Summer E-Newsletter - 2017
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The Director's Desk
This week we launch our first Annual Charitable Giving Campaign as Elevate. Yes, both Nova Services and the Council on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse of Washington County have held Annual Campaigns. As Elevate, however, this is the first time we’ve reached out to prospective donors – members of the community—to ask for financial help to help us meet our mission since our merger in 2014.
During these times when we’re dealing with an unprecedented substance abuse epidemic in the heroin crisis, it’s become evident that current funding sources alone are not enough to sustain our strategic efforts in prevention, intervention and support services.
“Together, We Can Save Lives” is the theme of our inaugural campaign. For decades both The Council and Nova Services Staff have worked to changes lives of people struggling with substance abuse and mental illness. Our mission has become a bit more difficult to reach these days, as we’re not just changing lives; we’re working to save lives. Heroin addiction and overdose is a reality in Washington County Wisconsin as it is across the nation. From junior high to adult, it’s taking lives at a record rate.
The fact is that according to the Surgeon General, more than 20 million Americans suffer from an addiction – an illness with a worse prognosis than most cancers. Like Cancer, an addiction can lie dormant until a switch is turned on and it begins to grow. It can progress slowly over decades, or, in cases like those associated with Heroin, it can prove fatal quickly, sometimes with the very first use.
We have a few goals for this campaign. While the primary goal is fundraising, we also need to remind the public that the Heroin Epidemic is a real threat to public health and safety in Washington County and, if left unchecked, it will only grow and continue to negatively affect individuals and families and our communities.
I’m asking for your help so that we can help the individuals and families, schools and other organizations who look to us for support. We need to sustain and even expand our prevention, early intervention and support services.
Thank you for whatever you’ve done in the past to support us and our mission. If you are a new donor, thank you for taking the step to help us not only change lives, but save lives.
To learn more about the campaign, or to donate online, visit www.elevateyou.org/donation
Elevate Launches First Annual Giving
Campaign Since Merger in 2014
Goal is to Bridge Funding Gaps Through Direct Fundraising
in Effort to Expand Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Over 20 million Americans suffer from an addiction – an illness with a worse prognosis than most cancers. Like cancer, an addiction can lie dormant until a switch is turned on and it begins to grow. It can progress slowly over decades or, in cases like those associated with Heroin; it can prove fatal quickly, sometimes with the very first use.
In Washington County, we are experiencing an unprecedented Heroin epidemic. As is the case in many areas across the state and country, Heroin and opiate-related deaths continue to rise. Many more individuals continue to struggle with their addiction to this deadly drug. Sadly, addiction of any kind affects more than just the addict.
Elevate has responded to the increasing demands for alcohol and other drug abuse related services. Most recently, we expanded our Family Education and Support Group for those struggling with a loved one’s addiction and we are planning the expansion of early intervention programming for youth.
We created the Annual Campaign to meet these ever-increasing needs in Washington County. Monies raised from the 2017 inaugural campaign will fund expansion of support services as well as expansion of other outreach initiatives, particularly programming to help prevent addiction and intervene early in the progression of the disease.
“We have three goals for this campaign, shared Mary Simon, executive director, Elevate. Plain and simple, we need to raise more money to meet the demands being placed on our agency. We also need to remind the public that the Heroin Epidemic is a real threat to public health and safety here in Washington County. In addition, we need to educate that while Heroin garners the headlines, the disease of addiction is at the root of the current epidemic. All substance abuse disorders, if left unchecked -- without adequate prevention, intervention and support services -- will only grow and continue to negatively impact individuals and families in our communities.”
Program Helps People Living with Mental Health Disorders Live Independently
From cooking and cleaning to shopping and coordinating doctor appointments, Elevate’s Supportive Independent Living Case Workers assist people with mental health disorders to live the most productive lives they can.
“I worked with one client who was afraid to use knives or the stove, so she couldn’t make her own meals. Within a year, she was following recipes and really enjoying the creative outlet she found in cooking,” Christine Zimmerman, SIL case manager said. “Plus, she was able to care for her own nutritional needs. It was really incredible how far she progressed in one year.”
Zimmerman, who has worked in the SIL program since its inception almost two years ago, said that working with this client population has been one of the most fulfilling jobs of her career.
“It’s really rewarding to see the success you can have with this population of clients,” she said. “Many have co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders. Typically, as professionals, we don’t get to see as many successes when people are only dealing with substance abuse issues.”
Mental health technicians and/or service facilitators meet with clients referred to Elevate though the county on a weekly and sometimes daily basis, assisting them with day-to-day living tasks that most of us take for granted.
Staff work with clients to increase their comfort level with some skills, teach them new skills or just lend support that may not otherwise be available through family or friends. Oftentimes, staff become like family to these clients, who because of their mental illness may no longer have close ties with family or other support systems.
Clients will learn essential skills like cooking and cleaning but they may also learn to budget and pay their bills. Some clients also receive assistance navigating their ongoing medical care.
The ultimate goal of the program is to divert these individuals out of hospitals or other facilities and to help them live as independently as possible.
The program provides several benefits to the community including:
- Fewer hospital stays
- Improved quality of life for clients
- Reduction in the number of crisis mental illness incidents
- Reduced mental health costs to the county/taxpayer
In collaboration with the county, Zimmerman says that adolescents on the cusp of adulthood will also soon be referred to the SIL program in an effort to reach young people with mental illness earlier. In addition to the services provided to other clients, the young people will receive assistance in determining educational interests and locating resources to help them be successful in their educational journey.
For more information about the Supportive Independent Living Program, please call 262-677-2216.
Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse: Lock Up Your Meds
What’s in your medicine cabinet? On your nightstand? On the kitchen counter? In your purse? Naturally, you keep prescription medicines and cold and cough remedies handy for you to take when needed, but they are also handy for everyone else to take without you knowing it.
Here are some steps we can all take to prevent prescription drug abuse:
LOCK UP YOUR MEDS
Only 4.7% of individuals who abuse prescription drugs say that they got the medication from a stranger, drug dealer or through the internet. Prevent your children from abusing your medications by securing them in places they cannot access. Lock them up or take them out of your house.
Free Prescription Medication Lock Boxes will be distributed during the 2017 Washington County Fair at the Hidden In Plain Sight Exhibit through a generous grant from the St. Francis Cabrini Church Community Outreach Foundation. Boxes will be available on a first come, first serve basis.
Use a Home Medicine Inventory Card to record the name and amount of medications you currently have. Check regularly to make sure none is missing. For a printable Home Medication Inventory Card, visit: www.trumbullmhrb.org/pdfs/inventory-Card.pdf
EDUCATE YOURSELF AND YOUR CHILD
Learn about the most commonly abused medications (pain relievers, sedatives, stimulants, and tranquilizers). Then, communicate the dangers of abusing these medications to your child regularly.
SET CLEAR RULES AND MONITOR BEHAVIOR
Do not allow your child to take prescription drugs without a prescription. Monitor your child’s behavior to ensure that rules are being followed. Lead by example!
PASS IT ON
Share your knowledge, experiences and support with the parents of your child’s friends. Work together to ensure that your children are safe and healthy.
DISPOSE OF OLD AND UNUSED MEDICATIONS
Medications can be disposed of at no charge at Washington County Clean Sweep events and permanent disposal boxes throughout the county. Here is a list. http://elevateyou.org/drug-disposal-sites/
Commonly Abused Prescription Medications
Prescription Pain Medications are a class of the most commonly abused prescription medications among adults and teens. Opiates can be ingested in various ways. Typically, they are taken in pill form and sometimes with alcohol to intensify the effects. They can also be crushed and sniffed, snorted, or injected. Some commonly abused medications include:
- Codeine (Promethazine Syrup with Codeine, Tylenol with Codeine)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lorcet, Lortab, Norco)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Morphine (MS Contin)
- Oxycodone (Oxycontin, Roxicodone, Percocet, Endocet, Percodan)
- Buprenorphine (Suboxone/Subutex)
- Fentanyl (Sublimaze)
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Clonazepam (Valium, Diazepam)
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
- Temazepam (Restoril)
- Zolpidem (Ambien)
Stimulants – abused medications to treat ADHD/ADD
- Amphetamine (Adderall)
- Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta)
- Anabolic steroids (Anadrol, Duraboliin, Depo-Testosterone)