Senator John Cornyn Visits The Council to Host Roundtable Discussion on Opioid Addiction in Houston

Council CEO Mel Taylor welcomes Senator and Mrs. John Cornyn to The Council on Recovery
Senator Cornyn leads roundtable discussion

U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) visited The Council on Recovery on October 30th to host a roundtable discussion on opioid addiction in Houston. The discussion came a week after the President signed into law legislation that was originally introduced by Cornyn and U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA). The new law, called the Substance Abuse Prevention Act, will help local groups in Houston combat substance abuse.

Participating in the roundtable were representatives from The Council on Recovery; Addiction Policy Forum; the Success Through Addiction Recovery (STAR) Drug Court Program; Houston High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA); both the Fort Bend Community and Southeast Harris Prevention Coalitions; and law enforcement leaders from Houston, Galveston, Harris County, Victoria County, and Fort Bend County.

CEO Taylor describes The Council’s efforts to treat addiction

The discussion focused efforts to fight Southeast Texas’ illegal drug supply, divert those with substance abuse problems to treatment and recovery programs, and work with local communities to prevent illegal drug use.

The group was also given a demonstration of how to use a Naloxone overdose kit to revive an opioid overdose victim. During the meeting, more than 100 overdose kits were distributed to law enforcement officials attending the roundtable.

CEO Taylor addresses media questions

The Substance Abuse Prevention Act, part of the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, reauthorizes critical programs to reduce demand for narcotics, provides assistance to law enforcement and service providers so they can better combat opioid addiction, and supports those recovering from substance use disorders.

The Council on Recovery is Houston’s oldest and largest non-profit provider of prevention, education, treatment, and recovery services for individuals and their families affected by substance use disorders. The Council and its Center for Recovering Families are tirelessly at work battling opioid epidemic on a daily basis. If you or a loved one needs help, call The Council at (713) 942-4100 or contact us online.

Cornyn, Feinstein Substance Abuse Prevention Bill Passes in Opioids Package

U.S. Senate Passes of The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018

The Council on Recovery applauds the efforts of the United States Senate in passing the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 by a vote of 99-1. The bill included the Substance Abuse Prevention Act, sponsored by Senators John Cornyn and Dianne Feinstein. The following press release was issued shortly after the bill passed:

U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) released the following statements after their Substance Abuse Prevention Act, a bipartisan bill to reauthorize drug abuse programs, passed as a part of The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018.

“Our nation continues to suffer from a drug crisis, and this critical legislation will combat the supply of opioids and help individuals and families suffering from substance abuse,” said Sen. Cornyn. “By including the Substance Abuse Prevention Act in this bill, we will be able to strengthen the ability of law enforcement and healthcare agencies to reduce addiction and support those in recovery.”

“Drug addiction and overdoses have reached crisis levels in our country,” Sen. Feinstein said. “In order to address this issue we must strengthen the agencies and programs that are focused on stopping drug use before it starts, dismantle drug trafficking organizations and expand access to treatment. This bill embraces that strategy by reauthorizing the Office of National Drug Control Policy and other successful initiatives like the Drug-Free Communities and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas programs. The bill also establishes new programs to provide law enforcement with tools, training and equipment to detect and prevent fentanyl-related overdoses and to ensure families and children have more access to substance abuse treatment.”

Background:

The Substance Abuse Prevention Act was originally introduced by Senators Cornyn and Feinstein to reauthorize drug abuse programs, and to provide assistance to various agencies so they can better combat opioid addiction and support those recovering from substance abuse.

  • Office of National Drug Control Policy: Reauthorizes the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) at the White House, which oversees Executive Branch efforts on narcotics control and ensures efforts complement and strengthen state and local anti-drug activates.
  • Drug Abuse Prevention Programs: Reauthorizes several important programs under the ONDCP including the Drug-Free Communities Program and the High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program and allows the ONDCP Director to participate in and expand opioid and heroin awareness campaigns which were authorized under the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA).
  • Drug Courts: Reauthorizes Department of Justice funding for drug courts, which provide targeted interventions for individuals with drug addiction and substance abuse disorders and allows non-profit organizations to provide important training and technical assistance to drug courts.
  • Supporting Families with Substance Abuse Challenges: Provides resources to the Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) for screening, treatment, supportive housing, and interventions in order to help support families as they battle substance abuse challenges.
  •  Better Substance Abuse Treatment: Directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study on reimbursements for substance use disorder services and make recommendations in order to bring parity to and improve reimbursements.
  • Educating Prescribers: Requires Attorney General and HHS Secretary to complete a plan for educating and training medical practitioners in best practices for prescribing controlled substances.
  • Supporting Education and Awareness: Allows the Attorney General to make grants available to entities that focus on substance use disorders and specialize in family and patient services.
  • Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Teams: Authorizes the Director of ONDCP in coordination with SAMHSA to provide grants to establish Sobriety Treatment and Recovery Teams (START) to determine the effectiveness of pairing social workers and mentors with families that are struggling with substance use disorder and child abuse or neglect.

The following groups supported the Substance Abuse Prevention Act: the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), the Addiction Policy Forum, the National Association for Children of Addiction (NACoA), the Moyer Foundation, the National Council for Behavioral Health, the National District Attorneys Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, the National HIDTA Directors Association, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, the National Criminal Justice Association, the National Association of Police Organizations, and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.

Documentary Film “Do No Harm: The Opioid Epidemic” Launches the 2018 Houston Opioid Summit

 

The new documentary Do No Harm: The Opioid Epidemic made its Houston debut as it opened the 2018 Houston Opioid Summit at The Council on Recovery. Introduced by its producer and director, Harry Wiland, the film zeroes in on the national public health emergency that is sweeping through North America. In this close examination of the opioid crisis – the most deadly epidemic to devastate the U.S. in recent years – medical professionals come together to deliver their verdict. Narrated by Ed Harris, Do No Harm shows us the devastating effects of these drugs, and casts light up on those who must be held accountable.

Watch a preview of Do No Harm: The Opioid Epidemic here. It isavailable to stream on-line at the Media Policy Center . It is also being shown as a three-part series on PBS stations nationwide.

The Council to Host 2018 Houston Opioid Summit

Major July 25-27 Summit to Gather Multi-Sector Experts to Confront Opioid Crisis & Forge Solutions

The Council on Recovery and the Prevention Resource Center, Region 6, announce the 2018 Houston Opioid Summit, July 25-27, the first summit of its kind to bring together leaders from Houston’s medical, legal, prevention, treatment, legislative, and media sectors to increase awareness of the opioid epidemic and create actionable solutions to save lives.

Taking place at The Council’s main campus at 303 Jackson Hill in Houston, the Opioid Summit will feature keynote speakers, panel discussions, roundtable dialogues, and break-out sessions across four major sectors: Medical, legal, prevention, and treatment. The Opioid Summit will dive deep into this public health emergency that claimed 42,000 lives in 2016 (according to HHS) by exploring all aspects of the issue. It will also examine the role media plays in both the problem and solutions.

The Opioid Summit kicks off Wednesday evening, July 25th, with the free screening of the new documentary – Do No Harm: The Opioid Epidemic introduced by its producer, Harry Wiland, Founder of the Media Policy Center. Thursday, July 26th features an opening keynote address on the scope of the issue, followed by breakout sessions throughout the day and a mid-afternoon keynote address focusing on advocacy. Friday, July 26th opens with a keynote address on the media’s role, followed by additional breakout sessions and roundtable dialogues. The Opioid Summit wraps up Friday afternoon with the intimate and personal perspectives of three nationally prominent figures whose lives were forever changed by opioid addiction. A detailed program for the event will be released by July 1st.

Weds., July 25, 2018, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM – Free Screening of “Do No Harm” & Panel Discussion

Thurs., July 26, 2018, 8:00 AM –4:30 PM – 2018 Houston Opioid Summit

Fri., July 27, 2018, 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM – 2018 Houston Opioid Summit

Early-bird Registration: $50 per day (Thurs and/or Friday); After June 22nd, $75 per day (Thursday and/or Friday)

Registration includes breakfast, lunch, snacks, and refreshments.

Licensed professionals in attendance are eligible to receive up to 12 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for this event.

Register at www.councilonrecovery.org For more information, email opioidsummit@councilonrecovery.org or call 281.200.9323.

Statistics Don’t Capture the Opioid Epidemic’s Impact on Children

[Excerpt from STATnews.com]

About half of opioid overdose deaths occur among men and women ages 25 to 44; it’s reasonable to assume that many are parents. Imagine the impact on a child when a parent overdoses at home or in a grocery store. Statistics can’t tally the trauma felt by a seven-year-old who calls 911 to get help for an unconscious parent, or the responsibility undertaken by a twelve-year-old to feed and diaper a toddler sibling, or the impact of school absences and poor grades on a formerly successful high school student. Continue reading “Statistics Don’t Capture the Opioid Epidemic’s Impact on Children”

Fighting the Opioid Epidemic Using New Technology

Facing a rapidly worsening opioid epidemic, federal health organizations are turning to new technology to fight the growing problem. Leading the way, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created a mobile application called the CDC Opioid Guideline Mobile App. 

CDC Opioid Prescribing Guideline Mobile App
An app created by the CDC in order for health professionals to monitor their patients’ pain and opioid medications. Photo credit: CDC.

The app features a Morphine Milligram Equivalent (MME) calculator that helps give prescription recommendations, and lets health providers practice effective communication skills. It is free and available to download on any smartphone. The CDC is optimistic that the app will help manage the legal distribution of opioid drugs more efficiently.

Cities across the U.S. have also found ways to tackle the opioid epidemic using new technology in their local communities. The Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP) helps first responders and public health officials locate areas where overdoses are happening. It also helps predict potential opioid drug trafficking areas.

Continue reading “Fighting the Opioid Epidemic Using New Technology”