IUSB April 10th
Comment highlights from the panel:
John R. Gallagher, PhD – Addictions Therapist with Oaklawn Psychiatric Center and Bashor Children’sHome said there are five useful interventions now:
1. Recovery Coaches at Beacon Memorial Hospital
2. Vivitrol being used in the jails
3. Methadone treatments
4. Narcan distributed to libraries, stores and other community locations
5. Harm reduction recovery groups at Oaklawn
By shifting how we view addiction we can be “compassionate on crime”. By showing kindness they can reach out for help. They still need to be held accountable. He says Judge Jane Woodward Miller holds them accountable with weekly follow-up meetings.
Alicia Brown – Recovering addict and founder of “Fresh Attitudes for New Success” (FANS) says she began her addiction journey with a pain Rx and wishes her family had shown her tough love much earlier.
Ken Cotter – St. Joseph County Prosecutor says, “We can’t arrest our way out of this problem.” He prefers pre-trial diversion programs that move people towards recovery resources first. People need honesty, tenacity and compassion to get past their addictions. He says in past years there have been 58 – 60 overdose deaths a year and so far only two in 2019. He says 85% of property crimes are committed by those who are addicted trying to support their habit. He stated those who started with a prescription then moved onto heroin, fentanyl and methanphetomines.
Kelley Gaffney – Lead research coordinator for Indiana’s “Don’t Punish Pain” organization. She was a Research, Data and Crime analyst for the Hudson Institute and works with the Indianapolis Police Department. She says there are 100 million chronic pain sufferers in the US and suicides are up for those who genuinely need the medication and can’t get it. 23% of those with chronic pain rely on prescription opioids for pain control. There have been three rallies for this in Indiana and the next one is on May 4th at the State House. Doctors have become unwilling to prescribe even when patients are in need due to the backlash. Patients in genuine need may be unfairly added to the Indiana Inspect reporting system. What has helped is for those taking opioids for chronic pain have “pain contracts” with their doctors about their use and monitoring. Those with chronic pain have a human rights issue.
William (Bill) Horton – Division Manager for the St. Joseph County Department of Child Services and IUSB Social Work Instructor at IUSB, says children are the collateral damage of this drug abuse and it puts a strain on local families.
Brooke Marshall, LSW, MATS – Addiction Therapist at Oaklawn Psychiatric Center and team leader for the St. Joseph County Jail Mental Health and Addiction Services says they are working well with their community partners and with using Vivitrol as a treatment. Peer recovery is working well. Unfortunately, she says, people are not as motivated until they are arrested.
Rodger Pinto – Former Paratrouper and SPEA student says how Veterans are treated for pain while on active duty is different than after they are discharged. Issues include getting double prescriptions and not having adequate services to manage pain and drug use after they leave Active status. In 2017 they started to monitor and crackdown on people receiving double prescriptions. Currently 25% of active Veterans are given opioids to deal with pain.
Dr. Rachel Schuster, DO – Works with Residents at Beacon Memorial on how to properly treat pain and opioid disorders. They currently are treating 350 patients in the Beacon Memorial Program and says the Behavior Medicine Team is making progress in the community.
Robin Vida – Director of Health Education for the St. Joseph County Health Department coordinates community resources for those needing treatment and professionals looking for treatment options for their patients. She mentioned that once someone receives Narcan they are 4 times more likely to overdose in the next 24 hours, so they should seek follow-up treatment at a hospital. She recommends the resources on their website: http://www.sjchd.org/health-education/
The number one need in the community is in-patient services. There is “Choices Recovery” on Foundations Drive, but it is private insurance, which many people don’t have access to when addicted.
Dr. Elizabeth Bennion was the Event Moderator
Some of the tables at the event included:
US Addiction Services: 574-401-5757
Clean Slate: 574-218-7131
Oxford House: 301-587-2916
The Partnership: 574-234-6024
Talk They Hear You: www. Underagedrinking. samhsa .gov
Narcotics Anonymous: 888-467-3527
The Road Home: 574-261-9895
Don’t Punish Pain: www. dontpunishpainrally .com
Indiana Child Protective Services: 888-631-9510
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Citizens attending community events to inform other Citizens.