Nature versus nurture and addiction

The progressive understanding of addiction as a disease rather than a choice has opened the door to better treatment and research, but there are aspects of addiction that make it uniquely difficult to treat.

One exceptional characteristic of addiction is its persistence even in the absence of drug use: during periods of abstinence, symptoms get worse over time, and response to the drug increases.

Link to full article here, originally posted on:

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Modern Family: The U.S. opioid crisis has shifted family dynamics

Paul Bertke didn’t expect to be raising young children well into his 50s.

But a barrage of prescription opioids, heroin and fentanyl has inundated Dayton, Ohio, and his stepdaughter got hooked. So six years ago, Bertke and his wife, Angela, who live in the Dayton suburb of Kettering, stepped in to care for her kids.

“When we got married, she became my child, too,” says Bertke, 52. “You just want what is best for them, and it just breaks your heart to see them going down this path that you know is very deadly.”

The Bertkes are far from the only relatives pushed into a parental role for children whose actual parents are in the throes of addiction. The opioid epidemic has devastated families across the U.S., and the ripple effects – including strained household budgets and public resources – are especially visible in beleaguered communities like Dayton, the hub of an area that’s been called the nation’s “overdose capital.”

Montgomery County, which surrounds Dayton, saw a five-year rate of 50 opioid overdose deaths per 100,000 people from 2013 to 2017, compared with the state’s death rate of 26.1. The county has sharply cut its high number of unintentional overdose deaths since the middle of 2017, but a lower death toll doesn’t necessarily mean fewer people suffer from addiction, and measuring deaths alone can mask the full context of a community’s drug problem.

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U.S. News Analysis: The Opioid Crisis Is Here to Stay for Years

An examination of nearly two decades of drug overdose deaths shows that shifts in the year-to-year death toll, marked by relatively predictable peaks and valleys, mask the true magnitude of the opioid epidemic in America, which now appears mired in a deadly new normal for years to come.

Trends that seem apparent in hindsight escaped notice for years, with the failure to recognize a climb in deaths at the turn of the millennium – along with a subsequent slowdown – raising a compelling question: Did policymakers, law enforcement and public health officials miss chances to curb the opioid epidemic before it became a full-blown emergency?

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Maze in a Field

Addiction treatment is a maze. A way out of it is coming.

Sammy Stepp spent several years abusing opioids and has been drug-free and employed for three years now. He spent years in and out of drug rehab facilities.

Imagine needing rehab for, let’s say, a knee injury. Or maybe for a heart condition.

You’d drive around looking for billboards or street signs, text yourself an 800-number to call later, right? Or maybe you’d just consult social media.

No. Of course not.

You would get clear direction and referrals from your doctor or another reputable medical source for all your rehabilitation needs…..

Link to full article here originally posted on:

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Article written by Terry Demio Cincinnati Enquirer 1/25/2019


Hamilton County sees spike in ER visits, deaths. Does it signal new drug?

Authorities with several agencies across the area said that the number of overdoses from Wednesday night (1/23/19) into Thursday morning has been particularly high.

Officials with the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition said the number of emergency runs surpassed statistical thresholds for expected counts, noting 10 overdoses during the period of Jan. 23 to Jan. 24. Health officials said 911 dispatchers corroborated the large number of reported overdoses.

Original article here, posted on:

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A sign declares the National Archive is closed due to a partial federal government shutdown in Washington

The Shutdown’s Effect on the Opioid Epidemic – Police Chief Tom Synan on Podcast

It’s the 33rd day of the partial government shutdown. Across the country, the lack of federal funding has affected government employees, Native communities, Americans relying on food stamps and more.

Tom Synan is the police chief for the village of Newtown, Ohio, and a member of the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition. For his community, a lack of federal dollars during the shutdown hits on-the-ground efforts the hardest.

This podcast explains exactly how the government shutdown is affecting the opioid crisis, directly and inadvertently.

Click below for link to full article and to listen to the entire podcast:TheTakeAwayLogo




Girl Cheering Into Sunset

‘Happiness’ exercises can boost mood in those recovering from substance use disorder

Brief, text-based, self-administered exercises can significantly increase in-the-moment happiness for adults recovering from substance use disorders, report researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Recovery Research Institute. The study, published online in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, is the first of its kind to test whether positive psychology exercises boost happiness in persons recovering from substance use.

“Addiction scientists are increasingly moving beyond the traditional focus on reducing or eliminating substance use by advocating treatment protocols that encompass quality of life. Yet orchestrated positive experiences are rarely incorporated into treatment for those with substance use disorders,” says lead author Bettina B. Hoeppner, PhD, senior research scientist at the Recovery Research Institute.

Link to full article here originally posted on:

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Pharmacist Using Computer

New study shows physician-targeted marketing is associated with increase in opioid overdose deaths

Many individuals cite prescription opioids as their gateway to illicit opioid use. However, while prescription opioids are involved in more than one-third of all opioid overdose deaths in the U.S., examining any correlation between prescription opioid overdose deaths and pharmaceutical industry marketing has been limited—until now.

New research from NYU School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center published online January 18 in JAMA Network Open shows that increased marketing of opioid products to physicians—from consulting fees to free meals—is associated with higher opioid prescribing rates and elevated overdose deaths in the U.S.

Link to full article here originally posted on:

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Holding Hands

Governor DeWine Announces Formation of RecoveryOhio Advisory Council

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced today (1/18/19) the creation of a new council that will advise the Ohio Governor’s Office on critical matters concerning mental illness and substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery support services in Ohio.

This afternoon, Governor DeWine signed an executive order creating the RecoveryOhio Advisory Council.

“As I travel the state, I constantly hear from struggling families who say Ohio’s system for treating those with mental health and substance use disorders needs repair,” said Governor DeWine. “I’m calling upon the members of this council to advise my administration on strategies to mend this fractured system. With improvements, I truly believe that Ohio can better assist those who are struggling to recover and help them lead high-quality, productive lives.”

RecoveryOhio Director Alisha Nelson will chair the council, which includes a diverse group of individuals who have worked to address mental illness or substance use issues in prevention, treatment, advocacy, or support services; government; private industry; law enforcement; healthcare; learning institutions; and faith organizations.  The council also includes individuals who are living with mental illness and/or a substance use disorder and their families.

Members of the RecoveryOhio Advisory Council include:

  • Ted Strickland, Former Governor of Ohio
  • Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Retired, Project Director, The Stepping Up Initiative
  • John Tharp, Lucas County Sheriff
  • Pastor Greg Delaney, Outreach Coordinator, Woodhaven
  • Suzanne Dulaney, Executive Director, County Commissioners Association of Ohio
  • Joan England, Executive Director, The Mental Health & Addiction Advocacy Coalition
  • Orman Hall, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area / Ohio University
  • Dr. Navdeep Kang, Director of Operations Behavioral Health, Mercy Health Cincinnati
  • Teresa Lampl, Associate Director, Ohio Council of Behavioral Health & Family Service Providers
  • Jessica Nickel, Founder, Addiction Policy Forum
  • Terry Russell, Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness Ohio
  • Dr. Shawn Ryan, Chair of Payer Relations, Ohio Society of Addiction Medicine
  • Brenda Stewart, Founder, The Addict’s Parent United
  • Sarah Thompson, Executive Director, Ohio Citizen Advocates for Addiction Recovery
  • Cheri L. Walter, CEO, Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities
  • Juliet Doris Williams, Executive Director, The P.E.E.R. Center

Additional members will be announced at a later date.

RecoveryOhio Advisory Council members will be tasked with issuing actionable recommendations to Governor DeWine and each cabinet-level state agency, board, and commission that provides services to individuals with mental illness or substance use disorders.

Governor DeWine has directed the council to issue recommendations on several pressing issues including, but not limited to:

  • Providing high quality prevention and early intervention programming in communities and schools;
  • Improving access to treatment services in Ohio for mental health and substance use disorders;
  • Developing support strategies on issues such as peer support, employment, and housing as foundations for wellness;
  • Improving the quality of care for mental health and substance use disorders in the community and in healthcare and criminal justice settings;
  • Creating efficiencies across systems;
  • Serving more underserved populations including youth, older adults, and veterans;
  • Measuring critical outcomes to gauge improvements in Ohio’s system of mental health and addiction services;
  • Coordinating federal, state, and local resources to ensure optimal use.

The advisory council will also make recommendations on fiscal appropriations in the state budget.

Governor DeWine has asked the council to issue their recommendations no later than March 8, 2019.

The council will also meet no less than quarterly to provide guidance on carrying out the recommendations.

Original article here, posted on:



Opioid Prescription Rates Higher in Rural Counties

Opioid prescribing rates among primary care providers are significantly higher in rural U.S. counties than their more populated counterparts, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.

For the study, researchers analyzed deidentified opioid prescription data for more than 30,000 primary care providers. The information covered January 2014 to March 2017, and was obtained from electronic health record vendor Athenahealth. To compare trends by population density, researchers stratified the data by providers’ counties into six urban-rural categories, ranging from most to least densely populated.

Link to full article here originally posted on: