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At Addiction Treatment Services International (ATSI), each client is treated with compassion and respect. Here, you or your loved one will learn to overcome the disease of addiction, understand why addiction has taken control and, in turn, change life for the better. Why? Because we make long-term recovery possible by advancing standards and practices in the field of substance use disorder treatment.

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New Jersey Recovery Month Activities

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Addiction Treatment, Rehab and Treatment News

New jersey signThe Recovery Month activity calendar is filling up quickly. As we begin the second week of National Recovery Month, organizations across the country are doing their part to spread the word about the importance and availability of treatment for those struggling with addiction. Take a look at the SAMHSA Recovery Month website and find an event near you. Here are a few highlights of activities in New Jersey:

Morris County Resource Fair – September 12. Meet local agencies and individuals from the following areas: prevention, treatment, recovery support services, mental health services, criminal justice and family support.

Morristown Recovery Movie Night – September 4, 8, and 25. Join us for Free Friday Night Recovery Movie Night! Food, Flick, Fellowship & Fun!

3rd annual Jersey’s Walk for Recovery in Hamilton- September 19. This is a 5k walk/run for substance abuse awareness.

West Windsor Walk/Run with the Angels – September 20. This year’s Recovery Walk, Walk/Run with the Angels 2015 will help us support more people in recovery. Our goal is to raise $50,000 that will be used to assist individuals who are ready to change their lives and 100% of proceeds will be used for this purpose.

New Jersey Statewide Recovery Walk Rally in Jersey City – September 27. This is New Jersey’s closing event for National Recovery Month. In Liberty State Park, with the New York Skyline as a backdrop, there will be a short, symbolic Walk in support of Recovery followed by a festival with top New Jersey entertainment, speakers and a wide variety of healthy living, addiction treatment and recovery support vendors.

Governor Christie’s Plan to Combat Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Addiction Treatment, Government/Law

ChristieMany politicians are now weighing in on the right way to combat drug and alcohol addiction. Governor Christie is no different. He has worked for the past several years to pass legislation that would help treat those with addiction disorders, while making it more difficult for people to get their hands on things like prescription drugs.

Christie’s own state of New Jersey is currently dealing with an opiate overdose epidemic, and this week Christie spoke out once again about how to stop this growing problem.

“The way to really win the war on drugs is to treat the addict,” Christie said in an ad campaign. “For those whose lives we have a chance to save I want us to try and save those lives. Because I believe that every one of those lives is a precious gift from God and it’s not up to us to decide when that life ends.”

How will Christie tackle such a serious problem? His actions as Governor should give us some indication. Christie believes the following will help curb the addiction problem. Some of these things he has done already, others are still in progress:

  • Establish substance abuse housing recovery program on public colleges and universities
  • Expand treatment for addiction through drug court
  • Expand the use of Narcan for opiate overdoses
  • Fund new treatment beds
  • Push insurance carriers to cover more substance abuse treatment programs
  • Expand state’s prescription drug database
  • Launch “KnowAddiction” website and public service announcements

You can see Governor Christie’s newest “Every Life” ad here. Then let us know what you think of Christie’s plan to end drug and alcohol abuse.

On the Campaign Trail: Hillary Clinton Proposes Spending More Money to Combat Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Addiction Treatment, Government/Law

23 Mar 2015, Washington, DC, USA --- Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton takes part in a Center for American Progress roundtable discussion on "Expanding Opportunities in America's Urban Areas" in Washington. --- Image by © Brooks Kraft/Corbis

Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton wants to spend $10 billion in new federal grants to combat drug and alcohol addiction. She, like several other candidates, has talked openly about wanting to find a way to put an end to heroin and prescription drug abuse. “It’s time we recognize as a nation that for too long, we have had a quiet epidemic on our hands. Plain and simple, drug and alcohol addiction is a disease, not a moral failing — and we must treat it as such,” said Clinton.

The real question is how does Clinton hope to accomplish the goal of ending these types of addiction? More than 23 million Americans are addicted to drugs or alcohol. New Jersey residents should pay particular attention to politicians’ ideas because the state is struggling with a surge in heroin and prescription drug addiction and overdose. According to the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, drug-related deaths in New Jersey have skyrocketed in recent years, increasing 53 percent from 2010 to 2012. More than two-thirds of those deaths were due to prescription drug abuse.

Clinton’s plan would do the following:

  • Prioritize treatment over incarceration, which would save money that can be used to pay for the program
  • Make money available to states to create programs that educate the public, treat addicts, train prescribers, and equip first responders with opiate-reversing drugs
  • Prevent nurse practitioners and physician assistants from prescribing opiates
  • Review Medicare and Medicaid to be sure they cover proper treatment

Does this proposal sound good to you? Read more of Hillary Clinton’s proposal here, and then let us know what you think!

September is Recovery Month

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Addiction Treatment

$RVB2RCLEvery year in September, organizations across the country hold events to increase awareness of substance use issues and to celebrate those who have recovered. National Recovery Month was started and is hosted by SAMHSA, but other organizations, treatment centers, and community groups are welcome to hold their own events as well.

Why is Recovery Month so important? First of all, it gets people talking about this very important issue. It shows people in recovery they have many people around them pushing for their success. It helps those still in addiction understand they are not alone and that help is available and recovery is possible. Recovery Month helps decrease the stigma that surrounds addiction disorders so that people feel more comfortable not only talking about it, but doing something about it.

This year’s Recovery Month theme is Join the Voices for Recovery: Visible, Vocal, Valuable!. According to SAMHSA’s website, this theme “highlights the value of peer support in educating, mentoring, and helping others. It encourages individuals to start conversations about the prevention, treatment, and recovery of behavioral health conditions at earlier stages of life.”

There are Recovery Month events being held across the country. Visit SAMHSA’s website to find an event near you.

“Narcos” and the War on Drugs

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Illicit Drugs

2385B88A00000578-0-image-11_1417000484506A new drama has been added to the Netflix lineup, and it is expected to both entertain and educate. Called “Narcos,” the show tells the story of Colombian drug lord, Pablo Escobar, and the DEA’s efforts to stop him. The show is set in the 1980s, and traces both the drug cartel’s cocaine trafficking, and the actions of those who dedicated their careers to stop it.

Director Jose Padilha said in an interview that the show blurs the lines between good and bad, reflecting the real life conflict that was the war on drugs. “We’re not doing a movie where … the bad guy is the guy who produces drugs and the superhero is whomever represents the American government, and the victim is the guy consuming drugs,” Padilha said. “We didn’t do this at all for the simple fact that this is not even close to what the reality is.”

Learn more about the show, which airs today, here.

New Drug Could Help Treat Alcoholism

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Addiction Treatment, Alcohol

DSC06836-BResearchers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, are hoping to develop a new drug that can be used to treat alcoholism. The drug, instead of working to simply reduce dopamine levels in the brain, targets a specific receptor in the brain, leading to reduced alcohol consumption.

Study co-author, Dr. James Cook, explained the problems with the drugs in use already. “[Current drugs] dampen out the dopamine system a little bit, so you don’t get so happy when you have an alcoholic beverage. But these medications, derived from a class of compounds called opioid antagonists, cause depression in some patients. And they’re addictive themselves, which can lead to drug abuse. Valium is an example of a common drug used to treat alcoholism that is also addictive.”

Cook went on to explain the benefits of the medication they have been working on. “What excites me is the [new] compounds are orally active, and they don’t cause depression like some drugs do. If everything works out, a drug could be ready for the market in 5 – 6 years.”

Treating the Underlying Problem

While studies of medications like this are beneficial to the treatment of alcoholism, they should not be viewed as the cure. People begin drinking for a reason. Either to hide feelings, numb pain, or fit in, alcoholism begins as a way of self-medicating. Simply taking a pill that reduces cravings or makes it less fun to drink will not be a cure for alcoholism. As with any medication to help with addiction, this drug will need to be combined with rehab and therapy, so that the person can learn how to live without alcohol, and can heal the underlying problems of their condition.

The effectiveness of a solid treatment program should never be overlooked. There is no magic cure for addiction. Recovery can be achieved only through hard work, dedication, and the learned skills of dealing with stress and anxiety.

Read more about the new study here.

Hepatitis C a Risk for Opiate Addicts

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Illicit Drugs, Prescription Drugs

CDC-RAccording to the CDC, our country is now seeing the repercussions of the high numbers of heroin and prescription painkiller users manifested in a new threat: Hepatitis C. A new study by the CDC estimates that there has been a 12.6 percent increase in those who use syringes to inject prescription painkillers. Now, many of those people, as well as the many who use heroin, are at risk for contracting diseases like Hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne disease that affects the liver. It causes liver damage, itchy rashes, skin lesions, and extreme fatigue, and it can be passed from one individual to another through dirty needles. The CDC estimates that over 3 million people have Hepatitis C, and officials are afraid that the number will continue to rise as the opiate epidemic increases in our country.

In order to combat this problem, many are suggesting needle exchange programs. Others believe law enforcement needs to crack down on those who sell and misuse opiate drugs. The only real way to help those struggling with opiate addiction is to provide treatment in the form of rehab and therapy, and to educate the public on the dangers of heroin and prescription painkiller abuse.

Learn more about the CDC’s study and its recommendations here.

How to Manage Depression without Turning to Drugs or Alcohol

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Co-Occurring Disorders and Mental Health

file0002062790027Mental health disorders and substance abuse often go hand in hand, but many people don’t realize just how closely related these conditions are.

  • According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), about 20 percent of Americans with an anxiety or mood disorder, such as depression, also have a substance abuse disorder, and about 20 percent of those with a substance abuse problem also have an anxiety or mood disorder.
  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) concludes that compared with the general population, people addicted to drugs are roughly twice as likely to have mood and anxiety disorders, and vice versa.

There are many reasons for the connection between co-occurring disorders. Someone who is sad or depressed will eventually want to find ways to feel better, because over time, chronic depression and other mental health disorders can become very taxing on a person’s mind and body. Sometimes it seems easier for the person to turn to drugs or alcohol to numb their feelings and soothe their mind. Even though the drugs or alcohol might make the person feel better at the moment, eventually they will make things much worse. The person will become dependent on the substance to feel normal or to function at a level that will allow them to get through the day, and then they will have to deal with an addiction as well as mental health disorder.

If you are struggling with depression, turning to substances to self-medicate is not the answer. Instead, find healthy ways to deal with the mental health issue. First of all, consult a doctor or psychiatrist about your feelings and follow their advice and treatment plan. Then, incorporate things like proper nutrition and exercise, stress reduction techniques, positive social interactions, and counseling and doctor-prescribed medications if necessary to manage the depression. Above all, be open about what you are going through and ask for help when you need it.

Learn more about co-occurring disorders here.

White House Develops a Plan to Stop Heroin Epidemic

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Government/Law, Illicit Drugs

file000863634145It’s what the country has been waiting and hoping for – a real plan that can finally help do something about the tragic rise in heroin addiction and overdose in our country. The White House announced this week that it will implement a plan that will focus on treatment rather than prosecution of heroin addicts.

Called the Heroin Response Strategy, the plan will work to locate the sources of heroin and prosecute dealers and distributors of the drug, but will coordinate law enforcement and public health workers in order to work on prevention and treatment, and training first responders to administer overdose-reversing medication.

“It’s something that’s very much on the president’s radar,” said Eric Schultz, White House deputy press secretary. “This is a pretty severe threat that we face and so this program is an unprecedented partnership with both law enforcement and public health officials to really get at the root of it.”

The initial $2.5 million for the program will be funded by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and will tackle the heroin problem in 15 states. “The new Heroin Response Strategy demonstrates a strong commitment to address the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic as both a public health and a public safety issue,” Michael Botticelli, director of National Drug Control Policy said in a statement. “This Administration will continue to expand community-based efforts to prevent drug use, pursue ‘smart on crime’ approaches to drug enforcement, increase access to treatment, work to reduce overdose deaths, and support the millions of Americans in recovery.”

Read more about the program here.

Police Chief’s Facebook Post Gives Hope to Heroin Addicts

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Addiction Treatment

file0001336447729The police chief of Gloucester, Massachusetts, has made big changes in his department when it comes to dealing with drug addicts. The chief, Leonard Campanello, had seen too many people die from heroin overdose in his time with the department, and he wanted to do something about it.

Campanello decided to provide help to addicts rather than prosecution. His post about it on social media created a huge stir in his state and surrounding areas. “Since January of this year, we have responded to dozens of opiate-related overdoses and, unfortunately, the City has seen 4 deaths in this time that are heroin related. 4 deaths is 4 too many,” Campanello said. “If you are a user of opiates or heroin, let us help you. We know you do not want this addiction. We have resources here in the City that can and will make a difference in your life. Do not become a statistic.”

Since that statement in March of this year, Gloucester police have changed their focus from trying to put addicts in jail for drug crimes to finding help for those that really want to overcome this powerful disease.

“Any addict who walks into the police station with the remainder of their drug equipment (needles, etc) or drugs and asks for help with NOT be charged,” Campanello said. “Instead, we will walk them through the system toward detox and recovery. We will assign them an “angel” who will be their guide through the process. Not in hours or days, but on the spot.”

So far, 109 addicts have found help at the Gloucester police station, and the story has grabbed the attention of police departments and communities across the country. Read more about the story here.

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