Recovery: Upcoming Addictions Training at Hope Fellowship

The opioid epidemic has left healthcare providers and community outreaches looking for new ways to engage people in treatment. Often addicts are also struggling with mental health and social challenges. Special populations that have low literacy abilities or difficulty expressing themselves may slip through the cracks of standard treatment.

Seeking creative solutions, counselor Melissa Stuebing developed the “Literacy-Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” curriculum under the editorial oversight of Dr. Lauren Littlefield. It was made for people with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, as well as for illiterate participants and those with self-expression difficulties.

It integrates cognitive behavioral techniques and different expressive arts modalities as means of working through the 12 Steps of addiction recovery. It has since been the subject of 4 clinical studies which found it to promote engagement in treatment. Participants had much higher completion/ retention rates, lower drop-out rates and enrollment in follow up services than non-participants.

“The A. F. Whitsitt Center started incorporating the “Literacy Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” curriculum into our regular activities schedule several years ago. We consistently get good feedback from the patients and the trainers enjoy leading the sessions.” says Andrew Pons, CAC-AD, clinical director. A.F. Whitsitt Center is an inpatient rehabilitation facility that specializes in treatment for co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.

“The curriculum is beneficial because it teaches those with all the different types of learning styles. I always receive great feedback from participants. They appreciate the change of pace from the lecture format and enjoy being able to express themselves using the different types of media”, remarks counselor Julia Garris.

It is also being used at Kent County Crisis Beds. “Many patients are anxiety ridden and typical verbal skills is a challenge. Melissa’s curriculum allows patients to share their feelings and stabilize in a more natural and comfortable manner.” says Alice Barkley, LCSW-C, crisis beds manager.

There will be 2 upcoming trainings in “Literacy-Free 12 Step Expressive Arts Therapy” on May 8th and September 20th held by Melissa Davis Stuebing, MA, CAC-AD at Hope Fellowship 892 Washington Ave in Chestertown, MD. This program has
been endorsed by the MD Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists for 6 CEUs.

Register at CoLaborersInternational.com/ExpressiveArts

Hearthtstone Health and Fitness Equals Game Changer

Sometimes it takes an outsider with an open mind and an unwavering vision to re-define an industry. Dave Tuthill’s former health issues of type 2 diabetes, Crohn’s disease and weight gain led him to seek help from his physician and a hormone specialist. His subsequent wellness program of fitness and nutrition enabled him to drop 150 pounds and 15 medications. Grateful for his newfound health, he was determined to “pay it forward” and established Hearthstone in 2012.

The business philosophy of Dave and his wife Martha is simple but effective-focus on member individual wellness, fitness and nutritional needs and hire trainers and other staff with degrees in exercise sciences and national training certifications who incorporate each member’s unique fitness goals into a personalized fitness plan. Training packages begin with a one-hour fitness capability and health assessment. Staff inquire about past injuries and current medications to understand each individual’s unique needs. Plans are offered with discounts for seniors, active military and police personnel. This approach works-current memberships are 700 with a retention rate of 80-85%.

Another unique aspect of Hearthstone’s mission is its outreach to the medical community. Free memberships are offered to area medical professionals who in turn make presentations on their specialties to club members. Hearthstone’s outreach extends beyond its doors by its involvement in many local organizations and charities. So far, Hearthstone has provided support to over 60 local schools and civic organizations.

Having achieved all this, most business owners would rest on their laurels and be content with business as usual, but not Dave and Martha Tuthill. Next month, they will leave their current leased 5,000 sf space and make a quantum leap into their own facility of 17,000 sf under construction on Commerce Drive.

The new facility will offer members amenities such as a business center, a child care facility, open at 6:00am, locker rooms with steam rooms and a massage room, a beverage bar offering smoothies and other nutritional drinks and food-to-go from a local caterer. Fitness offerings include separate areas for cardio, free weights and circuit training, a “turf” area for functional training, a 1,000 sf group exercise room and a storage room for spin bikes. The most unique new offering is a golf simulator where a member can perfect his/her swing until they are ready for prime time on the links. The golf suite has its own outside entrance, so it could be used for private parties as well. After all that exercise, relax in the steam room, shower and dry off with luxurious towels and book a massage.

For more information, call 410- 690-3838.


Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee.

The David Hill Family Honored at Channel Marker’s 35th Anniversary Party

During Channel Marker’s 35 anniversary party held at the Easton Waterfowl Armory on March 3 , Executive Director Debbye Jackson, on behalf of the board and staff honored the family of Dr. David Hill for its exceptional family support of their son and brother who is a long time client and lives in a Channel Marker residence.

A large contingent of the Hill family were present to view a video that told the story of their love for Will.  “Not only does this family wholeheartedly support Will but they offer tremendous support of Channel Marker’s services to many adults and children in the Mid-Shore.”

Recovery: Healing Through Art at the Raimond Building in Chestertown

Art is perhaps at its best when it heals the human soul. While there remains an aesthetic enjoyment that comes from both the artist and his/her audience in most work of art, the use of visual creativity to help people overcome loss and addiction is a particularly forceful phenomenon.

That was the impression when the Spy stopped by the Vincent & Leslie Prince Raimond Arts Building yesterday for a look the recent art exhibition sponsored by the Kent County Art Council new show entitled “Heroin and Healing” curated by Baltimore artist Peter Brunn.

As the father of a daughter lost to a heroin overdose, Brunn is not a passive bystander in this show.  While it includes six remarkable artists that have used photography, video and visual art to express their journey of healing and recovery from their own addiction or those of loved ones, it is Peter’s work that the Spy found the most powerful.

An example of this is the overwhelming forceful visual graph entitled Toshio Hosakawa, Landscape II, which charts the extraordinarily painful journal of daughter Elisif’s arc of depression and addiction, ending with the unimaginable phone call Brunn received informing him of his daughter’s death with the words from a stranger saying, “Hello, is this Peter?”

This video is approximately one minute in length. “Heroin and Healing” will be on display at the Raimond Art Building 101 Spreing Avenue in Chestertown from March 2 to March 31. A Film and Discussion on the topic is scheduled for March 30 at Norman James Theatre at Washington College. For more information please go here

 

 

Recovery: Bill gives Parents ‘New Tool’ to Fight Child’s Addiction

One more day without treatment for a person struggling with opioids — as a Maryland delegate, a recovery expert and parents of children mired in addiction have said — could be the difference between life and death.

A relatively recent spike in deaths related to the synthetic opioid fentanyl, its cousin carfentanil and ever-emerging variations of the two has emphasized the importance of getting addicts into treatment immediately, said Delegate Nic Kipke, R-Anne Arundel.

That’s why Kipke, the Maryland House minority leader, is sponsoring a bill granting parents of adults struggling with addiction more authority to act on their children’s behalf.

Fentanyl has overtaken heroin as the deadliest drug in Maryland. Statewide, deaths related to fentanyl surged from 192 over the first three quarters of 2015, to 1,173 fatalities over the same period in 2017 — a 510 percent increase, Maryland health department data show.

Carfentanil — a drug commonly used to sedate elephants — also continued its emergence. There were 57 carfentanil-related deaths statewide over the first nine months of 2017 compared to zero over the previous two years, according to the state health agency.

Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin; carfentanil is 5,000 times more potent than heroin, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Fentanyl “can be lethal in the 2-milligram range,” the DEA says, while the lethal range for carfentanil is uncertain, but minute.

Considering the potency of the drugs, which are often created in clandestine laboratories in China and Mexico, “this is a different kind of addiction, a different problem,” Kipke told the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service.

His 2018 bill would allow parents or guardians of adult children — who must be dependent through health insurance — to involuntarily admit their child to an in-patient treatment facility. Kipke introduced then withdrew the same bill during the 2017 General Assembly session after the House Health and Government Operations Committee delivered an unfavorable report on it.

The person must “not be a minor,” must have “experienced a drug overdose” and have “health insurance coverage as a dependent under the individual’s parent’s” plan, according to a fiscal and policy note for the 2017 bill.

“What I’m seeking to do is provide parents of children who are still dependent … an opportunity to interrupt their child’s addiction,” Kipke said.

The Maryland State Medical Society, MedChi, agrees with Kipke that the scale of the opioid epidemic warrants new tools, said Gene Ransom, the organization’s chief executive officer.

“Given that we’re in a crisis,” Ransom said, there needs to be more options to get people into
treatment. “Giving parents another tool to help solve the problem is a no-brainer.”

Survivors’ perspectives

Carin Miller, president and co-founder of Maryland Heroin Awareness Advocates, said that her oldest son started using then abusing Percocet — a common opioid painkiller — in his early 20s, developing an addiction before turning to heroin.

“It was frustrating and heartbreaking when you see your son so sick and gray and on death’s door,” she said. “As a mother, when your child is sick or hurt … you always work your hardest to make them better.”

“But when they’re addicted,” Miller said, “you can’t.”

Kipke is concerned for many of his constituents, many of whom have asked him for a tool to help their children, he said.

This year there were 108 opioid-related overdoses in Anne Arundel County through Feb. 8, compared to 113 through the same date a year prior, according to county police data.

But 18 of the 108 overdoses resulted in death — a 100 percent increase over the nine fatalities through the same date in 2017.

Over the first nine months of 2017, the county recorded 145 fatal opioid-related overdoses, a 12 percent increase over January-September of 2016, state data show.

A non-fatal overdose can be an important opportunity for intervention, experts say, but in Maryland and other states, those who are hospitalized because of overdoses can sign themselves out.

“If somebody who needs Narcan because they just overdosed, they need to be committed,” Miller said.

Narcan is a brand name of the overdose-reversing opioid antagonist, naloxone. All first responders in Maryland are equipped with a form of the life-saving drug, which comes in a nasal spray form.

Miller, a Frederick County, Maryland, resident said these kind of tools weren’t available to her as a mother throughout her son’s struggle with addiction. Had involuntary admission been an option, Miller said she “most certainly would have” utilized the authority to admit her son.

“I would’ve done anything in the world to save my son,” she added.

Pasadena, Maryland, native Rob Snead, 24, said he’s been clean for seven months after using and abusing drugs for a decade. He has overdosed.

“When you come to, you’re in withdrawal,” he said. “And the only thing you can think about is getting yourself in a position to get well again.”

Snead said that in the moment, addicts “don’t care about seeking the accurate help, they think about what they can do immediately to feel better.”

Snead described withdrawal from opioids as “overwhelming” and “a miserable state of being,” and said that often the quickest way to feel better was to score more drugs and to take them.

Treatment community divided

It’s been said that an addict must be ready for treatment in order for it to be successful, a notion Kipke acknowledged.

But that line of thinking could be outdated.

“If we continue to look at it like they’re not ready,” Miller said. “There are some that will never be ready.”

Dr. Sally Satel, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who works part time in a methadone clinic in Washington, said the idea that addicts must be ready for treatment is “so wrong,” and called it “one of the many cliches” surrounding the opioid crisis.

“Why do you think drug courts work?” she said.

But other addiction treatment experts have concerns about the practicality, effectiveness and safety of involuntary commitment.

“You really can’t force someone to participate in treatment if they don’t want to,” said Vickie Walters, executive director of the Baltimore-based REACH substance abuse treatment program at the Institutes for Behavior Resources.

Getting an assessment of a patient is always important, but that if that patient was forced, Walters said, “it’s tough to get good information.”

Howard Ashkin, president of the Maryland Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence, said he worries that involuntary commitment could lead to a litany of problems.

“I’ve never read anything that has borne out any good outcomes,” of forced treatment, Ashkin said. “I don’t envision good outcomes.”

Involuntary admission could make some of the adult children angrier, he said.

Ashkin said he worries that addicts will go along with the treatment, then go out to use again. But their tolerance will have diminished, he said, which increases the odds of overdose and possibly death.

Involuntary treatment programs, like drug court, Satel said, often work because it gives the individual a chance to take a step back to think about their situation and “internalize the values of the program.”

Involuntary admittance could lead the individual to resent the family member who mandated their admission, Ashkin said.

Ashkin and Walters said they aren’t convinced that it’s worth the risk. Addicts rarely recover successfully their first time through treatment, and about 40 percent to 60 percent relapse, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Forcing an addict to get help could “leave a bad taste in (their) mouth about treatment,” discouraging them from seeking treatment in the future, Walters said.

Both Ashkin and Walters were concerned about whether treatment facilities around the state were capable of or ready to admit involuntarily committed patients.

“The court will only order this type of thing if there is a bed for the individual,” Kipke said.

“Are there enough beds? No,” the delegate said. But they’re becoming “increasingly available as this problem is getting support and funding from the government.”

Is this bill the answer?

More than 30 other states have enacted similar statutes that allow for the involuntary commitment of adults for substance abuse, according to the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.

Massachusetts is one such state, and its “system has become an unintended mechanism for getting people into treatment,” said Leo Beletsky, associate professor of law and health sciences at the Northeastern University School of Law. In many ways the statute “was designed to be a system of last resort.”

Massachusetts has been using prisons as treatment facilities for those who are involuntarily committed, Beletsky said. Many of the patients’ treatment is un-medicated, increasing the risk for overdose and death after treatment, according to Beletsky.

The law professor said that putting somebody into treatment without their consent is “fundamentally un-American,” and that the Massachusetts policy “basically fails” from the perspective of health and civil liberties.

“Evaluating what other states have done was extensively considered and we’re open to any other suggestions as to how we could gain the support of the legislature to enact a reasonable policy, like this,” Kipke said.

Snead said that Kipke’s bill “has the potential to be very beneficial to people,” but that success varies depending on the individual — treatment works differently for everybody.

Self-described as stubborn, Snead said that for him, the decision to get clean had to come from within.

“I had to decide myself. I had to decide that I was done,” he said.

But, he said, he understands the standpoint behind his delegate’s bill, as “a lot of parents are losing their kids.”

Through her organization, Miller hosts family peer support groups in Frederick County. She’s heard many heart-wrenching stories, some from parents who weren’t able to save their children “from this dark path to death.”

Miller’s son is alive, but she lost him for the six years of his life that were “hijacked by heroin.” Now, she said, he lives in another state, away from temptation and connections back home.

He’s “a good man who has a bad disease,” she said.

She supports Kipke’s bill because she doesn’t want other parents to feel like she did, “Like you’re a failure as a mother because you can’t make (your child) better.”

By Alex Mann

UM SRH Adjusts Visitor Policy to Help Prevent Spread of the Flu

Due to a high level of Influenza cases in the region and statewide, University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is implementing a revised visitor policy to protect the health and safety of patients, staff, visitors and the community during flu season.

Effective Thursday, February 1:

• No one under the age of 18, except the parent of a patient, is permitted to visit inpatient units within UM Shore Regional Medical Centers.

• Do not bring children under 18 with you for emergency, outpatient or doctor visits, unless the appointment is for the child

• Only two (2) adult visitors are allowed per patient at a time.

• Visitors exhibiting flu symptoms — including fever, runny nose, cough or sore throat — are not permitted to visit patients in any UM Shore Regional Health facility.

“We appreciate the cooperation of our patients and visitors with these temporary measures, which are highly effective steps toward reducing the spread of the flu in our communities,” said Julie Bryan, RN, CIC, infection prevention coordinator for UM Shore Regional Health.

For more information and updates, please visit umshoreregional.org.

About UM Shore Regional Health: As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,600 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers work with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

Bayleigh Chase: The Future of Memory Loss on the Delmarva with Dr. Terry Detrich

Showing his strong native roots on the Mid-Shore, the first thing Dr. Terry Detrich notes about the establishment of the Samuel and Alexia Bratton Neurocognitive Clinic at Bayleigh Chase in Easton was his long-festering grievance that the center’s location had replaced his favorite goose hunting spot. Growing up as a boy in Easton, he and his friends had used the farmland west of Route 50 for that purpose before leaving the Shore to attend college and medical school to become a neurologist.

Dr. Detrich returned to Talbot County after that intensive training to become the Delmarva’s first general neurologist and since the 1960s has been watching his field go from “diagnosis and adios” to stunning new breakthroughs in eldercare treatment for cognition disorders.

And while there have been peaks and valleys in the understanding of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease since the doctor started his practice forty plus years ago, he noted in his recent Spy interview that he has never been more encouraged than over the last two years as he and his colleagues began to see an evolution in how patients are treated with better results and more precise tools for prevention.

That was one of the reasons that led Dr. Detrich to join the staff of the Bratton Clinic this year and the Spy caught up with him on first day on the job late last year to talk about this new phase of Neurocognitive work and his renewed faith that real progress is being made.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about the Samuel and Alexia Bratton Neurocognitive Clinic at Bayleigh Chase please go here

Go Purple this Month in Solidarity Against Substance Abuse

Talbot Goes Purple is celebrating national ‘Go Purple’ week this month with educational events and student-led activities that help our youth take a stand against substance abuse.

The national observance is part of The Herren Project’s Project Purple initiative, on which Talbot Goes Purple is based. As part of Talbot Goes Purple, Easton and St. Michaels high schools have clubs comprised of students who have pledged to take a stand against substance abuse. The student-focused clubs help the kids learn they don’t need drugs or alcohol to meet life’s challenges.

“Since school started the students have really embraced Talbot Goes Purple, while the community support has been remarkable,” said Talbot County Sheriff Joe Gamble. “This is a long-term prevention initiative and we’re continuing to spread our educational and awareness messages, while working on our plan for going purple again in September.”

Go Purple week for Talbot County runs Jan. 21-Jan. 27 and provides opportunities for students and communities to take a stand against substance abuse. Anyone who wants to show support can again display purple lights and/or gear during purple week.

Several school-based events are planned for Go Purple week, in both Easton and St. Michaels middle and high schools, including student-led contests, purple-themed sports events and other activities.

Kirsten Moore, community health educator with the Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office, will have educational materials, games and prizes set up during lunch at local schools during the week. TGP club members will help man the tables.

Moore also has scheduled Narcan training with the Talbot Goes Purple student club at St. Michael’s High School. Easton’s TGP club received the training last month. Narcan is a life-saving medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, yet has no abuse potential.

Go Purple week coincides with National Drug and Alcohol Facts week, a national observance that encourages community-based events between teens and experts to help ‘shatter the myths’ about drugs and drug use.

An initiative from the Talbot County Sheriff’s Office and Tidewater Rotary, in partnership with Talbot County Public Schools, Talbot Goes Purple empowers our youth and our community to ‘Go Purple’ as a sign of taking a stand against substance abuse.

More information on Talbot Goes Purple is available at www.talbotgoespurple.org. Find us on Facebook @TalbotGoesPurple or contact us at talbotgoespurple@gmail.com.

For more information on Narcan or to get trained, visit www.TalbotsGotHeart.org or call the Talbot County Health Department at 410-819-5600.

Mid-Shore Health: Aspen Institute Cancels Rehab Center Contract

The Star-Democrat reported today that a contract for a rehabilitation facility proposed by Recovery Centers of America at the Aspen Institute’s Wye Mills site has been terminated effective Dec. 21. The house is part of Aspen’s Wye River Conference Center in Queen Anne’s County.

The full story can be read here (Reader charges may apply)

Health: National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week offers Opportunity for Dialogue

About a third of high school seniors across the country report using an illegal drug sometime in the past year, and more than 10 percent report non-medical use of a narcotic painkiller, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Here on the Mid-Shore, more than 7 percent of our high school seniors have tried heroin.

Drugs can put a teenager’s health and life in jeopardy, but many teens are not aware of the risks. Today’s popular culture is filled with inaccurate information about drugs. Without a reliable source of information, teens often turn to the Internet, TV or friends and often get misinformation. And when it comes to drugs and drug use, misinformation can have serious consequences.

We at the Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office think it’s time to ‘Shatter the Myths.’ With science-based information on drugs and their impact on the body, teenagers can make well-informed decisions before engaging in risky behavior.

January 22 through 28 marks National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week, which is a time for teens to shatter myths about drugs and drug use. This national observance encourages community-based events between teens and experts to address questions and concerns. As part of the national observance, the Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office is hosting informational tables at Easton and St. Michael’s middle and high schools with games and prizes for students to learn about drug and alcohol facts.

For information, resources, interactive activities and more, visit www.teens.drugabuse.gov. For local prevention resources, contact the Talbot County Health Department, at 410-819-5600.

The Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office helps community groups, agencies and individuals in providing programs and activities to prevent alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse, and to build a healthier community. Resources include parenting skills, video and resource loan library, awareness campaigns and educational workshops.