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Dwayne’s Story & Giving Tuesday

Dwayne and Giving Tuesday

Commit to Compassion Today

We share Dwayne’s Story with you in honor of Giving Tuesday. A day reserved for giving back to the causes we care about. We can use this holiday as a way to express our giving spirit, here in this season of community and generosity. We hope you enjoy this short story in honor of Giving Tuesday, the holidays, and our friend Dwayne.

Losing it and Getting it Back

Dwayne has a relaxed sort of charisma. He’s well dressed, well-spoken, a very charming person to speak with. Life hasn’t always been kind to Dwayne, but when you speak with him you can tell that life’s challenges have not held him down. Despite falling into drug use, addiction and nearly losing everything as a young man, he realized when he had a problem and needed help. He came to THS and with the tools, he was given, Dwayne rebuilt his future.

Challenges and a Bright Future

Born and raised here in Washington, Dwayne started adult life with a challenge, “(When I was) 18 years old my Dad basically said you have three months to figure out what you’re gonna do. I’m kicking you out when you graduate.” Not one to miss a step, Dwayne took this as an opportunity to strike out on his own. He entered a trade school not long after and worked small jobs while he got through school. Dwayne left with the skills and drive he needed to make it. He took a job at a small company and found that he was incredibly talented in his craft. Dwayne kept getting better, kept expanding and growing in his position, but his trajectory would soon be cut abruptly.

A Troubling Influence

The owner of the small company Dwayne was working at had a troubling habit of bringing cocaine and heroin to work. It didn’t take long after starting there that Dwayne was offered some. As Dwayne said, “He introduced it slowly…after work, on the weekends and then it just kind of rolled from there.” Dwayne took to using it more and more, always for fun and never because he needed it. It didn’t take too long before he slipped.

Dwayne had a promising start to his career, but addiction made him lose sight of the life he was building.

I was at the top of my game and eventually you lose everything, you lose your job or your business, then you lose your friends, you lose your family…You’re always asking for money because you spend everything that you had and then you’re just completely down and out.  

Dwayne

“(I) remember one day I woke up and I felt really awful…when I smoked more of it [heroin] the sickness went away…I knew I was addicted of course” Because of the unique way in which opioids work on the brain and body, the typical withdrawal symptoms ‑  anxiety, muscle cramps, nausea, and jitters – become severe and debilitating. This is why Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), which uses medications like methadone and suboxone to keep withdrawal at bay, is the most effective way to start the process of recovery from opioid addiction.

Connecting to Care

Dwayne connected with THS in the hope of entering the MAT program. He’d tried methadone on the street and found that it took his sickness away “It gave me a good sense of well-being, centered feeling again. I felt like myself and I never felt intoxicated on methadone” said Dwayne. When he came to THS, he was assigned to a care team who worked together with him to provide the care and recovery support he needed. By working with his counselor and physician, Dwayne was given the tools he needed to rebuild his life. It wasn’t easy, but with hard work, caring support, and evidence-based treatment, Dwayne was able to start again.

Success and Recovery

Today, 25 years since entering treatment and moving past his addiction, Dwayne is now a successful business owner. His talent, skill, and drive helped him take back all he’d lost and more. He still receives treatment, but it doesn’t define him. His care is the same as any chronic condition, he sees his provider and gets the support, therapy, and medicine he needs. Dwayne wants others to know what worked for him in his recovery; “Find something to do and just immerse yourself in it. Be so busy that you don’t have time to think about anything else.”

Help Us Make Stories Like Dwayne’s

Thank you for taking a moment to read Dwane’s story, but there is more you can do to help people like him. Today you can be part of making stories like Dwayne’s. Today, you can be an investor in the future our patients want to build. Today, you can commit to helping us give people the tools they need to start small businesses, contribute to society, and drive economic progress. Today, you can help make a new tomorrow. Please commit to donating, you can do so below:

If you have any questions regarding how to donate to Therapeutic Health Services, please call Joshua Krebsbach at 206-323-0930 ext. 1258 or send an email to JoshuaKr@ths-wa.org

Therapeutic Health Services is designated by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, EIN 91-0882971. All contributions are tax-deductible within the limit of the law. Please consult your tax advisor.  No goods or services were received in exchange for these gifts

By Laura Ungar NOVEMBER 25, 2019 – Kaiser Health News Article

CINCINNATI — A pain pill prescription for nerve damage revived Gwendolyn Barton’s long-dormant addiction last year, awakening fears she would slip back into smoking crack cocaine.

She’d done that drug and others for about 20 years before getting sober in 2008. But things were different back then. This time, the 62-year-old knew she needed to seek treatment before it was too late.

“If I used today,” she said, “I’d be dead.”

The powerful opioid fentanyl is often mixed into cocaine, turning the stimulant into a much bigger killer than the drug of the past. Cocaine-related overdoses took the lives of nearly 14,000 Americans in 2017, up 34% in just a year, the latest federal figures show. And they’re expected to soar even higher as cocaine’s popularity resurges.

Barton, who is African American, is wise to be wary. Deaths are rising most precipitously among African Americans, who are more likely to use cocaine than whites and fatally overdosed at an 80% higher rate.

But the scourge is festering quietly, overshadowed by the larger opioid epidemic that kills tens of thousands each year, the vast majority of them white.

More than 30 states have seen cocaine death rates rise since 2010, with Ohio leading the way. Overdoses from crack and powder cocaine killed 14 of every 100,000 Ohioans of all races in 2017 — seven times more than in 2010, according to the University of Minnesota’s State Health Access Data Assistance Center.

Colin Planalp, senior research fellow with the center, said deaths have risen steeply in rural and urban areas across America since 2000, and the increase is directly related to the national opioid crisis.

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Most of the time, fentanyl is the stealth culprit, posing a particular danger to longtime cocaine users who may be older, sicker and unaccustomed to the effects of opioids.

“Your whole system is kind of thrown a curveball,” said Katherine Engel, director of nursing at the Center for Addiction Treatment in Cincinnati. “You’re an opiate virgin, so to speak.”

Tom Synan, police chief in Newtown, just outside Cincinnati, said the risk extends to cocaine users who also have used older opioids such as heroin because fentanyl is 50 times more potent.

“In the ’70s, a ‘speedball’ was a mix of cocaine and heroin. I call this ‘speedball 2.0.’ Fentanyl has made it much worse,” he said. “It’s made every drug people are addicted to into a crisis.”

In May, in Cincinnati’s county of Hamilton, cocaine overdoses killed six people over 10 days.

Increased Supply, New Dangers Added

The crisis is growing as more people use cocaine.

A federal survey showed about 2 million Americans used the stimulant regularly in 2018, up from 1.4 million in 2011. One in 100 African Americans used the drug regularly last year, a rate 40% higher than among whites.

Supply helps drive use. A 2018 report by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says record cocaine production in Colombia, the primary source for cocaine seized in the United States, has widened the cocaine market and pushed down prices. The agency expects the trend to continue.

Synan said the supply has ebbed and flowed over the years and cocaine never went away. What’s different now, he said, is the intentional and unintentional addition of fentanyl.

Sometimes, law enforcement experts said, dealers spike cocaine with the inexpensive synthetic opioid to hook people. Other times, it gets mixed in through sloppy handling or packaging somewhere along the way.

“The reason they’re putting it in is it’s cheap,” said Thomas Fallon, commander of the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition Task Force. “Also, they’re not chemists. They don’t always know what they’re doing.”

Still, longtime cocaine users often trust their dealers. They’re less likely than heroin or pill users to carry the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone, treatment professionals and police said, because they don’t think of themselves as opioid users and don’t believe they’ll need it.

While some users overdose and die from cocaine mixed with fentanyl, others come to crave the potent combination for its high.

“Instead of being a deterrent, it’s an incentive for some,” said Evonne Stephenson, a nurse practitioner at the Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Program of Cincinnati. “Everyone thinks they’re invincible.”

Actually, drug use makes them more vulnerable to serious health problems or death, especially as they age. Indeed, the steepest rise in cocaine-related overdose deaths nationwide was among people 45 to 54 years old.

William Stoops, a University of Kentucky professor who studies drug and alcohol addiction, said longtime cocaine use causes cardiovascular problems, which raises the risk of dying from an overdose even before fentanyl is added to the mix.

Barton likens doing cocaine these days to a game of Russian roulette.

“If I used today,” says Barton, “I’d be dead.” Cocaine-related overdoses took the lives of nearly 14,000 Americans in 2017, up 34% in just a year, the latest federal figures show. (Meg Vogel for KHN)

“One person might get super high,” she said. “The next one may take it and die.”

Challenges Abound

Efforts to reduce these deaths face several obstacles.

Long-simmering resentment among African Americans around the criminalization of cocaine addiction in the 1980s and ’90s fuels an ongoing mistrust of law enforcement and public health efforts.

Back then, possessing 5 grams of crack, which many associated with low-income African Americans, brought the same prison sentence as possessing 500 grams of powder cocaine, which many associated with middle-class or affluent whites.

The way people think about and tackle drug use has been “influenced by who we think uses them,” said Jeffrey Coots, who directs John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s “From Punishment to Public Health” initiative in New York.

And though African Americans use opioids, too, today the drugs are typically associated with white users.

“There’s a thought that no one cared until a bunch of white people started dying,” said Stephenson, the Cincinnati nurse practitioner. “That’s so tragic.”

Synan said he’s heard this sentiment. People ask: “‘Why do you care now if you didn’t care back then?’” he said. “So you have to overcome that. Whether it’s real or perceived, it doesn’t matter, because it’s still an issue.”

Synan said he understands the concerns and acknowledged that society sees opioids more through a medical lens. But he said that’s partly because of an evolving understanding of addiction and the sheer numbers of overdose deaths in recent years, which require urgent action.

To be sure, overdoses involving opioids kill more Americans: 47,600 in 2017, including 5,513 African Americans. Overdoses involving cocaine killed 3,554 African Americans — although categories overlap because deaths may involve more than one drug.

Another challenge: There’s less in the treatment arsenal for cocaine addiction. While medications such as Suboxone and methadone treat people hooked on opioids, there are no federally approved medications to treat cocaine problems, even though researchers were testing promising medications nearly 15 years ago.

Public health officials say they’re focusing more on cocaine addiction in light of today’s deadly overdose threat, and trying to address the larger issue of addiction in general.

Deadly cocaine overdoses are rising most precipitously among African Americans, who are more likely to use the drug than whites and fatally overdosed at an 80% higher rate.(MEG VOGEL FOR KHN)

“What we’d certainly like to see more of is community-level interventions that go at the drivers of drug use in the first place — seeing it as the symptom of a problem,” Coots said.

In Ohio, the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition — which plans to change its name to reflect a focus on all addictions — has reached out to African Americans through black churches, public forums and community leaders. It tries to spread messages about prevention, the dangers of today’s cocaine, where to get help and the need for every drug user to carry naloxone.

The group also has a “quick response team” including police, emergency workers and addiction specialists who follow up with overdose victims, often going to their homes to try to get them into treatment.

That treatment needs to be “culturally competent,” Stephenson said, meaning providers respect diversity and the cultural factors that can affect health. These are key goals of the Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Program, where she works.

Barton said treatment she gets through this program is helping keep her sober and productive. She works as a cook in nearby Covington, Ky., and also tries to help friends still struggling on the streets.

Lately, she’s been especially worried about one friend, a longtime cocaine user who has overdosed repeatedly and landed in the hospital.

She pleads with him to be careful, delivering a dire warning:

“One day, you’re just not gonna come back.”

Laura Ungar: lungar@kff.org@laura_ungar

Losing it and Getting it Back

Dwayne has a relaxed sort of charisma. He’s well dressed, well-spoken, a very charming person to speak with. Life hasn’t always been kind to Dwayne, but when you speak with him you can tell that life’s challenges have not held him down. Despite falling into drug use, addiction and nearly losing everything as a young man, he realized when he had a problem and needed help. He came to THS and with the tools, he was given, Dwayne rebuilt his future.

Challenges and a Bright Future

Born and raised here in Washington, Dwayne started adult life with a challenge, “(When I was) 18 years old my Dad basically said you have three months to figure out what you’re gonna do. I’m kicking you out when you graduate.” Not one to miss a step, Dwayne took this as an opportunity to strike out on his own. He entered a trade school not long after and worked small jobs while he got through school. Dwayne left with the skills and drive he needed to make it. He took a job at a small company and found that he was incredibly talented in his craft. Dwayne kept getting better, kept expanding and growing in his position, but his trajectory would soon be cut abruptly.

A Troubling Influence

The owner of the small company Dwayne was working at had a troubling habit of bringing cocaine and heroin to work. It didn’t take long after starting there that Dwayne was offered some. As Dwayne said, “He introduced it slowly…after work, on the weekends and then it just kind of rolled from there.” Dwayne took to using it more and more, always for fun and never because he needed it. It didn’t take too long before he slipped.

Dwayne had a promising start to his career, but addiction made him lose sight of the life he was building.

I was at the top of my game and eventually you lose everything, you lose your job or your business, then you lose your friends, you lose your family…You’re always asking for money because you spend everything that you had and then you’re just completely down and out.  

Dwayne

“(I) remember one day I woke up and I felt really awful…when I smoked more of it [heroin] the sickness went away…I knew I was addicted of course” Because of the unique way in which opioids work on the brain and body, the typical withdrawal symptoms ‑  anxiety, muscle cramps, nausea, and jitters – become severe and debilitating. This is why Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), which uses medications like methadone and suboxone to keep withdrawal at bay, is the most effective way to start the process of recovery from opioid addiction.

Connecting to Care

Dwayne connected with THS in the hope of entering the MAT program. He’d tried methadone on the street and found that it took his sickness away “It gave me a good sense of well-being, centered feeling again. I felt like myself and I never felt intoxicated on methadone” said Dwayne. When he came to THS, he was assigned to a care team who worked together with him to provide the care and recovery support he needed. By working with his counselor and physician, Dwayne was given the tools he needed to rebuild his life. It wasn’t easy, but with hard work, caring support, and evidence-based treatment, Dwayne was able to start again.

Success and Recovery

Today, 25 years since entering treatment and moving past his addiction, Dwayne is now a successful business owner. His talent, skill, and drive helped him take back all he’d lost and more. He still receives treatment, but it doesn’t define him. His care is the same as any chronic condition, he sees his provider and gets the support, therapy, and medicine he needs. Dwayne wants others to know what worked for him in his recovery; “Find something to do and just immerse yourself in it. Be so busy that you don’t have time to think about anything else.”

Do You Need Treatment or Services?
Do you know someone who needs care? Are you regularly feeling sick after using drugs or alcohol? You aren’t alone and we can help. Our compassionate team of staff are ready and connected to provide you with the care you need. Help and support is available. Through leading forms of evidence-based care, we can give you the tools you need to build a happy, healthy future.

No one chooses to become addicted, and there are many reasons why people use and abuse substances. It doesn’t take long to reach rock-bottom – losing everything, including your children and your health.  Rachelle, a patient at Therapeutic Health Service’s Snohomish/Everett Branch, never imagined she’d lose her life to addiction, but she almost did.

A Challenging Diagnosis

Rachelle was diagnosed with cancer at age 25. A diagnosis that shocked her and stopped her from living her best life. As a mother of a young child and a young adult herself, Rachelle had to work twice as hard to make ends meet. Working as a truck dispatcher and no stranger to hard work, Rachelle knew how to juggle priorities, but she couldn’t do it all. Rachelle turned to using cocaine to get through the day, to help her stay awake and remain focused. She felt she needed it to handle the stresses of being a single mother, a cancer patient, and working full-time. Soon cocaine wasn’t enough, and she started using heroin. Everything went downhill fast after that.

Heroin’s Effects on the Brain

According to SAMSHA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration,

“Heroin use alters brain circuits that control reward, stress, decision-making, and impulse control, making it more difficult to stop using even when it is having negative effects on your life and health. Frequent use also can lead to tolerance and withdrawal, so you need more of the drug just to feel normal.”

SAMSHA “Tips for Teens – Heroin”

Even though Rachelle knew heroin was hurting her mind, body, and relationships, it was incredibly difficult to stop. Rachelle didn’t want to use, but withdrawal kept her from quitting. She was rapidly losing everything; her home, her car, and soon her son.

Losing her Son

Not long after becoming addicted to heroin, Rachelle’s 5-year-old son was taken from her. She continued to spiral out of control. “At that point, the thought of losing everything that I’ve ever loved, I just was doing anything and everything to numb that pain. It was hard, it was super hard” said Rachelle.

Turning Point

In a few years she and her boyfriend (who was also addicted), became pregnant.  Five months into her pregnancy she realized it was time to quit. Time to get her life back together and put a stop to the pattern of addiction that had held her down for the last three years. Rachelle said, “I got pregnant, which was an eye-opener ‘cause I couldn’t imagine losing another child at that point. That was my motivation to get clean.”

 Rachelle was contacted and referred into service at THS.

“Basically, I came in here, bawled my eyes out, laid it all out on the table. I mean it was rock-bottom for me. I wouldn’t be able to live through having another child yanked from my hands. I was doing anything and everything to support my habit: stealing, car theft, the whole bit. I was at the worst time in my life…This place saved me.”

– Rachelle

Working Hard for Recovery

Rachelle worked incredibly hard when she entered treatment. She was determined to end her addiction and recover what she’d lost. Rachelle offered an ultimatum to her boyfriend, either he joined her in treatment, or he had to go. Her boyfriend entered treatment one month behind her and they’ve both been clean since then.

Rachelle and her boyfriend, now fiancé, are both 5 years clean. Their baby was born healthy and Rachelle now sees her eldest son every other weekend. They even have a new baby on the way! Together with her fiancé, they are working on buying a house with room for their whole family.

Reflecting on Success

Joy Jack, Rachelle’s counselor had this to say, “Working with Rachelle has been a really rewarding experience for me, because many people who come to our program are not as successful and don’t know what they want when they get here. Rachelle was somebody who did have that focus on making recovery her priority.” Joy later added that she was incredibly proud of Rachelle, her fiancé, and all the hard work the two had put into their recovery.

Rachelle’s life is now back on track. Reflecting on her life now she said, “I have my kids now and that’s everything to me, that makes me rich in myself. I’m happy with life now and today. I can’t really ask for more. I’m pretty blessed.”

Your Support

Every day we care for hundreds of patients like Rachelle. Our counselors support our patients to help end their addiction, set goals, and build their future. Your donation helps us to continue creating new futures for the adults and youth we serve. Your support helps us to achieve our mission of fostering healing and recovery.

Support Patients Like Rachelle
Please help us create new futures for people in need
Do You Need Treatment?
Click the button below to be connected to our Get Help form. From there we can connect you to care with our qualified clinicians.

What’s different about methadone?

Like other opioids – heroin, Vicodin®, OxyContin®, Vicodin® or fentanyl – too much methadone can be harmful. Unlike these drugs, methadone effects start slow and take time to reach full effect. Methadone stays in the body much longer than other opioids. MAT clinical staff will start a patient on a low dose of methadone and will gradually increase the dose over time. This increases the total amount accumulated in the body.

How is a starting Methadone dose established?

In order to set a starting dose, staff take your body into account. Your physical health and other prescribed medications, supplements, and any herbal remedies you may be taking are considered. Staff also consider your use of opioids (amount, frequency, method of administration), and use of other drugs or alcohol.

It is very important that you provide staff with honest, true, accurate information. If you don’t, the dose of methadone you are administered may not take into account your lifestyle and needs. A patient’s dose is considered by a provider using guidelines provided by the federal government.

Staff will slowly increase your dose as you start in treatment. This allows for the methadone level to gradually build up. You may still experience withdrawal symptoms after starting on methadone. However, your providers will evaluate your symptoms to help you get to a stable dose.

What does Methadone do for you?

An ideal methadone dose should accomplish the following: relieve symptoms of withdrawal, should not make you feel drugged or “high”, and remove your craving for opioid drugs.

These effects might not be achieved right away. It may take time for MAT staff to find the optimal dose for you. Each person’s body and metabolism is different, so each person’s dose has to be set to their unique needs.

What happens if you take too much Methadone?

There is a great risk of harm if you take too much methadone. Symptoms of over-medication include feeling “high”, drugged, or unsteady, drowsiness or “nodding off”, slow or difficult breathing, mental confusion, extremely contracted pupils, blue lips or fingernails, a slow heartbeat or feeling very calm or itchy.

An unusual boost in energy and/or the ability to stay awake for a long time may also indicate overmedication.

If you experience any of these symptoms at any time, DO NOT IGNORE THEM. If you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms, THS clinical staff or emergency services should be contacted. All patients are encouraged to have Narcan/Naloxone at all times. It can be life-saving in the case of methadone or opioid toxicity. Ask your methadone provider or your medical provider for a prescription and more information regarding the use of Narcan.

Mixing other drugs or alcohol with methadone can be very dangerous, resulting in mixed-drug toxicity (i.e. benzodiazepines, alcohol, other sedatives). This toxicity can lead to hospitalization or even death.

What should I tell my family and friends about Methadone?

Many people do not understand what addiction and addiction treatment looks like and how it works for patients. Many people falsely believe that using methadone is the same as using heroin. They may think that you are trading one addiction for another. This, however, is absolutely not true. It is important to remember the points below when speaking to your family and friends about treatment:

Opioid addiction is a chronic illness and methadone is an opioid prescription medicine used to treat it. Methadone has been used in this way for more than 54 years. Through Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), millions of people have recovered from opioid addiction.

Methadone does not make you “high”. People who are treated with methadone will function perfectly well while taking it.

Just like diabetes, heart, and blood pressure medications, methadone must often be taken on a daily basis for up to a lifetime. Many people need a long-term daily dose to ensure their well-being.

What should I tell my employer about Methadone?

In certain jobs, drug testing is required. Honesty is a good approach in this case. Not telling an employer about your prescription could mean you are found to test positive for opioids. However, your treatment cannot be used against you. Laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act protect persons in treatment for addiction from job discrimination. Certain “reasonable accommodations” must be made. This can include a work schedule that allows for clinic attendance.

What are Take-Home Medications?

Take-home medication, sometimes known as “carries”, require patients to fulfill specific criteria outlined by both the federal government and the individual clinic. If you are interested in learning more about these criteria, your counselor can provide a handout. Once you have met the criteria, your counselor helps you fill out an application for take-home doses. This application is then reviewed for approval by the medical director and care team.

Sources:
“Methadone & You”, Brochure by Addiction Treatment Forum. 2000.Clinco Communications.

In Need of Service?

Connect to care now through our Get Help form. Click the button below to go to our online form where you can request help. A qualified clinician will contact you within 24 hours to get you started.

Do You Need Treatment?
Click the button below to be connected to our Get Help form. From there we can connect you to care with our qualified clinicians.

The first thing you need to know about addiction recovery

Is that it doesn’t happen overnight. Recovery can take many years and even after a long period of sobriety, relapse is always a possibility. Betty is a patient at Therapeutic Health Service’s Summit Branch. Her story of recovery highlights the time it can take to reach recovery and what it takes to get there.

Betty became a patient of THS in 1981

She was 30 and pregnant with her daughter. Betty had been addicted to heroin for several years. She was in need of real help. At that time methadone was just starting to be used in the long-term treatment of opiate addiction. Previously Betty had tried a 21-day detox program that used methadone, a new treatment at the time. “It was a three-week program, so there was no time for counseling and other issues in your life. It was very hard to get the benefit of methadone in such a short time” Betty recalled. “A lot of treatment goes along with methadone. It’s your mind, body, and soul, all those have to be addressed and that takes time.”

Betty’s addiction was a traumatic experience

When asked what she remembers of that time, Betty said “Before I got on methadone I was totally lost. I had a habit and I didn’t know what to do about it, I just know I didn’t want it. Every moment is spent trying to figure out what you’re going to do for your next fix.” For Betty, methadone provided the stabilization she needed to move past her addiction.

The relief was just…Even the first day the relief was just…amazing. Just knowing I didn’t have to do things I didn’t want to do. I probably would not go to prison for the rest of my life. I could start rebuilding a life. Methadone was a real miracle for me.

– Betty Hopper, THS Patient

Now 68 and retired

Betty is living the kind of life she always wanted to. She exercises regularly, lives in a beautiful, no-fuss apartment and is heavily involved with her church. Betty helps her church community in a number of different ways, including helping at their regular homeless feed. Knowing she can help others, provide treats, and study her faith means the world to Betty. Her recovery through time has made these things possible.

Betty wants others to know that methadone isn’t a way to get high, it’s a way to get well

I’d love for methadone treatment to be destigmatized. It’s really important to me because it’s affected my life so much. The perception is so opposite what’s really happening at these clinics. If people realized what we really do here, they would have a whole different view of methadone clinics. We have real treatment. We have groups, we have counselling, we have doctors, we have all kinds of outreach programs available through the clinic that you wouldn’t get anywhere else.


– Betty Hopper, THS Patient

Betty receives daily methadone treatment

Through a low-level maintenance dose. This helps her have peace of mind as she goes about her day. She’s seen the benefits of treatment through time. Having been sober for 20 years, Betty looks forward to growing old with grace knowing she has the support she needs.

Thanks to methadone and regular counseling

Therapeutic Health Services has been helping people like Betty recover from addiction to opiates for nearly 50 years. Recovery through time has improved and through their efforts, thousands of people have recovered from addiction. Each day the care staff at Therapeutic Health Services is helping people to create the lives they want to live.

We hope that you will join us

In supporting the recovery of hundreds of people like Betty. With your support, people in need can take their next step in moving past addiction and into a brand new life. Please show your support and donate, you’ll be part of creating a new tomorrow, today.

Start Your Recovery Today

THS is hosting Alcohol/Drug Information School (A/DIS) at two of our branches, Summit and Eastside, once monthly through to December 2019. These courses help individuals make more informed decisions about substance use.

What is Alcohol/Drug Information School?

The Alcohol/Drug Information School classes offered through Therapeutic Health Services meet the requirements set forth in the Washington State Administrative Code (WAC) in conjunction with Washington State Courts, Probation, and the Washington State Dept. of Licensing.

Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the risks and consequences associated with the continued use of potentially addictive
substances. A/DIS is a workbook based course meant to educate and inform people about the decisions they make and their impact on themselves and those around them.

When are the Class Sessions?

Eastside Branch Classes
1412 – 140th Place NE
Bellevue, WA 98007
(425) 747-7892

Intake:
Monday – Thursday 7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Friday 7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Class Dates:
January 12
March 9
May 11
July 13
September 14
November 9

Summit Branch Classes
1116 Summit Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 323-0930

Intake:
Monday – Thursday 7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Friday 7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Class Dates:
February 9
April 13
June 8
August 17
October 12
December 14

Information About Class Sessions

  • All classes start promptly at 8:00 a.m. and will last a minimum of 8 hours. If you are more than 10 minutes late, you will not be permitted to take the class.
  • The class fee is $95 which includes the cost of materials.
  • Fees must be paid and intake paperwork completed at least one day prior to class.
  • Intakes are completed at the front desk. Tickets, legal information, names and addresses of attorneys, referrals or assessments are to be brought at the time of intake.
  • Classes and meetings can be tailored to meet mandated hours – for more information contact the Eastside Branch.

How to Register

You can register by contacting the branch nearest you. View a list of branches here:

It Starts Small

One of the scariest aspects of opioid use is how easily it can slip into your life and change it forever. What’s worse, you can become addicted after taking just a few pills. Sometimes you’re hooked after being on pain medication for a small injury. Something sends you to the doctor: a broken toe, a sprained wrist, wisdom teeth removal. You’re sent home with a prescription: oxycodone, hydrocodone or codeine. You take your medication and before you know it the bottle’s empty. Suddenly your body is craving more.

That’s how it was for Brenda, a patient of Therapeutic Health Services’ Shoreline Branch. Brenda was prescribed pain-killers because of a toothache. She would never guess she’d become dependent on them so quickly. As Brenda puts it, she never took the drugs to get high, she took them because her body needed it.

Brenda described most of her days when she was using as staying at home and popping pills, hardly doing anything for most the day. Brenda wasn’t trapped alone, her husband also developed an addiction. Together they wasted day after day taking pills at home. It wasn’t long before they found themselves buying pills off a drug dealer. It’s difficult to imagine: a grandmother, a servant of her faith, a kind woman, buying drugs on the street at prices that broke her life.

Time to Stop

Eventually Brenda reached a point when she disconnected from the person looking back at her in the mirror. Brenda describes herself as a fashionable, attractive person, but reflection showed she was losing that spark. That’s when she and her husband decided they were done. They were done with the constant cycle of buying and taking drugs and wasting days doing little else. Brenda and her husband connected to a methadone provider and started their recovery. Brenda says it saved their lives.

Recovery isn’t instantaneous, for many it’s a long and difficult process. Brenda and her husband are still in recovery. Brenda came to Therapeutic Health Services’ Shoreline Branch six years ago, and her quality of life as seen a huge boost since entering treatment. Brenda is proud of herself again, she gets out of the house and spends time doing what she loves, like spending time shopping and engaging with her church community No longer trapped by her addiction Brenda is free again something she says, you can’t put a price on.

What Tomorrow Brings

Brenda is deeply grateful for the care she has received and for the peace her treatment has provided her. Brenda thanks “Jesus for her recovery, for Therapeutic Health Services, her counselor Paula Wolfe, and for the creator of methadone therapy and medication assisted treatment.” Brenda feels that these forces saved her life and she is grateful for them.

Support Those in Need

Brenda’s story is unique, but it echoes the stories of so many in our community who struggle with opioid addiction. With our region and nation in the throes of an opioid epidemic, your support is needed now more than ever. Your contribution to THS gives us the power to provide quality, effective treatment to more people like Brenda. This is what counts: saving lives and creating new futures. Join us and donate today.

Support Patients Like Brenda
Please choose to support people like Brenda. Support others who need your help in their daily battle against addiction. Help us make the world a brighter place for those in need. Click the button below to donate.

A Hard Start

Debra had a hard start in life. She was born addicted to heroin, her parents were both users before she was born. At the age of 13, Debra decided she was going to try heroin. Debra asked her father to shoot her up. He begged her not to. Debra told him, that if he didn’t give it to her, she’d go find someone who would. So he shot his 13-year-old daughter up with heroin. Debra had been addicted for decades until she began treatment at Therapeutic Health Services.

Treatment and Recovery

Debra has been a patient receiving Medication Assisted Treatment (methadone) at Therapeutic Health Services’ Shoreline branch for two years. For the last year, Debra has been completely clean from heroin for the last year. Her cravings being managed by her medication-assisted treatment and she is exploring the underlying cause of her addiction through regular meetings with her counselor.

Recovery has opened a new door for Debra. She was recently cured of Hepatitis C. Debra had been trying to get the cure for quite some-time after the treatment was released. The problem was she was frequently relapsing into heroin use and would have to continually restart the treatment process. She remembers feeling frustrated with herself and her condition. Debra had a path to being free from the disease, but her addiction was a barrier. Finally, with the help of Medication Assisted Treatment and her counselor, Paula Wolf, Debra was able to complete the process and is now 100% Hepatitis free. Debra fought hard to overcome this horrid disease, which claimed the lives of both her parents.

Loss of her Husband

The last year has been incredibly challenging for Debra. She lost her husband in April of 2018. He died from complications from methamphetamine use. As she puts it “he was putting it in his morning coffee each day.” Debra was devastated and it was this pain that helped her commit to becoming clean

Having sold her and her husband’s home, she found herself without a place to live. Living with addiction for most her life had a negative impact on Debra’s relationship with her family. With no other place to go, she showed up at her son’s house and said, “I know I haven’t always been good a mother to you. I know I wasn’t there for you when you needed me,” He welcomed her into his home without hesitation and she’s been there since.

Today and Tomorrow

Debra is now living each day as best she can. She’s involved in her church and has been trying to find ways of being helpful within her faith community. Her hope now is to find a way of using up her time. “Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop” she said. Debra knows the key to preventing her relapse in the future will be working hard on her treatment plan goals, staying involved, and finding pro-social activities that support her recovery.

Recovery can be a long and challenging road. There is no cure for addiction and like most chronic illnesses, it needs to be managed for life. Care at Therapeutic Health Services recognizes this. Our team understands that patients need time to heal and move past their addictions at the pace that’s right for them. Now that Debra is clean, she can start working on finding herself, discovering who she is when she’s not using heroin. Our team is there with her, every step of the way.

Support Those in Need

To support patients in recovery, like Debra, please consider donating today. Help give people struggling with addiction, the support they need to restore their lives and rebuild their futures.

Support Patients Like Debra
Please consider making a gift today to ensure we can continue to help those in need start recovery. Please help patients like Debra. Click the button below to donate.

Katrina has a problem. She’s spent the last 10 years coping with a heroin addiction. She’s suffered from her addiction, from her bipolar disorder, and she’s been on and off the street a number of times, dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. However, her co-occurring substance use and mental health condition and her lack of stable housing are not her problem. Katrina is now sober, stable, and living on her own in a small apartment in Seattle. She’s on methadone to control her addiction and she’s receiving the care and medication needed to manage her disorder. Katrina’s problem is that for the first time in 10 years, she isn’t an addict. Now Katrina has to figure out how to deal with her trauma and turn a new leaf. Luckily, Katrina is not alone. Therapeutic Health Services (THS) is here for her, and with their Trauma-Informed Care model, they can ensure Katrina can turn that new leaf.

Katrina’s story is individual but it isn’t unique. Hundreds of patients are served each day at THS, many of which face the same challenges as Katrina. Each day our counselors are helping patients move past their respective traumas, an effort which is guided by evidence based care that is trauma-informed.

Trauma Informed Care makes safety the chief focus in working with a patient. As Lindsey Arrasmith, CDP puts it:

Trauma Informed Care is acknowledging that you’ve been through…some stuff. We can begin to separate you from that trauma, from that stuff, in a way that does not bring you down, that does not weigh you down, that does not prevent you from living your life. It empowers you to go achieve your dreams.”

 Lindsey helped lead the effort to adopt Trauma Informed Care (TIC) throughout THS. She was taught about TIC at a previous position where she learned “Seeking Safety” ‑ the modality of care now used by all THS staff. “Seeking Safety” is an evidence-based practice developed by Lisa M. Najavits, PhD at Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital.  “Seeking Safety” teaches providers to work with clients to develop safety in all parts of their lives; relationships, behavior, emotions, and thinking. The modality can be used anywhere, by anyone, for anyone to help those in need to work through trauma and addiction problems.

Lindsey was deeply moved by her “Seeking Safety” trainings and as she incorporated it into her work, she was touched by how much it helped her serve patients. Working with a patient means going through their trauma with them and providers work hard to ensure this process is safe for their patients.  “I think as clinicians we have this fear, especially in the beginning, of ‘What if I hurt someone?’ Having ‘Seeking Safety’ as a foundation, is a safety net” Lindsey said when asked how the modality works in her practice.

Care isn’t a cure, it’s a process. A person in care has to go through many challenges in treatment. Trauma-Informed Care and “Seeking Safety” helps guide care to ensure patients can recover and move toward leading better lives. Therapeutic Health Services trauma-informed care policy recognizes that “survivors need to be respected, informed, connected and hopeful regarding their own recovery.” Under the guidance of this new policy, all staff at THS are working together to create safe environments where patients are empowered to reach their own goals and make full recoveries.

Dwayne and Giving Tuesday

Dwayne’s Story & Giving Tuesday

Commit to Compassion Today We share Dwayne’s Story with you in honor of Giving Tuesday. A day reserved for giving back to the causes we care about. We can use this holiday as a way to express our giving spirit, here in this season of community and generosity. We hope you enjoy this short story in honor of Giving Tuesday, the holidays, and our friend Dwayne. Losing it and Getting it Back Dwayne has a relaxed sort of charisma. He’s more..

Not Yesterday’s Cocaine: Death Toll Rising From Tainted Drug

By Laura Ungar NOVEMBER 25, 2019 – Kaiser Health News Article CINCINNATI — A pain pill prescription for nerve damage revived Gwendolyn Barton’s long-dormant addiction last year, awakening fears she would slip back into smoking crack cocaine. She’d done that drug and others for about 20 years before getting sober in 2008. But things were different back then. This time, the 62-year-old knew she needed to seek treatment before it was too late. “If I used today,” she said, “I’d be more..

Silhouette of man relaxing on mountain with book not facing addiction

Dwayne’s Story

Losing it and Getting it Back Dwayne has a relaxed sort of charisma. He’s well dressed, well-spoken, a very charming person to speak with. Life hasn’t always been kind to Dwayne, but when you speak with him you can tell that life’s challenges have not held him down. Despite falling into drug use, addiction and nearly losing everything as a young man, he realized when he had a problem and needed help. He came to THS and with the tools, more..

Rachelle

Rachelle’s Story

No one chooses to become addicted, and there are many reasons why people use and abuse substances. It doesn’t take long to reach rock-bottom – losing everything, including your children and your health.  Rachelle, a patient at Therapeutic Health Service’s Snohomish/Everett Branch, never imagined she’d lose her life to addiction, but she almost did. A Challenging Diagnosis Rachelle was diagnosed with cancer at age 25. A diagnosis that shocked her and stopped her from living her best life. As a more..

methadone dispensary cup

Methadone FAQ

What’s different about methadone? Like other opioids – heroin, Vicodin®, OxyContin®, Vicodin® or fentanyl – too much methadone can be harmful. Unlike these drugs, methadone effects start slow and take time to reach full effect. Methadone stays in the body much longer than other opioids. MAT clinical staff will start a patient on a low dose of methadone and will gradually increase the dose over time. This increases the total amount accumulated in the body. How is a starting Methadone more..

Betty, patient at THS. Hers is a story of recovery through time.

Betty’s Story – Recovery Through Time

The first thing you need to know about addiction recovery Is that it doesn’t happen overnight. Recovery can take many years and even after a long period of sobriety, relapse is always a possibility. Betty is a patient at Therapeutic Health Service’s Summit Branch. Her story of recovery highlights the time it can take to reach recovery and what it takes to get there. Betty became a patient of THS in 1981 She was 30 and pregnant with her daughter. more..

Students in Alcohol/Drug Information School

New 2019 Schedule for Alcohol/Drug Information School

THS is hosting Alcohol/Drug Information School (A/DIS) at two of our branches, Summit and Eastside, once monthly through to December 2019. These courses help individuals make more informed decisions about substance use. What is Alcohol/Drug Information School? The Alcohol/Drug Information School classes offered through Therapeutic Health Services meet the requirements set forth in the Washington State Administrative Code (WAC) in conjunction with Washington State Courts, Probation, and the Washington State Dept. of Licensing. Participants will have the opportunity to learn more..

Patient and Counselor, Brenda and Paula

Brenda’s Story – Recovery from Opioid Addiction

It Starts Small One of the scariest aspects of opioid use is how easily it can slip into your life and change it forever. What’s worse, you can become addicted after taking just a few pills. Sometimes you’re hooked after being on pain medication for a small injury. Something sends you to the doctor: a broken toe, a sprained wrist, wisdom teeth removal. You’re sent home with a prescription: oxycodone, hydrocodone or codeine. You take your medication and before you more..

Hands holding, supporting each other. Debra

Debra’s Story

A Hard Start Debra had a hard start in life. She was born addicted to heroin, her parents were both users before she was born. At the age of 13, Debra decided she was going to try heroin. Debra asked her father to shoot her up. He begged her not to. Debra told him, that if he didn’t give it to her, she’d go find someone who would. So he shot his 13-year-old daughter up with heroin. Debra had been more..

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