he went to boot camp. “It better fix me or I’m screwed.”

After 13 weeks of sobriety and exercise and discipline, O’Connor completed basic training, but he started using again immediately.

“Same thing,” he says. “Percocet, like, off the street. Pills.” Read more…

In N.H., Hillary Clinton hits on opioid abuse as a top concern

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addressed an audience Sunday during a campaign event in Derry, N.H. DERRY, N.H. — Hillary Clinton, who arrived to loud applause here at one of three New Hampshire campaign stops Sunday, said prohibitively expensive education, lack of support for families coping with Alzheimer’s disease, and the rising tide of opioid abuse are among problems she hears most commonly on the trail.
As the Democratic presidential candidate took questions later from the crowd in a packed middle-school gymnasium, a 12-year-old girl in a pink-striped shirt, raised her hand.
Her mother had overdosed, said the girl, who was near tears. She is living in foster care and wanted to know what Clinton could do to help the countless children like her, whose families are shattered by substance abuse.

 Needle exchanges seen as key in battling addiction

Keith Waddie, who has used heroin since he was 18, was at the Cambridge needle exchange Dec. 16.

Keith Waddie, who has used heroin since he was 18, was at the Cambridge needle exchange Dec. 16.

CAMBRIDGE — Here in a nameless brick building, people addicted to drugs come to get what they need. Not heroin or other narcotics, but the accessories — and more.

A smiling receptionist takes back used syringes and hands out sterile ones to those who register (no names needed; each client gets a number). A framed placard advises on needle selection. Members can also help themselves to tourniquets, cotton swabs, bandages, and other supplies.

It may look like complicity, but the AIDS Action Committee’s needle exchange in Central Square is no rogue operation. Decades of research show that needle exchanges prevent disease, do not increase drug use, and sometimes coax far-gone addicts into treatment. Read more…

 

Most who OD on opioids are able to get new prescriptions
OxyContin contains oxycodone, which is an opioid.OxyContin contains oxycodone, which is an opioid.
More than 90 percent of people who survived a prescription opioid overdose were able to obtain another prescription for the very drugs that nearly killed them, according to a Boston Medical Center study of chronic pain treatment published Monday. Read more….

 

 

Mothers face addicts’ pain, their own in ‘Heroin: Cape Cod, USA’

Kathleen Greiner from Marstons Mills cried as she watched the HBO documentary film “Heroin: Cape Cod, USA” at support group. She was joined by Carla Ferraguto from Onset (left) and Maggy Purdy (center) of Sandwich.

Kathleen Greiner from Marstons Mills cried as she watched the HBO documentary film “Heroin: Cape Cod, USA” at support group. She was joined by Carla Ferraguto from Onset (left) and Maggy Purdy (center) of Sandwich.

BOURNE — Every time a needle pierced skin, the mothers winced.At a bed and breakfast inn earlier this month, a lively audience of middle-aged women watched some of the most painful aspects of their lives play out on film. They were being given a first look — before legislators, before the rest of the public — at “Heroin: Cape Cod, USA.” The documentary, which debuts Monday on HBO, focuses on the lives of eight heroin addicts raised on the Cape. Read more…

Americans are drinking themselves to death at record rates

Alcohol is killing Americans at a rate not seen in at least 35 years, according to new federal data. Last year, more than 30,700 Americans died from alcohol-induced causes, including alcohol poisoning and cirrhosis, which is primarily caused by alcohol use.

In 2014, there were 9.6 deaths from these alcohol-induced causes per 100,000 people, an increase of 37 percent since 2002. Read more…

 

 

Pharmacy delivery vans targeted by thieves seeking painkillers.

They’re the new Brink’s trucks.

Delivery vans that transport prescription painkillers from warehouses to pharmacies and hospitals are the targets of an escalating number of thefts across the country, STAT has learned. Amid a nationwide epidemic of opioid addiction, the delivery vans have become an appealing and vulnerable target for thieves, addicts, and drug dealers. Read more…

 

 

 

 

New Hampshire heroin crisis leads presidential candidates to tackle drug abuse

Zach Brewster had a long history of addiction and was dealing drugs after flunking out of college.

One night he injected a cocktail of cocaine and heroin and stopped breathing. He was taken by ambulance to the emergency room of the suburban hospital that employed his parents, where they were told their son might not survive the night.

When he pulled through, his parents thought the scare might make him serious about recovery.

Three days later, he was back to using heroin.

Over the last decade, families like the Brewsters have become the face of opioid and heroin addiction that is gripping the Northeast. Until recently, the epidemic received little attention. Read more…

Opioid deaths surge in 14 states, CDC says

NEW YORK — Drug overdose deaths surged in 14 states last year, pushing the nation to a record count, according to a government report released Friday.

Rates went up in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Read more…

TEEN CHALLENGE: Longterm recovery program offers longterm results

Representatives from the Teen Challenge Recovery Center, Chris Rice and Dennis Hauser, were on hand to talk about what the program has done for them and others during last Sunday's Adam and Eve Salon Teen Challenge Open House. Wicked Local photo/Natalie Colbert

They thought they would be planning his funeral. Instead, they say, the 15 months he is spending in a recovery program is setting their son on a positive path for the future. Read more …

Representatives from the Teen Challenge Recovery Center, Chris Rice and Dennis Hauser, were on hand to talk about what the program has done for them and others during last Sunday’s Adam and Eve Salon Teen Challenge Open House. Wicked Local photo/Natalie Colbert”

Opioid deaths in Norfolk County show big rise

The number of people who have died from opioid overdoses in Norfolk County has already hit 151 this year, more than double the total from just two years ago and despite widespread availability of Narcan, Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey said Wednesday. Read more…

Grandparents want 9-year-old girl to get visit from Globe Santa

The scourge of opioid addiction has been well documented. The disease casts a long shadow, splintering families and shattering relationships as it systematically destroys the person struggling with addiction. In most cases, parents, spouses, children, siblings, and friends suffer along with that person as they try, too often in vain, to steer them toward recovery. Read more …

As Charlestown opioid crisis deepens, a new clinic opens

Michael Cain gave out posters for a campaign at the Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition.

Michael Cain gave out posters for a campaign at the Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition.

Michael Cain’s face is creased with sorrow. The Charlestown man buried his 24-year-old son five months ago after a heroin overdose, a high-school football hero who became yet another casualty of generations of self-destructive addiction.

“I was a sick kid from a sick family growing up in a sick neighborhood,” Cain said last week. “Now, my son is a statistic.’’
Cain and other Charlestown residents who are working to curb opioid addiction fear that many more are at risk of suffering the same fate. Read more…

Heroin overdoses in Middlesex County reach record highs

LOWELL — The epidemic of heroin and opioids in Middlesex County has reached a level that is unprecedented in its scope and size, but the worst may be yet to come.

By Dec. 4, county officials had already recorded more fatal heroin overdoses than any year on record, though as officials continue to brainstorm new support programs, there is no long-term solution on the horizon.

“These numbers are probably going to get worse before they get better,” said Corey Belanger, a Lowell city councilor. Read more…
Drug may give those leaving jail a better shot at recovery

Ryan Lonergan (with daughter Ashtyn) was among 178 Barnstable inmates who agreed to a Vivitrol shot.

Authorities turn to Vivitrol to cut rates of addiction, incarceration

Ryan Lonergan (with daughter Ashtyn) was among 178 Barnstable inmates who agreed to a Vivitrol shot.

Three days before his release from the Barnstable County Correctional Facility, Ryan Lonergan received a powerful injection, intended to change his life.

He took the shot willingly, because he knew that for 28 days afterward, the drug, Vivitrol, would make it impossible to get high on the Percocet that had been his life’s downfall. Now, Lonergan would not have to decide each day whether to use drugs. Vivitrol made the decision for him, and cleared a path to recovery. Read more…

The end of hitting rock bottom

SHORTLY AFTER 1 A.M. on March 27, Susan Knade awoke to the sound of her cellphone ringing. It was her 21-year-old daughter, Caroline, calling. She was crying.
Please, Caroline said. Please, come pick me up. Read more…  Please see Joel Jakubowski’s, Chief Clinical Officer, Teen Challenge Training Center, comments on this article below.

Joel responds to “The End of Hitting Rock Bottom”:

1) Great in its basic premise/ foundation : rock-bottom does not work!

2) But makes no mention of the process of guided process of “Raising the Bottom”–“families motivating change”.

3) CRAFT has good intentions and some basic truths: that families are the best leverage for motivation, etc.

4) The article lists the “downside” deficits of CRAFT–and is correct on all points.

5) CRAFT/this article, does not take into consideration the immediate lethal nature of addiction—that person can die today–there is no time for a bunch of kissy/huggy talk—get to the hospital (detox-rehab) first (via Family intervention) then we can do all the talking/healing/loving you want.

6) Family Intervention (esp. ARISE model) has the highest success rate for getting addicts into treatment—and then once that happens the family is guided (by the interventionist) through a process of wellness and support.

 *The goal is to get that person to treatment—whether or not they “want” to go–they are going to die—and soon. Family Intervention (like CRAFT) makes it very clear to the addict that they are loved and valued—but unlike CRAFT, there’s no more waiting around, that person is leaving for treatment–because this is also a FAMILY issue and the family will not survive unless this happens–(CRAFT “downside” points apply here as well).

Drop-In Center Offers Hope, And Resources, To Families Struggling With Addiction

HOPE

Susan Silva sets up a East Bridgewater H.O.P.E. sign at the Community Covenant Church where the non-profit hosts Substance Abuse Outreach and Intervention Center nights. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
On an unseasonably mild autumn evening, lanterns illuminate the walkway outside the Community Covenant Church in East Bridgewater. Inside, volunteers and counselors try to shed light on the area’s opioid addiction problem. Read more…

 THE EVIL OF PORNOGRAPHY AND A CALL TO HOPE –

Amid all the bad news, there is one cultural shift underway that is a hopeful sign for our times.

A look back at 2,000 years of Christian history teaches many lessons, but one that stands out to me is that when culture looks the darkest, the Church often shines the brightest. From the conversion of pagan Rome, to the saving of civilization during the Dark Ages, to the abolition of slavery, and on and on. Read more…

Those touched by opioid addiction find a release one punch at a time, women touched by opioid addiction find solace, kinship

After Catherine Fennelly of Quincy lost her son to an overdose this year, she started a boxing group called Let It Out

opioid boxing
“Coming to the gym and hitting something — it feels right,” says Catherine Fennelly, a Quincy woman who lost her 21-year-old son this year to a deadly mix of heroin and fentanyl, a powerful synthetic painkiller. In response, as she floundered for direction and purpose, Fennelly organized a boxing group called Let It Out.  Read more…

Governor Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire spoke Tuesday in Concord to a legislative task force working to combat the state’s heroin crisis.egins to attack drug abuse crisis

Gov Maggie Hassan

CONCORD, N.H. — Drug overdoses have become the second most common cause of death in New Hampshire and could move into the top spot soon, Governor Maggie Hassan told lawmakers Tuesday as they began tackling the state’s substance abuse crisis. Read more…

Tenn. Law Targets Pregnant Women Who Are Drug Addicts

A controversial new “fetal assault” law in Tennessee punishes pregnant women who abuse drugs. The new law is intended to encourage mothers-to-be to seek treatment, but it can also scare women. Read more…

Mass. Begins Certifying Sober Homes

Sober homes — places where people can live after residential substance use treatment to support the early stages of sobriety — have a somewhat sketchy reputation in Massachusetts. Read more….

Rich Winart, Founder & Director, Kelly Housec in Wakefield. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Rich Winart, Founder & Director, Kelly Housec in Wakefield. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

‘Status Quo Is Unacceptable,’ Baker Says As He Testifies On His Opioid Bill

“In 2014, Massachusetts clinicians wrote over 4.4 million Schedule II and III prescriptions, worth over 240 million pills,” he testified. “In the same year, over 1,200 people died of opioid overdoses. Simply put, the status quo is unacceptable and it needs to be disrupted.” Read more…

Who Is Overdosing In Boston And When

A call goes out to 911. Sirens scream through the streets.
Boston EMS responded to 135,040 calls last year. More than 2,000 of them (2,038 to be exact) were patients with narcotic related illness (NRI), based on the observations of an EMT.

The vast majority involved heroin. Pleas for help with an overdose were a small segment of EMS calls. But the upward trend is “just striking,” said Boston EMS Superintendent in Chief Brendan Kearney. Read the full article here.

It’s Not Just Heroin: Drug Cocktails Are Fueling The Overdose Crisis

Anthony, seen here in Chelsea, says he has overdosed 12 times. His really intense highs were produced by heroin, sometimes with an alcohol chaser, and pills. (Martha Bebinger/WBUR) A bald man in gray sweats bounds into the brick plaza next to City Hall. “Hey,” someone calls out, “where you been?”
“At the hospital,” the man named Anthony says. “I OD’d.” A half dozen people watching shake their heads. It’s a bad week in Chelsea, they say, with three overdose deaths. Read more…

To Prevent Addiction In Adults, Help Teens Learn How To Cope

Yolanda Roberson, who directs the Empowerment program, teaches a class at a Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx. The classes are funded by the state of New York. (Robert Stolarik for NPR)
Addiction is a pediatric disease,” says Dr. John Knight, founder and director of the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research at Boston Children’s Hospital. “When adults entering addiction treatment are asked when they first began drinking or using drugs, the answer is almost always the same: They started when they were young — teenagers,” said Knight. Read more …

President Obama Remarks on Prescription Drug Abuse

President Obama spoke at a community forum in Charleston, West Virginia, on prescription drug abuse and heroin addiction. Click here for video.

Obama Strikes Personal Note as He Urges Help for Addiction

Obama

President Obama listened to Carey Dixon’s account of a loved one’s struggle with substance abuse during a panel discussion Wednesday at the East End Family Resource Center in Charleston, W.Va. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times 
Click here for New York Times article.

Teen Challenge – Divine Intervention From Addiction.

MANCHESTER, NH – As the city struggles to find a way out from under the weight of a crushing heroin addiction epidemic, there is a haven on Laurel Street that, for 15 years, has been the answer for many, quietly transforming the lives of addicts who have run out of hope. Read more…

In Heroin Crisis, White Families Seek Gentler War on Drugs

NEWTON, N.H. — When Courtney Griffin was using heroin, she lied, disappeared, and stole from her parents to support her $400-a-day habit. Her family paid her debts, never filed a police report and kept her addiction secret — until she was found dead last year of an overdose. Read more…

Today’s Heroin Epidemic –

CDC Heroin use has increased across the US among men and women, most age groups, and all income levels. Some of the greatest increases occurred in demographic groups with historically low rates of heroin use: women, the privately insured, and people with higher incomes. Read more…

Marijuana Madness – THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF WEED – Breakpoint Commentaries

We get asked a lot about Marijuana…especially as more states deal with its legalization. We’re hoping to give you less smoke, and more substance.

 Click here to read more.

Despite effort, opioid deaths still climbing in Mass.

The death toll from opioids in Massachusetts continues to rise unabated despite months of intensifying efforts to combat the substance abuse crisis, new data revealed Wednesday. Click here for the full article.

January 2017

A new program targets children of opioid addicts

Some are taking opioids meant for pets

Baby ingests fentanyl, is revived

Opioid crisis sways doctors

Pilot allegedly passed out in cockpit

From humble beginnings, an alleged drug ring

December 2016

Addiction crisis fuels human trafficking
Opioids slipping into US via mail

Of heroin and heroes

Baker’s puzzling retreat on  opioids

The deadliness of needles

Opioid’s hold on parents taking a toll on children

November 2016

New details emerge in Marlborough death

A family’s loss to opioid addiction becomes a gift to others.

10% of alcoholics, drug addicts get help, US says

DA discusses efforts to treat area’s drug-addicted babies

Prosecutors cite drugs, alcohol in fatal crash

Nursing homes urged on opioid addiction training

Opioid epidemic slowing progress on HIV

Fentanyl fuels boost in overdose deaths Use of heroin, prescription drugs appears to fall

By Felice J. Freyer

GLOBE STAFF

More than ever, the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl is claiming lives in Massachusetts, fueling an overdose death toll that continues to rise, according to data released Wednesday by the state Department of Public Health.

During the first half of 2016, deaths from opioid overdoses were higher than in the same period last year.

That happened despite an apparent decline in the use of heroin and prescription drugs. Prescriptions for opioid painkillers were at their lowest level since early 2015, and heroin and prescription drugs were found less frequently in the bloodstreams of overdose victims than in the past.

Read more …

Maine has second-highest rate of babies born addicted to opioids –

BY PETER MCGUIRE STAFF WRITER

The federal CDC says the rate was 30.4 of every 1,000 births in 2012, double what it was in 2008.
Maine ranked second among 28 states in 2012 for the number of babies born with a drug withdrawal syndrome primarily caused by exposure to opioids while in the womb, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released Friday.

According to CDC statistics compiled from the 28 states that have publicly available data, the incidence rate of neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS, in Maine was 30.4 per 1,000 hospital births in 2012, almost double the rate from 2008. Vermont was the only state with a higher incidence rate in 2012, at 30.5 births per 1,000.
Read more…

New Numbers Show Opioid Epidemic Rages On In Massachusetts

The opioid epidemic is getting worse, not better, in Massachusetts. More men and women died after an unintentional overdose in the first six months of 2016 than during the same period last year, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). And the state has revised the total number of deaths last year: up. Just over four people died, on average, every day.

“We continue to face an unprecedented opioid epidemic with the numbers continuing to rise,” Dr. Monica Bharel, DPH commissioner, said.

Read more …

26 overdoses in just hours: A small West Virginia city faces its demons

They’re just showing up and dying.”

Those six words made emergency responders’ ears perk up in Huntington, W.Va., when they buzzed over the radio. An official was quoting a caller who needed help at a local home.

“I just caught a bit of that,” another official replied. “What are people showing up and doing?”

“All they can tell us is that ‘people are showing up and dying,’” the first official said. “We’re not sure what’s going on.” Read more …

Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesLonely fight

Heroin has scourged rural areas of the country, such as in New England, where Christian addiction recovery resources are mostly absent.
by Emily Belz
Vol. 31, No. 16 – August 6, 2016
Posted on Friday, July 22, 2016, at 1:00 am
Rural Vermont is beautiful this time of year. The Green Mountains are especially green, and buttercups line the hilly two-lane roads through Christmas tree farms and produce stands. Beehives buzz, cows crowd together under shade, and American flags wave outside of many homes. Read more …

Boston’s Methadone Mile

Methadone Mile is a stretch of Massachusetts Avenue where methadone clinics brush up against an open air drug market. This is where people come to get high and sober. Recovery, relapse, danger, grief, and hope all fill people’s daily lives. This year, Boston Globe photographer Keith Bedford and two Globe reporters spent time on Methadone Mile, gaining people’s trust and telling their stories. In Sunday’s Globe, learn more about who they met.
Read more…

Opioids issued less often in Mass.

Prescription rates indicate more caution
By Felice J. Freyer

GLOBE STAFF

Many doctors in Massachusetts sharply curtailed prescriptions for opioids over the past 18 months, according to new data that suggest the pipeline for drugs that fueled the state’s deadly opioid-abuse crisis may be shrinking.

Athenahealth, a Watertown company that provides electronic medical records, released an analysis Wednesday showing that opioid prescriptions in the physician practices that use its software fell 25 percent since the beginning of 2015. That was a steeper drop than for medical practices nationwide, which recorded a 13 percent decline.

Read more…

Health Connector will eliminate copays for addiction treatment

People fighting addiction who get subsidized insurance will no longer have to pay for outpatient medication and counseling starting next year, a move officials hope will reverberate throughout the insurance market.

The Massachusetts Health Connector, a state agency serving people who don’t obtain insurance through an employer, is requiring Connector insurers to eliminate all out-of-pocket costs for medication-assisted treatment that includes drugs such as methadone or Suboxone along with counseling. The Connector’s governing board approved the plan unanimously Thursday.

Read more…

OPINION | PAUL D. THACKER

Senate should release opioid report

LIKE MANY AMERICANS, I want to know how we got to the point that nearly 30,000 of our fellow countrymen and women died last year from overdosing on opioids. Many answers can be found in a report written by staff working in the US Senate. But the senators overseeing the report have failed to release it.
As a former investigator on the Senate Finance Committee, I have professional reasons for wanting to see the report made public. I also have personal reasons — I lost two cousins to opioids, and my father unwittingly became briefly addicted to fentanyl when he was prescribed the drug for back pain. Read more …

Heroin use in U.S. reaches “alarming” 20-year high – CBS News

Heroin use has reached the highest level in 20 years in the United States, according to a new global drug report that calls the trend “alarming.”

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime released its World Drug Report 2016 today. The annual report examines the health impact of opiates, cocaine, cannabis, amphetamine and other substance abuse around the world.

The report said heroin is the deadliest drug worldwide, and said its increasing use in the U.S. is of particular concern.

There were about one million heroin users in the U.S. as of 2014, almost three times the number in 2003. Deaths related to heroin use have increased five-fold since 2000. Read more…

US official addresses addiction

Surgeon general visits ‘Methadone Mile,’ says nation must change attitude toward treatment

US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy visited what some locals call “the worst intersection in Boston’’ on Friday as part of his effort to talk to prescribers nationwide about how they can address the country’s rising opioid crisis.

The Boston stop on Murthy’s “Turn the Tide Rx’’ tour brought him to the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program on Albany Street, at the heart of “Methadone Mile,’’ so nicknamed for the cluster of homeless shelters and drug addiction programs there that draw people battling substance abuse from across the city. Accompanied by the program’s top officials and state Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, Murthy toured the facility and met with patients who shared their stories of stigmatization and recovery.  Read more …

Opioids linked to a variety of deaths

Overdoses aren’t only issue in study
By Lindsey Tanner, ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHICAGO — Accidental overdoses aren’t the only deadly risk from using powerful prescription painkillers. The drugs may also contribute to heart-related deaths and other fatalities, new research suggests.
Among more than 45,000 patients in the study, those using opioid painkillers had a 64 percent higher risk of dying within six months of starting treatment, compared to patients taking other prescription pain medicine. Unintentional overdoses accounted for about 18 percent of the deaths among opioid users, versus 8 percent of the other patients.

‘‘As bad as people think the problem of opioid use is, it’s probably worse,’’ said Wayne Ray, the lead author and a health policy professor at Vanderbilt University’s medical school. ‘‘They should be a last resort, and particular care should be exercised for patients who are at cardiovascular risk.’’

Read more…

Fatal overdoses, falls on rise in US

WASHINGTON — Accidents are killing more Americans each year, increasingly from overdoses and falls.

A report from the National Safety Council said that in 2014, about 136,000 Americans died accidentally. That’s up 4.2 percent from the year before and a jump of 15.5 percent over a decade. And the accident rate has risen despite a 22 percent plunge in car crash deaths since 2005.

Overdose and accidental poisonings are up 78 percent over a decade — pushing aside car crashes as the No. 1 accidental killer in the United States. They killed 42,032 people, about 6,000 more than vehicle accidents. Opioid overdoses killed 13,486 people in 2014, the nonprofit safety council reported.
Read more…

I have a drug history. The hospital didn’t seem to listen.

It was roughly halfway into a Saturday evening flight from Miami to Boston when I began to wonder if I was going to survive the night. What had started as a sharp pain on the right side of my abdomen now felt as if my gut were being hacked at with a phalanx of rusty chisels. The only explanation I could think of was that my appendix had burst and I was dying of sepsis.

After we landed, I was taken by ambulance to the emergency room at Massachusetts General Hospital. Over the next hour or so, I received five separate injections totaling the equivalent of 29 milligrams of morphine. Sometime around 4 a.m., I learned that my appendix was fine; the cause of my suffering was a pair of kidney stones lodged in my ureter.

One of the stones was roughly twice as long as the ureter is wide, which meant it would require surgery — and the soonest that could occur was at the very end of the following day. I’d need to be injected with a lot more painkillers before then — and I’d likely be sent home with a prescription for more. That was something I’d been dreading for years. Read more…

Critical care

ADr. Sharon F. Daley, chief of pediatrics at Cape Cod Hospital, held a baby being treated for symptoms of withdrawal.s the state grapples with the opioid crisis, smaller communities have been hit particularly hard. At Cape Cod Hospital, that has led to a change in policy — and attitude — when dealing with drug-dependent newborns. Read more…

Police worry about rash of overdoses behind the wheel

Six motorists were found overdosed in traffic or unconscious in parked cars in New Bedford last month.

NEW BEDFORD — The opioid crisis has moved behind the wheel in this gritty port city and in other corners of Massachusetts, authorities said. In April, six motorists were found overdosed in traffic here or slumped unconscious in parked cars.

The spike in overdosed drivers has introduced a new dimension to the heroin epidemic, which is killing an average of four people a day in Massachusetts

Read more…

Opioid overdose deaths by Mass. town in 2015

The opioid crisis has hit Massachusetts hard, particularly in some communities.

The map below shows the number of opioid overdose deaths per capita in 2015 for each city and town across the state. View map here…

Mass. hospital visits for opioid abuse soar

The emergency room at Boston Medical Center.The epidemic of opioid abuse in Massachusetts is often measured in deaths, such as the 1,099 people who succumbed to overdoses last year. But most people who are addicted don’t die. Instead, by the thousands, they wind up in hospitals.

A newly released analysis by a health commission shows that opioid-related hospital visits in the state nearly doubled from 2007 to 2014.

Those visits — including emergency room treatment, observation stays, and admissions — soared to nearly 57,000 in 2014, up from 31,000 in 2007. Read more…

Obama steps up US effort to fight abuse of heroin and painkillers

ATLANTA — President Barack Obama, confronting a national epidemic of heroin and prescription drug abuse, met here Tuesday with recovering addicts, doctors and law enforcement officials to underscore his determination to tackle a problem some critics say he left until too late in his administration.

“We are seeing more people killed because of opioid overdoses than from traffic accidents — think about it,” Obama said at a meeting of the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit. “It has to be something right up at the top of our radar screen.” Read more…

New Boston police opioid unit focuses on treatment, not just arrests

03292016 Boston Ma Lieutenant Detective Brian J. Larkin (cq) Commander, Drug Control Unit left at a meeting with other city agencies who are joing efforts to combat heroin overdoses. Jen Tracey (cq) Director of the Mayor's Office of Recovery Services is at right. Globe/Staff Photographer Jonathan Wiggs

When the Boston police opioid squad responds to a heroin overdose, officers follow standard procedure: Interview witnesses, collect evidence, start hunting down the dealer.
Then, investigators go a step further. They talk to stricken friends and family members and suggest support groups and help hot lines. If the overdose victim survives, unit members recommend rehabilitation centers and programs that teach overdose prevention, offer needle exchanges, and provide overdose-reversing drugs. Read more…

CDC warns doctors about the dangers of prescribing opioids

WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday released final guidelines warning doctors to be more cautious about prescribing opioids to adults as concern grows over the abuse of painkillers across the country.
The agency is recommending that nonopioid drugs be prescribed whenever possible and that when opioids are given to patients, low doses and less than a week’s supply should be provided. Read more …

Governor Baker signs opioid bill

Governor Charlie Baker embraced Chris Herren, a former Celtics player and recovering addict.
In an emotional ceremony, Governor Charlie Baker on Monday signed into law a measure that places tighter state control on opioids, in an effort to stanch the supply of the addictive drugs.
Baker trumpeted the bipartisan legislation as “the most comprehensive measure in the country to combat opioid addiction.” And then the governor was overcome by feeling, face contorted with emotion, as he acknowledged the heartbreaking losses families have endured.
Voice wavering, he offered a simple supplication: “May today’s bill passage signal to you that the Commonwealth is listening and we will keep fighting for all of you.” Read more…

Governor Charlie Baker embraced Chris Herren, a former Celtics player and recovering addict.

Mass. should not legalize marijuana

 

By Charlie Baker, Maura Healey and Martin J. Walsh  

THIS NOVEMBER, VOTERS in Massachusetts will be asked whether to legalize marijuana. Our state has already decriminalized the drug for personal use, and we’ve made it legally available for medical use. The question before us now is whether marijuana should be fully legal and widely available for commercial sale. We think the answer is “no.”
Read more…

Mass. had highest rate of abused children in nation

Massachusetts reported the highest rate of abused and neglected children in the nation in fiscal year 2014 and had nearly the same number of victimized children the following year, according to newly released state and federal figures.

Advocates also blamed the opioid crisis, pointing to a number of cases in which addicted parents had abusedor neglected their children.
 Read more…

Cutting off the opioid epidemic at the root

IT’S BEEN neaStephanie Robtoy, 25, waited for the start of a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. Before joining the program, she had been addicted to opiods for a decade.rly two years since the state declared prescription drug and heroin addiction a public health emergency. Since then, we’ve had an all-hands-on-deck approach from lawmakers, police and fire chiefs, health professionals, and community groups.

But our collective efforts haven’t been enough. Until we change the culture around how opioids are prescribed, and dramatically reduce the number of pills available, people will continue to die. Read more…

Female addicts given an alternative to prison

TAUNTON —Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, center, faces reporters as Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker, left, and Mass. Attorney General Maura Healey, right, look on during a news conference, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, at the Statehouse in Boston. Baker signed a bill into law Monday officially ending the state's longstanding practice of sending women with alcohol or substance abuse problems but who have committed no crimes to the state prison for women in Framingham. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) The Baker administration unveiled a new drug treatment unit for women at Taunton State Hospital on Thursday, marking a shift from what one official called “the Dark Ages” of sending female addicts to a state prison in Framingham for detox services.

The Women’s Recovery from Addictions Program, or WRAP, will open 15 beds on Tuesday for women who are ordered by a judge under a law known as Section 35 to undergo treatment for drug or alcohol dependency. An additional 30 beds are scheduled to be available at the hospital this summer. Read more …

The pain of an addict’s parent

SALEM — The day you learn your child is an addict, your life changes forever.

Fear and guilt and anger and other people’s ignorance sever you from the world you knew. Maybe, before, you had your own life. You decided how your days would go; imagined a future. Not now. Now, you belong to heroin, almost as completely as your child does — the child to whom you always gave everything, thinking that would save her from this.  Read more…

CMello

Interview – Chris Mello, Teen Challenge New England (Brockton)

Listen to the interview by clicking here.

Teen Challenge in Brockton offers Christianity-based approach to addiction

BROCKTON – Several residents at a long-term residential addiction recovery program in Brockton said that it is giving them something that medication-assisted treatment rehabs never did: Faith that they can recover. Read more…

Data show opioids’ deadly toll

People 25 to 44 years old are hardest hit by the opioid overdose epidemic that has left thousands dead in Massachusetts, according to new data from the state Department of Public Health.
On Wednesday, the state released for the first time a demographic portrait of the still-growing health crisis, and that report found certain groups bear a disproportionate burden. Read more…


45 Opiate Overdoses Reported in Brockton, Massachusetts, Last Week

Brockton, Massachusetts, is a city in crisis.

Between Wednesday and Saturday of last week, 45 people overdosed on opiates, and all saved by Narcan.

Mayor Bill Carpenter says the numbers are staggering.

“We average about three overdoses per day. Today we’ve had four,” he said.  Read more….


Massachusetts House to vote Wednesday on comprehensive opioid bill

deleo drug.JPG

BOSTON — The Massachusetts House plans to vote on Wednesday on a comprehensive bill to address opioid addiction.

“The opioid epidemic drains vitality from our cities and towns, extinguishes lives and steals souls,” said House Speaker Robert DeLeo, D-Winthrop, during a press conference on Monday. “By bringing the light of this legislation, we can defeat the scourge.” Read more…


Anatomy Of Addiction: How Heroin And Opioids Hijack The Brain

 (LA Johnson/NPR) When Jack O’Connor was 19, he was so desperate to beat his addictions to alcohol and opioids that he took a really rash step. He joined the Marines.

“This will fix me,” O’Connor thought as he went to boot camp. “It better fix me or I’m screwed.”

After 13 weeks of sobriety and exercise and discipline, O’Connor completed basic training, but he started using again immediately.

“Same thing,” he says. “Percocet, like, off the street. Pills.” Read more…


In N.H., Hillary Clinton hits on opioid abuse as a top concern

 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton addressed an audience Sunday during a campaign event in Derry, N.H. DERRY, N.H. — Hillary Clinton, who arrived to loud applause here at one of three New Hampshire campaign stops Sunday, said prohibitively expensive education, lack of support for families coping with Alzheimer’s disease, and the rising tide of opioid abuse are among problems she hears most commonly on the trail.
As the Democratic presidential candidate took questions later from the crowd in a packed middle-school gymnasium, a 12-year-old girl in a pink-striped shirt, raised her hand.
Her mother had overdosed, said the girl, who was near tears. She is living in foster care and wanted to know what Clinton could do to help the countless children like her, whose families are shattered by substance abuse.


 Needle exchanges seen as key in battling addiction

 Keith Waddie, who has used heroin since he was 18, was at the Cambridge needle exchange Dec. 16.

Keith Waddie, who has used heroin since he was 18, was at the Cambridge needle exchange Dec. 16.

CAMBRIDGE — Here in a nameless brick building, people addicted to drugs come to get what they need. Not heroin or other narcotics, but the accessories — and more.

A smiling receptionist takes back used syringes and hands out sterile ones to those who register (no names needed; each client gets a number). A framed placard advises on needle selection. Members can also help themselves to tourniquets, cotton swabs, bandages, and other supplies.

It may look like complicity, but the AIDS Action Committee’s needle exchange in Central Square is no rogue operation. Decades of research show that needle exchanges prevent disease, do not increase drug use, and sometimes coax far-gone addicts into treatment. Read more…

OxyContin contains oxycodone, which is an opioid.Most who OD on opioids are able to get new prescriptions

OxyContin contains oxycodone, which is an opioid.

More than 90 percent of people who survived a prescription opioid overdose were able to obtain another prescription for the very drugs that nearly killed them, according to a Boston Medical Center study of chronic pain treatment published Monday. Read more….

Kathleen Greiner from Marstons Mills cried as she watched the HBO documentary film “Heroin: Cape Cod, USA” at support group. She was joined by Carla Ferraguto from Onset (left) and Maggy Purdy (center) of Sandwich.

Mothers face addicts’ pain, their own in ‘Heroin: Cape Cod, USA’

Kathleen Greiner from Marstons Mills cried as she watched the HBO documentary film “Heroin: Cape Cod, USA” at support group. She was joined by Carla Ferraguto from Onset (left) and Maggy Purdy (center) of Sandwich.

BOURNE — Every time a needle pierced skin, the mothers winced.At a bed and breakfast inn earlier this month, a lively audience of middle-aged women watched some of the most painful aspects of their lives play out on film. They were being given a first look — before legislators, before the rest of the public — at “Heroin: Cape Cod, USA.” The documentary, which debuts Monday on HBO, focuses on the lives of eight heroin addicts raised on the Cape. Read more…

 Americans are drinking themselves to death at record rates

Alcohol is killing Americans at a rate not seen in at least 35 years, according to new federal data. Last year, more than 30,700 Americans died from alcohol-induced causes, including alcohol poisoning and cirrhosis, which is primarily caused by alcohol use.

In 2014, there were 9.6 deaths from these alcohol-induced causes per 100,000 people, an increase of 37 percent since 2002. Read more…

Pharmacy delivery vans targeted by thieves seeking painkillers.

They’re the new Brink’s trucks.

Delivery vans that transport prescription painkillers from warehouses to pharmacies and hospitals are the targets of an escalating number of thefts across the country, STAT has learned. Amid a nationwide epidemic of opioid addiction, the delivery vans have become an appealing and vulnerable target for thieves, addicts, and drug dealers. Read more…

New Hampshire heroin crisis leads presidential candidates to tackle drug abuse

Zach Brewster had a long history of addiction and was dealing drugs after flunking out of college.

One night he injected a cocktail of cocaine and heroin and stopped breathing. He was taken by ambulance to the emergency room of the suburban hospital that employed his parents, where they were told their son might not survive the night.

When he pulled through, his parents thought the scare might make him serious about recovery.

Three days later, he was back to using heroin.

Over the last decade, families like the Brewsters have become the face of opioid and heroin addiction that is gripping the Northeast. Until recently, the epidemic received little attention. Read more…

Opioid deaths surge in 14 states, CDC says

NEW YORK — Drug overdose deaths surged in 14 states last year, pushing the nation to a record count, according to a government report released Friday.

Rates went up in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Read more…

Representatives from the Teen Challenge Recovery Center, Chris Rice and Dennis Hauser, were on hand to talk about what the program has done for them and others during last Sunday's Adam and Eve Salon Teen Challenge Open House. Wicked Local photo/Natalie Colbert

TEEN CHALLENGE: Longterm recovery program offers longterm results

They thought they would be planning his funeral. Instead, they say, the 15 months he is spending in a recovery program is setting their son on a positive path for the future. Read more …

Representatives from the Teen Challenge Recovery Center, Chris Rice and Dennis Hauser, were on hand to talk about what the program has done for them and others during last Sunday’s Adam and Eve Salon Teen Challenge Open House. Wicked Local photo/Natalie Colbert”

Opioid deaths in Norfolk County show big rise

The number of people who have died from opioid overdoses in Norfolk County has already hit 151 this year, more than double the total from just two years ago and despite widespread availability of Narcan, Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey said Wednesday. Read more…

Grandparents want 9-year-old girl to get visit from Globe Santa

The scourge of opioid addiction has been well documented. The disease casts a long shadow, splintering families and shattering relationships as it systematically destroys the person struggling with addiction. In most cases, parents, spouses, children, siblings, and friends suffer along with that person as they try, too often in vain, to steer them toward recovery. Read more …

As Charlestown opioid crisis deepens, a new clinic opens

Michael Cain gave out posters for a campaign at the Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition.

Michael Cain gave out posters for a campaign at the Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition.

Michael Cain’s face is creased with sorrow. The Charlestown man buried his 24-year-old son five months ago after a heroin overdose, a high-school football hero who became yet another casualty of generations of self-destructive addiction.

“I was a sick kid from a sick family growing up in a sick neighborhood,” Cain said last week. “Now, my son is a statistic.’’
Cain and other Charlestown residents who are working to curb opioid addiction fear that many more are at risk of suffering the same fate. Read more…

Heroin overdoses in Middlesex County reach record highs

LOWELL — The epidemic of heroin and opioids in Middlesex County has reached a level that is unprecedented in its scope and size, but the worst may be yet to come.

By Dec. 4, county officials had already recorded more fatal heroin overdoses than any year on record, though as officials continue to brainstorm new support programs, there is no long-term solution on the horizon.

“These numbers are probably going to get worse before they get better,” said Corey Belanger, a Lowell city councilor. Read more…

Ryan Lonergan (with daughter Ashtyn) was among 178 Barnstable inmates who agreed to a Vivitrol shot.

Drug may give those leaving jail a better shot at recovery

Authorities turn to Vivitrol to cut rates of addiction, incarceration

Ryan Lonergan (with daughter Ashtyn) was among 178 Barnstable inmates who agreed to a Vivitrol shot.

Three days before his release from the Barnstable County Correctional Facility, Ryan Lonergan received a powerful injection, intended to change his life.

He took the shot willingly, because he knew that for 28 days afterward, the drug, Vivitrol, would make it impossible to get high on the Percocet that had been his life’s downfall. Now, Lonergan would not have to decide each day whether to use drugs. Vivitrol made the decision for him, and cleared a path to recovery. Read more…

The end of hitting rock bottom

SHORTLY AFTER 1 A.M. on March 27, Susan Knade awoke to the sound of her cellphone ringing. It was her 21-year-old daughter, Caroline, calling. She was crying.

Please, Caroline said. Please, come pick me up. Read more…  Please see Joel Jakubowski’s, Chief Clinical Officer, Teen Challenge Training Center, comments on this article below.

Joel responds to “The End of Hitting Rock Bottom”:

1) Great in its basic premise/ foundation : rock-bottom does not work!

2) But makes no mention of the process of guided process of “Raising the Bottom”–“families motivating change”.

3) CRAFT has good intentions and some basic truths: that families are the best leverage for motivation, etc.

4) The article lists the “downside” deficits of CRAFT–and is correct on all points.

5) CRAFT/this article, does not take into consideration the immediate lethal nature of addiction—that person can die today–there is no time for a bunch of kissy/huggy talk—get to the hospital (detox-rehab) first (via Family intervention) then we can do all the talking/healing/loving you want.

6) Family Intervention (esp. ARISE model) has the highest success rate for getting addicts into treatment—and then once that happens the family is guided (by the interventionist) through a process of wellness and support.

 *The goal is to get that person to treatment—whether or not they “want” to go–they are going to die—and soon. Family Intervention (like CRAFT) makes it very clear to the addict that they are loved and valued—but unlike CRAFT, there’s no more waiting around, that person is leaving for treatment–because this is also a FAMILY issue and the family will not survive unless this happens–(CRAFT “downside” points apply here as well).

HOPE

Susan Silva sets up a East Bridgewater H.O.P.E. sign at the Community Covenant Church where the non-profit hosts Substance Abuse Outreach and Intervention Center nights. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Drop-In Center Offers Hope, And Resources, To Families Struggling With Addiction

On an unseasonably mild autumn evening, lanterns illuminate the walkway outside the Community Covenant Church in East Bridgewater. Inside, volunteers and counselors try to shed light on the area’s opioid addiction problem. Read more…

 THE EVIL OF PORNOGRAPHY AND A CALL TO HOPE –

Amid all the bad news, there is one cultural shift underway that is a hopeful sign for our times.

A look back at 2,000 years of Christian history teaches many lessons, but one that stands out to me is that when culture looks the darkest, the Church often shines the brightest. From the conversion of pagan Rome, to the saving of civilization during the Dark Ages, to the abolition of slavery, and on and on. Read more…

opioid boxingAfter Catherine Fennelly of Quincy lost her son to an overdose this year, she started a boxing group called Let It Out

Those touched by opioid addiction find a release one punch at a time, women touched by opioid addiction find solace, kinship.

“Coming to the gym and hitting something — it feels right,” says Catherine Fennelly, a Quincy woman who lost her 21-year-old son this year to a deadly mix of heroin and fentanyl, a powerful synthetic painkiller. In response, as she floundered for direction and purpose, Fennelly organized a boxing group called Let It Out.  Read more…

Gov Maggie Hassan

Governor Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire spoke Tuesday in Concord to a legislative task force working to combat the state’s heroin crisis.

New Hampshire panel begins to attack drug abuse crisis

CONCORD, N.H. — Drug overdoses have become the second most common cause of death in New Hampshire and could move into the top spot soon, Governor Maggie Hassan told lawmakers Tuesday as they began tackling the state’s substance abuse crisis. Read more…

Tenn. Law Targets Pregnant Women Who Are Drug Addicts

A controversial new “fetal assault” law in Tennessee punishes pregnant women who abuse drugs. The new law is intended to encourage mothers-to-be to seek treatment, but it can also scare women. Read more…

Mass. Begins Certifying Sober Homes

Sober homes — places where people can live after residential substance use treatment to support the early stages of sobriety — have a somewhat sketchy reputation in Massachusetts. Read more….

Rich Winart, Founder & Director, Kelly Housec in Wakefield. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)Rich Winart, Founder & Director, Kelly Housec in Wakefield. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

‘Status Quo Is Unacceptable,’ Baker Says As He Testifies On His Opioid Bill

“In 2014, Massachusetts clinicians wrote over 4.4 million Schedule II and III prescriptions, worth over 240 million pills,” he testified. “In the same year, over 1,200 people died of opioid overdoses. Simply put, the status quo is unacceptable and it needs to be disrupted.” Read more…

Who Is Overdosing In Boston And When

A call goes out to 911. Sirens scream through the streets.
Boston EMS responded to 135,040 calls last year. More than 2,000 of them (2,038 to be exact) were patients with narcotic related illness (NRI), based on the observations of an EMT.

The vast majority involved heroin. Pleas for help with an overdose were a small segment of EMS calls. But the upward trend is “just striking,” said Boston EMS Superintendent in Chief Brendan Kearney. Read the full article here.

It’s Not Just Heroin: Drug Cocktails Are Fueling The Overdose Crisis

Anthony, seen here in Chelsea, says he has overdosed 12 times. His really intense highs were produced by heroin, sometimes with an alcohol chaser, and pills. (Martha Bebinger/WBUR) A bald man in gray sweats bounds into the brick plaza next to City Hall. “Hey,” someone calls out, “where you been?”
“At the hospital,” the man named Anthony says. “I OD’d.” A half dozen people watching shake their heads. It’s a bad week in Chelsea, they say, with three overdose deaths. Read more…

To Prevent Addiction In Adults, Help Teens Learn How To Cope

Yolanda Roberson, who directs the Empowerment program, teaches a class at a Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx. The classes are funded by the state of New York. (Robert Stolarik for NPR)
Addiction is a pediatric disease,” says Dr. John Knight, founder and director of the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research at Boston Children’s Hospital. “When adults entering addiction treatment are asked when they first began drinking or using drugs, the answer is almost always the same: They started when they were young — teenagers,” said Knight. Read more …

President Obama Remarks on Prescription Drug Abuse

President Obama spoke at a community forum in Charleston, West Virginia, on prescription drug abuse and heroin addiction. Click here for video.

Obama Strikes Personal Note as He Urges Help for Addiction

Obama

President Obama listened to Carey Dixon’s account of a loved one’s struggle with substance abuse during a panel discussion Wednesday at the East End Family Resource Center in Charleston, W.Va. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times 

Click here for New York Times article.

Teen Challenge – Divine Intervention From Addiction.

MANCHESTER, NH – As the city struggles to find a way out from under the weight of a crushing heroin addiction epidemic, there is a haven on Laurel Street that, for 15 years, has been the answer for many, quietly transforming the lives of addicts who have run out of hope. Read more…

In Heroin Crisis, White Families Seek Gentler War on Drugs

NEWTON, N.H. — When Courtney Griffin was using heroin, she lied, disappeared, and stole from her parents to support her $400-a-day habit. Her family paid her debts, never filed a police report and kept her addiction secret — until she was found dead last year of an overdose. Read more…

Today’s Heroin Epidemic –

CDC Heroin use has increased across the US among men and women, most age groups, and all income levels. Some of the greatest increases occurred in demographic groups with historically low rates of heroin use: women, the privately insured, and people with higher incomes. Read more…

Marijuana Madness – THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF WEED – Breakpoint Commentaries

We get asked a lot about Marijuana…especially as more states deal with its legalization. We’re hoping to give you less smoke, and more substance.

 Click here to read more.

Despite effort, opioid deaths still climbing in Mass.

The death toll from opioids in Massachusetts continues to rise unabated despite months of intensifying efforts to combat the substance abuse crisis, new data revealed Wednesday. Click here for the full article.