Author: Justin Mckibben
Imagine if you went out for a night at the movies, and next thing you know you’re watching a testimonial from someone who lost their loved one to an overdose? Would that leave a pretty strong impression? Well some people think this is the kind of heroin PSA that could wake people up and get them talking.
Heroin addiction and opiate abuse are not a foreign concept for the people of the state of Maryland. Like most communities have been experiencing in recent years, Maryland has seen first-hand the devastation brought on by heroin addiction. Baltimore at one point was known as “Heroin Capital of America” and as the opiate epidemic continues, more people all over are suffering. While heroin addiction and overdoses increase across the state, officials in one area are taking the fight to the silver screen. Now movie-goers can see a message meant to spread public awareness.
Heroin Hitting Maryland
Health officials in the Maryland area say heroin is cheaper and more deadly than ever.
- Back in 2015, over 1,200 people died from overdose deaths in Maryland
- From January to June of 2015- 601 overdose deaths
- From January to June 2016- 920 overdose deaths (over 300 more deaths in the same 6 month period)
Baltimore City battles what is a public health emergency concerning the heroin addiction issue. As the heroin continues to devastate communities and families, officials are looking for new ways to hit back. Baltimore City, Anne Arundel County and Baltimore County all are experiencing and ever-increasing rate of heroin addiction. Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen says,
“Here in Baltimore there are more people dying from overdose that are dying from homicide,”
A statement that was also made about New York at one point when NYC saw more overdose deaths than murders. The heroin PSA (public service announcement) is another way state officials are trying to make a bold declaration and educate the public.
We’ve seen more and more footage and images in the media over the last few months of overdoses caught on camera. There have been photos posted by police departments, videos shot on phones and posted all over the internet. The reality of the opiate epidemic and the graphic faces of overdose and death have been put out in front for all to see. Now Harford County officials are bringing the message to their local movie theaters with a heroin PSA.
Movie-goers in Harford County are coming face-to-face with the grim reality of heroin addiction. A series of videos before their regularly scheduled films features people that have lost relatives to heroin overdoses.
The heroin PSA is pretty powerful. One clip shows Jade, a 12 year old girl who’s cousin died from a heroin overdose in 2015. Jade says,
“She always loved to have fun, it didn’t seem anything was wrong.”
One shows a young girl named Mara talked about her sister Kelsea, who struggled with heroin addiction until dying from an overdose on Christmas Day 2015. Imagine sitting with your parent, or child, and listening to these people describe the person they loved so much and talk about their death. This is Maryland’s new strategy to get the conversation going in families.
Barry Glassman, Harford County Executive, commented on the heroin PSA saying,
“What better than to go into movie theaters when parents are with their children, to continue our efforts at prevention?”
Again, the whole goal of the heroin PSA is to get parents and children having the discussion. The video clips in the heroin PSA are already in circulation. The goal of the heroin PSA is to get parents to have real conversations about the dangers of heroin.
Movies and Media
The conversation is definitely a necessary one. Many families don’t know how to have this conversation, or how to even begin having the conversation. The media and television timelessly prove that they have the ability to influence people, so why not exploit it for a better good?
Raising awareness is a primary objective these days in fighting the opiate epidemic. It is right there with providing education and prevention resources. Giving people the information they need is crucial, and part of the heroin PSA is just showing people how important it is that they seek the information. So utilizing movies and the media to spread the word makes perfect sense.
Once people are informed as to the realities and the risks, we also should provide them with the information to get help. Heroin addiction is a frightening reality, but overdose and death is not the only conclusion. There is real help out there.
Overdose death and addiction destroy lives and tear apart families. With more programs becoming available to help those who are hurting a healthier future is closer than ever, and you can have it too.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
This story began just over a year ago when the Church of Scientology bought the plot of land for just over $4 million before announcing the intentions of opening a rehab center on the property. Residents in the area began rallying against these efforts, but the church persisted in its efforts, and actually came pretty close to crossing the finish line. Unfortunately, it was not close enough to get what they wanted, but maybe Maryland thinks it’s too close for comfort.
The Build Up
Narconon has so far been failing in the fight for the goal of establishing a few “Narconon residential drug rehabilitation centers”, including recently one location Maryland at Tout Run, a pristine 40-acre camp in Frederick County which has in the past been visited by numerous presidents including Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower, merely miles away from Camp David.
As covered in a previous article, the Church of Scientology has been criticized in the past for the various extensions of the church manipulating circumstances to achieve their ends. The church’s real estate arm and Narconon were able to get every other approval permit that was required to build the rehab, except needing the property to be designated for historic preservation, which would allow them to make changes otherwise banned by zoning laws.
Many local council members expressed concerns and skepticism about Scientology and their plans for the area, including at the time one member of the council who pointed out the power-play by the real estate extension of the church, claiming Narconon was “going through the back end” to get the appropriate licensing for the center, leading residents to regard the organization as dishonest.
Frederick County council had originally decided to postpone the decision until April 21 to allow for more public consideration, and just this Tuesday the council members voted to deny the proposal.
Stage of Denial
The vote cast by the Frederick County Council was pretty one sided, with an almost unanimous 6-1 tally against allowing the church to open the drug rehab facility on the premises.
The one council member who voted in favor of allowing the rehab to be built was Billy Shreve, and he was quoted by local news as stating:
“This application has been clouded because the record does reflect that there was testimony based on Narconon and Scientology. So I think that has clouded our decision a few times, and has led us to probably go a lot further into this decision than it really merited.”
Maryland local Mark Long, an opponent of the Narconon facility being established in the community stated,
“Having a 6 to 1 vote it does show some precedence that the public doesn’t want this here. I mean, to get that vote across party lines is pretty significant. I hope they understand that it’s best just to go home and give up on this.”
However, according to news reports Narconon officials said they may take the matter to court, and that they have not decided exactly what action they plan to take but that the fight is not over and they are “not going away.” So will a second run at this provide them with a different result?
This is definitely not the first time that the Church of Scientology has been shunned by a community for trying to build a treatment center, nor is it the first time they have been accused of using shady or under-handed tactics to try and get their way.
In February there was a story of the church trying to establish a similar compound in Milton, Canada that was met with resistance, and ultimately had a hearing set for March to April to further rule on the case.
Since the center wouldn’t use over-the-counter drugs to treat addiction, it’s not required to obtain a license from the Province to do so. According to company representative Rubina Qureshi,
“And, therefore we were put in a position of having to ask for a minor variance (of zoning bylaw) to clarify that a private drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre conforms with the Town’s definition of a group home,”
But Barbara Koopmans, the Town’s Planning Director, stated the application for a minor variance was denied because it did not conform with the ‘group home type 2’ definition under which the company applied. Many in Milton were vocal about their opposition, but Scientology officials remain persistent.
Should these communities open their arms to these centers? Or should they be concerned considering the controversy surrounding the Narconon methods and the tragic deaths of some patients under sketchy circumstances?
While some treatment centers have a tough time getting off the ground thanks to questionable methods and a bad rep, some people avoid treatment thinking they are all the same, but this is NOT the case. Palm Partners is a certified and celebrated holistic healing center for those suffering from alcohol or drug addiction, and our skilled and professional staff members want to help. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Last September I wrote about how the city of Baltimore, Maryland was being labeled the “Heroin Capital of the United States” and was suffering from a community crushing crisis as Government agencies estimate that as many as one in 10 of the residents of the city of Baltimore are addicted to heroin. So it is a true inspiration to see a program being established to help heroin addicts already pulled into the prison system by drugs being treated before released.
Demand for Intervention
Last year alone in Maryland there were 578 deaths due to heroin overdose. That is an astounding 25% increase from 2013, and more than double the number of deaths from heroin in 2010. Maryland suffered many losses due to overdose:
- Baltimore City ranked first for heroin deaths last year- 303 deaths
- Baltimore County-170 deaths
- Anne Arundel- 101 deaths
- Montgomery- 65 deaths
The Hogan Attack on Heroin
Some time ago Republican Governor Larry had declared a “state of emergency” concerning the increasing rate of heroin related deaths, acknowledging the opiate epidemic as a nationwide crisis.
At a news conference in February he even revealed his cousin had died of a heroin overdose, and said he was committed to an approach emphasizing compassion and treatment.
It appears now more than ever with this new initiative that he is holding true to that ideal.
He later formed a “coordinating council” of state officials, and he established an emergency task force of elected officials and substance-abuse experts to hold summits throughout Maryland and provide recommendations on how to tackle the epidemic.
This Tuesday the Hogan administration announced the plans to initiate the treatment of heroin addicts in 8 county jails and detention centers throughout Maryland in hopes of keeping inmates out of jail once they make it back to their neighborhoods.
This is the first program of its kind to be initiated by Hogan, and the treatment for the prisoners is designed to be paid for by a $500,000 federal grant.
Hogan himself made a statement saying the program would be a long-term money-saver for Maryland, saying it will reduce the costs of drug-related crime and recidivism on Maryland’s state and local governments.
New Policies for Prisoners
The key ingredient to these new programs policies is naltrexone, which is a nonnarcotic and non-addictive substance designed to block the euphoric effects of heroin and other opiates. The program provides that inmate receive a monthly injection of this possibly life-saving drug.
The system being set in place is to create some level of support once the prisoners are reinserted into society. For inmates to be eligible to enter the treatment program they must be housed at a county detention center and be within 3 months of release. During this time they will receive the initial naltrexone shots before being released, and after that they have the option to receive follow-up injections from county health departments.
The state goes even further by providing continued support, including:
- Enrolling them in Medicaid or other health-insurance plans to pay for the anti-addiction drug
- Post-release support services such as housing
- Mental-health counseling
Each jurisdiction that receives grant money must develop a program to monitor ex-offenders’ progress, compliance, recidivism and lingering substance abuse.
Hogan insisted the state needs to provide ex-offenders with “the tools to live sober, healthy, and productive lives.”
He went on to say,
“Addiction is a disease, and we will not be able to just arrest our way out of this crisis.”
Treatment advocates applauded the governor’s efforts, and understandably so. His supporters have rallied behind him with a feel that he is delivering on a promise he made to meet this disease head-on with effective and proactive treatment plans.
Leaps and Bounds
The plan may not yet be perfect, but it is a definite leap in the right direction. So far the Hogan administration granted funding to 8 county agencies. At this time Baltimore City has not received any state treatment funding yet, but according to the governor’s office it is developing a program to qualify for assistance.
Addiction and death as products of heroin abuse has risen dramatically in recent years. With this matter becoming such a widespread and horrifying reality for Americans, the whole concept of drug policy is under constant debate as more and more seek hope in the advancement and application of reforms to our drug laws and the way we address nonviolent drug offenses.
Hopefully as this program grows, as long as it is effective other states are bound to take notice and follow suit, especially considering that the death rate is only rising at this juncture, and is presumed to be fixed to do so for some time. Let us hope that active pursuit of these revolutionary ideas for improving the quality of life for addicts can keep inspiring further change.
While Maryland fights the heroin epidemic on its streets and in its prisons, thousands upon thousands of Americans fight the same fight in their homes and in themselves. Prison is not the only alternative, there is a whole community of individuals dedicated to recovery and we are waiting for you to reach out for that helping hand. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Since drug and alcohol addict has been treated exclusively there have pretty much always been treatment programs that revolve around religious ideals. Narconon’s practices have been invariably derived directly from Scientology’s religious doctrines with only minimal changes to obscure their origins. Now there are plans to build a new Scientology-affiliated addiction treatment center in Maryland on the site of a former presidential retreat, but according to recent reports this new proposal has reportedly been met with opposition.
Notes on Narconon
Narconon is an international drug rehabilitation organization founded back in 1966 which currently claims a presence in 26 countries around the world, but while it also boasts of an alarmingly high success rate it has openly been criticized on these claims due to the details of the studies on the success rates being almost impossibly hard to obtain. Allegedly because Narconon does not seem to want to distribute them even though it publicizes their “conclusions”, which have systematically been misquoted or misrepresented.
The Narconon program uses treatment methods developed by Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. Much of Narconon’s critics state that the Narconon “science” is based on provably false scientific statements by Hubbard, and the research which Narconon is allegedly based upon has never been published or scientifically approved. Keys aspects of their programs include:
This is the equivalent to going “cold turkey”, meaning an addict is expected to stopping all drugs at once and deal with the resulting physical and mental pain of detox with vitamin doses and “assists”, a form of spiritual healing.
A series of drills performed with another person that is intended to “bring about interaction between the individual and the existing physical universe”.
- New Life Detoxification Program
Intensive schedule of running, massive overdoses of vitamins and very long sauna sessions, designed to “run out” drugs and radiation from the body (the body cannot sweat out radiation, but Scientology says it does).
Short courses aimed to improve a person’s ability to study, communicate and exercise moral judgments. This kind of treatment seems trapped in the mindset that addiction is a moral dilemma and not a disease.
Some have also said that Narconon is based on “bogus science” which puts clients at serious risks for and threatens their safety. These claims got a lot of attention back in 2012, when there were a series of deaths, 3 in a 9 month period, at one of the facilities in near the town of Canadian, Oklahoma.
That controversy came to a head when 2 former Narconon executives spoke out in the news against the program. The former president of the Oklahoma facility and a former executive at a Narconon facility in Michigan came forward to expose what they called deceitful marketing techniques and under-qualified staff, and that shed new light on an investigation that has since tarnished the Narconon name.
Taking all this into account, the bid for them to open a new facility in Maryland is finding it harder and harder to make headway in their efforts to get approval.
Ever since the release of the documentary on HBO Going Clear about exposing the Church of Scientology, which is highly critical of the religion, the organization has been under a magnifying glass. But many celebrities like Kirstie Alley credit Narconon with helping beat their addictions, and have gone on record to defend the church.
The Fight in Maryland
Narconon now fights for their ambitions to establish a “residential drug rehabilitation center” at Trout Run, a 40-acre camp in Frederick County, Md., that was visited by Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower.
Scientology has even been criticized in the past for the various extensions of the church manipulating circumstances to meet its needs, and now the church’s real estate arm and Narconon have requested the property to be designated for historic preservation, which would allow them to make changes otherwise banned by zoning laws.
Many local council members expressed concerns this week based on skepticism about Scientology. One speaker pointed out the power-play by the real estate extension of the church, claiming Narconon is “going through the back end” to get the appropriate licensing for the center, leading residents to regard the organization as dishonest. Frederick County council voted to postpone the decision until April 21 to allow for more public consideration, and at this point it’s not looking too promising.
While opinions on the Narconon program are shrouded with controversy and confusion, hidden behind the exclusivity of its founding religion, there are still many programs out there to help those who struggle with drugs or alcohol to overcome the obstacles they may face in obtaining sobriety, and with a holistic approach Palm Partners is proud to actively help men and women from all walks of life find a path to recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Michael Phelps is pretty well known for his record-breaking accomplishments as an American Olympic swimmer, for being the most decorated Olympian of all time with a total of 22 medals, 18 of which are gold which is double the runner up, and for massive amounts of effort put forth into his philanthropy endeavors to passionately support the success of those around him. Unfortunately, as of this past week Michael Phelps is facing a second DUI charge that when coupled with other past problems with substances and drunk driving may cost him quite a bit, but hopefully it is waking him up to the realities of substance abuse.
Phelps Past DUI and Pot Problems
This is already Phelps second DUI, the first being back in 2004 when he was 19 years old. Back at the time of this original offense he struck a plea deal with the state prosecutors and pled guilty in exchange for 18 months of probation. This came before his athletic career as an Olympian had even begun to make headway, so there was not much coverage about the story. It was dealt with accordingly, and Phelps went on to serve his probation and take part in the games later down the line.
During the 2008 Olympics, Phelps was questioned by the press as to suspicions that perhaps his amazing accomplishments were actually “too good to be true”, and referred to unsubstantiated gossip that Phelps might be taking performance enhancing drugs. But Phelps met these accusations in good form, and reminded reporters that he had signed up for Project Believe, a venture by the United States Anti-Doping Agency in which the U.S. Olympians were given an opportunity to volunteer to be subjected to drug testing in excess of the World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines, so he had signed up and went out of his way to be tested for drugs more than the average athlete. During the Olympic Games, Phelps passed all nine tests that were administered to him.
But that would not be the last time he had to face allegations and bad press over substance use. Michael Phelps is also known for the ‘water-pipe scandal’ from back in 2009 when a photo surfaced of him holding a pipe used for smoking tobacco or marijuana, and he admitted to the authenticity of the photo and apologized publicly.
Maryland Files Multiple Charges
Media sources indicated through reports that Phelps was hauled off to a Maryland police station this past Tuesday where he was booked for another DUI. Phelps was eventually released, but so far those charges have stuck. Police officials stated that Michael Phelps was charged with multiple offenses including DUI, excessive speeding and crossing double lane lines.
According to sources in the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, Phelps was arrested at approximately 1:40 a.m. Tuesday and charged with driving under the influence after an officer clocked Phelps’ white 2014 Land Rover speeding through a 45-mph zone at the excess of 84 mph. Police said that while driving he crossed double yellow lines inside the Fort McHenry Tunnel on northbound Interstate 95, which was just one indicator he was intoxicated. It was also stated that he completely bombed his field sobriety test, and upon further inspection the officer found his Blood Alcohol Content (B.A.C.) was almost twice the legal limit!
Phelps Issues an Apology
Michael Phelps has officially issued a statement on his DUI arrest in Baltimore, Maryland, saying he takes “full responsibility” and is sorry he let everyone down. The following are the posts that Phelps put up on his Twitter that make up the statement he issued to the public Tuesday:
“Earlier this morning, I was arrested and charged with DUI, excessive speeding and crossing double lane lines.”
“I understand the severity of my actions and take full responsibility.”
“I know these words may not mean much right now but I am deeply sorry to everyone I have let down.”
With this Phelps seems to be making an attempt at picking up the pieces again after a scandal involving him and substance abuse. Phelps had announced in April that he was coming out of retirement to compete for Team USA in 2016 Summer Games, but many are beginning to wonder if he will be losing out on more sponsorship now that he is in the news again. He had lost his previous pay-roll with Kellogg’s after the whole ‘water-pipe’ incident, and many are debating whether more companies will jump ship to avoid being associated with his brand. Others however insist that 22 medals for America is more than enough to sweep these 2 strikes under the rug. But should it be? Or should more be done to make sure these issues are taken more seriously?
Olympic Athlete or not, someone who has found themselves in trouble for DUI’s more than once should probably consider taking a real look at their drinking, and possibly drug use if that is a factor for them. Putting lives at risk, others and you own, in order to drink and use drugs is just one indicator of a more serious problem, and hopefully you get the help you need before it is too late. 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.