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Authentic help..a ride to treatment!

I just love stories like this...

   Uber has teamed up with Goodwill in a pilot program to provide free transportation for Virginians trying to get to treatment services for opiate addiction.  If you have read my book, The Weight of a Feather: A Mother's Journey through the Opiate Addiction Crisis, you know I am a real fan of real help, not talk about help, not referral for help but genuine help, when you need it.

    Transportation is formidable obstacle in the way of treatment.  Transportation takes money and worse yet, when you live in an area without public transportation and you don't have access to a car, lack of transportation may be the bullet that kills any opportunity for treatment.  Sue Medeiros from the Chesterfield County Mental Health Support Services Department seems to have nailed it with her comment: "There's often a very small window when the individual is open to treatment--so we have to be ready with whatever we have."  Amen.


The Power of Stories: Trump's New Initiative

"There is power in stories."  As the opiate crisis continues, we hear this comment more and more.  However, its overuse does not in any way undermine the truth of the statement.

A couple of days ago President Trump began soliciting stories of recovery--labeling the current situation as the crisis next door-- and already the link is flooded with stories of recovery.  So often the media focuses on overdoses, a way to convey the exigency of the current situation and elicit sympathy rather than distain for those impacted by addiction.  And yet for every tragic story, there are thousands of stories that have satisfactory, if not happy endings.

I think President Trump's initiative has potential.  Although addiction may leave a path of destruction and heartbreak in its wake, it is not, after all, a death sentence.  Millions have found a pathway to recovery. Just a few years ago, a person looking for treatment faced one obstacle after another--hospital and insurance policies, la…

Overdue or overdose: A librarian's dilemma

Those who thought the digital age would signal the death of libraries seriously underestimated the versatility of librarians.  Libraries have been diligent in re-purposing themselves from their traditional role to providing computer access and trainings to becoming a home for writing groups, speakers and clubs.  And now it seems that a librarian's role is being stretched a bit further.

   Those of us who live in small-town America may be oblivious to challenges faced by inner-city libraries, but a recent article by Annie Correal in the New York Times highlights the issue:  drug users are finding libraries a convenient place to hang out, shoot up and sometimes--unfortunately-- overdose.  In many places around the country, librarians are being trained on the use of Narcan, the brand name of naloxone, which is used to reverse overdoses.  Responses are mixed:  some are reluctant to get trained, citing their lack of medical background and issues of liability while others take on the…

The Language of Addiction ... A Family Disease? Think again!

In his play Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare poses the question:  "What's in a name?"  He muses on the question by saying,  "That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet."

Well, I get the point... sort of, but I'm not sure I agree.  I bet if we called a rose a "stink blossom", or a "wailing tooth ache bud", it may not smell quite as sweet.  Why?  Because words have connotations as well as meanings and those connotations are what shape our perceptions.

This is not a novel idea.  People change the name of things to change the perception of things.  We've seen it happen time and time again.  Janitors became custodians, garbage men became sanitation workers, stewardesses became flight attendants and store clerks became associates.  What was behind all these name changes?  An attempt to provide dignity to positions, to wipe away old associations and start anew.

And so it is with the language used to describe addiction as…

Fentanyl: Injecting a Loaded Gun

“You’re injecting yourself with a loaded gun.”

In an interview with STAT, Tim Pifer, the director of the New Hampshire State Police Forensic Laboratory described the role that fenanayl currently plays in drug usage.

What makes fentanyl so deadly?A picture tells it all:

New Hampshire State Police Forensic Lab

In identical bottles pictured to the left, you see a lethal dose of heroin, as compared to a lethal dose of fentanyl. Notice how similar the two substances look. Notice what a tiny amount of fentanyl it takes to cause a death.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Fentanyl can be as much as 100 times more potent than other pain killers.  Even  worse...Street drugs are generally made in home labs, so precise accurate measurements of fentanyl added to other drugs is questionable.In fact, unlikely.
Consequently, a person taking a dose of heroin, for example, has no idea how much, if any, fentanyl has been added to the mix to increase potency.W…

A map for finding addiction resources and a magnifying glass for showing a lack of them

FacingAddiction, which has now merged with NCADD, has recently launched a Resource Addiction Hub which can be found on their website.The Hub allows you to identify resources as varied as treatment, counseling, recovery, advocacy, legal, and prevention, giving two options:find it or map it.It is not only a convenient way to find resources where you live; it is a handy tool to refer to when you are traveling or simply away visiting friends.Congrats to those who put together such a useful tool --- definitely worth checking out!
If you scroll along the map that is provided, you’ll find most resources are concentrated in major cities.Notice all the empty spaces around the cities. They’re not really empty -- thousands of people live in those empty areas and some of those desperately need the services that are found only in cities.Besides being a good resource tool, the Hub provides a clear visual of the dilemma experienced by those who live in rural areas.In some rural a…