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ryanRyan, wherever you are, your mother, Jeanne and your family loves you.  Those who read this blog understand what happened and we care.  We have lost loved ones and ourselves, but we know the love that perseveres. In honor of you and your lovely mom Jeanne, Dadonfire publishes this exquisite letter.  Jeanne is expressing a loss of the color in her life that you gave her.  Ryan,  allow me say; Jeanne, color and joy are here for you.  Without a shadow of doubt, Ryan wants this for you.  We can transform our losses to love.  We honor those in our lives that embody that  by being the joy they want for us.

“So, if you remember the Wizard of Oz movie, where Dorothy lands in the world of Oz and she steps from the black and white world into the world of color? I loved that part of the movie. That was always one of my favorite parts. Life after the loss of my oldest son, Ryan has been that movie part, but in reverse…life was in color with him and Joe both in my world together. Everything was as it should be…I had my first grand daughter. Charlotte Rose. Things were good…Joe was married, he had a house…Ryan was healthy, he had a job he really enjoyed. He was SO excited about being best man at Joe and Brittany’s wedding. It was May 23, 2015. It was one of the happiest days of my life. Everyone was together. It was the most colorful day! Yes, the most colorful day, EVER!
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Screen Shot 2016-10-14 at 10.28.08 AM.pngLike Licking The Breath Of God –  Huffington Post

I know this guy.  In the years I covered this addiction scourge, I met Richie over the phone. He was  consulting for the 2010 hit movie, The Fighter with Mark Walberg and Christian Bale.  The main Character played by Mark, Micky Ward had a brother, Dicky Ecklund (Bale) who was also a great boxer, but was a jail bird and suffered from addiction in the Lowell area.  He was also Micky’s screwed up mentor.   The drug context of Lowell is Richie’s area of expertise.  He knew the lay of the land inside and out and was a boxer himself.  Richie and I had a couple of great conversations and some email correspondence.  I never met him face to face.  In The raw and telling book, What’s Left of Us, A Memoir of Addiction, he tells his story.  I remember reading the part where he as two friends purposely overdose, hoping to end it all, only to be rescued by paramedics.  I believe him.  I’ve seen it in my son, who overdosed more than once, each time being carted off to ER.  It’s is a love-hate relationship; deadlier than the worst love affair you have ever had.  Surviving it is not for the faint of heart.  Today my son sits in jail.  When I look into his eyes, I know he feels safe.  Slowly, jails are also beginning to see their role in dealing with addiction; coming around to a bit more humanity in how addicts are seen.  I could imagine my son saying something to the effect “Its like licking the breath of God” as Richie puts it.  Read his book, What’s Left of Us.

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 12.03.10 AM.pngShould Heroin addicts be forced into treatment?  As a father of an addict, I would say it some cases, a definite yes!, but that path is still finding its definition.  In the article, Compelled Drug Addiction Treatment,  you get a window in the that kind of thinking.  We do have the skills to know who can benefit.  Conventional wisdom may work fine for easier cases. 

Alcohol and Drug-Free Housing, a key strategy to breaking the cycle of addiction and recidivism,  is an approach written and detailed by Susan Mandiberg and Richard Harris.  This is a solid piece of research that outlines a workable path for the worst of addicts to get on board with recovery after detoxification.  Please download this and read later.   This is a pathway that is be part of a humane but compulsory treatment strategy.  It would be based on modern screening techniques applied to addicts caught committing crimes or when those who simply ask.  The old days of allowing addicts to abandon critical detox in the middle of an excruciating inhumane withdrawal seemed to be something designed to assure failure.  It was a mystery to me why my son’s  insurance company would only pay for detox if  was quick and painful. Read the rest of this entry »

Obama’s new moves to fight opioid, heroin abuse epidemic – CNN.com

 Jason Fishing
Honoring My Child/Understanding a Disease, submitted by Jason’s mom, Debbie Freburger, February 11, 2016, email: dfreburger@bwmc.umms.org
On December 23, 2015 my world changed forever. Our 29 year old son, Jason, died in our home of a Heroin overdose.  I now see the world through a veil of tears and struggle to find my footing each day when I wake and realize again, that it is real. The several years of battling his addiction caused so much pain for him, as well as our family. He felt shame, remorse, failure and regret. We felt lost, horrified, let down and confused by the American government and medical system. He worried about everything.   He was in and out of rehabs, jail, IOP, NA meetings and a halfway house not worth mentioning. My secret society of Nar-Anon members each suffered as I did.  Each week we would share our frustration, pain and confusion as to why professionals just did not get what was needed to help our loved ones help themselves.

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“Shawn Mahaffey, age 30 of Methuen, Massachusetts, passed away oScreen shot 2015-09-10 at 9.47.12 PMn September 6, 2015 as a result of his addiction.  Shawn will be remembered as a hard worker, kind hearted, generous soul and loved by all”   It’s tragic for me because I am a father of an addicted son; Shawn’s cousin and I know him.  I know his father.  He could be my own son and I grieve for Shawn’s dad.  I just gave a big hug to him few days ago and feel his pain as if it were my own.The toll addiction takes is not waning.  We all witness that current treatment policies and laws are not stopping the bleeding.  Often social services workers are just earning a paycheck; hardly putting a dent in the sad rate of deaths and social carnage that persists. 

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Screen shot 2015-02-10 at 12.20.03 PMIt is not Complicated.  Buprenorphine (aka Suboxone) can be available for any opiate addict.  A pervasive “They need to just quit” attitude either ends up killing our worst addicts or supporting endless incarceration and emergency health care.   Folks!!!   This is cheap medication for a grave addiction that otherwise forces addicts into homelessness, jails and hospitals.  If our institutions were on board,  the unmanageable part of the issue becomes manageable; the root cause of an addiction is examined!  Moms & Dads are crying for this.  We are finding that personality disorders and detachment are among root causes.  this doesn’t go away with cold turkey.  Please view the link below to insight into this problem.

THE WONDER DRUG, Why are drug courts denying heroin addicts the medicine they need

BillWhat does a dad do after watching his son for a decade through Heroin addiction?  Can you think of anything worse?  Some say walk away!   They tell me,  “an addict needs to save their own dammed self”.  What can a dad do anyway?  Cry?  Drink?  go to a movie?  Come on!   I love this kid; so don’t all dads!…and moms.  When he squeezed out of his mother 27 years ago that made me cry. That was real joy.  That was a miracle.  A little wrinkled blue guy looking up at me through glazed newborn eyes.  I am his dad.  Wow?  Now a Dad on fire.  Owen is in Yuma now, engaged in a rehab facility called the Light House, run by Community Bridges, an Arizona Statewide social services organization that administers detox and residential services in addition to wide range of other mental health programs.  I pray as I always have, that this will be his time.  That freedom will finally be within his grasp; that he will see a glint of light at a very long and dark tunnel.  Of course my heart goes out to all the father’s and mothers that have experienced the scourge of drug addiction of one of their loved ones .  I say don’t give up.  Take as good of care of your self as possible.  Its hard; maybe the hardest thing you will ever know.

Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 12.24.55 PMI often publicize the damage that narcotic and other drugs bear on Americans.  Ensuing addiction is a massive destructive force that is destroying 7% of our population & not the least, families & taxpayers.  Now, we find that 8,000 veterans each year are dying allegedly due to overly prescribed psychotropic and/or narcotic drugs.  Is it suicide?…  overdose?… We do know.  We know its real and targeting veterans and active servicemen and women.  The Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights  is exposing the issue.  It is well worth checking out.  I also publicize the notion of elevating these issues to national prominence and demanding its attention within the framework of solutions.  Please view the film; The Hidden Enemy.

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Screen shot 2014-02-03 at 10.16.13 AMWith all his money, what chance do our kids have if this guy can’t save himself.   Addictiveness illness is slowly being recognized as the disease that it is;  a serious condition that will kill if not treated.   Philip Seymour Hoffman is among many celebrities that overdosed.  It often starts with abuse of opiate medication.  3 million  suffering opiate addicts in the U.S is the factual result.  We know it wouldn’t be said to a cancer patient, but parents of young addicts, driven to the brink of madness are often told to let the addict go into a world that embodies a deep denial of humanity.  For most addicts, that conclusion is stigma,  jail and homelessness.  I respect Mr. Hoffman’s accomplishments.  Now the light his death sheds on this scourge may contribute to saving the lives of our own children who are  shrouded in the stench of  opiate addition.  Please see  Philip Seymour Hoffman, Actor of Depth, Dies at 46 – NYTimes.com.

Screen shot 2013-08-08 at 11.46.00 PMDr. Sanjay Gupta: Why I changed my mind on weed – CNN.com.

I am always looking for  perspectives from bright and influential people who are paving the road to resolution on how America’ deals with its menagerie of addictions.  Here is another one.   This piece aired Sunday,  8 p.m. ET August 11 on CNN by the esteemed Dr. Sanjay Gupta.  His thoughts embody the compassion needed to deal with a nation that treats alcohol and drugs  liberally on the one hand yet brutally stigmatizes and criminalizes a growing minority that fall of the cliff.  I focus on that rather than the legalization of drugs.  The web blog, moreover, promotes eventual legitimacy of addiction as a medically treatable disease backed by legislation.  This has to coincide with the decriminalization of drug usage in order to embody a unified approach to accessible treatment free of fear and judgement.

Uppsala, Sweden, July 4, 2013.  Orexo Labs  announced it has received approval from the F.D.A. for Zubsolv™ (buprenorphine/naloxone) sublingual tablet CIII.  Zubsolv is formulated for treatment for people suffering from opioid dependence

Born Broken  is a blog worth visiting by a writer with a story to tell about addiction in his family.  Steve R. has just published a book that is an exquisitely candid account of his life experience.  You can view excerpts on Amazon’s preview feature, “look here”.  Enjoy.   link by Steve R

The scourge of addiction crosses all political and social lines.  Still, many do not talk about it.  Recently the founder of a grief site called GRASP  appeared on the conservative Bill O’Reilly Show.  The topic relates to drug use and addiction.  It touched a difficult and  profound debate that impacts thousands of young people.  I talk about it in a piece just posted on dadonfire.net.  So why does this remind me of Bill Williams.  Well,  many members of the site GRASP know what drug addiction means to their family and how that led to the loss of a child and what may stop the carnage.  So, Bill Williams is appearing on Larry G’s  Prescription Radio Show, Tuesday night June 18th 5-7PM (EST) to talk profoundly about his experience with loss in honor of his son.   Check out Bill William’s  blog for more detailed information.   You can read his story in  Ending the Secrecy of a Child’s Addiction – NYTimes.com.

It is often said that addiction or alcoholism will end in jails, mental institutions or death.     State of mental health funding in 2011. 

30,000 drug overdose deaths a year,

Addicts prescribed opiate replacement drugs can ask about generics rather than relying on proprietary Subutex/Suboxone marketed by Reckitt Benckiser.  Suboxone is buprenorphine with added naloxone to block opioid receptors and helping to avoid abuse.  Subutex is just  buprenorphine.  It is sold generically, since Reckitt Benckiser’s patent expired.   BupPractice.com focuses on proper use.  Recovery Helpdesk is also good website.  Generics are available for $3.00 per 8mg pill or less.  View therapeutic drug replacement for heroin addiction.  Buprenorphine, used in replacement drug therapy and is still addictive but the best option for some.  Treatment professionals call  this replacement drug therapy,  harm reduction.  It stabilizes addicts and gets them off illegal street opiates.  Buprenorphine is safe  for those who can  follow medical directions.   The downside is that tapering  off the drug  is not easy, but the next step.  The blog: suboxone talk zone is a “in the trenches” source of information.

The Partnership at Drugfree.org hosts Facebook Chat with New York Times Best-Selling Author of Clean and Beautiful Boy, David Sheff.

The House I Live in  updates a 40-year-old unsolved problem.

The drug war is a problem that tears apart Americans.  The victims are millions of family members who care about someone trapped in addiction.  What it does to an addict is a torment words can’t adequately describe.  This is really a war, not on drugs, but on all of us.  It is a parasitical phenomena that relies on public silence while demanding massive cash flow; the taxpayer its host.   Dealing with addiction and ending drug demand  is antithetical to its existence.   See the film, The House I live in link by Monica

Rethinking the War on Drugs – The Wall Street Journal, Mark Kleiman, Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken.    Link by Tom M.  The U.S. has reached a dead end in trying to fight drug use by treating every offender as a serious criminal. Blanket drug legalization has some superficial charm—it fits nicely into a sound-bite or tweet—but it can’t stand up to serious analysis.    Mark Kleiman has ideas that provide an answer which history shows always falls somewhere in a middle ground.  It is a realty based proposition;  facts!  View  Frontline’s BUSTED, America’s War on Marijuana.  and view Huffington Post’s online archive of Mark’s publications

Screen shot 2013-03-18 at 12.19.09 AMCOMPASS HEALTH CARE INC – Arizona Gives From midnight on March 20 and continuing until 11:59 p.m., you can go online to http://www.AZgives.org  to show  support for Compass Health Care Inc., an Arizona addiction recovery organization making progress one recovery at a time.  You can make a  contribution to help.  All online donations during this effort will go directly to support Compass Behaviorial Healthcare’s  Vida Nueva, a non-profit recovery home for woman.  Thank you   CLICK TO DONATE

 

As U.S drug policy continues to rely on a counterproductive drug war, resistance to moving towards decriminalizing addiction, persists.  Of course, the losers are young addicts that can and should be rehabilitated.  many are on the road to become criminalized addicts, if not already there.  Some have a hustle; others fill our jails.  Make no mistake, many are our children and relatives.

Public and private treatment institutions remain effectively,  insignificant in dealing with the populations that need their services.  The realty is that it takes money to recover and isolation from the outside world for a typical addict.  Treatment professionals agree that a long period of abstinence is necessary for the restoration of  naturally occurring dopamine and receptor functioning.  Without this transformation and internment,  an addict exists in an emotional black hole.   The loss of 7 million Americans to addiction each year is very significant.   An alcohol and drug dependent America is dragging us down.   With exception to the Veterans Administration and  federally funded programs, our insurance and healthcare policies are ineffective.  They do not deal with co-existing mental disorders or proper treatment.  Typical insurance and health care policies consistently demonstrate rejection of proper substance use disorder (SUD) treatment.  Except for sparse and difficult public funding, insurance companies rarely pay for basic replacement drug therapy which is relatively cheap.

We live in a world that hates addictive behavior, yet silently condones the biggest drug dependent and alcoholic population on earth.  People like Governor Scott of Florida ditch prescription databases over privacy and business rights.  How does that even fit?   Our government claims to want to eradicate demand and source, yet have at least enabled or created a situation in which more pharmaceutical opiates are available than ever and our budget to fight the drug war in Mexico is as counterproductive as our U.S. job eating trade deficit.  Instead we jail addicts.   Addicts who are not violent, should be screened and sequestered in an environment geared to treatment.  Dollars spent to accomplish this can come from otherwise, redundant incarceration.  Addicts are human beings that need to be rehabilitated.  Jails and prisons are good at warehousing and worsening criminal behavior.  With an exception to federal prisons, what is missing,  is the willful intent to screen and rehabilitate.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 29,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 7 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Bill and Sandy are the authors of the book “Dig Deep in One Place: A Couple’s Journey to a Spiritual Life.”   They have both over-come addiction and are now passionate writers, speakers and artists.  Like many that write about recovery and personal experience, Bill and Sandy lay out their journey for the benefit of the reader.   Their blog is also a place where you can view their online blog full of their thoughts and reflections like the piece; Why is Recovery The Answer?

Bon Jovi is a gifted musician with a big heart.  He and Iranian superstar Andy Madadian recorded a stunning re-master of the hit song “Stand by Me”.  It must be exactly what he is saying to his 19 year only daughter who survived a heroin overdose.   He has certainly felt an immensity of fear that only the near loss of a child can create.   My heart goes out to him and his family.   Read how the world of drugs and addiction has now touched his world in a significant way as reported by the Atlanta Black Star, Wed., 11/14/12.  Bon Jovi’s Daughter Arrested on Drug Charges after Overdose.  This event shows one more time how painfully we are all impacted by scourge of drug use and addiction however we walk our lives.   Stephanie Bongiovi is alive and well to face the consequences of a near death experience.  Many of our children have not been so fortunate and my heart goes out even farther for this continuing tragedy.  The issues of drug addiction are wide spread.  Events like this serve as a call to action, highlighting the pervasiveness of drug addiction in America.

Vigil For Loved Ones Lost to Drug Overdose – www.kmir6.com.

Motivational Interviewing (MI) theory and skill building  for treatment professionals.   MI seminar information link  Contact Kathleen Sciacca via email @ ksciacca@pobox.com   tel.  212-866-5935.  This announcement is geared to treatment professionals and relates to addiction and dual diagnosis intervention and treatment.  This is a three day seminar that takes place October 29, 30, and 31, 2012  @ the Hotel Beacon in New York City.  Call or email for information.    See link above for fees.

The Way Live.com.    Pastor and Musician,  John Kilzer calls  his recovery worship service The Way — because in the Gospel of John, Jesus said, “I am the way” and because the 12 Steps are known as a way to recovery.  Music is John’s venue to success.   The music is for the broken, and those who don’t know they’re broken.  It’s for the recovering, and those who don’t believe they’re recovering. It’s got a message for those who need to hear one, and it’s plainly stunning…and for those who’d rather not….and not least, John Kilzer is simply an amazing artist.

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