Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno cites 'wrap around services' as key to opioid crisis strategies

Good afternoon, readers! This week, Column Health took part in a discussion where we had the opportunity to provide insight into our strategy-based treatment model that focuses, among other elements, on self-actualization. These conversations must continue to be had - and with them comes action, action, action.

"SPRINGFIELD -- City officials, stakeholders and police met Tuesday at City Hall to discuss plans and strategies to combat the opioid crisis in a discussion convened by Mayor Domenic J. Sarno.

Obie McKenzie, managing director for Blackrock Investment Management in Princeton, New Jersey, who had visited Springfield in March and spoken of his interest in helping the city with opioid strategies, took part in Tuesday's meeting as invited by Sarno.

"Law enforcement can only do so much," Sarno said following the meeting. "They must be supplemented with 'wrap around services' of health, mental health and recovery coaches and treatment aspects. I'm very thankful to Mr. Obie McKenzie's past efforts and I am hopeful that we can pursue a public/private partnership to continue to attack this opioid crisis.'"



Pain linked to non-medical prescription opioid use in young adults

"Physical pain -- often "self-medicated" without help from healthcare professionals -- is an important contributor to non-medical prescription opioid (NMPO) use by young adults, suggests a study in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, the official journal of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). 

Young men with severe untreated pain are at especially high risk of frequent NMPO use, according to the new research, led by Brandon D.L. Marshall, PhD, of Brown University School of Public Health. Dr. Marshall comments, "Sex-specific patterns of pain and experiences interacting with health professionals could conceivably impact the way men and women report pain to health care providers, and thus the way young adults with severe physical pain are treated.'"

The Recovering Heroin Addict Shaking Social Media

This piece highlights how the addiction awareness has come to life. For the full story, click the article title.

"Meet Ryan Hampton, 36, recovery advocate, political activist and recovering heroin addict igniting America’s social media feeds with stories of hope, recovery and activism. From his advocacy that led Sephora to take their eyeshadow branded “druggie” off the shelves to the activism that urged an Arizona politician to apologize for a statement stigmatizing addiction, he’s certainly become a social media powerhouse for all things addiction, recovery and policy."

Mass. had highest rate of opioid-related ER visits

We're glad to have established our flagship clinic here in Mass.

"Massachusetts had the highest rate of opioid-related visits to hospital emergency departments among 30 states included in the latest federal report, another grim benchmark of the drug scourge gripping the region.

More than 450 visits to emergency departments for opioid-related reasons were made for every 100,000 residents in the state in 2014, the latest year data were available, according to the report by a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services."


Time for action on mental health in Massachusetts

"The Boston Globe Spotlight series paints a disturbing picture of the current state of mental health care in the Commonwealth. Vulnerable people and their families are left to fend for themselves. Individuals who suffer from severe and debilitating mental illness are often criminalized or lack access to appropriate treatment. Our criminal justice system has become the de-facto provider of behavioral health services. The response of the legislature to tragic stories from our first responders, our courts, and our family members has been anemic at best. Our system does not adequately serve those with severe mental illness, and it is well beyond the time to take bold action."


Partners, GE help launch RIZE, an opioid addiction effort

We're getting there - slowly but surely..

"Opioid addiction is a tough enemy to fight, but public officials are hoping for a growing army of private-sector allies in the battle as a new group seeks to raise $50 million to address the problem.

The launch of RIZE Massachusetts drew a mix of business leaders, elected officials and health care professionals to the Taj Boston hotel on Tuesday morning to rally behind the cause. The first donors include General Electric, Partners HealthCare, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and the 1199 SEIU healthcare union. Together, they’ve committed nearly $13 million, and they’re looking to other local corporate donors to help raise the rest during the next three years."


Doctors Consider Ethics Of Costly Heart Surgery For People Addicted To Opioids

"In his late 20s, Christopher Milford of East Boston, Mass., got high on some OxyContin his friend gave him.

By the time he was in his early 30s, he was shooting heroin and Suboxone.

Milford would reuse the same needle for a week or more. Then, one day, he was so sick he couldn't get out of bed.

"It felt like the worst flu I ever got in my life," he says. "It almost felt like a dream. I started doing weird things like putting PlayStation controllers in the sink in the bathroom. It was just weird, off the wall."

Milford had endocarditis, which is essentially an abscess on one of his heart valves. He spent seven weeks in the hospital on intravenous antibiotics. Eventually, he went back home. But he kept injecting drugs, and he got endocarditis two more times.

After the third time, Milford quit abusing opioids.

Six months later, he was smoking a cigarette when he noticed something was wrong with his hand. He kept dropping the cigarette. A few minutes later, he couldn't talk."


Inside A Small Brick House At The Heart Of Indiana's Opioid Crisis

"In the spring of 2015, something was unfolding in Austin, Ind.

The town of about 5,000 people became home to one of the biggest HIV outbreaks in decades, with more than 140 diagnosed cases. At the root of the outbreak was a powerful prescription painkiller called Opana.

People figured out how to get around a coating on the pills intended to deter abuse, prepared them for injection and then shared needles to do so.

When news of the HIV infections broke, Kevin Polly was one of the few people in Austin willing to go on the record and say he was using Opana. Polly had contracted HIV, and at the time told a CBS reporter he had no plans to quit injecting the drug.

Clyde Polly, Kevin's 73-year-old father, says his son went to a rehab facility and isn't living in Clyde's one-story brick house anymore. Even though Kevin is gone, Clyde says some of his son's friends who do drugs are still there. Not all of them are HIV positive, and not everyone is from Austin — but most of them are using Opana."


Boston Medical Center receives $25 million to fight drug abuse

"Boston Medical Center has received a $25 million donation—the largest in its history—to help open a new opioid treatment center to combat the drug abuse epidemic.

As first reported in the Boston Globe, the safety-net hospital was the recent recipient of a $25 million donation from billionaire investor John Grayken and his wife, Eilene, which will go toward the launch of the Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine. It is the largest donation in Boston Medical Center's history and also marks the largest private gift made in years toward addressing the issue of addiction.

BMC President and CEO Kate Walsh said it is unique for someone in philanthropic circles to make a contribution of that size toward the research, education and prevention of drug abuse."


When Addiction Medicine Hits Home: a 24 Year-old Friend ODs

Here's a reminder to all - #HelpIsHere..

"An old friend of mine died a few days ago from a drug overdose. He was 24 years old. 

He lived just up the street from my home. I knew him for most of his life, and he was sparkling as a child. My wife and I have been friends of his parents for decades, and I worked as a nanny for “the kids,” as my wife and I called them. 

My first stint was when he was two, and his brothers were four and six. He was cutest two-year-old I’ve ever known. He was happy, funny, sensitive, and had a remarkably developed personality for that age. He loved to laugh and play, and one of his most amazing features was his sense of empathy, which I’ve seldom seen in a two-year-old.

A great example of this was when I first started nannying for him. I was learning the kids’ schedule routine, and on day one when it came time for him to take his mid-day nap, I had no idea how that process worked. So he showed me."