Join Us May 6th- FREE to Attendees: Navigating the World of Addiction Event

Navigating the World of Addiction Event

FREE EVENT Presented by Lifted From the Rut.

This event will focus on Addiction Education for The Entire Family Unit, Parents, Teens and Young Adults.

free

If you have not already, please register here so we can have an idea of how many people will attend!  The HOPE is that each person who attends will try to bring at least a few friends or family who can also benefit from this FREE Addiction Awareness event!  Let’s pack the HOUSE!

Miami….A city once built on Cocaine, now run by Heroin!

Miami….A city once built on Cocaine, now run by Heroin!

Miami

 

We have all seen episodes of Miami Vice where Crockett and Tubbs fight to keep kilo after kilo of cocaine off the streets of Miami.

I’m sure most of us have seen the documentary “Cocaine Cowboys” that tells the story of how the Colombian cartels took over the streets of Miami for years pumping tons of cocaine into the Magic City’s streets.

The city of Miami definitely doesn’t like to admit it, but the beautiful new skyline in downtown was basically built off the cocaine trade of the 1980s. Cocaine ruled the roost in Miami for decades until recently. Now a whole new sheriff is in town and its called heroin.

Heroin has always been there in the streets of Miami but it was always second to cocaine. It stayed underground and popular with the old school “kats” from the 1970s and never really made it to the mainstream until the pill epidemic blew through South Florida much like Hurricane Andrew leaving just as much devastation.

Heroin addicts are now overdosing in record numbers in Miami-Dade County. The two low-income neighborhoods of Overtown and Liberty City are being hit the hardest. For example, on a hot Summer morning last year a 43-year-old homeless woman named Mary was walking down 17th Street and just collapsed. As the paramedics raced to her aid, they found fresh vomit all over her and had to give her two shots of narcan to bring her back.

Now, you might think more of this would be the norm, right? More neighborhood residents being found dead or close to it from a heroin overdose. But you would be dead wrong. It isn’t the residents of these low-income neighborhoods who are overdosing in record numbers. It is people from OUTSIDE the neighborhoods coming in to these low-income neighborhoods to purchase the heroin and not making it out.

These numbers may shock you, but out of the 250 heroin overdoses in Miami Dade last year, 213 of them were white victims from outside neighborhoods or areas. And more specifically, 190 of the 213 white victims were white males. This seems to be a far cry from the cocaine statistics that seemed to affect the actual low-income residents more.

So as the city of Miami’s skyline continues to change and grow larger and larger, the drug culture couldn’t be any more different from those days in the 80’s than it is today. Heroin rules the roost now in Miami and its far more deadly than cocaine.

If you find yourself in these low-income areas looking to score drugs you won’t see the groups of ten or more dealers running to your car to serve you cocaine. Those days are long gone in the Magic City. Now you will find the lone “dog” walking through Overtown or Liberty City with heroin for sale. You have to be “plugged” into the drug scene now to find the heroin that is ruling the streets, but it is definitely not recommended. If you are struggling with heroin or any other addiction or know someone who is struggling you can visit us here at www.theaddictionscoach.com  or call  1 800 706 0318.

Don’t Call My Exercise Discipline an “Addiction” -Jay Keefe

 Don’t Call My Exercise Discipline an “Addiction” -Jay Keefe

“It’s good that you have an exercise addiction.” A woman recently said to me.

I was immediately caught off guard (and a little offended).

The definition of “addiction” is “a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences.”

I stole quarters out of a friend’s Jeep to buy a half pint of Tequila.  I was making over $100,000 a year, but I was broke.

I drove my sister’s three kids, my stepson, my brother and my two dogs home from an arcade completely blacked out.  The next morning I asked my brother if he drove home.  He looked at me and said, “No. You did.”

I woke up in a thorn bush outside a Boston University dorm with cuts and scratches all over my exposed skin.  Brief glimpses of trying to find my truck the night before and being thrown out of a building vestibule by two burly college kids flashed through my head.

I was in my early 30’s.

I lost a snowboard in Vermont.  I lost a rental car in Delray Beach.  I lost my nephew in New Hampshire.

I also lost several friends, my marriage and my sanity when I was drinking.

When I start drinking, the compulsion to drink is so strong that I’ll do anything for another one.

I got into exercise for the same reason everyone else does-I wanted to lose weight.

And I did.

But exercise became so much more to me than that.

I felt better.  I felt fresh, whole, energized.

Every time I’ve been to a 12-step meeting for my alcoholism, I’ve felt better.  It was my spiritual medicine for the day.  I feel the same way when I exercise.  If I’m feeling groggy, irritable, angry or just plain “off”, I always feel better when I’m done.

My head is clear, my body is warmed up, my concentration is better, my sex drive is higher, and I’m serene, calm and content.

Am I compulsive about exercising?

Nope.

I exercise for one hour a day, six days a week.  That’s 4% of my day.

When I was drinking, I’d wake up, try to figure out where I was, made sure I didn’t kill anyone the night before, and then I’d start thinking about drinking again, or at least about how I could sneak a shot or a quick beer to get rid of the insidious hangover coursing through my body.

Then I’d go to my job, get my work assignments, hop in my truck (usually half drunk) and drive around Boston for the next four or five hours, fixing phones in customers homes.  If they offered me a drink I’d take it.  I worked the 12-8 pm shift so I was always finishing up my day around “Happy Hour”.  But I’d always stop at two because I didn’t want them to think I had a problem.

I’d finish for the day, park the truck close to the last customer’s house, and then walk to the closest bar.  I’d order a shot of Patron and an Amstel light and hang out for the next hour or so, before I’d have to return the truck in South Boston.

But I’d stop at a liquor store on the way back in, grab four nips of Cuervo and two Coors Light, and drink them on the 8 mile commute home.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Then I’d get home, put my pups in the car, swing by another liquor store, get four more nips, two more beers and proceed to get obliterated as I sat on the high school bleachers and threw the ball to my dogs.

And I’d do the same thing the next day.

That lifestyle continued for the last two years of my drinking.

Towards the end I wasn’t even getting drunk anymore.  I simply needed to drink to feel normal.  Like I said, that compulsive behavior destroyed my life.

I was a walking zombie, completely lost and dead inside. All I cared about (all I obsessed about) was drinking.  It didn’t matter what I had to do, where I had to go, or who I was going to hurt in the process; I was going to do anything I needed to get another drink.

I do not obsess about exercise.

Am I disciplined about it?

You bet your ass I am.

Why wouldn’t I be?

It makes me feel amazing, without the  “adverse consequences”.  But I don’t obsess over it.  When I’m done exercising for the day, I’m done.

Sometimes I go a few days without exercising.  I take a rest week (or two) after I’m done with a certain program.  I’ll go a few days without working out if I’m on vacation.

Does that seem like an “addiction” to you?

Do you know what I don’t do when I exercise?

I don’t steal quarters when I exercise.  I don’t recklessly drive my family around in a blacked out state.  I don’t pass out in random doorways.

I don’t destroy relationships or lose my sanity either.

I get a little piece of mind while I’m exercising.

I don’t think about a thing when I’m working out.  I don’t think about whatever luxury problems I’m having, what’s going on in the world, or where my next drink is coming from.  I don’t think about anything at all. It’s my version of active meditation.

So if improving my mental health, reducing risk of cardiovascular disease and living longer (to name just a few) are “adverse consequences”, then sign me the fuck up.

Jay Keefe, Staff Writer and Director of Happiness at The Addictions Academy

National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer

Published Author of “And Drink I Did”

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1MBF5fo

 

 

 

Making Connections with Others in Recovery and Meeting Scott Strode.

 

Making Connections with Others in Recovery and Meeting Scott Strode.

scott Strode

It seems as though I meet someone in recovery almost every day.  Sure, I meet people in 12-step meetings and it never ceases to amaze me how often I see people from the halls when I’m out and about.

“Hey, where do I know that guy from?  How do I know her?”

Of course, it always come back to knowing them because I’ve heard them speak or maybe I said hello or smiled in a damp church basement.

We are everywhere, so to speak, but that’s comforting, in a weird way.  It’s like we have each other’s back, even if it’s acknowledging them with a quick nod or brief smile.  I don’t particularly care if anyone knows I’m in recovery, but I’m always aware and respectful of another person’s anonymity.

But the more I’m active in my 12-step program, the more people I meet.  And the more people I meet, the more I’m able to build my fellowship; a fellowship that helped save my life.

After I wrote and self-published my own book, ‘And Drink I Did’, my network of people in recovery blew up, not because the book was a smash but because slowly but steadily word of mouth got around that my story was an “honest and no punches pulled account of one man’s story of his battle against alcoholism.”  That resonated with people.

It was odd and humbling to have people reach out, but it felt good.  I was glad it was reaching people.

Anyway, because of the book, I’ve met some pretty amazing individuals.

One such person is Scott Strode, founder of Phoenix Multisport.

What is Phoenix Multisport exactly?

Here is their mission statement:

Phoenix Multisport fosters a supportive, physically active community for individuals who are recovering from a substance use disorder and those who choose to live sober.  Through pursuits such as climbing, hiking, running, strength training, yoga, mountain biking, socials and other activities, we seek to help our members develop and maintain the emotional strength they need to stay sober.

Phoenix’s goal is to expand people’s sober community while creating a safe environment.

People choosing to live a sober lifestyle often find it necessary to make changes to many aspects of their lives, including their socials circles, in order to maintain sobriety. Abrupt changes in lifestyle can lead to loss of support networks, and often cause people to become isolated. Sober people need to make new friends and discover new hobbies and interests, which can be difficult without the social lubricant of drugs or alcohol. Recognizing this challenge, Phoenix Multisport makes every effort to remove barriers to getting involved with our sober community. We host daily, free events where the only requirement is to be sober. We are very welcoming to new members and encourage our regular members to get to know the new folks. In addition to offering our events at no charge, we also provide all necessary gear (the equipment required for the disciplines we teach is often very expensive and can deter people from taking up various sports, so Phoenix Multisport removes these financial barriers to participation).

How cool is that?

Being a personal trainer myself, I know first hand how important physical fitness is to people new to recovery.  And because I’m an addict too, I know how hard and scary it can be to meet people in a safe, sober setting.

Phoenix Multisport kills two birds with one stone, so to speak.

I first met Scott when Phoenix opened its first chapter in Boston, my hometown.

He’s a big guy (6’4 or 5, 240 lb.?) but he was so unbelievably humble it was a little unnerving.  He’s almost shy, and extremely soft-spoken.

We did a CrossFit class along with a dozen or so other people in recovery and we chatted for a few minutes afterwards.  I thanked him for what Phoenix was doing for the sober world and told him he was making a difference in people’s lives.  Our talk was brief (Phoenix Multisport is a non-profit and he had to rush off to an event to hopefully find donors), but it was profound.

I’ve met several other people involved in Phoenix (one such woman was featured in a documentary about the heroin epidemic running rampant across America) who continually give back to the sober community through their selfless efforts.

It’s a great feeling knowing that there are people across the globe who are breaking the stigma of addiction in order to help those who are still sick and suffering.

Please, if you’re reading this, do yourself a favor and look up Scott Strode on YouTube and check out his CNN “Heroes of 2012” clip.  It’s well worth the two and a half minutes.

And if you’re an addict, make sure you have a box of tissues handy.

 

Jay Keefe, Director of Happiness and Staff Writer at The Addictions Academy

National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer

Published Author of “And Drink I Did”

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1MBF5fo

The Addictions Coach: Fentanyl finds its way to Xanax..Recovering addict tells his story of Fentanyl overdose

 

Counterfeit “Xanax” on red background. Real Xanax on grey background. Photo: San Francisco Department of Public Health

Fentanyl finds its way to Xanax….Recovering addict tells his story of Fentanyl overdose

As if the fentanyl epidemic wasn’t dangerous and deadly enough being “hidden” in heroin, it has now been linked to deaths and overdoses from Xanax that is now laced with the deadly drug. Just like heroin dealers, Xanax pushers have discovered that they can save money by producing fake Xanax bars laced with fentanyl. If the proper amount of fentanyl was used in the production of these fake pills the user would get a very relaxed feeling, similar to actual Xanax.

But here is the major issue…These aren’t licensed pharmacists mixing up these pills that you are ingesting. These fake Xanax bars are being mixed and mastered by your favorite drug dealer off 36th street! This self-appointed pharmacist might have a sixth-grade education with an extremely long history of drug abuse themselves and now we are trusting them with our lives. Because even the smallest amount of fentanyl over what the body can handle and process will most definitely kill you.

One of the first cities to see this was San Francisco. Nine overdoses were reported with one death. Even an infant had to be revived after finding one of these fake pills on the ground. Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine so this should explain why people are dropping like flies after taking this drug without knowing.

One of the most well-known overdoses of fentanyl laced Xanax was in Minneapolis, with Prince. Prince had been taking opioid pills for years and on that fateful day the legendary musician took a fentanyl laced Xanax without knowing it and died in his elevator before anyone could find him and revive him.

Now, as a recovering heroin user I can tell you that you will never see a fentanyl overdose coming. You have very little warning and when you do it is too late. I know this from experience because it has happened to me twice. Let’s revisit one of my fentanyl overdoses to let you know just how serious this can be.

My day started out just like any other day and I would have never guessed in a million years how close I came to it being my last. I had just come off a music tour myself and had been “outta touch” with my drug neighborhood for a few week so I didn’t have my finger on the “pulse” of the product streaming through Miami. I picked up 3 bags of heroin and proceeded to snort all 3 at once. I knew right off the bat that it tasted funny, almost a sweet taste instead of the familiar narcotic bitterness. Within 2 minutes I felt an overbearing warmness in my head followed by a fight to stay conscious. I turned my car around immediately and tried to make it to a friend’s house in that same neighborhood. My friend found me slumped over the wheel of my car in front of his house and this all happened within 5 minutes of ingesting the fentanyl. The last thing I remember was turning my car around to head towards his house. How I made it there I will never know. The next thing I remember is opening my eyes with paramedics standing over me asking my name.

It took 3 narcan shots to bring me back. I tell this story to show you how quickly this can kill you. Three bags of heroin was nothing for me. I did that amount constantly, but that one day, when someone decided to cut cost by using fentanyl instead of more heroin almost ended my life in less than ten minutes. We here at www.theaddictionacoach.com can help you if you are struggling with heroin or any other addiction. Call us here at 1 800 706 0318

The Addictions Coach: Is there More to the Shooting at the Equinox Gym?

Equinox

The Addictions Coach: Is there More to the Shooting at the Equinox Gym? 

Personal trainer and model Abeku Wilson, was described as a big teddy bear, very friendly and professional.  On Instagram, he talked about spending his free-time mentoring underprivileged inner city kids as a way to give back to the community.  So what was going on that he was fired for workplace violence?   And why did he return to the gym later in the day and shoot two managers before taking his own life?

One clue may come from Miami city commissioner, Marc Sarnoff, who trained with Abeku that morning.

Sarnoff told the Herald that he saw Wilson the morning of the shooting and “He said: ‘Sorry. I’m just off-balance this morning. Which was strange. The way he said it, he almost slurred his words. He wasn’t clean shaven, which was unusual.”

As this story continues, will we learn that Wilson was under the influence of some substance?  Was he suffering with an addiction that no one knew?

What we do know is that three lives were lost tragically, and for no reason.

If you or someone you love is dealing with substance abuse or unexplained, abrupt, behavior changes, call 1.800.706.0318 or visit The Addictions Coach 

Equinox Fitness Club reopens after murder-suicide in Coral Gables

2 managers killed by fired employee, police say

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The South Florida gym where two people were killed over the weekend before the suspected gunman turned the gun on himself reopened Monday.

Equinox members told Local 10 News that they are like one big family, so what happened Saturday is still weighing heavily on their hearts.

They said returning to the gym Monday to work out was not easy.

“The only way to end this is to stop random violence with guns,” Lisa Rosen, who knew the victims, said. “People are dead. Three. Two were very young and very beautiful, and one was clearly troubled. But the answer is to get rid of guns.”

Members of the Equinox Fitness Club in Merrick Park are still shaken about the shooting that killed two managers at the hands, police said, of a popular trainer who was fired just hours before.

“I knew the other two gentlemen just from being at the gym, but Janine I did know, and she’s a tender, sweet, kind, caring person who at 35 years old should not be dead,” Rosen said.

Police said general manager Janine Ackerman and fitness manager Marios Hortis, 42, were shot Saturday afternoon inside the Coral Gables gym.

“She was a radiant human being, and this is just … there are no words,” Mabel De Buenza, who previously worked with Ackerman, said.

Ackerman worked at the Equinox Fitness Club in Coral Gables for about two years. She was promoted to the general manager position just this past summer. Friends said she embraced the role.

“She was the textbook manager,” De Buenza said. “Everything that could have possibly went wrong in that situation … I cannot fathom that there was anything that she could have possibly provoked.”

Police said Abeku Wilson, 33, was fired earlier that day and came back with a gun, killing the two managers before shooting himself.

“I would have never expected something like this. He was one of my friends,” Hamad Shirazi said. “He was a big teddy bear. He was so pleasant to be around.”

 

Sources:

http://www.local10.com/news/crime/equinox-fitness-club-reopens-after-murder-suicide-in-coral-gables

Abeku Wilson: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Out of Your Own Way

 

afraid

Fear is what it all comes down to when I started learning about myself in sobriety.

I’ve always been self-aware of my actions and behaviors but I also chose to not do a damn thing about them.

I sometimes wonder what’s worse; being aware of one’s character defects and not fixing them or not knowing what they are and suddenly opening Pandora’s Box, spilling all that garbage out on to the cold, hard floor, realizing it’s finally time to change.

Guess it doesn’t matter.

But knowing what my junk was made it at least tolerable to deal with.  It didn’t make it easy, but because I was sick and tired of being the person I was when I drank, I sat down one day and took a long, hard look at myself in the mirror.

And what did I see?

I saw doubt.  And insecurity.  Low self-esteem.  Guilt.  Shame.

I judged too quickly, was closed-minded, shallow, impatient, selfish and self-centered, and pretty much intolerant of anyone or anything that didn’t adhere to my principles and how I thought the world should be.

Yeah, I was quite the catch, all right.

I put up a good front, masquerading as a responsible adult who got up every day and went to work and paid his bills, but that’s all it was; a disguise.

I remember when I was about to check into my second detox.  I called my dad and sat down with him and told him I’ve never felt so alone in my life.

His jaw literally dropped, just like you see in cartoons and he said, “What are you talking about?  You have a beautiful wife, three great kids, and all the friends in the world.”

But it was the truth.

I thought people didn’t understand me.  I thought they’d never understand the crazy, neurotic thoughts I had bouncing around in my head.  I thought people were always talking about me and saying things behind my back.

I had zero confidence and couldn’t do anything in a public setting without being drunk.

I could be arrogant when I felt threatened or rude when I felt insecure.

The list is endless.

I was not a very nice human being, to say the least.

As hard as putting the drink down was, it was even harder to do the work.  But I did it.  I knew whatever I had been trying for over twenty years wasn’t working, so I tried what was suggested.

When it came to admitting all of my shortcomings I was okay with it, because, like I said, I knew what they were.  I wasn’t exactly proud to share them with other people, but I did.

Then came the hard part.

I had to be ready to have them removed.  But I liked my character defects.  I used most of them as defense mechanisms.  They were part of who I was.  I also knew that the parts of me that were less than desirable were a huge part of what was stunting my growth, both mentally and spiritually.

So I trudged through all that muck, and although I still (and probably always will) have my character defects, now they aren’t as transparent.  And they’ve lessened over time, some substantially so.

I don’t doubt myself as often because today I try my best in everything I do, and that’s all anyone can ask of me, including myself.  I’m not insecure in general (I still have one or two insecurities I’ll keep to myself) because I learned acceptance of not only other people, places and things, but I learned acceptance of who I am.

The shame and guilt I felt because of the hurt I had caused people while I was drinking and the damage I did is gone, thanks to the work I’ve done.  I no longer have to dwell in the past, because I don’t live there anymore.

I don’t judge as much as I used to (anyone who says they don’t occasionally judge is lying), nor am I as impatient or as intolerant as I once was.

Today I have faith that everything will work out and I embrace the unique madness and individuality that each of us brings to this sometimes fucked up, yet wonderful, blue planet we live on.

And all of it is due to the fact that I was able to get out of my own way, humble myself, and take a few simple steps in the right direction.

Jay Keefe, Director of Happiness and Staff Writer at The Addictions Academy

National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer

Published Author of “And Drink I Did”

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1MBF5fo

 

Dr. Cali Estes featured on the iconic James Lott show, A LOTT of Help

Lott

Dr. Cali Estes featured on the iconic James Lott show, A LOTT of Help. Questions and answers on Law of Attraction, creating your ‘prefect’ life and what roadmap is needed to get your hopes, dreams and desires created!

        Host, Certified Coach James Lott Jr. talks with Life and Recovery Coach Dr . Cali Estes about a way           to spiritually manifest success and/or achieve one’s goals. It’s an enlightening conversation!

Legalizing Marijuana in the NFL? The Most Influential Owner in Pro Sports is a Supporter!

owner

Legalizing Marijuana in the NFL? The Most Influential Owner in Pro Sports is a Supporter! 

When you think of Texas billionaire Jerry Jones, you would surely think of the Dallas Cowboys first, then “oil tycoon”, the NFL Hall of Fame as of 2017 and now you can add marijuana supporter to his list.

Yep, you heard it correctly. Dallas Cowboys renegade owner has now let all the other NFL owners know at the owners meetings in Phoenix this week, that he is “all in” on legalizing recreational marijuana use in the NFL.

With marijuana being legal in some way in 8 states with NFL franchises Jerry Jones is taking the position that the league is unfairly punishing players for something that is legal in a quarter of the NFL franchise states. And in his eyes, more importantly, the league is taking away the right for some of its young men to make a living.

Some say Mr. Jones is just being his “revolutionary” self that he has been for his entire life and for over a quarter century in the NFL. Jerry Jones sees things before they come to be and steers those around him in the direction of success and more importantly, PROGRESS. When the NFL had certain companies that franchises could use for entertainment products, Jones when 180 degrees in the opposite direction. The NFL said all teams must use Coca Cola and Jerry put Pepsi products in his stadium then had Pepsi give him millions as a sponsor. These types of moves gave Mr Jones the renegade label. Jerry actually sued the NFL to have the right to use whatever sponsors he chooses and won. This move and his structuring of TV rights changed the NFL forever and gave us the league we have today.

So is this move to legalize Marijuana in the NFL another vision he has to change the league and its history of opiate abuse forever in a positive way or does Jerry have a vested interest in the punishment aspect? Although this news just broke yesterday, skeptics are already voicing their concerns for Mr Jones’ intentions.

Over the 25 plus years that Jerry has been at the helm of the Dallas Cowboys, player after player has been ripped from his playing field due to multi-game suspensions for substance abuse. Adam “Pac Man” Jones was lost a few years ago, Rolando McClain was suspended all of last year and half of 2015. Last year both starting star defensive linemen Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence were lost for 10 games which greatly impacted the season outcome. Lawrence was allowed to return after game 10 while Gregory came back for 2 games in weeks 11 and 12 only to be re-suspended for the rest of the year and all of 2017 for yet another failed test, likely ending his career.

So is Jerry just looking out for his own rear end on the playing field or is it really extremely unfair to take away a man’s way to feed his family over a substance that is legal in over a quarter of the NFL cities? I guess we will soon find out. Meanwhile, if you are an NFL player battling with substance abuse or any addiction contact us here at www.theaddictionscoach.com for help.

Why is patient brokering, in the form of paying a referral, illegal?- Guest Post from Jeffrey Lynne, Esq.

patient

Why is patient brokering, in the form of paying a referral, illegal?

Because, as a matter of public health policy, we want citizens making their own healthcare choices, without unreasonable influence or inducement.

We want our healthcare practitioners to endeavor to provide the highest quality of care and service based upon education, experience, and earned reputation.

If a healthcare provider can simply pay for a referral, then we make the reasonable assumption he/she need not worry about endeavoring to provide the very best in healthcare, because they are obtaining patients through paid referrals, rather than on their reputation for quality of care.

As a result, the theory continues, the quality of care will decline because a provider who can buy patients need not worry about reputation or outcomes. They just need pay a referral source.

While there are a multitude of other evils about patient brokering which are beyond the scope of this specific article (the best of which has been written by the Post’s John Pacenti), the issue remains – we need to find a legitimate way to connect patients with providers.

As of today, I simply do not know of any legitimate way that currently exists, with the exception being good old-fashioned, actual one-on-one human interaction, including a robust alumni program, and traditional advertising.

However, in the meantime, we can only prosecute our way through this, and there will be collateral damage. But once all “patient brokers” have been removed from the streets, know that all that will be left are those with the largest ad budgets who can afford to do the most expensive ad campaigns.

And when that happens, the social policy behind patient brokering will still remain equally violated – a patient will still be unable to make a fair and informed healthcare decision for themselves (or, more often, on their behalf by their loved one) since there will only be “one” game in town – he who can outspend his competitors in the Google Ad and SEO (search engine optimization) space.

In other words, without addiction treatment advertising “parity”, the entity who “screams the loudest” and most frequently will be the only voice heard.

As a result, the same evil will remain – there will still be no need by those limited providers to concentrate on quality of care, since they will have eliminated all competition by cornering the information accessibility marketplace. The more sophisticated providers who pay for flashy internet ad campaigns and well-conceived logarithms to identity similarly needy addicts are not going to automatically transform into ethical and effective healthcare providers.

Stated otherwise, good healthcare and paying for referrals are not automatically mutually exclusive.

Once we have removed the “broker” from the equation, by continuing to allow the patient to choose their addiction treatment provider by a method other than the legitimately earned and qualified reputation of the program and its owners and clinicians, we have simply replaced the street thug with a business suit.

I therefore applaud the Office of the State Attorney for Palm Beach County (Florida), the Honorable Dave Aronberg, and his staff, for understanding this modern-day and unforeseeable Hobson’s Choice, and for supporting “truth in advertising” marketing regulations that start the process of bringing transparency to an industry that has been ignored far too long when it comes to providing sensible guidelines to allow private providers to meet market demand while concurrently continuing to protect the public.

In the interim, I do understand and can often empathize with the frustrations of an industry sector that, unlike its medical healthcare counterparts, has been told to go and solve the country’s addiction epidemic, but has been hypocritically criticized for doing so in a for-profit business model.

Meanwhile, as the battle rages on between the treatment industry and the recovery community for the best way to “save the soul” of the afflicted, we have an epidemic to address and an industry that hires thousands of people who actually care about positive sustainable outcomes and the long-term healing of our nation.

Rather than paint them all with a broad brush of negativity, let’s start to focus (and report) on all the good they are doing, one day at a time.

 

Note: The article by John Pacenti of the Palm Beach Post is a great read and can be found here.

Please also make sure you are subscribed to our newsletter by going to www.soberlawnews.com

JEFFREY C. LYNNE, ESQ.

2255 Glades Road, Suite 335W

Boca Raton, FL 33431

Tel 561.549.9036 | Fax 561.549.9040

jlynne@bmulaw.com | www.bmulaw.com