Talbot Declares Independence from Substance Abuse

The towns of Easton, Oxford and St. Michaels are again supporting Talbot Goes Purple with purple fireworks displays at Independence Day celebrations this year.

The purple fireworks are part of Talbot Goes Purple, an initiative from the Talbot County Sheriff’s Office and Tidewater Rotary that empowers our youth and our community to ‘Go Purple’ as a sign of taking a stand against substance abuse. Anyone who wishes to support the project can wear purple at the Independence Day celebrations.

“We’d like to give a thank-you to Al Bond at the Avalon Foundation; Ted Doyle, chairman of the St. Michael’s Fireworks Committee and Debbie Collison from Rotary Club of St. Michaels; and Vicky Van Loo and the board at Tred Avon Yacht Club for supporting our project,” said Lucie Hughes, of Tidewater Rotary. “Their generosity helps kick-off this project again this year and shows the towns continuing to support our communities by taking a stand against substance abuse.”

Talbot Goes Purple promotes education and awareness, including the creation of purple clubs in our middle and high schools, through which students learn that they do not need drugs or alcohol to meet life’s challenges. The project also encourages the ‘new conversation’ between teens and parents, one that includes messages that prescription painkillers aren’t safe to use recreationally.

“With your help we did a great job educating our communities last year on the importance of having the ‘new conversation,’ – the one that includes the dangers of misusing prescription painkillers,” said Talbot County Sheriff Joe Gamble. “We need to continue the conversation if we’re going to turn the tide on this deadly epidemic.”

Talbot Goes Purple is based upon THP Project Purple, an initiative of the Herren Project that helps people struggling with drug dependencies. Former NBA player Chris Herren founded both projects after speaking to a high school about his struggles with drug dependency.

Herren visited Talbot County last year with his inspirational message. This year, Talbot Goes Purple will screen ‘If Only,’ a film from the Wahlberg Youth Foundation and Millennium Health created to increase awareness of youth prescription drug abuse and opioid use disorder.

Leading up to the film and starting Sept. 1, local businesses and communities can again ‘Go Purple’ as a show of support and solidarity in addressing our substance abuse program.

Talbot Goes Purple is in partnership with Talbot County Public Schools and Mid-Shore Community Foundation.

More information is available at www.talbotgoespurple.org. Find us on Facebook @TalbotGoesPurple or contact us at talbotgoespurple@gmail.com.  Anyone wearing purple is encouraged to post pictures and tag us on Facebook.

All support is tax-deductible and made through the Mid-Shore Community Foundation.

Fireworks this year are scheduled as follows: Easton – Wednesday, July 4; St. Michaels – Saturday June 30; Oxford – Tuesday, July 3. Please check with each respective town for additional information on scheduled activities and rain dates.

Evergreen Lifestyle: Seven Tips to Help Kick the Sugar Habit by Freya Farley

Spring and summer are often times that inspire us to make healthier choices. Whether the goal is to lose weight, gain more energy, sleep better, or make a change, reducing sugar intake is often a top priority. The benefits of diminishing its consumption are plenty, as 80% of processed American food is laced with some form of sugar. Frequently, they masquerade under a variety of names including anhydrous dextrose, crystalline fructose, and evaporated cane juice, to name just a few.

High sugar content in processed food has been shown to contribute to common diseases such as high cholesterol, heart disease, fatty liver disease or cirrhosis, hypertension, hepatic insulin resistance, slower metabolism, and obesity. Increased appetite, insomnia, brain fog, mental chatter, depression, and various other symptoms have been shown to generate from excessive sugar consumption.

Sugar itself is a refined carbohydrate and a source of calories that our bodies either use as energy or store as fat. Keep in mind that not all sugar is bad; it naturally occurs in fruits and other foods that, along with their healthy fiber content, provide our body with necessary nourishment. The problem is that sugar is addictive and alters biochemical pathways in our brain by tampering with our dopamine receptors; the same ones that make us feel good. To get the next dopamine spike, we need a higher dose of sugar.

That’s why it’s essential that when contemplating a sugar cleanse psychological preparedness and a plan that you can stick to is important. Here are some useful tips I use to help clients kick the sugar habit:

1. Find the sweetness in your life

It is vitally important to invest in our well-being through self-nurturing. Creating space for ourselves, and finding time to do things that bring joy are necessary to our health and wellness. Often, the people who are most susceptible to sugar cravings are working stressful jobs, living stressful lives, and feel out of balance. In these cases, we may disconnect from what our passions are in life, to the point where life has become a series of obligations rather than enjoyment. Taking the time to invest in ourselves is a great long-term strategy to give up habits that do not serve us. Try mindfulness-based exercises like yoga, tai chi, and meditation. When we are at ease and feel satisfied with life, the impulse to reach for sweets when stressed is significantly reduced.

2. Drink apple cider vinegar

Raw apple cider vinegar helps to destroy candida yeast overgrowth in the body, which is often a contributing factor in sugar addiction. The body needs sugar to feed this yeast, which continues to grow and cause more cravings (as well as a host of other unpleasant symptoms). I have found people have fewer cravings when they sip apple cider vinegar throughout the day. Apple cider vinegar also helps to change taste buds, and after a while of supplementing with it, sugary foods often end up tasting too sweet. Use this vinegar to make a healthy salad dressing or in cooking. Be sure to buy only raw vinegar (apple cider or otherwise), as regular pasteurized vinegar can feed candida overgrowth and cause more sugar cravings. Try: Braggs Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

3. Properly fuel your body

In general, you want to get your calories from a balanced diet of the protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

Protein helps your body feel full longer, so increasing it in your diet will help to curb sweet cravings, especially at that midday snack time. Try snacking on nuts, yogurt, or a hardboiled egg instead of processed and packaged snacks. Your body will thank you for it.

Carbs fall into three categories—sugars, starches, and fibers—but the body breaks down complex carbohydrates into simple sugars. Find yourself drawn to French fries, bread, and pasta? Your sugar fix originates in excess carbs. Avoid white and refined flour, rice, pasta, bread. Substitute nuts, seeds, and whole grains instead. If the carb is in its natural, unadulterated form, then it’s a good choice. When your cravings hit, try high-fiber foods, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, to fill your belly and keep your digestive system moving. And don’t get stuck in the meal-label game—switch it up! Have eggs for dinner, avocado for breakfast, or oatmeal for lunch.

4. Stay hydrated

Cravings, particularly for sweet foods are common when the body is dehydrated because it interferes with brain levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of well-being and happiness. Dehydration also makes it more difficult for the body to produce glycogen, a significant source of fuel for our cells. A lack of fluids can cause difficulty in the production of energy output and can trigger sugar cravings. It’s also not uncommon for the body to confuse the feeling of thirst with hunger, meaning that you may feel hungry when what you need is water.

5. Train your taste buds to like bitter

Train your taste buds to like the taste of bitter—it really does a lot to suppress the cravings for sugar. Try plain unflavored yogurt and bitter greens like watercress, arugula, chicory, endive, and kale are a couple of tasty ways. Within 30 days, your taste buds will reset, and you’ll crave less sugar.

6. Take the “sugar destroyer” herb

Gymnema sylvestre, an herb in the milkweed family, is known as a “sugar destroyer” in Ayurvedic medicine since it desensitizes our taste buds to sweet items and helps deal with the cravings. We think we need sweets when: we’re low on energy (not enough insulin or cells are resistant), stressed (increased cortisol causes the body to use sugar, so we need to replenish), are eating poorly (causing spikes in blood sugar, or have trouble sleeping (also increases cortisol).

Gymnema promotes healthy blood sugar levels, reduces cholesterol, regenerates beta cells in the pancreas, and helps make cells more sensitive to receiving insulin. A few drops on your tongue before a meal can offset desiring sugar and last for about three hours, especially in conjunction with a nutritious diet and the desire to quit sugar. However, use caution if taking oral medication or insulin, as it can alter prescription dosages. Try: Himalayan Herbals Gymnema

7. Use peppermint essential oil

Many studies have shown that you can retrain your brain, curb the sugar cravings, and revitalize your life by using high-quality essential oils. A leading research by Dr. Alan Hirsch found that INHALING peppermint oil is amazingly effective at curbing cravings, while also awakening the senses and enabling the brain to focus. Other essential oils that may help to curb cravings include black pepper, bergamot, cassia, cinnamon, clove, fennel, grapefruit, lemon, marjoram, and wild orange.

8. Try amrita therapeutic essential oils

We all have things we can change in our diets, our lives, and our mindsets. Reducing sugar intake can be just the start of rebalancing your life. Don’t drastically cut out sugar from your diet and cause uncomfortable detox. Take it slow, let your body adjust, and use some of the tips discussed. Starting today become aware of labels, of what you put in your mouth, of your triggers, and of your wellness. You can make this change in your life by replacing sugar with a positive lifestyle that fuels your mind, body, and spirit!

Freya Farley is Evergreen’s Executive Director and an Acupuncturist at the Wellness Center at Evergreen. Her practice focuses on Women’s Health and Fertility. Along with acupuncture, and herbal medicine, Freya practices a food-as-medicine approach. She offers Open Studio morning yoga sessions, private consultations & treatments, as well as a weekly Community Acupuncture Clinic.

*The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.

Evergreen Lifestyle: Season Allergy Relief Is Possible by Freya Farley

The enthusiasm for a beautiful spring day can be marred by symptoms of seasonal allergies, such as sneezing and stuffy noses. Worse yet, is that it seems more and more of us are being affected. There is a strong correlation of the development of allergies to an overuse of antibiotics, pollution exposure, poor diet, Vitamin D deficiency, and even an overly clean lifestyle (which interferes with our immune system).

The following is some the advice I give clients who come to me looking for either long-term allergy relief or even eliminating this seasonal occurrence:

Incorporate Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, which can be quite effective at helping to ease symptoms and boost the body’s natural ability to respond less reactively.

Use a good quality vitamin supplement daily.

Aim for a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet focused on whole foods and fresh local vegetables (especially seasonal bitter greens), fish, free-range animal products, nuts, and seeds.
Include fermented foods, such as kimchi, live kraut, kombucha, and shoyu, every day. They can improve the wellbeing of your body’s beneficial bacteria and make you less reactive to various allergens. (Note: One exception would be in histamine intolerance, where fermented foods can make symptoms worse.)

Identify and avoid any food allergens or intolerances that are problematic for you–common culprits include wheat and dairy.

Eat local raw honey. Honey is an excellent antioxidant and has antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-allergenic properties. Locally sourced honey is a popular natural remedy for allergies as it conditions the body to the presence of local pollens.

Use a Neti Pot daily to irrigate and cleanse the nostrils and sinuses, flush out irritants and thin the mucus, resulting in less congestion.

Start or continue to do stress reduction techniques such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, aromatherapy, and massage. While stress doesn’t cause allergies, it can make an allergic reaction worse by increasing the histamine in your bloodstream.

There is one additional recommendation I make that deserves further explanation, and that’s the use of integrating some specific allergy reducing herbs. These include butterbur, reishi and astragalus, and nettles. These can be purchased at Hill’s Drug Store or ordered through our online dispensary.

Butterbur: Among all the herbs used for allergies, butterbur has by far the most clinical research to back its use for allergies, migraines, and asthma. Studies have found it significantly better than placebo and comparable to common allergy medications Zyrtec and Allegra. It can be used symptomatically for occasional symptoms and daily in chronic allergies. Since butterbur root contains liver-toxic pyrrolizidine (PA) alkaloids, look for PA-free butterbur, such as Petadolex.

Reishi & Astragalus: These two tonics can be used together or separately; however they are often used as a blend and have shown to decrease the severity of allergy symptoms. Reishi is a mushroom and Astragalus is a plant, whose root is used medicinally. Each has anti-inflammatory and anti-stress properties. When taken on a regular basis, these immune tonics help modulate or regulate your immune system response to fight germs, yet are less over-reactive in allergies and autoimmune disease (Note: For some with autoimmune disease Astragalus may stimulate the immune function too much to tolerate well – reduce intake to build up slowly). Reishi and astragalus blend well with chai spices like cardamom, star anise, cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg when making tea, or you can add them to soup broth.

Nettles: The benefits of this herb have been documented for centuries as containing various compounds that decrease allergy-related inflammation and histamine. It is full of vitamins, minerals, protein and amino acids, and very safe to use long-term. Considered to be springtime’s natural elixir, nettle can be easily brewed into a tea or used as a tincture. Nettle tea is used to improve heart action, for headaches, and for urinary tract infections and inflammation of the bladder that can lead to gravel (kidney/bladder stones). Nettle tea is said to clean out the entire intestinal tract while activating the body’s natural defense mechanisms. It is also used as an overall health tonic and to treat high blood pressure, anemia, skin inflammations and more. For best results use daily as tea. Use the tincture for more acute symptoms.

Here is one of my favorite recipes for Nettle tea:

Sparkling Nettle Lemon Mint Tea
Dried nettle leaves and stems, as needed (see note)
Boiling water, as needed (see note)
Ice, as needed
1 tbsp honey per serving
⅛ preserved or fresh lemon (or a ½-inch [1.5-cm] chunk) per serving
several mint leaves per serving
1 cup sparkling water per serving

Place the nettles in a teapot or a non reactive pot and pour the boiling water over them. Let the nettles steep for 15 minutes, and then strain them from the water.

Add ice to a tall glass and muddle the honey and mint with the preserved lemon. Pour in ½ cup (120 ml) of the strong nettle tea and finish with the sparkling water.

Notes: As a general rule of thumb use 1 tablespoon dried nettles per 1-cup water. If using ice and sparkling water, use 2 tablespoons dried nettles per 1 cup water. For example, to make 4 servings, use 8 teaspoons nettles and 4 cups water. *Best – Use double the amount of fresh nettles leaves and steep overnight for a stronger tonic.

Now, go out and enjoy the spring weather!

Freya Farley is Evergreen Easton Point’s executive director, and an acupuncturist and herbal medicine specialist at Evergreen’s Wellness Center with a focus on women’s health and fertility. Freya practices a food-as-medicine approach, helping others to utilize the healing powers of food to nourish their bodies, minds, and spirits. She also offers personal consultations, a Community Acupuncture Clinic, and Open Studio morning yoga sessions. Evergreen’s Wellness Center also offers holistic and integrated approaches to Health & Wellness. Please visit here or email freyaf@mac.com for more information.

The information in this article is intended for your educational use only, does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Evergreen’s Wellness Center, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Evergreen Lifestyle: Gentle Cleansing Techniques for Springtime by Freya Farley

With spring finally arriving on the Eastern Shore, it might be time to consider a Spring Cleansing. A cleansing will make room for new growth and creativity by removing toxins, debris, and stagnation built up through the long, cold winter. In the same way that you spring clean your home, cleansing is an excellent way to rejuvenate your body!

According to the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the liver is the organ of spring energy. Your liver helps to process the toxins in your body; however, we are all exposed to more toxins than any previous generation. This influx of toxins comes from pollution in the air and water, toxic ingredients in beauty care and household cleaning products, electric and magnetic fields from technology, and more.

Some common symptoms of an excess toxic load in your body include:

Intestinal issues
Back pain
Skin conditions (acne, eczema, psoriasis, etc.)

There are many cleansing programs available. Some such as juicing, fasting, or eating raw fruits and vegetables can feel intimidating and extreme. The good news is that there are more subtle and gentle techniques that you can use to support your body in clearing toxins.
Here are my top 6 suggestions:

1. Dry Skin Brushing

If you think of the lymphatic system as the stream that helps to efficiently move and release toxins, dry skin brushing specifically helps to activate this system. All you’ll need is a dry skin brush or glove with natural fibers (look in your local health food store or online).
Starting at your feet, brush your skin in a circular motion up toward your heart. Then, using the same circular motion, brush both of your arms—starting from the hands. Brushing should only take about three minutes.

Once done, hop into a hot shower to increase the benefits of this gentle exfoliation cleansing practice.

2. Greens Powder

We know we need to increase the number of green vegetables in our diet, although it’s not always easy to get all the nutrients needed. That’s why I’m a huge proponent of a greens powder supplement. The concentrated vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients (such as polyphenols, terpenes, and organic acids) found in a complex greens powder are helpful for gently opening up detoxification pathways and supporting liver cleansing. Most greens powders contain sea algae such as chlorella and spirulina, which are phytoplankton from the ocean that have antioxidant effects in the body. Chlorella is also rich in chlorophyll, which assists in heavy metal and pesticide detoxification.

To jumpstart your system and boost your energy levels, I recommend adding one scoop of greens powder to a cup of coconut water with half a fresh lemon in the morning or mid-afternoon.

3. Yoga & Breath Work

The movement and breath work in Yoga can help gently cleanse the system, oxygenating and rejuvenating the whole body. Gentle twists can “wring out” the organ systems and help them release the last remaining stuck areas. A deep yogic inhale breath of fresh, pure oxygenated air cleanses your lungs, oxygenates your cells, and purifies your blood, and the exhale releases toxins.

4. Bodywork

Bodywork, such as massages, encourage the lymphatic system and stimulates the release of metabolic waste products stored in the cell tissue. The circulation resulting from a massage enhances oxygen exchange among local tissues and improves colon drainage capability, which helps to escort impurities out of the body.

Make sure to drink plenty of water after a session to allow the elimination of waste products, which will further detoxify the cell tissue and boost the immune system.

5. Salt Baths

Another great way to flush the toxins out of your skin is a salt detox bath. Bath salts are beneficial to health due to the presence of minerals in them, primarily magnesium, which plays a crucial role in all intracellular physiological functions. A deficiency in the mineral can lead to various neuromuscular, cardiac, and nervous disorders.

A salt bath helps relieve stress, improve your sleep, boost your blood circulation, maintain healthy heart rhythm and blood sugar levels, regulate your hormone, and decrease blood pressure. As often as possible, soak in warm water with Pink Himalayan Salt, Sea Salt, or Epsom Salt and a few drops of your preferred aromatic oil to draw toxic waste swiftly out of the pores.

6. Sauna & Infrared Sauna

Saunas help to increase your blood circulation and stimulate your sweat glands to help get rid of toxins. They also heat the body from the inside out, raising your core temperature and driving toxins and heavy metals out of your skin. Regular saunas are found at most gyms around the area.

Infrared sauna treatments are available at three different levels representing the size of infrared wavelengths and intensity of the treatment:

Near-infrared levels are best for wound healing and increased immune function,
Middle-infrared levels are ideal for improving circulation and promoting muscle relaxation, and
Far-infrared levels are used primarily for detoxification purposes.
Infrared saunas are available for purchase and found in local spas.

If you are new to using saunas, start slowly by going in for 10 to 15 minutes, working your way up to 25- to 45-minute sessions, three to five days per week.
These cleansing techniques are just some of the many different ways to support your body’s purification process and help maintain your health and prevent disease. If you are looking for support, Evergreen offers various levels of Yoga and Yoga Therapy for group or individual instruction, as well as massage, acupuncture, and many other integrated wellness services.

A ‘gentle’ press of the reset button can have you start experiencing the many healing benefits of cleansing toxins from your body this spring!

Freya Farley is Evergreen Easton Point’s executive director, and an acupuncturist and herbal medicine specialist at Evergreen’s Wellness Center with a focus on women’s health and fertility. Freya practices a food-as-medicine approach, helping others to utilize the healing powers of food to nourish their bodies, minds, and spirits. She also offers personal consultations, a Community Acupuncture Clinic, and Open Studio morning yoga sessions. Evergreen’s Wellness Center also offers holistic and integrated approaches to Health & Wellness. Please visit here or email freyaf@mac.com for more information.

*The information in this article is intended for your educational use only, does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Evergreen’s Wellness Center, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health programs.

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.