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$25 Million Gift to Boston Medical Center Will Fund Opioid Center

$25 Million Gift to Boston Medical Center Will Fund Opioid Center

Author: Shernide Delva

Boston Medical Center just received $25 million, the largest donation in its history, and plans to use the money to fight the public health crisis caused by drug addiction and the opioid epidemic. The money will fund the Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine funded by the billionaire investor John Grayken.

The Grayken Center for Addiction medicine is named after billionaire investor and south shore native John Grayken and his wife, Eilene. The couple said they wanted to go public with their donation in an effort to destigmatize addiction and encourage others to follow their lead. Sadly, there is a lot of shame and stigma associated with drug abuse.

“We have not seen private philanthropy in the addiction space to the extent we see it in other areas of health care, like cancer,” said Michael Botticelli, who worked closely with BMC in his former roles as White House drug czar and head of the Massachusetts Bureau of Substance Abuse Services.

“There’s an idea that people with substance-abuse disorders are somehow less deserving of care and treatment and compassion . . . and issues of addiction can be seen as unpopular programs for unpopular people,” he added. “So this family’s donation is particularly important because they want to be open about who they are to spur other philanthropy in this space.”

Boston Medical Center president and chief executive Kate Walsh called the couple’s gift a major game changer for philanthropy in Boston “because it brings addiction medicine out of the philanthropic shadows.”

Last year, the CDC estimated that there were 33,000 overdose deaths in the country. The state of Massachusetts was not spared. Public health officials say that nearly 2,000 deaths in the state were attributed to opioid overdoses, five times more than in car crashes.

Opioids like heroin and prescription painkillers, fentanyl and oxycodone are responsible for most overdoses. Another 20 million people in the United States suffer from drug abuse or addiction, according to federal data.

“This is a public health crisis, and it’s heartbreaking,” said Walsh. “Kids and parents are struggling with this, and so many people have been in recovery and relapsed.”

In fact, opioid abuse is so prevalent that the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program opened a room last year in which drug users could use under medical supervision. The aim was more harm prevention to offset a number of overdose deaths in the state.

Walsh said she “hadn’t even fantasized” about a gift as large as the Graykens’ and the BMC projected it would take at least 15 million to endow an addiction medicine center.

“So when the $25 million figure came through, I literally gave what I’m sure was not a very attractive happy dance!” Walsh recalled. “I hope I’m not on somebody’s videotape, but it was so enormously gratifying.”

Before this donation, the largest contribution to the hospital was two $15 million donations. Those funds went to separate facility. The BMC is a facility where more than half its patients are low-income and is reliant on government subsidies. Because the hospital deals with more low-income patients, those patients are not likely to make later contributions to express their appreciation. It is not due to patients lacking gratitude; they simply lack the funds to donate after treatment like in other hospitals.

The funds from the Graykens will help tremendously with building the addiction treatment facility at the Boston Medical Center. In addition, the fact that the donation is public sends the message to how serious addiction is and how addiction should never be stigmatized. Furthermore, if you are struggling with addiction or mental illness, know you are not alone. Call now.

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Painkiller Tax Proposed By California Legislators to Offset Rehab Costs

Painkiller Tax Proposed By California Legislators to Offset Rehab Costs

Author: Shernide Delva

In order to help offset the sky-rocketing costs of addiction and rehab, a California legislator wants to tax OxyContin, Vicodin and other prescription opioids. Should this be considered throughout the country?

Over the last few years, Los Angeles County has led the state when it comes to opioid drug overdoses. As a result, California lawmaker Kevin McCarty announced a new bill that would implement a 1 cent-per-milligram tax on prescription opioids to help offset the expense of rehab services.

“What we have here is a plan to create a surcharge of opiate sales in California and redirect all those moneys to provided needed services for the communities,” McCarty explained.

In 2014, more than 2,000 people died of opioid overdoses in California. In the United States, 91 people die of opioid-related causes every single day.

With this proposed law, taxes would be placed on opioid prescription wholesales, and could also impact prices for manufactures. However, some are concerned that the cost will be passed down to patients.

Emergency Room physician Dr. Stephen Kishineff was concerned that addicts who buy opioids illegally won’t be the ones shouldering the tax.

“Really the end users are going to pay for it because they’re going to pay for it in higher prescription costs or higher insurance premiums,” said Kishineff.

But he added the intention is good.

“As a society, it’s kind of a nice idea for a tax to be put on something that can be abused in order to help somebody who is abusing it,” Kishineff said.

McCarty estimates minimal impact on consumers, and if any, would be roughly a few dollars a month.

“So we think there is a real nexus between the opioid industry and the problem that we’re seeing out there on the streets. So this ties the two things together to address the problem,” McCarty said.

In the past, similar legislation was proposed at the federal level, but if the new McCarty bill becomes law, California would be the first state to enact such a tax on painkillers.

It is important to note that the funds from this tax would go towards funding rehabilitation services. The tax would be imposed on wholesalers, not at the point of sale, and would require two-thirds approval in the legislature.

“California’s opioid epidemic has cost state taxpayers millions and the lives of too many of our sons and daughters,” McCarty said in a statement. “We must do more to help these individuals find hope and sobriety. This plan will provide counties with critical resources needed to curb the deadly cycle of opioid and heroin addiction in California.”

If passed, the surcharge would raise tens of millions for county drug treatment programs. These funds would help the endless amount of addicts who lack the financial support to seek proper treatment.

Do you think a law like this could be effective?

If so, should other states follow suit? One argument is that a law like this opens the door for other prescriptions drug taxes. It also punishes chronic pain suffers who use painkillers in a safe, non-addictive way.

In the comment section of the article, several people argued against the tax, saying it posed an unfair punishment to honest prescription pain killer patients.

One commented:

“I say this proposal is ridiculous. I don’t use that medicine. I don’t believe people should be taxed because of others irresponsibility. If they want to overdose let them it’s their choice.”

Another commented:

“Rub salt in the wounds why don’t you! Unlike cigarette tax, this med tax would compound an already painful and difficult situation for those who really need it, because of those who really don’t…adding insult to injury!”


Clearly, this is a topic up for serious debate. What we know for sure is that addiction is a serious problem and treatment is necessary to overcome it. If you need help, please reach out to professionals. We are waiting for your call. Call now.

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TV Star Craig Ferguson Reflects on 25 Years Sober

 

TV Star Craig Ferguson Reflects on 25 Years Sober

Author: Shernide Delva

TV star Craig Ferguson recently celebrated 25 years of sobriety on February 18, 2017. He tweeted to his followers about his major milestone.

He said: “I’m 25 years sober and anyone who knew me back then would tell you how impossible that is. Thanks for the miracle.”

Craig Ferguson became a household name as the presenter of the Late Late Show which since has been taken over by James Corden.

In an interview, he acknowledged the start of his recovery journey:

“I got sober. I stopped killing myself with alcohol. I began to think: ‘Wait a minute – if I can stop doing this, what are the possibilities?’ And slowly it dawned on me that it was maybe worth the risk.”

During his years on the Late Late Show, Ferguson regularly discussed his days in active addiction in a humorous and commendable way.

For example, in 2007, when pop star Britney Spears was struggling with her own personal issues, Ferguson was one of the only late night hosts to not poke fun at her. That year, Spears was caught shaving her head and getting lips tattooed on her wrist. In case you do not remember, the media went berserk. Shortly after, Spears was checked into rehabilitation. At the time, Ferguson felt it was wrong to joke at another person’s expense.

“Now I’m not saying Britney is alcoholic, I don’t know what she is — alcoholic or not — but she clearly needs help,” he said.

Reflecting on Sobriety

In an interview to Times magazine in 2009, Ferguson explained that even if he was not an alcoholic, he would not drink. The concept of drinking without getting drunk simply does not interest him.

“The idea of having one or two drinks bores the ass out of me. If I’m going to drink, I’m going to do it to get drunk. If I’m not going to get drunk, I’m just not going to drink. It’s hard to explain. That isn’t necessarily what alcoholism is, I just tried to explain it as it manifested itself in me.”

Right getting sober, Ferguson admits alcohol saved him from committing suicide. In one of his most famous monologues, Ferguson talks about a weekend “all-night bender” that shifted the direction of his life. He woke up on Christmas morning covered in his own (or someone else’s) urine and miserable.

That morning, he decided he would commit suicide by swine-diving over the tower bridge in London.  He decided to stop by his favorite bar and that was when his bartender Tommy offered him a glass of cherry. One thing led to another and Ferguson says he forgot to kill himself that day.

“Here’s the important point: the alcohol saved my life. I was self-medicating. I’m an alcoholic.  I needed alcohol. I needed something…” he said.

After that day, he continued drinking heavily doing stand-ups and continuing his binge-drinking ways. Finally, on February 18, 1992, he called his sober friend seeking help and that friend helped him go to rehab.  After his 28 day stint in rehab, Ferguson says the work had just begun.

“I don’t have a drinking problem. I have a thinking problem.”

Ferguson finally understood his alcoholism and accepted that, for the rest of his life, he would have to stay sober.

“Certain types of people can’t drink. I’m one of them,” he said.

In the 2007 monologue, Ferguson concluded that the best way he copes with his alcoholism is through reaching out to others who have had similar experiences.

“I have found that the only way I can deal with [alcoholism] is to find other people who have similar experiences and talk to them. It doesn’t cost anything. And they’re very easy to find. They’re very near the front of the telephone book. Good luck,”  he said.

Now 25 years sober, Ferguson remains grateful for each day.

Ferguson’s Upbringing

Growing up, Craig Ferguson did not have the easiest childhood.  Born in 1962, he had the kind of dark childhood that often leads many to a career in comedy. He was chubby and bullied and he lived in Cumbernauld, 15 miles outside Glasgow.  Ferguson notes that his town was named the ­second-worst town in the United Kingdom, an appraisal he finds excessively flattering

Then, during a punk phase in the 80s, he played drums in a band called the Dreamboys. His band-mate, actor Peter Capaldi, convinced him to try comedy. He wrote about all of this in his memoir American on Purpose.

“Peter was the first person who told me that being funny was a gift and, when done well, was an art form,” he writes. “Up until this point, I had learned that being funny, particularly in school, was stupid and could get you physically injured.”

After a few false starts, Ferguson went back to the drawing board, inventing a character to play at a show in Glasgow. He decided to parody all the native über-patriot folk singers in Scotland and the act stuck. From that point, Ferguson was on his way.

Yet, as his career and comedy continued to climb, Ferguson’s alcoholism continued to drag him down. Ferguson spent his spare time draining himself with too many pints of alcohol. Finally, on that fateful day in 1992, Ferguson made the decision to get sober. That was just the beginning, and 25 years later, he understands his disease more than ever.

“I have an addictive personality,” he notes. “I’ll try anything a hundred times just to make sure I don’t like it.”

—-

Overall, Craig Ferguson exemplifies why one should never give up on their sobriety. Regardless of how deep into your addiction you believe you are, it is never too late to reach out for help. Do not wait. Call now.

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Men’s Mental Health is A Silent Crisis

Men's Mental Health is A Silent Crisis

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of the world but those who fight and win battles that others do not know anything about.
–Jonathan Harnisch

Mental health stigmas prevent those struggling with mental illness from seeking treatment. There have been significant strides to reduce the stigmas surrounding mental illness. Yet, when it comes to men, mental illness is often overlooked. Numerous researchers have stated that there is a silent crisis in men’s mental health. More awareness is needed specifically for men to reduce mental health stigmas.

Men struggle with seeking help for their mental illnesses because of the stereotypes and stigmas involved. Men have elevated rates of suicide and substance abuse, as well as low rates of mental health service use.  Mental health is a serious priority and there are reasons why men, specifically need to be motivated to seek treatment.

 3 Reasons Why Men’s Mental Health is a Silent Crisis

  1. Suicide:
    Men make up over 75 percent of suicide victims in the United States. Every 20 minutes, a man dies from suicide. Men living in rural areas and small towns are at a higher risk of suicide. States like Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico and Utah have the highest rates of suicide in the country. Alaska also has very high rates. The reason for this varies and has been attributed to various factors. One factor is the massive decline in employment in areas like manufacturing, forestry, and fisheries, leaving large amounts of men under-employed or unemployed in certain regions.A common reasoning behind this may be due to rejection from mainstream society, leading to strong feelings of alienation and isolation.
  2. Substance Abuse:
    Substance use disorder is high among man. Men have a rate of 3 to 1 when it comes to substance use compared to a woman. Substance abuse is sometimes referred to as “slow-motion suicide.” It often ends in premature death if left untreated. A variety of genetic and environmental components can result in substance abuse. High rates of substance abuse occur in certain sub-groups, including veterans, which are predominately men. Therefore, men need interventions in this area.
  3. Lack of Mental Health Service Utilization:
    Research reveals that men are less likely to access mental health resources compared to a woman. This is especially true among Black, Latino, and Asian men, who have lower utilization rates than white men, as well as women in general.Another explanation is that mental health services are catered more towards women and do not attune to men’s needs, especially minority men. Research shows that men prefer action over words in the midst of stressful circumstances. This could explain the popularity of interventions where men get together for physical activities while engaging with each other in the process.

What Can Be Done to Improve Men’s Mental Health?

Men’s mental health should be recognized as a social issue as much as a health issue. There are a variety of factors such as unemployment and familial disruptions that affect mental health. Secondly, there should be more options in the system with male-tailored options that respond to men’s unique needs.

Men tend to shy away from seeking mental health treatments due to the stigmas associated with it. It is important that more resources are available that appeal to men. Men have alarming rates of suicide, substance abuse, and other mental illnesses.

If you or someone is struggling with mental health or substance use disorder, please reach out for help. Do not let the stigmas behind your condition get in the way of you seeking treatment. We have professionals waiting to get you on the right track. Do not wait. Call now.

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5 Root Causes of Insensitivity

5 Root Causes of Insensitivity

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

Do you find it difficult to show sensitivity towards others? You are not alone. In fact, there are common reasons why some people are more insensitive than others. Some people simply lack empathy, and there are a variety of legitimate reasons for this. This article is great for those who feel they are insensitive and great for those who want to understand the insensitive people in their lives.

The reasons for sensitivity range from person to person. Often, sensitive people can lose sight of what is going on in the background of another person’s mind. It is especially difficult to understand those who go against the social contract of common courtesy. Why are people so dang insensitive?

HERE ARE 5 EXPLANATIONS BEHIND INSENSITIVITY

  1. BRAIN CHEMISTRY

Every brain is different, therefore it makes sense that brain chemistry could play a role in how sensitive we are. Insensitive people have very different brain chemistry than most. Certain mechanisms within their brain inhibit them from conveying sensitivity.

Often times, insensitive people are not aware of how insensitive they are being. Even if someone pulls them aside and explains that their behavior is unacceptable, the insensitive person will not understand and think the sensitive person is simply “too sensitive,” Clearly, this situation does not ever end well.

  1. DIFFERENT THOUGHT PATTERNS

In addition to brain chemistry, thought processes are another main reason why insensitive people act the way they do. Insensitive people are a byproduct of environmental factors. For example, a person who spends a lot of time in the corporate world learns to have aggressive thought patterns. After a while, these thought patterns actually alter one’s brain chemistry.  Also, thought patterns can be a product of personal beliefs, religious views and political stances resulting in someone behaving more aggressive and insensitive.

  1. ANGER

Sometimes insensitivity is a result of anger. When we are angry, it becomes more difficult to retain a sense of self-control. Of course, lacking self-control increases the chances of saying something insensitive. Anger lowers inhibitions making us more careless of the consequences of our actions. Therefore, it is easy to be insensitive to others. In this state, we can hurt others when they do not deserve such treatment. Insensitive people may be angry inside and are lashing out at others to release their build up of anger.

  1. LACK OF SELF ESTEEM

Self-esteem and insecurity often are reasons behind a lot of our actions and emotional outbursts. Some people with insecurity issues can still interact with others without burdening the other person with their self-esteem issues. However, other people degrade others to “make themselves feel better.” The problem with this is that it offers a very short-term “solution” and it also results in pain to the other person. Insensitive people may be fighting insecurity issues so they tend to have a natural desire to put down others. They tend to be more careless about other people’s feelings because they are struggling with their own.

  1. STRESS

Oh stress…don’t you love stress? Not. Of course, stress plays a major role in every facet in our lives, including how sensitive we are. When dealing with stressful situations, it can be easy to be insensitive to other people’s situation. After all, our problems usually feel worse than others.  Some people simply cannot handle stress in a constructive fashion. Therefore, they elect to deal with their stress by spreading their negative state of mind. Stress is a distraction, and insensitive people are incapable of handling the effects of stress without hurting someone in the process.


Whether you are sensitive or insensitive, we all have the ability to understand each other. The next time someone says something that simply lacks sensitivity, try to consider that there could be more going inside of them.  If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call now.

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