Tag Archives: drug addiction

Should We Relax HIPAA Regulations to Allow Release of Information to Family Members When Someone Overdoses?

Health Insurance Portability and Accountabiity Act (HIPAA) regulates the confidentiality of health records. Presently, healthcare records cannot be released without the informed consent of a patient. Governor Chris Christie, who is leading an opioid task force, was asked to consider relaxing HIPAA regulations in order to allow family members to be informed of a member's non-lethal overdose. This knowledge could open the door to treatment options. Listen in to this opiate support group discuss their opinions.

Discussion Guide:

If you were to overdose and received services from a healthcare provider, would you want that information released to your family?

Under what circumstances would you want your family to be informed of your overdose?

What are the pros and cons of relaxing HIPAA regulations in the case of overdose?

Narcan (also known as Naltrexone) is a life saving measure. Do you have Narcan available? Have you instructed your family and associates in how to use it?

Supplemental Reading:

Erin Mershon and Andrew Joseph, Do Family Members Have a Right to Know When a Loved one Overdoses on Opioids? https://www.statnews.com/2017/06/13/overdoses-family-notification/

Grounding Techniques To Stop Cravings and Manage Emotions

Many people who abuse substances struggle with emotions. They may have numbed themselves to pain with the use of substances, and then feel uncomfortable with emotions in recovery. Cravings are a common phenomena in recovery. Listen and learn practical skills for coping with emotions and stop cravings.

Discussion Guide:

When you have experienced drug cravings, what have you done to cope with them in a healthy manner?

What techniques do you utilize to deal with cravings?

There are three different types of grounding techniques: mental, physical and soothing techniques. Which types are most effective for you?

What if the techniques don't work immediately? What should you do?

Supplemental Reading:

Grounding Techniques

Overdose: Condolences to One Of Our Group Members Who Lost a Family Member

By now, everyone is knowledgable about the high number of opioid overdose deaths and what public health officials are calling an epidemic. In spite of public awareness and prevention efforts, the death toll continues. In this podcast, one of our group members shares his experience of the recent death of his family member from overdose. Listen in to these group members as they offer support.

Discussion Guide:

Have you lost a family member or friend to opiate overdose?

How did it affect you?

Did you have any negative automatic thoughts?

What are alternate healthier thoughts?

What could have been done differently for the person who died, prior to the overdose?

What can be done for you?

Supplemental Reading:

SAMHSA Behavioral Treatment Services Locator, https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/

SAMHSA Opioid Overdose Toolkit, http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA14-4742/Overdose_Toolkit.pdf

Overdose Awareness and Use of Naloxone Test, http://www.opiatesupportgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Overdose-Awareness-and-Use-of-Naloxone-Test.pdf

SCARE ME, http://www.opiatesupportgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/SCARE-ME.pdf

When Treatment Programs Are Abusive

It is a sad occurrence when people seek help and instead find abusive practices. Kenneth "Kenny" Chatman and his wife operated a sober home in Florida committing acts of human rights violations and fraud. He was sentenced to 27 1/2 years in prison and his wife could be sentenced to 10 years. Chatman pled guilty to money laundering, healthcare fraud and sex trafficking. He admitted he controlled his patients by taking their car keys, phones, medication and food stamps. He allowed his patients to do drugs in his sober homes, as long as they let him bill their insurance for treatment they never received. Some patients died. Hopefully, these crimes are few among recovery programs. Listen in to this opiate support group talk about their reactions and experiences in treatment. Warning: The content of this podcast may be disturbing.

Discussion Guide:

Have you experienced poor treatment in a recovery program?

If so, did you file a complaint, and did you receive a satsifactory response?

What are the pros and cons of informing the authorities about poor practices of the facility, staff or other patients?

Do you know how to find a reputable program?

Supplemental Reading:

Lawrence Mower, Sober Home Owner Kenny Chatman Pleads Guilty, Faces Life in Prison http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/sober-home-owner-kenny-chatman-pleads-guilty-faces-life-prison/0YngSRJ4ZjbgfsO74e2neL/

Zachary Seigel, South Florida Sober Home Operator Sentenced To 27 1/2 Years, Crackdown Continues, http://www.thefix.com/south-florida-sober-home-operator-sentenced-27-12-years-crackdown-continues

Resist Cravings: Distract Yourself from Obsessive Thinking

Cravings. You've all had them. Sometimes you've relapsed because of them. But do you know where they come from? They are a result of neurological changes due to substance dependence. They are the brain's way of seeking a balance for what it lacks. Listen in to this opiate support group as they discuss their experiences with cravings and how to combat them.

Discussion Guide:

What are drug cravings? How long do they last? Can you break down a craving into stages?

What's the difference between psychological and biological cravings?

Where do cravings come from?

How have you successfully resisted cravings?

Do you use grounding techniques? Which ones?

Supplemental Reading:

Luke Pool, What are drug cravings & how can I deal with them? https://800recoveryhub.blog/2017/05/25/drug-cravings/

Should You Tell Your Doctor That You Are Taking Methadone or Suboxone?

Some people prefer not to tell their doctors that they are on medication, such as Methadone or Suboxone, because they fear discrimination. But they may also believe that coordinating Medication Assisted Treatment services with your physicians is important for adequate care. This is a difficult decision with possible negative repercussions. Listen in to this opiate support group discuss their opinions on this dilemma.

Discussion  Guide:

What are the pros and cons of informing your doctor about MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment)?

If you are taking a medication such as Methadone or Suboxone, have you informed your doctor?

Are you comfortable telling your physician your private matters?

Does your physician treat your addiction as a disease, or a moral condition?

Have you been discriminated against when professionals learned of your recovery treatment? What happened?

Supplemental Reading:

Karla Lopez, Deborah Reid, Discrimination Against Patients with Substance Use Disorders Remains Prevalent and Harmful, http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2017/04/13/discrimination-against-patients-with-substance-use-disorders-remains-prevalent-and-harmful-the-case-for-42-cfr-part-2/

Ask the Expert: Dr. Sarz Maxwell Talks about Addiction Treatment

Dr. Sarz Maxwell, psychiatrist, stopped by to talk to the support group. She addressed various types of treatment for opioid addiction. The most frequently recommended treatment for opioid dependence is detox. The problem is that detox is offered as if it were treatment. But detox is not treatment, it is a procedure. Listen in to hear what she has to say about the cause of opioid addiction, the course of its progression, and its treatment.

Discussion Guide:

Name all the different types of treatments for opioid addiction that you are familiar with. Which did you try?

How is detox different from treatment?

What do you believe causes opioid addiction? Brain chemistry, hereditary factors, trauma, stress, or other pre-existing conditions?

Which contributed to your personal addiction?

How long does current research recommend you stay in treatment?

Are there negative, long term consequences from Methadone and Suboxone?

If there is no magic cure for your disease, what is your long term plan to manage it?

 

 

 

 

In the News: Sober Dating Sites, Syringe Vending Machines, and the Link Between Unemployment and Opioids

What's in the news this week? 1. Vending machines now dispense more than candy and soda. New machines are coming to Las Vegas that dispense clean syringes, kits for safe sex, kits that clean wounds, and provide a means of safely disposing syringes. 2. Sober online dating sites. 3. A new study finds that as the jobless rate rises, so do drug overdoses. Listen in to this support group discuss these issues.

Discussion Guide:

What are the pros and cons of syringe vending machines?

Would you have utilized them?

How did you dispose of your used needles?

Have you used an online dating service?

What are the pros and cons of a recovery dating site?

12-Step conventional advise is to avoid dating in the first year of recovery. Do you agree or disagree? Why?

As the unemployment rate increases by one percentage point in a given county, the opioid-death-rate rises by 3.6%, and ER visits rise by 7%. What would you think causes this?

Supplemental Reading:

Victoria Kim, Country's First Syringe Vending Machines Are Coming to Vegas, https://www.thefix.com/country%E2%80%99s-first-syringe-vending-machines-are-coming-vegas

New Sober Dating Site, https://www.thefix.com/new-sober-dating-site

Olga Khazan, The Link Between Opioids and Unemployment, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/04/joblessness-and-opioids/523281/

 

 

Staying Clean Is Not Easy: Barriers to Long Term Abstinence

Getting clean may be easier than staying clean. Long-term recovery can be a challenge without the right support. There are many barriers that cause former drug abusers to become discouraged if they are not able to establish a stable life. Examples are lack of housing and employment. Listen to this recovery support group talk about external and internal barriers that might make them give up.

Discussion Guide:

What are the things you need to give up when you begin a recovery program?

What are you adding to your life when you are in recovery?

What are the barriers to maintaining drug abstinence?

Supplementary Reading:

J. Kelly, J. R. McKay, A Plante, The Fix, Remove the Barriers to Addiction Recovery, 

http://www.thefix.com/remove-barriers-addiction-recovery

As Drug Abuse Rises, the Number of Children in Foster Care Rises

Addiction is harmful to families. Children are often neglected and placed at risk of harm. We're all aware of the high number of deaths caused by the opioid overdose epidemic. What we don't think about is the number of children who are forced into the foster system. An already stressed foster care system is having difficulty accommodating these children. Listen to this recovery support group talk about this issue.

Discussion Guide:

Do you have an experience with the foster care system? Either yourself, or your own children?

If you have children, in what way did your addiction impact them?

Do you believe that you can be both an addict and a good parent?

Addiction causes harm to children to various degrees. What criteria would you use to determine if a child should be taken from the home?

If you lost your children, did it motivate you to stop drug use?

Supplemental Reading:

John DeGarmo, How the Heroin Crisis is Straining Foster Care, Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-the-heroin-crisis-is-straining-foster-care_us_58ed0740e4b0ea028d568d3c