Addiction/Recovery eBulletin Vol. 5, No. 4

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‘Body Brokers’ Get Kickbacks to Lure People with Addictions to Bad Rehab NPR AUDIO

bodysnatchersAug. 15, 2017 – The first step for unscrupulous rehab centers: Recruiting clients who have good health insurance. That’s created a whole new industry — something called patient brokering or “body brokering.” … There are charges for all kinds of things — nutrition counseling, acupuncture and chiropractic care among them. But the big expenses were for testing — urine testing. “When they had charged $9,500 for five urinalyses,”…CONTINUED @ NPR.or

Fentanyl linked to thousands of overdose deathsODdeaths

Aug. 15, 2017 – An empty chair sits near train tracks in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood, where opioid abusers have littered the ground with needles and other trash. Fentanyl was responsible for more than 400 overdose deaths in Philadelphia last year … “It’s a new epidemic,” said Gutierrez, 42, who shoots up on the sidewalks here in Kensington by day and ducks into abandoned buildings at night as he copes with crippling addiction. He has watched his friends die and says, “If you catch a pure bag of fentanyl, that Narcan ain’t bringing you back.” CONTINUED @ WashingtonPost.com

‘Dearborn ‘pill mill’ raided VIDEO

pillmill2August 18, 2017 – Dr. Mohammad Derani of West Bloomfield, allegedly prescribed more than 500,000 opioid pills since January. Investigators said roughly half of the pills ended up on the street. The pills were prescribed at the clinic and picked up elsewhere. Alwajed worked as an office assistant at the clinic … authorities found signed prescription pads that weren’t filled out and about $50,000 during the search warrant executed Thursday. CONTINUED @ ClickOnDetroit.co

Addiction/Recovery eBulletin Vol. 5, No. 2

Addiction/Recovery Vol. 5 headerTo Grow Market Share, a Drugmaker Pitches Vivitrol to Judges NPR AUDIOcashjudge

August 3, 2017 – One reason for this preference is that Alkermes, the drug’s manufacturer, is doing something nearly unheard of for a pharmaceutical company: It is marketing directly to drug court judges and other officials.. — He says he also got a rash — another possible reaction to Vivitrol, according to the product’s warnings. Months after he had the shot, he still had white splotches on his arms, which he attributed to the drug. But even with those symptoms, Kirby says the court urged him to stick with the medication for a couple of more months. “They were way too pushy about it,” he says.

NAATP To Produce Addiction Treatment Provider Guidebook 

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DENVER, August 2, 2017 – The National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) announced a new initiative today to address problematic business practices in the addiction treatment field. Illegal, unethical, and unprofessional practices have reached an all-time high, fueled in part by the opioid addiction crisis, creating a need for industry practice standards. While bad practices are committed by a minority of treatment providers, they cause serious public harm and damage the reputation of ethical high quality treatment operators.   

Rehab Arrests Follow NBC News Report with Megyn Kelly VIDEO

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Aug. 1, 2017 – State and Federal charges were filed against rehab industry insiders following a Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly investigation of fraud and overdoses in the drug treatment industry.

CONTINUED @ NBCNews.com

Addiction/Recovery eBulletin Vol. 5, No. 1

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Hooked and hustling heroin: A couple’s life in Kensington, Philadelphia

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July 28, 2017 – “I’m king,” he says, in a pair of red-mirrored sunglasses. “I make the most money. I got the most clients. And I give the best runs.” That’s what Ray is — a runner. Every day, from early morning to late night, he sells “works” — clean syringes — at the foot of the El station in Kensington … It’s a good day. They have get-well money — enough to buy their first fix in the morning, the one that staves off the early symptoms of withdrawal, the nausea, and the aches and pain. Together, they inject up to 30 bags of heroin a day.

Kevin Michael Key, advocate who found hope and sobriety on skid row, dies at 67

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July 28, 2017 – A onetime criminal defense attorney who lost his career to a crack addiction, Kevin Michael Key found both ruin and redemption on skid row, a neighborhood he came to embody as one of its loudest and most persistent activists … in 2002, Key got sober and found new life in activism. He joined the United Coalition East Prevention Project, worked as a liaison for the diabetes program at the JWCH Community Clinic, marched with the prison reform group Critical Resistance and served two terms on the Downtown Neighborhood Council. He prodded civic leaders to give skid row the same attention and amenities that other neighborhoods received. He preached the gospel of sobriety.

Life or Death Matter of Ethics

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July 28, 2017 – The problem is multi-faceted and includes “body brokering,” a practice in which people are paid to bring in new clients. Kickbacks involve providers receiving money to send patients to a particular facility, or excessive and unnecessary drug testing in order for labs to gain insurance payouts. Some “sober houses” are really just unlicensed and unregulated drug dens because there’s often a payout when patients cycle through rehab and these flophouses. All of this means people suffering from addiction are treated like commodities and aren’t getting the help they need. – BUT THE RAY OF LIGHT HERE IS THAT WE CAN CHANGE THIS!

Addiction/Recovery eBulletin Vol. 4, No. 45

BannerWorst Epidemic in U.S. History? Opioid Crisis Now Leading Cause of Death for Americans Under 50 VIDEO

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JUNE 07, 2017 – AMY GOODMAN: And so, what about the role of Big Pharma, of the drug companies?
DR. ANDREW KOLODNY: Well, the reason we have this epidemic, as I mentioned, is because doctors have been writing too many prescriptions. And that change in the way we treated pain began in the late ’90s. And as the prescribing took off, it led to parallel increases in addiction and overdose death.

Prozac Nation is now the United States of Xanax

ProzacJune 10, 2017 – According to data from the National Institute of Mental Health, some 38 percent of girls ages 13 through 17, and 26 percent of boys, suffer from an anxiety disorder. Marshall McLuhan famously wrote, a cool medium. Our devices are literally hot, warming our laps and our palms.”In our always-on culture, checking your phone is the last thing you do before you go to sleep, and the first thing you do if you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom,” Mr. Harris said. “Just today, I got an alert on my phone about the collapsing Arctic ice shelf. That’s scary as hell.” Push notifications. Apocalyptic headlines. Rancorous tweets. Countless studies have found links between online culture and anxiety. But if social media can lead to anxiety, it also might help relieve it.

A Drugmaker Tries to Cash in on the Opioid Epidemic, One State Law at a Time NPR AUDIO 

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June 12, 2017 – State lobbying records show that McCaffrey lobbies for Alkermes, the company that makes Vivitrol.
Asked earlier this year whether Indiana lawmakers knew about his lobbying for Alkermes, McCaffrey said, “I imagine some do and some don’t.” But several lawmakers who have worked closely with McCaffrey, including Davisson, say they were not aware.

Addiction/Recovery eBulletin Vol. 4, No. 42

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How some Southern California drug rehab centers exploit addiction

BehindMay 21, 2017 – For five patients treated at one center, Grajeda paid a total of $1,193 in upfront insurance costs. Those patients went on to generate claims of more than $4 million to Blue Shield, state records show…Though many legitimate centers remain, critics and long-time insiders say a darker version of the industry is emerging, built around an illicit world of patient recruiters, fraud-driven clinics and drug-testing mills … Everything from the opioid epidemic and Obamacare to prison realignment and legal loopholes has created conditions in which unethical operators can flourish, using addicts to bilk insurance companies and the public out of hundreds of millions of dollars … State records show that Rueben “Benji” Grajeda, a one-time methamphetamine dealer with a half-dozen felony convictions in Orange and Los Angeles counties, took on a side job in 2014 – connecting addicts to rehab centers…

Sobriety for Sale: Clinic inspectors say state agency foiled their investigations VIDEO 

SobMay 17, 2017 – Two state workers charged with reviewing the operations of state-licensed drug and alcohol treatment centers say KING 5’s ongoing investigation into corrupt clinics correctly revealed failures in oversight by the agency charged with policing the treatment industry. One of those workers, Tammy Wright, cited as an example an investigation she worked on that turned up forged documents at a licensed drug and alcohol treatment center in Spanaway called “Abracadabra.”

Travis Barker, Blink-182 drummer, opens up about drug addiction… VIDEO  

BarkMay 17, 2017 – Travis Barker opened up about how he turned to drugs after surviving a plane crash and overcoming his addiction. The Blink-182 drummer’s plane from South Carolina to California crashed during takeoff in 2008 and two of his friends died. Barker survived and was left with second- and third-degree burns; he spent 11 weeks in the hospital and underwent 27 surgeries, as well as blood transfusions and skin grafts.

Addiction/Recovery eBulletin Vol. 4, No. 37

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Sheriff’s Warning to Heroin Dealers is Tone Deaf say Experts Video

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April 10, 2017 – “Enjoy trying to sleep tonight, wondering if tonight’s the night our SWAT team blows your front door off the hinges,” he says to the underlay of battle-ready music.” A viral video from a Florida sheriff flanked by four masked officers in tactical gear while warning that he will “come after” heroin dealers is a misguided way to address the opioid epidemic, say drug policy experts. Lake County Sheriff Peyton Grinnell put out the ominous clip on Friday, warning drug dealers who happened to be viewing his agency’s Facebook page that he’s “coming for” them.

DR. GABOR MATE FULL 4 min. ONE-ON-ONE EXPLOSIVE INTERVIEW WITH TUCKER CARLSON VIDEODr.

“Drugged”: Capitalism, Opioids and the history of heroin.

New White House drug czar has ideas for where to put nonviolent drug users: “hospital-slash-prison.” VIDEO

CzarApril 12, 2017 – Forced inpatient treatment in a hospital-slash-prison would presumably include drug users who are not necessarily drug abusers. Only about 21 percent of current marijuana users meet diagnostic criteria for abuse or dependence, for instance. The other 79 percent do not need treatment for their drug use. Marino acknowledged that implementing such a policy nationwide would “take a lot of money.” Whether he’ll push for such a strategy as drug czar remains an open question. Beyond that, the office’s track record on meeting its drug policy goals is not the greatest. In 2010, they set a series of ambitious goals to reduce drug use, overdoses and drugged-driving incidents.

Addiction/Recovery eBulletin Vol. 4, No. 36

Banner3 Brooklyn Clinics, 6.3 Million Oxycodone Pills & 13 IndictmentsBrookly APRIL 7, 2017 –

Noting that the abuse of drugs like the painkiller oxycodone had helped fuel a national opioid epidemic, officials said the case combined a drug conspiracy and Medicaid fraud, in which the clinics also billed the government for expensive but unneeded tests. “I have to say I’ve never really seen anything like it,” Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s special narcotics prosecutor … Officials said they learned in the course of the inquiry that two Brooklyn clinics owned by Dr. Feygin – were selling large numbers of prescriptions for oxycodone.

Hazelden/Betty Ford Treats Opioid Addiction With Innovations

SassAPRIL 4, 2017 – The Hazelden Betty Ford foundation conducted a “searching and fearless moral inventory” of its best practices, and realized that more could be done to save the lives of people addicted to opioids by helping them succeed in treatment. The result was the COR-12 program. The program uses medications as well as psychological and psychiatric care and addiction treatment including 12-step counseling in order to best serve people who are addicted. The program is unique in that it uses medication-assisted treatment in conjunction with, but never as a replacement for, 12-step recovery. While the goal will always be abstinence, patients in the COR-12 program stay on their assistive medications through detox and beyond.

Sass, Drugs, and Rock and Roll

BettyAPR 2017 ISSUE – Forty years ago, when Julia Negron was married to a rock star and addicted to heroin, ODs were so common in her household that she kept a paramedic on call. When someone nodded out, he would dispense emergency injections of naloxone, a drug with a reputation for bringing seemingly lifeless bodies back from the dead. Today, the back of Negron’s black SUV is loaded with the drug as she pulls into a Sarasota, Florida, parking lot and pops the trunk. A trickle of people approach to grab doses of the drug, which may one day revive a friend, a spouse, or a child … Naloxone, which has been around since 1971, reverses the effects of overdosesfrom opioids like heroin, OxyContin, and fentanyl. It has saved countless thousands of lives…

 

Addiction/Recovery eBulletin Vol. 4, No. 22

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95 patient-brokering charges against treatment center CEO

james-kigarAlready arrested on a handful of patient brokering charges in October, addiction treatment center executive James Kigar is now facing a total of 95 separate criminal counts linked to cashing in on recovering addicts.The spate of extra patient-brokering allegations were filed Dec. 20, according to court records, less than a week after a ninth arrest was made in connection with what prosecutors describe as a cash-for-patients scheme. Kigar has pleaded not guilty, “and will continue to do so,” said his attorney, David Frankel. Prosecutors say Kigar’s Whole Life Recovery center in Boynton Beach ginned up business by paying sober home operators to send him their residents for outpatient treatment. The payments were labeled as “case-management fees. READ MORE @ MyPalmBeachPost.com

Alcohol abuse tied to the world’s biggest killer – heart disease

alcoholAlcohol increases the risk of people suffering from heart disease as much as any other well-established risk factors such as diabetes, obesity or smoking. Thousands of heart attacks and heart failure could be avoided each year if alcohol abuse was completely eradicated. Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the No 1 killer of both men and women around the world. World Health Organisation data suggests that in 2012, 31% of all global deaths were due to CVDs. Thousands suffer heart attacks, congestive heart failure and atrial fibrillation each year. READ MORE @ ibTimes UK 

Synthetic opioids are getting into US by mail  

us-mail-packageDeadly synthetic opioids are streaming into the United States amid a flood of mail that arrives unscreened from abroad every day, overwhelming the Postal Service and fueling the drug epidemic gripping much of the country, security experts and Massachusetts lawmakers say. Nearly 1 million packages a day enter the country without any advance electronic information that might flag the presence of dangerous opioids such as fentanyl, much of which is manufactured in China… READ MORE @ BostonGlobe.com 

Addiction/Recovery eBulletin Vol. 4, No. 21

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How George Michael battled with his health, drug addiction, pneumonia and a car crash: VIDEO  

george-michaelDec. 25, 2016 – George Michael has “passed away peacefully at home” , it was announced tonight. His publicist broke the news in a statement issued at 11pm , saying he died over the Christmas period. The statement said: “It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period. “The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time…READ MORE @ mirrorUK

George Michael died alone as he battled secret heroin addiction
george-michael-2Dec. 26, 2016 – Fadi Fawaz, a celebrity hairdresser, who had been in a relationship with the star since 2011, said he discovered him when he went to his home in Oxfordshire as the pair had  been planning to spend the day together.
He told the Daily Telegraph: “We were supposed to be going for Christmas lunch. I went round there to wake him up and he was just gone, lying peacefully in bed. We don’t know what happened yet … But in recent years the hedonistic lifestyle he became famous for had left the once dashingly handsome pop icon a bloated version of himself. It can also be revealed that over the past year he is thought to have been battling a spiraling heroin addiction.
Wall Street Drug Dealer Cardinal Health agrees to pay $44 million for distribution of controlled substances

cardinal-health“With the opioid crisis reaching epidemic proportions,” U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara said in a press release, “pharmaceutical companies must be part of the solution, not part of the problem.” Cardinal Health agreed to pay $44 million to settle federal lawsuits regarding the distribution of controlled substances. The Dublin-based healthcare company admitted to failing to report large orders for painkillers such as oxycodone in 2011 and 2012. In 2012, the company settled a related lawsuit with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and agreed to a two-year suspension of its ability to distribute controlled substances from a Florida facility. The $44 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice resolved the outstanding civil penalty from the earlier case.

Addiction/Recovery eBulletin Vol. 4, No. 18

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Duterte: On phone call Trump praised my drug war as ‘right way’

DuterePhilippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to “kill all” the country’s suspected drug users and dealers has many foreign critics, including the United States, the European Parliament and the International Criminal Court. It now has at least one high-profile supporter: President-elect Donald Trump, at least according to Duterte. In a statement Saturday, Duterte shared details of a seven-minute conversation that took place Friday. He said that during the call, Trump endorsed his campaign against drug users and dealers – a campaign that has left at least 4,500 Filipinos dead in about five months. Trump told Duterte that he was doing it the “right way,” according to Duterte’s account.

Porn addiction turns men into Hopeless lovers who can’t please…

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Young chaps’ solo screen time is eroding their virility and eating away at their ability to please a lady. Dr Andrew Smiler, a “masculinity expert”, claimed that up to one in ten young men are now suffering from erectile dysfunction caused by porn addiction. Smiler’s research is nothing to grin about, sketching a portrait of doomed young boys suffering the sort of penis problems normally associated with old men. “The guys I see, most of them are between 13 and 25,” … “The vast majority are, for the most part, the picture of physical health.” These boys spend so many hours in front of porn that they find it difficult to perform in real life. “In porn, sex always happens very easily, everybody has a great time and nobody ever refuses or says ‘i don’t want to do that’,” he added. “But in reality, people aren’t always in the mood.

Duran Duran Duo’s ‘No Rewind,’ Penned by At-Risk Youth AUDIO

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Duran Duran bassist John Taylor and drummer Roger Taylor have shared a new track titled “No Rewind,” which the duo created in collaboration with at-risk youth in the Road Recovery program … Over the course of nine months, the Duran Duran members and the young people involved in the New York-based program traded riffs, demos and ideas before finally recording “No Rewind” at New York City’s Threshold Recording Studio during a stop on Duran Duran’s Paper Gods tour. John Taylor said of the project in a statement, “Road Recovery offers a safe, drug and alcohol-free place for young people to learn and work, and with professional guidance, introduces them to all aspects of the music business – from songwriting and performance, to the delivery of their music to fans, either live or via recordings.