BREAKING NEWS George Michael, OXY Goes Wild, Florida Cracks Down

Getting Ready For a GREAT New Year! 
December 27, 2016                   Treatment Industry & Recovery Community News                   Vol. 4., No. 21
A Hero to Millions –  R.I.P George Michael  VIDEO
How George Michael battled with his health, drug addiction, pneumonia and a car crash: VIDEO                                     

Dec. 25, 2016 – George Michael has “passed away peacefully at home” , it was announced tonight. His publicist broke the news in a statement issued at 11pm , saying he died over the Christmas period. The statement said: “It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period. “The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time…

…Boyfriend Reveals He Battled a Secret Heroin Addiction
George Michael died alone as he battled secret heroin addiction 

Dec. 26, 2016 – Fadi Fawaz, a celebrity hairdresser, who had been in a relationship with the star since 2011, said he discovered him when he went to his home in Oxfordshire as the pair had  been planning to spend the day together.
He told the Daily Telegraph: “We were supposed to be going for Christmas lunch. I went round there to wake him up and he was just gone, lying peacefully in bed. We don’t know what happened yet … But in recent years the hedonistic lifestyle he became famous for had left the once dashingly handsome pop icon a bloated version of himself. It can also be revealed that over the past year he is thought to have been battling a spiraling heroin addiction.   

Monsters of Industry
Wall Street Drug Dealer Cardinal Health agrees to pay $44 million for distribution of controlled substances   

“With the opioid crisis reaching epidemic proportions,” U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara said in a press release, “pharmaceutical companies must be part of the solution, not part of the problem.” Cardinal Health agreed to pay $44 million to settle federal lawsuits regarding the distribution of controlled substances. The Dublin-based healthcare company admitted to failing to report large orders for painkillers such as oxycodone in 2011 and 2012. In 2012, the company settled a related lawsuit with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and agreed to a two-year suspension of its ability to distribute controlled substances from a Florida facility. The $44 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice resolved the outstanding civil penalty from the earlier case.


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Dr. Gabor Maté’s Critique of the Surgeon General’s Report Facing Addiction in American 

DEC.23, 2016 A major problem for this report is that the public does not need to be educated about the dangers of addiction. That is understood all too well.  What is needed is education about what addiction actually is, its sources in life and society, how it arises, how it manifests in its many forms … But what about the obvious point that non-substance addictions, such as gambling, shopping, internet use, sexual roving, dysfunctional eating patterns also involve the same brain circuits? … The Surgeon General’s report, in its humanity and commitment to helping people and communities, is a generous document, one to be hailed as an essential move in a positive direction. Its unawareness of the fundamental presence of TRAUMA in human experience and in our culture, the prevalence of pain, is a missed opportunity.

And Throw Away the Key?
Detention centers … are ‘set up to fail’ immigrants with mental illness  

STAT found detainees with mental illness being held in solitary confinement against the advice of prison doctors. The investigation also found immigrants at clear risk of suicide being left alone with the means to make another attempt to end their lives. Others, who were mentally and physically unable to care for themselves, were abruptly released in the US or deposited across the border, without any support network … A yearlong STAT investigation, including a review of thousands of pages of court documents and federal government reports and dozens of interviews with immigration attorneys, former detainees, and mental health experts, found that the detention system often fails to protect vulnerable immigrants with psychiatric disorders.

Drugging Humanity
OxyContin goes global – “We’re just getting started”  

Prescriptions for OxyContin have fallen nearly 40% since 2010, meaning billions in lost revenue for its Connecticut manufacturer, Purdue Pharma. So the company’s owners, the Sackler family, are pursuing a new strategy: Put the painkiller that set off the U.S. opioid crisis into medicine cabinets around the world. A network of international companies owned by the family is moving rapidly into Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and other regions, and pushing for broad use of painkillers in places ill-prepared to deal with the ravages of opioid abuse and addiction

MEDIA: Book Overview   VIDEO
Neil Steinberg Shares Advice, Sobering Quotes on Addiction in New Book VIDEO  

‘Tis the season for spirited parties, and endlessly flowing eggnog and champagne toasts can lead to exuberance and excess. It can also make the most wonderful time of the year a tough one for the some 17 million Americans who are alcoholics – that’s  7 percent of the adult population. In his book, “Out of the Wreck I Rise: A Literary Companion to Recovery,” Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg shares his own advice, commentary and favorite quotes.

Long Term Recovery or Long Term Prison
Six arrested in health care fraud, one of the arrested connected to several local sober homes VIDEO  

Dec 21, 2016 One of the people arrested is connected to several treatment centers and sober homes in South Florida … Kenneth Chatman along with six others including doctors, owners, and staff members of treatment facilities are charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud. John Lehman, President of  Florida Association of Recovery Residences says he’s  been receiving complaints about Chatman and his drug and & alcohol addiction treatment centers for 3 years.

Or Themselves Either?  NPR AUDIO
Doctors Say Parents Shouldn’t Smoke Pot Around Kids NPR AUDIO  

It’s a small study, involving 43 young children in Colorado, another state where recreational marijuana use is legal. The children, ages 1 month to 2 years, were hospitalized for bronchiolitis. Their urine samples were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which used a new and highly sensitive test that can detect very low levels of marijuana metabolites. They found 16 percent of the overall samples tested positive. And for the children whose caregivers said they had been exposed to marijuana use, 75 percent had traces of marijuana in their urine.

Morphine Wants to Be Your BFF AUDIO
Opioids Can Derail the Lives of Older People, Too NPR AUDIO  

It took a lot of convincing to get John Evard into rehab. He was reluctant to give up the medications that he was certain were keeping his pain at bay. But ultimately he agreed – and seven days into his stay at the Las Vegas Recovery Center, the nausea and aching muscles of opioid withdrawal are finally beginning to fade. “Any sweats?” a nurse asks him as she adjusts his blood pressure cuff. “Last night it was really bad,” he tells her, “but not since I got up.” Evard, 70, says he woke up several times at night, his sheets drenched with sweat.

One Pill at a Time  VIDEO
Trying To Stop The Opioid Epidemic Is An Uphill Battle VIDEO

December 18, 2016 – The United States has seen a 33 percent increase in drug overdose deaths in the past five years, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, prescription painkillers are to blame for the majority of overdose deaths in 2015. That’s one of the reasons the head of the CDC considers doctors one of the first lines of defense in fighting the opioid epidemic.

‘Drug Dealer, M.D.’: Misunderstandings And Good Intentions Fueled Opioid Epidemic 35min. AUDIO  

December 15, 20162 America’s attitude toward pain has shifted radically over the past century. Psychiatrist Anna Lembke says that 100 years ago, the medical community thought that pain made patients stronger. “Doctors believed that pain was salutary,” she tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross, “meaning that it had some physiologic benefit to the individual, and certainly some spiritual benefit.”.. “It was very insidious and subtle. One of the ways I realized was that my patients weren’t getting better. They were asking for more and more medications at higher and higher doses.”

Happy New Year Family
There’s No Place like Home: How Unresolved Familial Trauma Can Emerge around the Holidays by Dr. Tian Dayton

The holidays cast a spotlight on family dynamics that may be problematic, creating a heightened reality for all present. Holidays present a script, “be happy, love one another, connect,” but family members who carry buried and denied pain can experience themselves at these times like actors going through the motions, inauthentic, mouthing the words. There is an awkwardness that lingers in the air and a powerful but unrequited wish for something we feel we cannot have.


Willingness is the Key … to the City
Nearly 400 people with drug addiction helped in police effort in Gloucester

DECEMBER 22, 2016 – A novel drug addiction program developed in a small Massachusetts fishing town and since replicated in dozens of cities nationwide was able to place almost 400 addicts into treatment nearly each time they sought it during the first year of operation, researchers say in a report being published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine … Part of the reason, she said, is that Gloucester’s addicts were voluntarily coming to police seeking help. ”They were motivated individuals that came to the station ready to engage in care,” Schiff said.

Mozart is Sweet Too!
How to curb unhealthy eating by Dr. Nora Volkow

Volkow and other scientists have found that high-calorie foods, like addictive drugs, can trigger the brain’s reward system, releasing brain chemicals such as dopamine that make you feel terrific. So it’s natural to want more. In fact, wanting more helped early humans survive. “Our brains are hardwired to respond positively to foods that have a high content of fat or sugar, because these foods helped our ancestors survive in an environment where food was scarce,” Volkow says.


Homeless in Alaska: life and death on the freezing streets

Alaska has some of the highest per capita rates of homelessness and alcoholism in America – and as the temperature drops, the number of homeless deaths rises … As soon as she glimpsed at the body on the icy street, Marie Nickolai knew it was Jackie Amaktoolik. He’d been drinking outside. People said he had collapsed. She wept as friends coaxed her from the scene. “That’s my brother,” she said. When homeless people die in Alaska, it is often like this: outside, facilitated by a lethal combination of alcohol and cold. Nickolai’s stepbrother, known on the streets as Isaac, died on 13 December. The temperature was 6F (-14C).

Mexico Begins Importing Medical Marijuana 

The road to Mexico’s evolving stance on marijuana begins with Alina Maldonado Montes de Oca, a young girl from the small town of San Andres Tuxtla in the state of Veracruz. She suffered her first seizure when she was just an infant. They increased almost immediately, peaking at 25 to 40 small attacks per day with grand mal seizures striking up to twice per week. Doctors found that she suffered from hypoxia, an oxygen deficiency to certain parts of the body, which impacted her brain development and caused both epilepsy and infantile cerebral palsy. Maldonado was treated with 14 different kinds of medication, each one with an array of painful side effects including liver damage and gastritis.


 TRULY American Horrific Story
Baby Dies After Parents’ Suspected Overdose Deaths

An infant died in her bassinet of dehydration and starvation three or four days after her parents died, also at home, from suspected drug overdoses, authorities said. Jason Chambers, 27, Chelsea Cardaro, 19, and 5-month-old Summer Chambers were found dead…  

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Alligator Alley  VIDEO
Florida treatment operator, Kenny Chatman amassed fortune amid fraud allegations & prostitution VIDEO  

December 22, 2016 – 6:32pm The man accused of abusing drug addicts who sought help in Broward and Palm Beach counties has amassed a fortune while ripping off health insurance and forcing vulnerable women to prostitute themselves, prosecutors told a judge Thursday. Investigators said in court they have evidence that Kenneth Chatman, 44, of Boynton Beach, was receiving bags of cash, containing as much as $150,000 in kickbacks from related health care businesses, on a monthly basis…

Dying American Style
52 weeks, 52 faces  Obituaries narrate lives lost to the opioid epidemic  

The faces above and the stories below are a snapshot of the devastating opioid epidemic sweeping across the United States. Publicly acknowledging that a family member suffered from an addiction to drugs, or died of an overdose, has long been a taboo subject – one best kept secret among family and a few knowing friends. That is changing. As the death toll from the opioid crisis mounts, families are increasingly weaving desperate warnings into the obituaries of loved ones about the horror that can result when people abuse painkillers, heroin, and synthetic drugs such as fentanyl…

Advice Column
Ask Polly: I Finally Got Sober, But I’m Losing Faith!  

Dear Polly,
December 21, 2016: I’m closer to 30 than 25, bipolar (type II), and, most important, six days away from being six months sober. I am still learning what drinking three bottles of wine a night and passing out to reruns on Netflix for the last six years has done to me: I’ve given up my integrity; my health; lots of money that I now desperately need; loving, deep friendships and possibilities for romantic relationships; and the ability to know how to – and to want to – concentrate and work deeply and make incremental progress toward something (anything) … I’m not suicidal at all. In fact, my mood is fairly good. I just can’t seem to commit or to follow through. Every good piece of news, no matter how provisional, makes me feel like everything will work out somehow and that makes me even more passive than before. I still expect someone to swoop in and save me. I have no sense of agency or urgency.

Sanity South of the Border
Argentina Considering Drug Treatment as Alternative to Incarceration  

Authorities in Argentina are considering a proposal to establish treatment for drug addiction as an alternative to incarceration for people accused of minor crimes, a model that has shown promise in other jurisdictions where it has been applied … Addicts accused of minor crimes can request admission to drug treatment programs instead of incarceration. Defendants must meet certain requirements set by the judge in their case. If they fail to meet those requirements, their case may be returned to the normal justice system, and they could face jail time.

50% Success Rate with Methadone?
Maine to see influx of funds to fight drug addiction  

With methadone-assisted treatment, one of two people is successful in beating their drug addiction, according to Brent Miller, program director for the Discovery House, one of the local clinics to benefit from funding. “Methadone … is far and away the best solution, the data shows,” Miller said Tuesday … The Acadia Hospital opened Bangor’s first methadone clinic inside its Stillwater Avenue facility 15 years ago and served roughly 110 clients. Now Acadia has a 700-patient capacity … The Discovery House clinic opened in 2007 and in 2010 was allowed to expand from 500 clients to serve up to 700.

Arapahoe House to close its detox centers in Denver  

Arapahoe House, a prominent provider of treatment for drug and alcohol addiction in the metro area, will close its detox centers by the summer, ending a program that serves thousands of people every year … Mike Butler, the president and CEO of Arapahoe House, said the detox program has for years operated at a loss. Butler said the program is expected to lose as much as $2.5 million this fiscal year and Arapahoe House, which is a nonprofit, can’t afford to continue subsidizing the program while also continuing its more intensive treatment efforts.

Shareholders Lives Matter
The Opioid Epidemic Is a Symptom of Toxic Greed

December 21, 2016 – For the past two decades, the makes of OxyContin have done just that, and generated $35 billion in revenue in the process … American doctors have been free to prescribe morphine and other generic opioid painkillers since the early 20th century. But they started prescribing such narcotics at drastically higher rates in the mid-1990s, when Purdue Pharma patented OxyContin, and began aggressively marketing the drug to doctors and patients. The company held all-expenses-paid conferences for specialists, in which they treated the assembled physicians to fine food & wine – and seminars on OxyContin’s capacity to relieve chronic pain with little risk of engendering abuse or addiction.

Revered Columbia addiction professor found dead  

A former “Professor of the Year” at Columbia University who made it his life’s work treating people with chemical dependency was found dead of an alcohol-related death, sources said Wednesday. Donald McVinney, 66, was discovered Tuesday evening during a wellness check at his apartment on West 23rd Street in Manhattan. There were no signs of foul play. Empty wine bottles were found strewn around the tiny apartment where he lived alone, sources said. The Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the cause of death as “chronic alcoholism,” and noted that hypertensive cardiovascular disease also contributed. McVinney, who wrote the book “Chemical Dependency Treatment: Innovative Group Approaches,” had worked at Harlem United and at Columbia’s School of Social Work, where he taught classes about treating alcoholism and substance abuse. He was named outstanding professor of the year in 1999, and was national director of education and training at the Harm Reduction Coalition in New York City…

What? Good News?
Teen Drug Use Continues to Fall 

New end-of-year data from the National Institutes of Health show the continued decline of illicit drug and alcohol use among the country’s teens, even as the adult population struggles to cope with increases in binge drinking and opioid overdoses. “It is encouraging to see more young people making healthy choices not to use illicit substances,” said National Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli.

Los Angeles Skirball Cultural Center – 2017
8th Annual Experience, Strength & Hope Awards – Feb. 23 in LA

Broadcast giant and Recovery advocate PAT O’BRIEN is set to receive the Experience, Strength and Hope Award presented on Thursday, February 23, 2017
Guest Host, Ed Begley, Jr.
Guest Singer, Sherri Lewis

Spoken word performance by author Dejuan DJ Verrett

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SPECIAL COMEDY performance, from South Florida to you, SARGE (He’s half Jewish and half Black. What could possibly go wrong?)
Previous Honorees: Christopher Kennedy Lawford, Lou Gossett, Jr., Buzz Aldrin, Duran Duran’s John Taylor, Carrie White, Joe Pantoliano, Mackenzie Phillips
Previous Participants: Danny Trejo, Tony Denison, Robert Downey, Jr., Ione Skye, Bobcat Goldthwait, Joanna Cassidy, Alonzo Bodden, Mark Lundholm, Dan Fante, Bob Forrest, Sharon Lawrence, Barry Diamond, Jack McGee
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Quitting is for Winners
Four Common Rehab Myths  

December 24, 2016 – Rehab and substance abuse treatment is a mystery to many people. For one thing, not everyone feels comfortable discussing drug and alcohol abuse, which means rehab can sometimes seem like it’s cloaked in secrecy. The good news is that much of what you may have heard about rehab is misleading. Here are four common myths about rehab. Myth #1: Only Celebrities and the Wealthy Can Afford Rehab … MORE … Myth #2: Rehab Is a Last Resort … MORE … Myth #3: Detox Is Painful and Makes You Sick … MORE … Myth #4: Undergoing Rehab Can Jeopardize Your Job or Your Custody Rights…

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It’s Time
Florida to Tighten Licensing For Drug Treatment Facilities   

DEC. 25, 2016 – After federal investigators detailed allegations of abuse at South Florida drug treatment centers, state officials say they plan to tighten licensing standards for the industry. Florida Department of Children and Families spokeswoman Jessica Sims told The Palm Beach Post that strengthening regulations will help “prevent unscrupulous individuals from taking advantage of vulnerable individuals in the recovery process.”

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