Thursday, June 26, 2014

Washington Governor Announces Emergency Rules to Keep Marijuana Away From Kids
/By Join Together Staff
June 25th, 2014/

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee this week announced rules designed to keep marijuana out of the hands of children, now that recreational use of the drug is legal for adults 21 and older.

The state will require approval of packaging for edible marijuana products. Cartoons, toy images and other labels that appeal to children will be banned, The New York Times reports.

Last month, lawmakers in Colorado, where retail marijuana stores have already opened, said they were considering stricter regulations for marijuana edibles, in the wake of two deaths connected with the products. Experts warn consuming the edibles can lead to bizarre behavior.

“This is an all-hands-on-deck effort to make sure we keep kids safe,” Governor Inslee said in a news release. “We want every retailer to know that kids are off limits and every parent to know how to talk to kids about why marijuana isn’t safe.” He added, “The initiative legalized marijuana only for adults 21 and over and it is incumbent on everyone — retailers, parents, health professionals and public officials — to do everything possible to keep pot away from kids. If we fail in that, Washington’s regulated, retail market for marijuana may fail, too.”

The first group of marijuana retail stores in Washington is scheduled to open on July 8. The state plans to license 334 stores eventually. The state Department of Health has begun an advertising campaign that advises parents to discourage their children from using marijuana. “The goal is to get parents to talk to their kids now and not wait until retail sales start happening,” said department spokesman Donn Moyer.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat;

And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;

For so you will heap coals of fire on his head,

And the Lord will reward you.

STEP 9 "Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others .

Thats right you heard me ! Its called maturity and growth just another one of those wonderful things we develop when we get sober . When we make Amends and help those who have hurt us back will be one of the most liberating experiences in your recovery. Life is tough enough so why not lighten your load by following the step and living the Proverb .

Ephesians 4 : 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. 
By Joseph Dickerson
Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. - See more at:

Pope Francis Says He is Opposed to Legalizing Drugs for Recreational Use
/By Join Together Staff
June 24th, 2014/

Pope Francis told participants at an international drug enforcement conference he is opposed to legalizing marijuana and other drugs for recreational use.

“The scourge of drug use continues to spread inexorably, fed by a deplorable commerce which transcends national and continental borders,” he said on Friday. “Attempts, however limited, to legalize so-called ‘recreational drugs,’ are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce desired effects.”

This is not the first time Pope Francis has spoken out against drug legalization, Newsweek reports. Speaking in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last year, he said, “A reduction in the spread and influence of drug addiction will not be achieved by a liberalization of drug use. Rather, it is necessary to confront the problems underlying the use of these drugs, by promoting greater justice, educating young people in the values that build up life in society, accompanying those in difficulty and giving them hope for the future.”

He has visited with people struggling with drug addiction both as Pope and when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, the article notes.

Hospitals Report Jump in ER Visits Related to Meth: Government Report
/By Join Together Staff
June 24th, 2014/

U.S. emergency departments reported a sharp increase in methamphetamine-related visits between 2007 and 2011, according to a new government report.

The report “shows that methamphetamine use may be on the rise again, and we must do everything we can to address this serious public health problem,” Dr. H. Westley Clark, Director of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, said in a news release.

The SAMHSA report found meth-related visits increased from about 68,000 in 2007, to almost 103,000 in 2011—the latest year for which data is available, HealthDay reports. ER visits related to meth had significantly decreased between 2005 and 2007, the article notes.

Meth-related ER visits increased sharply among people ages 25 to 34 and those 55 and older. The report found in 2011, 62 percent of meth-related ER visits also involved other drugs. Marijuana was the drug most likely to be combined with meth, followed by alcohol.

“One important step is to use the hospital emergency department visit as a critical opportunity to talk to, and intervene with, people using this drug so that they can more fully understand its dangers and where they can turn to for help,” Clark noted.

Meth has a high potential for abuse and addiction, according to SAMHSA. The drug can lead to a range of physical and mental health issues, including severe dental problems, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood changes, and violent behaviors.

Three-Fourths of Americans See Link Between Narcotic Painkillers and Addiction: Poll
/By Join Together Staff
June 24th, 2014/

A new poll finds 78 percent of Americans say they believe there is a link between drug addiction and narcotic painkillers, NPR reports.

The findings come from a nationwide poll conducted by NPR and Truven Health Analytics. The poll found 54 percent of all respondents said they had previously taken narcotic painkillers.

Slightly more than one-third of people who had taken narcotic painkillers had concerns about them, compared with 30 percent of those who had not taken the drugs. Addiction was respondents’ top concern about narcotic painkillers, followed by side effects.

About one-quarter of respondents said they had refused or questioned a prescription for an opioid, about the same rate as in a similar poll conducted in 2011, the article notes.

Fifty-four percent of those polled said potent painkillers such as Zohydro, a pure form of hydrocodone, should be available.

Some states want to ban Zohydro. Earlier this year more than 40 addiction treatment, health care and consumer groups urged the Food and Drug Administration to reverse its decision to approve Zohydro. The drug is designed to be released over time, and can be crushed and snorted by people seeking a strong, quick high. The opioid drug OxyContin has been reformulated to make it harder to crush or dissolve, but Zohydro does not include similar tamper-resistant features.

Growing Number of Drugged Drivers Test Positive for Prescription Drugs
/By Join Together Staff
June 24th, 2014/

A growing number of drugged drivers are testing positive for prescription drugs, a new study suggests. More drivers involved in fatal crashes tested positive for prescription medications than for any other drug type.

The study, published in Public Health Reports, also found the share of drugged drivers in fatal motor vehicle crashes who tested positive for marijuana reached 36.9 percent in 2010.

Drivers ages 50 and up account for an increasing share of drugged drivers, and for the highest proportion of prescription drug users, the study found. The findings come from an analysis of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center also found an increasing number of drivers are using more than one drug at once, according to U.S. News & World Report. “In 1993, about one in eight drivers were using multiple drugs concurrently. By 2010, it was closer to one in five. That’s a large increase in drug usage,” study author Fernando Wilson said in a news release.

“These trends are likely to continue into the future given the aging U.S. population, an increasing reliance on prescription medications by medical providers, and increasing initiatives to legalize marijuana,” Wilson said. “However, it is unclear whether current state policies are completely up to the challenge of addressing the growing issue of drugged driving.”

About half of drugged drivers were also under the influence of alcohol, the study found. Approximately 70 percent of drivers who tested positive for cocaine had also been consuming alcohol, and almost 55 percent of drivers who tested positive for marijuana also had alcohol in their systems.

The researchers suggested a range of strategies, including reducing prescription drug use by drivers through counseling by medical professionals, and increasing affordable access to mass transit.


The Council of Southeast PA, Inc. to host a town hall meeting featuring MADD’s “Power of Parents” presentation. Bucks County Doylestown, PA—June 30th, 2014 — Of all the dangers your teen faces, underage drinking is among the worst. Whether teens are experimenting with beer, wine, or other liquor, alcohol presents a serious—and potentially deadly—threat. Research shows that brain development continues well into a person’s twenties. Alcohol can affect this development, and contribute to a range of problems. You are invited to be part of the conversation, come find out how you can start talking before they start drinking.

Location of Meeting – Please RSVP David Fialko via e-mail Phone 215-230-8218 x 3162

Monday June 30th

Time: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Location: The Council of Southeast PA, Inc.

252 West Swamp Rd suite 33

Doylestown PA, 18901

About The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania, Inc.

The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania, Inc. is a private nonprofit prevention, education, advocacy, and intervention organization, providing a wide range of services to families, schools, businesses, individuals, and the community. Founded in 1975, The Council serves the Southeast region of Pennsylvania and is a member of a nationwide network of National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Affiliates. The Council has offices and Recovery Community Centers in Doylestown, New Britain, Bristol, and Philadelphia. For help with alcohol, tobacco or other substances, or for information on the disease of alcoholism and addiction, call 800-221-6333, toll-free, 24-hours a day. For more information, visit


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.

About Town Hall MeetingsEvery 2 years, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration sponsors national Town Hall Meetings to educate communities about underage drinking and to mobilize them around its prevention. Prevention is working! Help continue the downward trend in underage drinking by hosting or attending a meeting in your area.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn't know.”
For God understands all hearts, and he sees you.
He who guards your soul knows you knew.
He will repay all people as their actions deserve.

Step 5 Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs 

Will we ever get it right ! It can be very discouraging too have it all together and then start too slip back into the old way of doing things . Sometimes the fall is gradual but most times you go over and there is no holding on .The Proverb is the oldest excuse in the book and we know better ! The scary thing is that all we do comes with accountability and responsibility ,we will have too give an account after this life to the Maker of you , me , and everything . No I do not have any advice on how to avoid or stop yourself from going down the old road of doing things . I can suggest reworking the steps one through 12 over again . The road too recovery is long and difficult and it will be discouraging and exhausting at times , but we must press forward and we cannot live the way we once did . Once you escape from hell those that you left behind including a small part of yourself will do everything they can to pull you back in .

Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Attached are some flyers for programing through PRO-ACT/ Central Bucks Recovery Resource Center (CBRRC). As always these programs are free and available to all. If you need further information or would like to register to attend any of our programs, please feel free to contact me any time!

Please notice these specialty programs:

Start your week off right! Morning Devotions Mondays 10-11am, Feel the Difference!!

NEW Starting July 7th – Mondays 7:30 – 8:30pm. Health & Wellness - Renew Your Mind - Rebuild Your Body & Recover Your Spirit! Finding the sacred part of your recovery through Health & Wellness!!

Our Great Program! Expanding Your Recovery Toolkit June 6th 7 – 8:30. Presentation by two great speakers and group discussion period. Free Pizza to Share With Other Recovering people!!


An Educated Addict’s Mom is an Empowered Addict’s Mom.

Are you an addict’s mom who needs help with codependency?

Debbie Sherrick, a codependency coach who is offering a free class to our TAM members.

About Debbie Sherrick:

Debbie Sherrick is a Holistic Codependency Coach. Motivated by my own personal journey to healing myself from the Inside Out, I love sharing my story of coming out of the shame, low self-esteem and the pain of codependency. I am a certified Holistic Health Counselor and Codependency Life Coach teaching people how to unite mind, body and spirit for a successful healthy life style to achieve more self-love and empowerment in their relationships and personal life. My passion is to educate and encourage others to become healthy emotionally, physically and to develop a deep spiritual connection in taking control of their own lives in these areas.

Information on Empower Hour Codependency Class:

On Tuesday, June 24, 2014 from 8PM to 9PM EST Debbie Sherrick will be offering a free class “Exposing Shame and Not Good Enough: A Core Belief for Codependents” on the Empower Hour Show on Google+.

Debbie say’s “Feelings can come and go for all of us, but one that shows up so often in codependency recovery is the feeling of Shame....just not measuring up or feeling quite not good enough. It's what makes us feel guilty, bad, unlovable, weak, a people pleaser, sad, and place blame on themselves for many things. It's why saying NO and boundary setting are so hard for codependents.”

"The event is FREE but you must register to attend at

Much love to all addict’s moms and their families....Barbara Theodosiou founder of The Addict’s Mom.

Visit The Addict's Mom at:

Friday, June 20, 2014

Increase Access to Buprenorphine, Senators Urge Federal Officials
/By Join Together Staff
June 19th, 2014/

Two U.S. senators this week urged federal officials to expand access to buprenorphine to treat heroin and painkiller addiction.

Buprenorphine helps control drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms, but remains underused a decade after it was approved, the Associated Press reports. It can be prescribed as a take-home medicine, unlike methadone, which must be administered in a clinic. Buprenorphine has a lower risk of overdose and milder side effects, the article notes.

Federal law restricts buprenorphine prescribing, and insurance coverage of the treatment is inconsistent, according to the AP.

“We’ve heard remarkable stories of success with buprenorphine treatment, of lives saved and families rebuilt from the ravages of addiction,” Senator Carl Levin of Michigan said in a news release. “But we have also heard stories of frustration at the fact that many patients want this treatment but can’t get it, and we need to remove those hurdles.”

In 2000, Levin and Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah sponsored the Drug Addiction Treatment Act (DATA 2000), which made it legal for doctors to prescribe buprenorphine for up to 30 patients at a time in their offices. The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug’s use in 2002. Subsequently, the patient limit was raised to 100.

Senators Levin and Hatch hosted a forum Wednesday to examine impediments that prevent greater access to buprenorphine, and to explore changes that could help expand access. The American Society of Addiction Medicine has proposed raising the patient limit to as high as 500 for doctors who complete 40 hours of training, the article notes.

Some federal officials said they do not want to raise the patient limit because buprenorphine can be abused. Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said buprenorphine overdoses are common in Europe, where the drug is more available. Raising the patient limit could lead to buprenorphine “pill mills,” some officials noted at the forum.

Treatments for Heroin Addiction Face Challenges, Experts Say
/By Join Together Staff
June 19th, 2014/

A number of challenges stand in the way of successful treatment for heroin addiction, experts tell The Courier-Journal. The public must demand a better system for addiction treatment, they say.

Research-based best practices for treating addiction are not standard, as they are for other chronic illnesses, addiction expert A. Thomas McLellan told the newspaper. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, says the stigma of drug addiction has impeded development and investment in new treatments. Federal spending on addiction research was $320 million last year, about the same as 2002 when adjusted for inflation.

According to the NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, only about 10 percent of Americans who are dependent on heroin or prescription drugs receive treatment.

Traditionally, drug use was treated with group counseling and therapies, peer pressure and peer-oriented counseling, said Mady Chalk, formerly of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Treatment has often consisted of programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, which promote abstinence. “This idea that you can go in (to treatment) and come out the other end like you come out of a washing machine and you’re squeaky clean — now abstinent for the rest of your life — it doesn’t work that way,” she said. “Success doesn’t happen for a very long time. (You need) five years of monitoring and family intervention, then let’s talk about what you mean by success.”

Melinda Campopiano, Medical Officer for the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at SAMHSA, says while abstinence is the ultimate goal, medicines to treat addiction such as methadone, Suboxone and Vivitrol can help. “Your number-one goal is to keep this person alive. The odds of them dying in their uncontrolled addiction is very high,” she said.

While research indicates medication-assisted treatment results in better recovery rates, people addicted to drugs who are in the criminal justice system often are denied such treatment, the article notes.

Safety Warnings About Antidepressants Linked With Increase in Suicide Attempts
/By Join Together Staff
June 19th, 2014/

After health officials warned antidepressant use could lead to an increased risk of suicidal thoughts among young people, there was a rise in suicide attempts in this age group, according to a new study.

Doctors may have avoided prescribing antidepressants after media reports of the warnings by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Reuters reports. This could have led to an increase in depressed children and teens who were untreated, the researchers report in BMJ.

“This study is a one of the first to directly measure a health outcome driven by the interaction of public policy and mass media,” lead author Christine Lu of Harvard Medical School said in a news release. “The FDA, the media and physicians need to find better ways to work together to ensure that patients get the medication that they need, while still being protected from potential risks.”

In 2004, the FDA required warnings about the link between antidepressants and an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children and teens to be printed on antidepressant drug labels. The warnings were expanded in 2007 to include young adults. Previous research indicated use of antidepressants decreased after the warnings were issued, but other treatments for depression, such as therapy, did not increase.

The new study looked at data from healthcare organizations that provide care to about 10 million people. They found after the warnings were issued, use of antidepressants fell 31 percent among teens, 24 percent among young adults and 15 percent among adults.

During the same period, there was an increase in the number of teens and young adults who received medical care for overdosing on psychiatric medications, which the researchers said indicated an increase in suicide attempts. These overdoses rose by 22 percent among teens and 34 percent among young adults. There was no change among adults, and no change in completed suicides.

FDA Wants Drug Companies to Tweet Medication Risks Along With Benefits
/By Join Together Staff
June 19th, 2014/

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed social media guidelines that would require drug companies using Twitter to include the risks of their products along with benefits.

Experts said the guidelines would make it almost impossible for companies to tweet about the most commonly prescribed drugs.

All tweets would have to include the most serious risks associated with a drug, including those known to be fatal or life-threatening, according to ABC News. All side effects and warnings printed on approved product labeling would also have to be included, and the company would have to include links to more information about the drug’s risks and benefits. The guidelines, if approved, would go into effect in 90 days.

In the guidelines, the FDA offered a sample tweet for a fictional drug named NoFocus: “NoFocus (rememberine HCl) for mild to moderate memory loss-May cause seizures in patients with a seizure disorder”

Pfizer, which makes the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra, would have to include nine potentially serious side effects. The drug also has nine potentially dangerous interactions with other medications. There are at least 14 health conditions for which Viagra is not recommended for safety reasons.

“They wouldn’t be able to do it,” said Thomas Sullivan, editor of the Policy and Medicine blog for Rockpointe, a Maryland-based medical education company. “You’re not fitting that into 140 characters.” He added, “The FDA isn’t necessarily up on the realities of social media.”

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Listen to advice and accept discipline,
and at the end you will be counted among the wise.

STEP 10 Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

In the end how will your obituary read . Place    your name and                     on June 19 went to be with the devil .They have left behind a legacy of addiction cheating stealing lieing sorrow and suffering . The family is glad they are dead there loved one was a real  A hole and just mean too everybody .There is not a single person who will say different. Is this how you will be remembered ? The only way to find out what people will say is ask them and for those still using don't bother we already know what they will say .
Romans 1 :32 - Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
By Joseph Dickerson

 School Nurses Know that It’s Time for Students to Make “Smart Moves, Smart Choices”
/By Mary Louise Embrey
June 18th, 2014/

During my many years of working in the substance abuse field, I have seen the rise and fall of many different trends. In recent years, teen prescription (Rx) drug abuse has been of significant concern. The trend towards Rx drug abuse has been supported by national data sources indicating that one in four high school students has taken a prescription medication that was not prescribed for them by a doctor, and more teens abuse prescription drugs than illegal drugs, with the exception of marijuana.

In my work with the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), I have been fortunate to assist school nurses in responding to the concern of Rx drug abuse impacting students. In 2007, NASN and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., teamed up to create Smart Moves, Smart Choices (SMSC). As an effort to raise national awareness, the SMSC initiative has been informing parents, teens, and educators about teen prescription drug abuse and its serious risks. Smart Moves, Smart Choices features a website and educational videos. The multi-faceted initiative also offers a tool kit that enables educators to hold school assemblies about teen prescription drug abuse in their communities.

When working on the development of SMSC materials and delving into what school nurses were seeing with regards to Rx drug abuse, I spoke with Beth Mattey, a Delaware school nurse and NASN President-Elect. She shared, “In my practice as a high school nurse, I am well aware of the choices students must make on a daily basis. The reality is that our youth face the availability of all types of substances. The presence of responsible adults with positive messages and support is critical for helping students navigate safely into adulthood.”

More and more schools and parents are recognizing that school nurses are critical prevention agents in schools. Their education and assessment skills provide them with an added advantage in addressing substance-related issues. In addition, school nurses are often considered the most trusted school professional, and they have a better than average understanding of student behaviors and culture due to their daily interactions with students outside of the classroom. Often the school nurse will be the first person to identify when a student may potentially have a problem with prescription drugs.

Having access to the free-of-charge resource of Smart Moves, Smart Choices over the last several years has made a positive impact on students and their families throughout the country. School nurses and other specialized instructional support personnel (school social workers, psychologists, counselors, etc.) have taken the lead to implement the various components of the initiative. Awareness has been raised about the serious health problem related to the misuse and abuse of prescription medication among teens; and practical resource information has been provided. The recognized myths and misconceptions about prescription drug use are now being discussed in strategic ways and students and their families are learning how the abuse of prescription drugs can impact judgment and decision making. The message is being relayed that the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs can lead to risky behaviors; and can result in addiction, serious health issues and in some cases, death. Additionally, the fact that mixing prescription drugs with alcohol can be deadly is explained through the SMSC materials.

New Additions to the Smart Moves, Smart Choices Initiative
Animated Video About Teen Prescription Drug Abuse

The video entitled “Choices” depicts the serious decisions faced by teens, including whether or not to abuse prescription drugs.
Start Smart Elementary School Tools

These materials are designed to be used by educators in the elementary school setting to raise children’s awareness of safe and proper use of medicines.

Everyone who wants to learn more about prescription drug abuse and access free-of-charge prevention materials designed to reach elementary and secondary students and their families are encouraged to go to Without age appropriate factual information and prevention messages, young people will draw their own uninformed conclusions which often lead to negative consequences.

Going back to a practicing school nurse to determine the usefulness of Rx drug abuse prevention materials, Beth Mattey further explained, “School nurses appreciate the comprehensive resources brought to them through the work of NASN and Janssen. Many of our nurses stand ready to put them to good use. They know that the time has never been more right to encourage young people to make smart moves and smart choices!”

Mary Louise Embrey began working in the substance abuse field in 1974 at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. After her retirement from federal service, she became the first director of government affairs for the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), and currently serves as NASN’s substance abuse prevention consultant.


New England Governors Devise Plan to Tackle Heroin and Painkiller Abuse

/By Join Together Staff
June 18th, 2014/

The governors of five New England states announced Tuesday they are working together to tackle heroin and prescription painkiller abuse, The New York Times reports. The governors of Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts described the agreement at a press conference.

The states will share data on painkiller prescriptions, in an effort to stop “doctor shopping” by patients trying to obtain pills from multiple doctors. They also plan to formulate agreements among their state Medicaid programs, so that low-income patients in one state can be treated for addiction in facilities in another state.

“This epidemic has affected too many of our families and communities, but if we work together, we can recover together and we will come out of this crisis with strength and hope,” Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said in a news release. “Each of the New England governors has taken strong action to combat opiate abuse in their own states, and now we are acting together as one region to take on this challenge.”

The group will also work with Maine, Governor Patrick said. In the future, the states hope to work with New York and Canada, the governors noted.

The states will partner with Brandeis University’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Center of Excellence, which will analyze data from each state’s prescription monitoring programs. The initiative will focus on prescription drugs that often lead to heroin abuse. Brandeis researchers have found that areas with high levels of prescription drug abuse often have high levels of heroin abuse three years later, the article noted.

Drug Maker Will Study ADHD Medication in Preschool Children
/By Join Together Staff
June 18th, 2014/

The manufacturer of the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drug Vyvanse has agreed to study the drug in preschool children, at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The company, Shire, also makes the ADHD drug Adderall, the only such drug approved to treat children under age 6 in the United States.

A government study published last month found more than 10,000 toddlers in the United States are receiving medication for ADHD outside established guidelines. The report found children covered by Medicaid are most likely to receive drugs such as Ritalin or Adderall.

The American Academy of Pediatrics does not have guidelines for use of ADHD medications in children ages 3 and younger, because their safety and effectiveness in that age group has not been established.

Because so many young children are taking ADHD drugs, the FDA asked for additional information on the effects of the drugs in this population, according to Reuters.

Shire said the company is designing three clinical trials for children ages 4 to 5, which are expected to begin in the first half of 2015. One study will investigate how the body absorbs, breaks down and excretes the drug. Another will look at the drug’s safety and effectiveness in young children, and the third will test the drug’s safety over a longer period.

ADHD drugs have been linked with growth suppression in children, the article notes. They also can cause hallucinations, mania and delusions.

North Carolina Opioid Overdose Prevention Program Dramatically Cuts Deaths
/By Join Together Staff
June 18th, 2014/

A North Carolina opioid overdose prevention program has succeeded in dramatically cutting overdose deaths in one county, according to Medscape. The program is now being rolled out statewide.

Addiction experts discussed the program, called Project Lazarus, at the recent International Conference on Opioids.

Project Lazarus was implemented in Wilkes County, a socioeconomically depressed area in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Many residents have chronic pain because of physically demanding jobs in the logging, farming and textile industries. The county has experienced extremely high rates of opioid overdose deaths. In 2007, the county had the third highest drug overdose death rate in the United States.

Overdose deaths decreased 69 percent in Wilkes County between 2009 and 2011, with little change in how many residents received an opioid pain reliever. Emergency department visits for overdose and substance abuse decreased 15 percent between 2009 and 2010 in the county, compared with a 6.9 percent increase in the rest of North Carolina.

“More opioid prescriptions don’t automatically mean more deaths. It is possible to deliver good pain relief without a heavy overdose burden. But it takes the whole community to make it happen,” said Fred Wells Brason II, Executive Director of Project Lazarus.

The project holds individual education sessions with doctors and continuing medical education sessions on pain management at local hospitals. The project encourages doctors to implement opioid treatment agreements with patients, and to use the state prescription monitoring database, which helps them identify and prevent “doctor shopping.”

Other initiatives include working with hospital emergency departments to reduce the number of pills prescribed, partnering with law enforcement on medication “take-back” programs, and working with mental health centers to increase addiction treatment services. The project has also received funds to purchase and distribute naloxone kits for reversal of overdoses.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

States Scramble to Respond to Heroin Epidemic
/By Join Together Staff
June 17th, 2014/

State governors, legislatures and law enforcement across the country are scrambling to respond to the resurgence of heroin, USA Today reports.

“It’s really on the top of everyone’s radar from a public health perspective,” said Thomas MacLellan, Director of Homeland Security and Public Safety for the National Governors Association.

New heroin bills were introduced in at least 18 state legislatures, the article notes. The measures range from leniency for low-level heroin offenders, to permitting easier access to the opioid overdose antidote naloxone. Some states are considering tougher sentences for drug trafficking involving heroin.

Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts declared a public health emergency earlier this year, after deaths from heroin and opioid drugs rose more than 90 percent since 2002. The state will spend $10 million to create a court diversion system to provide treatment for non-violent drug offenders. Massachusetts will also devote an additional $20 million to the state’s drug treatment system.

Governor John Kasich of Ohio agreed to enroll his state in a Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act in response to the heroin crisis, according to the newspaper. Kasich, a Republican, decided to accept federal assistance despite the political consequences, because of the drug’s toll on state residents.

In January, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin said his state is suffering from a “full-blown heroin crisis.” In his State of the State Message, Governor Shumlin said he wants officials to respond to addiction as a chronic disease. He focused his entire speech on drug addiction and its consequences.

Advocates in a number of states are pushing for changes to laws to allow families to petition courts to intervene and order addiction and rehab treatment for loved ones addicted to heroin, even if they have no criminal record.