Author: Justin Mckibben
Boynton Beach is beautiful area in South Florida, just north of Delray Beach and south of West Palm in Palm Beach County. The area has been described as “America’s gateway to the Gulf Stream.” Boynton Beach has also been hit by the affected opiate epidemic. Roughly 250 overdoses have occurred this year in Boynton, which is the third largest city in Palm Beach County. While some cities have seen similar spikes in overdoses and drug-related deaths for some time, Boynton Beach experienced a record breaking jump in overdoses overnight this past Tuesday.
The reports of drug overdoses started before sunset. By Wednesday morning police and paramedics had been called to the scene for five separate overdose incidents. For one night, this is the most the city of Boynton Beach has ever seen. As if that weren’t intense enough, all the overdoses occurred in a 12-hour span.
Out of the five, two died and three survived thanks to the life-saving efforts of first responders. This is just another example of how hard the opiate epidemic has hit some cities now more than ever. It is also an indication some of the efforts being made in Palm Beach County are for good reason.
Tracking the Problem
The only available details on the five victims so far include:
- 5:19 p.m. report of a man found in a parked car near Seacrest Boulevard
- 9:44 p.m. a man was found in a car at the 7-11 convenience store
- 10:31 p.m. a 40-year-old man was found dead in his bathroom at the Las Ventanas apartment complex on Federal Highway
- 30 minutes later, a man was found near the Rosemary Scrub Park
- 2 a.m. a man identified as Thomas Varner was found unresponsive at the Homing Inn on Federal Highway — a place police know well for its number of overdoses
Varner, who was the final overdose of the five, received CPR from police officers at the scene. After an attempt to revive Varner by paramedics using life-saving medication Narcan, used to reverse the effects of opiate overdose, he was rushed to Bethesda Hospital East. where doctors tried to save him. Unfortunately, Varner did not survive his overdose. Police Captain Mike Johnson, the shift’s commander during the evening in question, expressed his own concerns with the news, saying:
“We’re in the business of saving lives and when you can’t do that, especially when you have two last night that were fatal, that’s frustrating. But we also recognize that we’re just one prong of this public health crisis.”
Boynton Beach is Not Alone
Boynton Beach is definitely not the only city dealing with increasing drug overdoses. The outbreak of overdose rates and overdose deaths is nationwide. For Palm Beach County, the ‘recovery capitol’ also faces its obstacles with addiction.
- In Lake Worth alone there were 220 overdoses from January to August of this year
- Palm Beach County firefighters responded to 1,246 opioid-related overdoses in that same period
- Delray Beach already had about 394 by late September
Thankfully, Narcan and Naloxone are readily available for first responders, and expansion programs continue to progress across the country. In this 12-hour period four of the victims were taken to Bethesda and were given Narcan.
The fifth man he had already died at the scene.
Not Just Heroin?
Another question is concerning recent reports from several spots in the country where other dangerous drugs are being mixed in with heroin. According to Police Captain Mike Johnson this is- “more likely than not a new batch of heroin hit the city in the last couple of days.” So the question becomes, is there a new batch mixed with something even more toxic set to hit Boynton Beach.
At Las Ventanas, where one victim was found dead, police believe they found the painkiller Fentanyl in the apartment. Fentanyl is an opiate said to be more than 50 times as powerful as heroin. This is not the first time Fentanyl has caused some problems for Palm Beach County. Medical examiner records indicate Fentanyl also played a role in more than 100 overdose deaths in Palm Beach County in 2015. Captain Johnson said,
“It’s an obvious public health crisis. Law enforcement is only one component of addressing that health crisis. The amount of heroin that’s being sold on the street and the amount that’s being cut with Carfentanil or Fentanyl is increasing.”
Due to the rising risks present in some communities Palm Beach County is already organizing events and seminars to properly educate and arm the public with resources for overdose prevention.
One of the most prominent aspects of attacking the addiction issue is the existence of effective, supportive and compassionate drug addiction treatment. One powerful way we can prevent overdose is to make sure those suffering get the quality of care they deserve. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call now.
By: Justin Mckibben
Every once in a while we have an opportunity to share some of the amazing and emotional testimonies of transformation from our Palm Partners alumni. So many of these men and women have experience such an awesome change in their life and a change in perspective that they cannot wait to share with us their gratitude and share how they learned through us to overcome the many aspects of their adversity.
This week a wonderful woman Doris recently became a Palm Partners Alumni, and wanted to share a letter that she wrote to the Palm Partners staff, and asked that we type it up and publish it for her. She talks about how not knowing what she was walking into ended up helping her recognize the turmoil in herself, and the desire to get better that brought her on this journey. One of the most rewarding parts of this for us is to acknowledge the amazing people that make an impact every day on the lives of people who desperately need hope, helping them find it when all seems lost.
So below is the letter Doris wrote.
When I walked in Detox for the very first time, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I was scared, beyond broken and completely miserable with life the way I’d been living it. The next 5 days were hard, I kept pushing through it. I never knew just how difficult it would be. A lot of pain, soul-searching and coming to terms with my disease. After 5 days I was placed at Palm Partners. I was taught by Doug and Heidi how to begin to forgive myself through the “Dickens Process,” which was completely awesome! It was so surreal, I never realized just how many people I hurt while on that path. I’m taking with me all of the things that were taught here.
I would like to thank God for leading me in the right direction.
I’d like to thank Todd from admissions, who answered that 3 AM phone call and gave me HOPE, which put me on that airplane 3 days later.
Thanks to all the clients, men and women, that were there every step of the way, lending an ear or a shoulder to cry on.
Thanks to ALL employees that helped me get to this point of my recovery, especially Tristen- he always makes me want to smile- and Paula, my therapist. I appreciate all of your help. And Sandy.
A BIG thanks goes to all the techs. You all deserve a raise because you all put up with 10 kinds of hell every day and night!
Much love goes out to each and every person that was involved in my treatment. I am forever grateful.
Keep Sharing the Message
We are always happy to share the powerful breakthroughs that our clients get to have while attending treatment, just like we love hearing about the personal connections they make with their therapists. As more men and women like Doris complete the program and move on to change and inspire in their life, we celebrate their success and thank them for the part of the journey we get to be present for.
We know there are so many more Palm Partners alumni out there with talents, stories and experiences to share, and we encourage you to contact us and be part of the message that may help countless others. You never know how many lives you can touch, and how many people could make the choice that saves their life because of something that you choose to share. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help. You are not alone.
Author: Justin Mckibben
For those who don’t know, if someone relies on Medicaid to provide them with the coverage they need for healthcare, then for years now their only option when it comes to getting treatment for drug or alcohol addiction was almost always to depend solely on money from state and local sources. Because of this, a lot of people out there struggling with addiction have not been getting the treatment they needed.
The huge news coming over the wire now is there is now hope for a histrionic shift as the federal government is considering making a contribution to providing treatment funding for those who desperately need it but lack the coverage.
A new proposition would have the agency that governs Medicaid covering 15 days of inpatient drug and alcohol treatment per month for anyone enrolled in a Medicaid managed care plan.
Is this enough time?
Now the big debate being brought out here is that this isn’t nearly enough time for people suffering from substance abuse and addiction to actually make progress that can sustain longevity. The question becomes- is 15 days of treatment paid for by Medicaid enough?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in its guide to drug addiction treatment:
Individuals progress through drug addiction treatment at various rates, so there is no predetermined length of treatment. However, research has shown unequivocally that good outcomes are contingent on adequate treatment length.
A lot of people who have experienced drug and alcohol treatment can tell you that 15 days is barely a drop in the bucket. A lot of residential inpatient treatment programs last between 30 and 90 days, and some long term treatments last for months at a time… and people still struggle sometimes after completing some of these programs.
The hidden element here is also how active and willing an individual is to actually participate and follow through with a recovery plan… lets just get that out there too.
At any rate, a professor at Boston University’s Clinical Addiction research unit, Dr. Jeffrey Samet, stated the funding for research that gets at the optimal length of an inpatient stay, in terms of effectiveness, has been slim so there isn’t extensive data. With the lack of good data, private insurance plans are ambiguous and can have a firm contrast in terms of how many inpatient days they will cover.
So while it may not be the most documented issue facing addiction treatment, it definitely makes sense to assume the more time you can dedicate to healing and learning in a safe environment is better, in my experience, for long lasting recovery… but it is still no guarantee.
It’s something to think about…
While some would say 15 days is not enough to really make a difference, every little bit counts toward changing lives. In my personal opinion I think it’s important to be grateful that it’s a new opportunity for some, especially since Medicaid hasn’t funded residential treatment programs at all up until now.
15 days may not change everything… but then again it might. It’s something to think about.
Cindy Mann, a former top administrator at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which governs Medicaid, stated:
“Maybe it’s half a loaf for someone who needs 30 days. But it’s half a loaf of new federal dollars that could be available.”
Medicaid will start covering at least some inpatient treatment, which is a big step in the right direction. Experts also insist that doctors and patients should always consider continued treatment in intensive outpatient programs, which can be highly effective for some people and are less expensive.
Mann also pointed out that this proposal still allows state governments to pay for as much treatment as they think a patient needs, which has been going on all along already.
“The state and the locals are completely free to finance that stay if they think it’s the right place for somebody to be.”
States still have even more power to put together innovative treatment programs to apply for more federal money, so in reality this new campaign is just more assistance being thrown into the mix. The insurance coverage side of getting effective addiction treatment has been a road block for a lot of people to get the help they need, and with the demand growing more organizations are pulling resources to lend a hand in saving lives.
Most full-coverage insurance plans include payments for addiction treatment, but not everyone has this kind of insurance. As the fight against addiction becomes more widely recognized and understood, more elements are changing to provide opportunities for those in need. Palm Partners proudly specializes in holistic healing for drug and alcohol treatment, so if you or someone you love is struggling please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Shernide Delva
When tragedy strikes, most people will run away from it. Only a select few are trained to run towards danger. They are first responders: Firemen, police officers, EMT, and combat veterans deal with death and violence on a daily basis. Seeing horrific images and pain is all parts of a day’s work. They are the first to respond. They are our first and only hope.
So it should come to no surprise that first responders often suffer from PTSD, addiction, depression and mental illness. Imagine doing everything you could to save someone’s life and they did not make it. Imagine gunshots, blood everywhere. You only have seconds to react and save a life. Sometimes you may have to save yourself. After a longs day work, your job is complete for the day. You go home. Then what?
Despite the traumatic work that first responders deal with on a regular basis, they often are the last ones to talk about the psychological impact of their occupations. Experiencing terrible accidents day after day can lead first responders to addiction. They seek solace by using substances and abuse alcohol and drugs. If untreated, some can go further down a path of destruction. Most are too afraid to ask for help so they keep their problems locked up inside. Many feel there is no hope for them. They fear showing weakness so they mask it with strength while self-medicating.
After witnessing terrible incidents day by day, first responders may seek solace through abusing substances even if they had no addictions prior. If they do have issues with drugs and alcohol, many times their profession makes their condition worse.
Many articles are recommending that first responders receive specialized treatment options tailored to their needs. There are treatment centers that offer specialized programs for first responders that combine peer support with clinical evidence-based treatment.
Some departments offer mandatory debriefings but many do not provide any support at all for those suffering. It is recommended that first responders seek a solid support group even if they are not consumed by addiction. Most first responders do not feel comfortable with outsiders because they feel admitting to help will result in losing their profession.
Clare Seletsy is the clinical coordinator for the First Responders Addiction Treatment Program at Livengrin Foundation. Her treatment center approaches first responders in a specialized way. She believes that there are many reasons that deter first responders from receiving treatment:
“In addition to the stress and trauma on the job, lack of trust in mental health professionals, their training to never surrender, hyper-masculinity and the drinking/enabling culture, there is also the heightened potential for physical injury on the job. “
Prescription drug abuse is major problem among first responders. Because first responders often get injured from their duties, doctors are easy to prescribe pain killers. They often acquire easier access to drugs due to the regard they receive in their position. Even when first responders are prescribed drugs to take as needed, they are very prone to start abusing that medication.
Alcohol abuse is also extremely common in the field. Alcohol is used by first responders to deal with the emotional trauma experience when handling tragic situations on a daily basis. The fear of losing their jobs prevents most from seeking help from their addiction.
When looking for an effective treatment program for addiction, first responders should ensure there are:
- Thorough physical and psychological evaluations
- Medically supervised inpatient detox
- Specialized rehab options for first responders broken into select programs depending on their profession
- Aftercare and professional and disciplinary assistance
- PTSD therapy
- Anger management
The tough guy persona that first responder’s feel they must adhere to is deterring many from seeking treatment. Here are some shocking stats:
- Firefighters: Up to 29% if firefighters engage in alcohol abuse.
- Police: 25% believe drinking to be part of the norm yet 25% have been affected negatively by the drinking of other coworkers.
- EMTs: EMTs have the highest rate of alcohol and drug abuse. It’s been revealed that 40% engage in high risk alcohol abuse and close to 20% experience PTSD.
As you can see, alcohol and drug abuse is a serious issue affecting the first responder’s profession. There are many ways you can help.
Palm Partners has decided to sponsor The Harringan Foundation in its efforts to help first responders with addiction and mental health issues. The First Annual Run to the Rescue 5K and Walk will occur on February 6, 2016. Proceeds from the race will benefit the treatment of first responders suffering from addiction and/or trauma disorders. If you would like to participate or find out how you can donate to the cause, check out the race’s official Facebook page.
No first responder should have to stop doing their job because of the disease of addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Alternative Drug Treatment in South Florida: What is Alternative Drug Treatment?
Holistic Drug Treatment and Alternative Drug Treatment are terms that can typically be used interchangeably; Alternative drug treatment in South Florida typically means drug treatment that is wholly different from other modalities of addiction treatment. Alternative Drug Treatment in South Florida may offer alternative methods with therapeutic value such as:
One thing that is specific to Alternative drug treatment in South Florida is that it does not base the recovery program strictly off of the philosophies of any 12 Step program, which recognizes addiction as a combination of physical allergy, mental obsession, and spiritual malady. Alternative drug treatment in South Florida takes into account the usefulness of these programs, but does not base its entire recovery plan off of this outline. Alternative drug treatment in South Florida is centered on the belief that individuals battling addiction are people who need and deserve treatment for their entire being, not just their physical dependence.
Alternative Drug Treatment in South Florida: What to look for
First to know what to look when considering a center for alternative drug treatment in South Florida you should understand the definition of holistic healing and what kind of practices are under that definition. Holistic means to treat the whole instead of the parts, so the holistic practices used in alternative drug treatment in South Florida are techniques that treat an entire mind, body and spirit.
Knowing that centers for alternative drug treatment in South Florida offer these kinds of additional groups that go beyond individual and peer counseling, it is understandable why this is such a different perspective on addressing the various issues that co-exist with addiction.
Spirituality for a great majority plays a vital role in lasting recovery. People often turned to substances in order to fill an emptiness, and the temporary effects of being high or drunk can make that feeling go away for a bit, but eventually those same feelings come creeping back in. The spiritual component in alternative drug treatment in South Florida can help cultivate a new sense of purpose, or help to create that connection where it was absent before.
Alternative Drug Treatment in South Florida: Giving you options
The entire point of alternative drug treatment in South Florida is to give you options. Alternative drug treatment in South Florida is designed so that you have an opportunity while in the earliest stages of recovery to not only get the substances out of your system, but also to explore the various strategies for holistic healing and continued programs of sobriety that are out there for you.
Another alternative drug treatment facility boasts a program of moderation. The approach is to teach clients how to acquire feelings of joy or satisfaction from the more typical activities of life. The goal is not necessarily to have clients stop their drug(s) of choice and/or addictive behavior 100%, which is the approach of abstinence that 12 Steps follow and those who treat addiction only as a brain disease.
Its program states that it is unlike 12-Step recovery because it offers a wide range of “goal options” specific to the addictive behavior, requiring different strategies and results in a different outcome regarding the substance or behavior of your concern. There are all kinds of rehabilitated people out there that want more out of their experience in treatment, and Palm Partners is designed to provide a variety of options to personalize your recovery plan.
Not all addicts and alcoholics are exactly the same, and not everyone out there learns the same or communicates the same, and so there is a need to provide healthy and constructive alternatives for people in recovery. Alternative drug treatment in South Florida is an incredible place to find whatever strategy with work best for you. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135