Managing Opioid Medications – written by Dennis Dyer

Posted On: June 5, 2018

Managing Opioid Medications-written by Dennis Dyer – A.C.C.A.D.A. Director Since we are in an opioid epidemic most people know that there are risks associated with opiate-based painkillers.  We know that in the early 2000s the medical system began to increase the use of opioid painkillers. This was due to a movement in the medical system to better address pain in those suffering from various medical problems. Drug companies use aggressive marketing to increase profits. Unfortunately that exposed large numbers of patients to opioid painkillers and fueled the epidemic. These drugs provided those already using drugs and alcohol a new high.  Many of those who became addicted to the pills eventually moved on to heroin use. A few years ago 2,400,000 doses of these painkillers were dispensed by pharmacies in Ashland County alone.  Due to lower prescribing by doctors in 2017 the number of doses of opioid painkillers went down by 650 thousand doses to 1.75 million doses last year.  That is a reduction of 650,000 doses from the high of 2.4 million. That is a down 27%. The medication average strength has also being reduced. – Source: OAARS Website. Many of those filling prescriptions for painkillers only take what they… Read More »

Alcohol and Drug Prevention at A.C.C.A.D.A.

Posted On: May 1, 2018

Guest Column:  A.C.C.A.D.A. Alcohol/Drug Prevention    Kris Hickey has worked as a prevention educator in Ashland County for 27 years. She is employed at A.C.C.A.D.A. and is a State Certified Prevention Consultant. Almost everyone today knows someone directly or indirectly that has been affected by the opiate crisis in our country.  Families, communities, schools religious organizations and the government are all scrambling to try and find a solution to this ever growing issue. The Ashland County Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Inc. (A.C.C.A.D.A.) believes that prevention works.  A.C.C.A.D.A. has been providing various prevention programs to area schools and organizations for over 30 years. Currently, A.C.C.A.D.A.’s main prevention program targets kindergarten through high school students. The program is called Too Good For Drugs! (TGFD) The program is a 10 week, comprehensive, evidence based program provided by the Mendez Foundation. TGFD is designed to build skills such as decision making, coping skills and assertive communication styles along with understanding peer pressure and practicing refusal strategies.   It reinforces resiliency and emphasizes positive attitudes and healthy choices as the norm.  Students are taught how to determine if a friend is a going to be a positive or negative influence on their lives and how… Read More »

School Prevention Programs Key To Fighting Opiate Crisis

Posted On: March 29, 2018

Guest Column: A.C.C.A.D.A. Alcohol/Drug Prevention Kris Hickey has worked as a prevention educator in Ashland County for 27 years. She is employed at A.C.C.A.D.A. and is a State Certified Prevention Consultant. Almost everyone today knows someone directly or indirectly that has been affected by the opiate crisis in our country. Families, communities, schools religious organizations and the government are all scrambling to try and find a solution to this ever growing issue. The Ashland County Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, Inc. (A.C.C.A.D.A.) believes that prevention works. A.C.C.A.D.A. has been providing various prevention programs to area schools and organizations for over 30 years. Currently, A.C.C.A.D.A.’s main prevention program targets kindergarten through high school students. The program is called Too Good For Drugs! (TGFD) The program is a 10 week, comprehensive, evidence based program provided by the Mendez Foundation. TGFD is designed to build skills such as decision making, coping skills and assertive communication styles along with understanding peer pressure and practicing refusal strategies. It reinforces resiliency and emphasizes positive attitudes and healthy choices as the norm. Students are taught how to determine if a friend is a going to be a positive or negative influence on their lives and how… Read More »

Start Talking Program by Wendy Lemon – Prevention Educator at ACCADA

Posted On: February 20, 2018

Most of us are aware of the issues our country faces with opioid addiction, and Ashland County is no exception. We are now beginning to see a rise in methamphetamine use and alcohol addiction continues to be an issue. In recent months Ashland County Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (A.C.C.A.D.A.) has been increasing its prevention efforts.  We hope to engage parents, guardians and mentors by encouraging them to use the Start Talking program. In 2011, the state of Ohio adopted a multi-pronged approach to fighting against drug abuse. One approach has been the development of a website called, Start Talking. The effort was launched by Governor John R. Kasich, and is geared toward parents and guardians. This website has been designed to give adults the necessary tools to start conversations about the importance of making healthy life choices and living drug-free. One of the leading contributing factors adolescents give for remaining drug-free is attributed to conversations with parents or guardians. One of the programs on the Start Talking website is called KNOW!, which was developed by the Prevention Action Alliance in Columbus. The goal of the KNOW! Program is to help parents develop communication habits with their children regarding… Read More »

State of the Opioid Epidemic in Ashland County

Posted On: December 28, 2017

By DENNIS DYER Published: June 12, 2017 What is the state of affairs regarding the opiate epidemic? Unfortunately in 2016 there were 9 accidental drug overdose deaths as reported by the Ashland County Office of the Coroner. The information from the coroner’s office indicates that 85% of those dying had opioids in their systems. Opioids include a number of opioid based drugs as well as Fentanyl and Carfentanil. In most cases there were also other drugs in the systems but it appears that opioids are the key element in the overdoses. The 9 deaths in 2016 was an increase of 4 over the 5 deaths in 2015. Our condolences go out to those who have lost loved ones. Recent reporting done by the New York Times indicates that nationwide the number of overdose deaths has continued to rise. Official numbers have not been generated to date but the New York Times projects the overdoses nationwide may reach 59,000 to 65,000 by the end of 2017. Montgomery County (Dayton) is experiencing a surging overdose death rate that may reach 800 in 2017. The prior year was reported to have been around 375. Other urban counties are projected (based on current known… Read More »

A mother’s voice on opiate addiction

Posted On: May 13, 2016

By Dennis Dyer Published: July 25, 2015 4:00AM This is the fifth article in a series meant to inform the community about the opiate problem in Ashland County. This article will allow the voice of an opiate addict’s mother to be heard. We need to remember that families suffer along with the addict. Many times they are asked to help the addict but their efforts, too many times, lead to more suffering for the parent or spouse. In some cases, recovery does occur in the loved one and their family unit. Although many do find their way and the family’s support for the addict is very helpful, if not essential. The name is not real. Judith — A Mother’s Words People think you are trash if you have a junkie in the family. I tell myself that I won’t become caught up in his problems again. I say, “Remember, helping Joe does not help Joe — you’ve learned that the hard way.” I’ll go through times when I stick to it. Then, for whatever reason, I’ll be drawn back in, one crisis after another. I may go for long periods without talking to him until he burns every bridge and… Read More »

Dyer: Sobriety must come first for recovering addicts

Posted On: May 13, 2016

By DENNIS DYER Published: July 16, 2015 4:00AM This is the fourth article in a series meant to inform the community about the opiate problem in Ashland County. This article will allow the voice of another recovering individual to be heard. Hopefully, this will inspire others to find their way in recovery from opiate addiction. The name is not real. Helen’s words: I grew up in a household where drinking was common, I would see the adults smiling and laughing, generally having a great time. It’s then that my romance with drugs and alcohol started. Remember seeing old movies where the women would wear beautiful clothes and the men in suits sitting in their parlors drinking alcohol poured out of a crystal decanter into a crystal glasses, smoking cigarettes with the long black filter tips? Well, that’s what I wanted to be like. Instead, I ended up sitting around for days in the same sweat pants and T-shirt with my ashtray filling up, doing my drugs and drinking out of a noncrystal glass. I romanticized the whole thing. It was the hardest love affair to leave. I can’t really remember if I drank or smoked pot first but I remember… Read More »

Recovering individuals tell their stories

Posted On: May 13, 2016

By DENNIS DYER Published: July 3, 2015 4:00AM This is the third article in a series meant to inform the community about the opiate problem in Ashland County. Prior articles have focused on community impact and how the problem has grown. This article will allow the voices of recovering individuals to be heard. Hopefully, this will help inspire others to seek help and begin the process of recovery. None of the names are real. Rita’s words: I had all the ACEs (severe childhood adverse experiences). I did not have good boundaries or tools to deal with trauma. I gravitated toward kids like me. We seemed the same and we partied together. First alcohol and then pot. When I heard about heroin from DARE, I thought it must be the best and I tried it. I was addicted by age 18. I knew deep down that I wanted something better for myself and my children but I had no idea how to get there. The suggestion given to me seemed too foreign to comprehend. I sought treatment many times but the stays were so short that I would leave still in withdrawal. I didn’t know much about ACCADA. I would hear… Read More »

Prescription pills can fuel addiction

Posted On: May 13, 2016

By DENNIS DYER Published: June 27, 2015 4:00AM This is the second article in an effort to inform the Ashland Community about the serious problem with opiate addiction. The first article largely consisted of facts about the impact of the opiate problem on the community. This article will focus on the human tragedy of addiction and how it affects the individual and their loved ones. Ashland County Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse is the outpatient treatment and prevention provider for Ashland County. We are a contract agency of the Mental Health and Recovery Board. ACCADA also is a partner agency of the United Way. As noted in the first article, the number of patients being treated for opiate addiction has increased steeply in the last 15 years. Many times there are questions posed to this director on how a person gets addicted to heroin since it is legendary for being a very dangerous drug. In most cases, a person first uses opiate (opioid) painkillers before escalating to heroin. Some have used alcohol and other drugs extensively before using opiates. Others first encounter painkillers through the medical system. We are all familiar with the legitimate use of painkillers and the… Read More »

Guest column: Opiate problem is growing in Ashland County

Posted On: May 13, 2016

By DENNIS DYER Published: June 19, 2015 4:00AM There was an Ashland County heroin summit last November. The summit was conducted to inform Ashland County residents about the serious opiate problem in our county. We also wanted to get input from those attending. A significant number of those attending the summit recommended community education as part of what should be done to deal with this problem. In collaboration with the Mental Health and Recovery Board, Ashland County Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse will do a public education effort to inform the public about this growing problem. There will be more articles, billboards, newspaper ads, radio public service announcements and other efforts to inform the public. ACCADA is the outpatient treatment and prevention provider for Ashland County. It is a contract agency of the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Ashland County. ACCADA also is a partner agency of the United Way. One way to demonstrate how the problem of opiate (opioids) addiction has grown is to examine the number of new ACCADA intakes annually. In 1997, we admitted no individuals with an opiate diagnosis. By 2005, we had admitted 21. In 2010, there were 50 admitted. In 2014, there… Read More »