Monday, June 16, 2014

Tell SAMHSA Not To Violate Your Civil Right to Confidentiality


National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery
Press Release
 
Contact Persons: 
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director, edirector@methadone.org
Roxanne Baker, President, president@methadone.org
Phone/Fax: 212.595.NAMA  (212-595-62620)

Most hospitals and medical centers now have in operation what is called electronic health records or Health Information Technology (HIT).  Basically this means that doctors in their private offices, medical centers, pharmacies and state prescription monitoring programs all have access to your health records.   Records in methadone programs are excluded because of the Confidentiality Regulations (42 CFR Part 2).  For any information to leave the program a patient must sign a release that requires the request to be exact.

It is proposed that methadone programs be connected to the health information system theat would give any medical professional access to your drug treatment information. In fact medical professionals are not the only ones that could access your information either legally or illegally.

IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT?

Do you want the right to develop a relationship with a medical professional and then if they are objective tell them you are enrolled in a methadone program?  Do you want the right to protect your treatment from insurance companies, employers, criminal justice systems – actually everyone?

Professionals and Policy Makers do not understand the stigma and prejudice that especially methadone patients experience in their daily lives.  Very often if you tell a doctor you are a methadone patient you get a lecture to get off methadone because it is bad for you with no medical care or treatment for what you came there for.  This is what they need to hear.  Your experiences when you try to get medical care outside of the program and how you feel that Confidentiality is Your Civil Right..

For information about 42 CFR Part 2 go to:                     http://www.methadone.org
                                                                                    http://www.samhsa.gov/healthprivacy

 

Mail Comments to: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration SAMHSA, 1 Choke Cherry Road, Rockville, MD 20857, Room 5-1011.

Send By:  June 25, 2014 (if you mail after they should still accept it)
 
Downloads
 
Read how the special confidentiality regulations came about The Case of People vs Newman
 
From Dr. Robert Newman's book about the New York City program this chapter is how the confidentiality regulations were created and put into effect.
 
Newman, Robert G. In:The Case of People vs Newman. (Chapter 6) Methadone Treatment in Narcotic Addiction: Program Management, Findings, and Prospects for the Future. New York: Academic Press; 1977: pp. 62.
 
 
Press Release Tell SAMHSA Not To Violate Your Civil Right Confidentiality.


TIPS
What to Write to SAMHSA

1. Don't write a long letter. A simple paragraph to say that it is important that the confidentiality remain as they currently are.
 
2. You can tell them about an incident or situation like what usually happens when a doctor finds out you are a methadone patient.

3. It does not have to be typed. A hand written letter on legal pad paper is fine and often better because it means that the/a average patient has taken the time to say how important the confidentiality regulations.

4. You do not have to sign your name.  You can sign the letter as "A Patient" and below it enter a P.S. and say "I am afraid to sign my name because of the discrimination against methadone patients."

Example

Dear SAMHSA:

I understand that you are considering changing the confidentiality regulations for methadone treatment. It is important that the confidentiality regulations remain as they are and not be changed.

I am a methadone patient and I am concerned what could happen if my status as a methadone patient were known.  I know that I would have trouble getting medical care because doctors always blame any medical problem on the methadone. Doctors and nurses don't understand methadone and they tell me to get off.

I am also concerned that employers and schools will be able to find out that I am a methadone patient if changes to the confidentiality regulations happen.

Please don't change the confidentiality regulations that has protected me and all patients from the discrimination against us.

Thank you.
 
 A Patient*

*  I am afraid to sign my name because of the discrimination against methadone patients.
 

What is important is that you write.

 

Monday, June 02, 2014

Notice of SAMHSA Listening Session Confidentiality Regulations 42 CFR part 2

National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery
 
Press Release

Contact Persons:
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director, edirector@methadone.org
Roxanne Baker, President, president@methadone.org
Phone/Fax: 212-595-NAMA

SAMHSA the federal agency in charge of methadone treatment is scheduling a Listening Session.  They want to hear from professionals and especially patients about Confidentiality and your treatment.

Most hospitals and medical centers now have in operation what is called electronic health records or Health Information Technology (HIT).  Basically this means that doctors in their private offices and medical centers all have access to your health records.   Records in methadone programs are excluded because of the Confidentiality Regulations (42 CFR part 2).  For any information to leave the program a patient must sign a release.

However if methadone programs were connected to the health information system then any medical professional would have access to your drug treatment information.

IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT?

Or do you want the right to develop a relationship with a medical professional and then if they are objective tell them you are enrolled in a methadone program.

Professionals and Policy Makers do not understand the stigma and prejudice that especially methadone patients experience when trying to access health care.  Very often if you tell a doctor you are a methadone patient you get a lecture to get off methadone because it is bad for you and no medical care or treatment for what you came for.  This is what they need to hear.  Your experiences when you try to get medical care outside of the program and you tell them you are a methadone patient.  The session is open to the public and you can join it on the internet.

   Date:                         June 11, 2014
   Time:                         9:30am – 4:30 pm

For information about 42 CFR part 2 and the Listening Session go to:
http://www.samhsa.gov/healthprivacy


Send Comments to: PrivacyRegulations@SAMHSA.hhs.gov  
 
Read the story of how the confidentiality regulations came about.

From Dr. Robert Newman's book about the New York City program and how the confidentiality regulations were created and put into effect.
 
From Newman, Robert G. In: Chapter 6. Methadone Treatment in Narcotic Addiction: Program Management, Findings, and Prospects for the Future. New York: Academic Press; 1977: pp. 62.


 
 

Download: Press Release
 
 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Download the SAMHSA Disaster App

National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery

Press Release

Contact Persons:
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director, edirector@methadone.org
Roxanne Baker, President, president@methadone.org
Phone/Fax: 212-595-NAMA

Your SAMHSA Disaster App Is Ready To Download!

The SAMHSA Disaster App is now available for download on your iPhone, Android, or BlackBerry device. Be among the first to try out this essential behavioral health disaster response app. Let the SAMHSA Disaster App assist you in responding to survivors' behavioral health needs. Access critical, disaster-related resources directly from your phone.

  • Be focused. Spend less time worrying about logistics so you can focus on what really matters—the people in need.
  • Be prepared. Rely on and access predownloaded resources on your phone in case of limited Internet connectivity.
  • Be confident. Review key preparedness materials so you're confident about providing the best support possible.
  • Share resources easily. Send information to colleagues and survivors via text message or email, or transfer the information to a computer for printing.

Download the SAMHSA Disaster App and give it a test run. Help SAMHSA improve future versions by sending feedback.

Download SAMHSA Disaster App via iTunes Store for iPhone
Download SAMHSA Disaster App via Google Play for Android
Download SAMHSA Disaster App via BlackBerry App World for BlackBerry

 
Download Press Release
 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Nominations Open for the Richard Lane/Robert Holden Patient Advocacy Award

National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery

Press Release

Contact Persons:
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director, edirector@methadone.org
Roxanne Baker, President, president@methadone.org
Phone/Fax: 212-595-NAMA


Richard Lane was a long-term heroin user who, upon release from prison in 1967, was instrumental in establishing one of the Nation’s first methadone treatment programs. In 1974, he became the Executive Director of Man Alive and later served as Vice President of the American Methadone Treatment Association (now AATOD) and as Vice Chairman of the Governor’s Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Maryland. Mr. Lane was a passionate advocate for methadone treatment and, by disclosing his own treatment experiences, provided inspiration to patients and colleagues alike.


Robert Holden was also a recovering heroin user, who later became the Director of PIDARC, an outpatient methadone treatment program in the District of Columbia. He was a friend of Richard Lane and succeeded Richard Lane’s term of office as the Vice President of the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence. This award was established in 1995 and recognizes extraordinary achievements in patient advocacy.

The following criteria should be applied in making your selection:

  • Only one (1) nominee can be submitted to the Conference Awards Committee. There may be a number of nominees however only one (1) “consensus” nominee may receive this honor.

  • The nominee must have been involved in the field of methadone advocacy for a period of five (5) years.
  • The nominee must have made meaningful and consistent contributions, which have had a significant impact on opioid treatment within a state or region of the United States.
  • For each nominee a Nomination Form must be completed and submitted with two (2) Letters of Support. The Nomination Form is attached to this announcement and can also be downloaded from the NAMA Recovery website http://www.methadone.org.

NAMA Recovery will be responsible for collecting all the submissions for nomination, selecting a committee of advocates that will decide on the final candidate. The Candidate’s Name, Nomination Form and at least two (2) Letters of Support describing the nominee’s achievements will be submitted to the AATOD Conference Awards Committee for the final approval.

The deadline for Submissions is March 5, 2013. The completed Nomination Form along with at least two (2) Letters of Support should be sent to Joycelyn Woods at edirector@methadone.org.

Previous Winners of the Award

1995, Arizona Richard Lane 2001, St. Louis Joycelyn Woods 2007, Atlanta Anthony Scro 2009, New York Walter Ginter 2010, Chicago Lisa Mojer Torres 2012, Las Vegas Roxanne Baker

This Award will be bestowed upon the recipient during the Awards Banquet Ceremony on November 12, 2013 during AATOD’s next National Conference which will convene at the Philadelphia Downtown Marriot.

The individual will be provided with a roundtrip Coach Class airfare in addition to up to two (2) nights in the hotel. The individual will also be able to attend the Conference.


Deadline: March 5, 2013

Email Nominations To: edirector@methadone.org
Joycelyn Woods

If you have any questions about the award contact Joycelyn Woods at edirector@methadone.org or by telephone at 718-742-7804

Download Press Release

Download Nomination Form



Monday, January 14, 2013

Ira Marion 1945-2013

National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery
 
Press Release

Contact Persons:
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director, edirector@methadone.org
Roxanne Baker, President, president@methadone.org
Phone/Fax: 212-595-NAMA


It is with sincere sadness and deep regret to have to report on the passing of a NAMA-Recovery Board of Directors member Ira Marion. Ira passed on Monday evening, January 7, 2013 at Beth Israel Medical Center after a struggle with cancer. He was a constant and prolific supporter of Methadone Maintenance Treatment and will be sadly missed by both patients and professional colleagues alike.

Ira's contributions to the advancement of this life-saving treatment for opioid addiction are numerous and legendary, and he was an untiring champion of both patients' rights and patient centered care. His vision of quality treatment was reflected in the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Program which he administered for many years. He was courageous in expressing that he was a "product of the system" and that medication assisted treatment is effective and saves numerous lives on a daily basis. Ira was a member of the founding committee of NAMA over 25 years ago. He was proud of assisting in the development of The MARS Project, a collaboration between Einstein and NAMA-Recovery.

We ask that you keep Suzanne Hall-Westcott, his children and grandchildren, and everyone dear to him in your thoughts and prayers. The family has planned a private service is being planned and we ask that you refrain from reaching out to the family.

A memorial service will be planned that will give all of us the opportunity to pay our respects and honor Ira. You can contact NAMA Recovery if you wish to be notified about the service or wish to share your thoughts and we will forward the messages to the family.

Ira will be missed by all who knew him personally and professionally and we send his family and loved ones our sincere sympathy and condolences. His is a universal loss to the field of addiction treatment which will be felt for years to come.

Rest in peace, Ira you will not be soon forgotten by both patients and professional associates.


Download Press Release  

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dear Colleague Letter 12-6-2012 Final Rule Modifying Buprenorphine Dispensing Restrictions in OTPs

National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery

Press Release

Contact Persons:
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director, edirector@methadone.org
Roxanne Baker, President, president@methadone.org
Phone/Fax: 212-595-NAMA


The National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery ‘s (NAMA Recovery) purpose is to represent the interests and rights of patients receiving Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). While NAMA Recovery commends the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment for attempting to equalize Buprenorphine in Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) with Office-Based Opioid Treatment (OBOT) prescribing physicians our concern is it will have a negative effect on OTP patients creating a two tier system. We suggest that this is an opportunity to normalize medications within the OTP.


Both methadone and buprenorphine should have an induction period so that dose adjustments can be made and to insure that patients are taking their medication daily. At the end of thirty (30) days if patients have negative toxicology and are showing progress that take home medication be started for responsible patients prescribed methadone and buprenorphine. Without these adjustments patients prescribed methadone will be impelled to switch to buprenorphine with often disastrous results (i.e. inadequate dosing, opioid pain medications are difficult to prescribe).

Including buprenorphine as a medication prescribed in OTPs will most certainly increase diversion of buprenorphine and this in turn results in increased stigma which is already occurring and more restrictive policy.

Unfortunately it is very probable that those receiving methadone at OTPs will pay the price for any diversion from OTPs whether buprenorphine or methadone.

We recognize that the services offered in OTPs make them uniquely qualified to treat addictive disorders. NAMA Recovery urges caution to insure that the goals of this Dear Colleague letter are met in making MAT more available and to adjust the policy to make a fairer OTP system.

Since its beginning methadone treatment has been demonstrated to be the most effective treatment for opioid addiction, resulting in the termination of opioid use and of criminal behavior. In spite of this success, methadone treatment is often disparaged as a “substitute drug” by those who ignore the positive benefits that it has clearly brought to society. These attitudes negatively impact on opiate treatment programs in a variety of ways, but it is the methadone patients themselves who are particularly stigmatized and harmed. With the advances of science and introduction of buprenorphine it was hoped that the stigma and prejudice directed at patients and programs would change. As the premier international advocacy organization for Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) the National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery* (NAMA Recovery) will actively respond to the issues that affect the daily lives of MAT patients and work towards the day when they can take pride in their accomplishments.


Download Dear Colleague Letter 12-6-2012

Download NAMAR Press Release 12-31-2012

Monday, June 04, 2012

Walter Ginter to Receive Vernon Johnson Award





Faces and Voices of Recovery and Hazelden's Center for Public Advocacy invite you to join us at an evening reception recognizing the outstanding contributions of Walter Ginter, Project Director of the Medication-Assisted Recovery Services (MARS) Project. He is the leading face and voice of medication-assisted treatment and recovery in the US.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012, 6:00 - 8:00 pm
Carnegie Institute for Science
1530 P Street NW
Washington, DC 20005

Emmy-award winning reporter and anchor Pat O’Brien, who will be one of the hosts of the 2012 Olympic Games, will be joining us as we salute the extraordinary contributions of the country's most influential recovery community leaders to the growing movement to promote the reality of recovery from addiction.

Host Committee Co-Chairs*
Fmr Congressman Patrick Kennedy
Co-Chair One Mind for Research
Carol McDaid
Capitol Decisions
Host Committee Members
Johnny Allem
DC Recovery Community Alliance
Franni Frankin
Aquila Recovery
Ann Barnum
The Health Foundation of
Greater Cincinnati
Christopher Kennedy Lawford
Author
Tim Cheney
Chooper's Guide
Former Congressman
Jim Ramstad
Tom Coderre
Rhode Island State Senate
Mike Sime
Hazelden Foundation
Laurie Dhue
Veteran Broadcast Journalist
Founder of Laurie Dhue Media, NYC
Stuart Smith
Foundation for Recovery RICAREs
* Organizations listed for identification purposes



Faces and Voices of Recovery and Hazelden’s Center for Public Advocacy have joined together to host America Honors Recovery honoring the legacies of Joel Hernandez, Vernon Johnson and Lisa Mojer-Torres. All contributions to the America Honors Recovery awards event will go to Faces & Voices. To find out more about this year’s honorees, please click here.

NAMA-R Announcement 6/4/2012




National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery
435 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10010


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Stop Stigma Now: Small Organization Rises to Raise Funds for Methadone Treatment PR Campaign


ATForum, Spring


Stop Stigma Now, a small group of retired opioid treatment program (OTP) providers has a big—and honorable—goal: eradicating stigma against the methadone treatment field. It began about five years ago with the closure of the Mount Sinai Narcotics Rehabilitation Center in New York City, recalls Joycelyn Woods, project coordinator with the National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery (NAMA Recovery).

The physician and administrator who led that program got together and started talking about the fact that the stigma situation isn’t any better than it was in 2007. “It’s worse,” said Ms. Woods. “Nobody is going to do anything about it unless we do something about it ourselves. I had hoped for a long time that the federal government would do it—they have the money and the resources.”

Sy Demsky, the former administrator at Mount Sinai (he retired shortly before the closure), and Philip Paris, MD, the physician, helped organize the Stop Stigma Now group. “Their idea is to raise money from new sources and create a huge PR campaign,” said Ms. Woods. One suggested way of raising money was to ask OTP patients—each of whom would contribute one dollar. “The programs have to decide whether to cooperate. This could be impossible to manage,” she said.

This leaves Stop Stigma Now in a difficult position—doing something very important, without adequate funding to make it happen. With prescription opioid abuse rampant, OTPs and state substance abuse agencies seeking to address this are faced with new zoning restrictions or outright prohibition based on prejudice or unfounded fears.

“We wish to let the public see our patients as the successes so many of them are,” Dr. Paris told AT Forum in an e-mail. “Our patients are dependent on their medication, not addicted,” he said. “They are not substituting methadone for their street drug. Instead, methadone helps to correct the illness induced by years of using heroin or abusing pain medications.”

Stop Stigma Now attended the AATOD conference in Las Vegas, prominently passing out buttons and letting the addiction treatment field know about their work. “We were received warmly with a show of support by many of the leaders in the field,” said Dr. Paris. “We received many pledges for future financial support. That is very important if we are to be able to widen our anti-stigma message.”

To find out more about Stop Stigma Now, and to make a donation, go to http://www.methadone.org/stopstigmanow/

Posted ATForum May 29, 2012
Download


Sunday, January 08, 2012

In My Own Words Essay Contest Winners

NAMA Recovery is proud to announce the 3 winners of the MAT In My Own Words Essay Contest.

The winners were:

1st Darlene DeMore (PA)
2nd Louis Buchhold (CA)
Ian Christenson (MN)

The winners will receive: 1st-$500, 2nd-$250, 3rd-$100.

We are proud to announce that a recordbreaking 128 individuals
from across the US and the UK submitted essays.

And even more proud that so many of you bravely shared your story.


Here Are the Essays


First Place
MEDICATED ASSISTED TREATMENT
A New Beginning
Darlene DeMore, Pennsylvania


Medicated Assisted Treatment (MAT) has supported my recovery from addiction in ways I never expected. Early in recovery my only concern was not feeling sick and having a place to sleep other than the ground or a park bench. When I became pregnant, I was terrified that I would not be able to take care of my child. MAT allowed me to become well, function normally and raise a beautiful, healthy daughter.

I am commonly asked why I have been on methadone maintenance for 14 years and my reply is because it works for me. Sadly MAT is misunderstood and stigmatized in our communities. What most people do not realize is that my medication is only a fraction of what my recovery is about. As with anyone in recovery, I needed therapy, family support, positive people and finding my passion in life. MAT is just that, assisted treatment. It’s a medication I take to treat my disease of addiction. Using drugs was only a symptom of other things I needed to learn how to cope with to be successful.


I continue to be committed to recovery because when I allowed myself to be open to the process and accept my disease I was free. Free to be a loving mother of two, free to contribute to my community, free to share my recovery experiences and free to be a woman I am proud of, honored to be, and will continue to become.

# # #


Second Place
ATTC Essay
Louis Buchhold, California


I’ve been sober for 11 years/6 months. I could have never imagined I could experience even one day free from alcohol/drugs back then. In 8-long years I have never been able to get longer than 30-days sober, being in/out of AA, therapy, and having tried to kill myself. Then I met a psychistrist who saw past that homeless, unemployable, degenerate hope-to-die alcoholic – to a person gripped by a terrible disease with a medical solution.


At that time in 1999 Naltrexone was new. I had tried all the other clearly non-effective recovery methods, what harm could a trial be? MAT moved me for the first time to stop dissociating when triggered. I found myself being completely present, able to stop the addictive process. I got 60-days, after which, like an alcoholic/addict, my self-will tested this MAT by drinking/using. The medication worked. I stayed present and able to be recovery-committed since, knowing it is possible.

I continued taking Naltrexone for 2-years. I went off when I had built enough behavioral tools and support to ensure my ongoing recovery. I continue to live each day only 24-hours at a time, knowing thay I can return to drinking and using tomorrow. If it wasn’t for MAT I would not be here to tell my story. I am grateful that there are medical options to help oeople struggling when all else has failed them.

# # #


Third Place
IN MY OWN WORDS…
Medication Assisted Treatment (Buprenorphine / Suboxone)
Ian Christenson, Minnesota


Suboxone saved my life. I’ve been clean and sober since that day 5 years ago when I walked into my doctor’s office beaten down by my addiction and finally asked for help.

At 30 years of age, after 15 years of drug addiction I started Suboxone. I had been attending 12 step groups but after years of heroin and pill addiction, numerous drug treatments, and chronically relapsing I had to do something different. The decision was difficult. Suboxone is controversial and I feared the judgments of others in recovery.

Medication-Assisted Treatment is a BIG part of my recovery but staying sober depends on more than just medication. I do service work, go to meetings, stay away from drugs/alcohol, and surround myself with supportive people.

Medication-Assisted Treatment is the best decision I had made in a long time. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help from my doctors and the MAT program.


Suboxone has stopped my cravings and preoccupation with getting high. My life is no longer controlled by being high, lying, feeling miserable, then starting the cycle again.

I’m 100 % committed to my recovery. Even though some days are still hard I know I can make it though the tough times. I now have a good job, a house, and a family. Besides all that, I now have something I never thought I could, sobriety and true happiness. I owe a lot of that to MAT.

# # #


Download Essay Book



Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tennessee Proposes New Regulations Harmful to Patients, Quality Treatment and Best Practice

National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery
 
Press Release

Contact Persons:
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director, edirector@methadone.org
Roxanne Baker, President, president@methadone.org
Phone/Fax: 212-595-NAMA



On December 19, 2011 the state of Tennessee is proposing new regulations for methadone. A hearing is scheduled for January 5, 2012 (State will accept written comments until January 19th).

Here are some of the proposed regulations:

The screening process: Patient must have two documented unsuccessful attempts at detoxification or drug-free treatment within a 24-hour period. (Page 14)

Dose: Doses greater than 100 milligrams of methadone requires written notification to the SOTA, greater than 120 milligrams need SOTA approval prior to administration and greater than 140 milligrams shall include a peak and trough test. (Page 21)

Take Home Medication: Patients on a monthly with 1 positive drug screen will be put on a weekly schedule for two weeks or more. (Page 24)
.
Administrative Discharge for Drug Use: A fourth positive drug test in 6 months will result in immediate discharge or ASW. (Page 26)

Central Registry: A propsed Central Registry with no comment on how confidentiality will be maintained or even where it will be stored. (Page 29)


It must also be noted that many new proposals in the new regulation are good treatment, however they appear cumbersome resulting in excessive paper work so counselors do not have quality time to see patients. There must be a better way to do it such as the federal government whose regulations are very basic while the treatment requirements are in the accreditation guidelines. This also allows the federal the make changes when necessary without approval from Congress. Like the first federal regulations the Tennessee proposed regulations are written with good intent but the result is likely not to be what was intended.



Tennessee Needs Our Help

Patients and residents of Tennessee that are family please follow the instructions in the attached Announcement. A copy of the legislators in the state Senate and Assembly is included. You should also send a copy to the Secretary of State and TN SOTA whose addresses are below.

Out of State Patients the Hearings scheduled for January 5, 2012 needs to have patients write their feelings and why some of these regulations hamper recovery rather than support it. You can send a letter to the following:


DO NOT SEND TO:

Tre Hargett
SECRETARY OF STATE
State Capitol
Nashville, TN 37243-1102
Phone: (615) 741-2819

MAIL LETTERS TO:

Kurt Hippel, Esq.
Tennessee Department of Mental Health
Office of Licensure and Review
4255th Ave. North, 3rd Floor
Cordell Hill Building
Nashville, TN 37243

Jason Carter
TN SOTA
Cordell Hull Bldg. 5th Floor
425 5th Ave. North
Nashville, TN 37243
Phone: (615) 532-6736
Fax: (615) 741-6602
jason.carter@state.tn.us

Download Announcement
Download TN Senate Members
Download TN Assembly Members
Download Proposed TN Regulations

Download Press Release (PDF)

Revised: January 6, 2012

Governor LePage Believes Maine Should Stop Paying for Methadone Help Change His Mind

National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery
 
Press Release

Contact Persons:
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director, edirector@methadone.org
Roxanne Baker, President, president@methadone.org
Phone/Fax: 212-595-NAMA

He Says:


Maine Care will pay for Methadone when most insurance carriers won't. Someone can go to the Discovery Center in Bangor. They can request an increase and receive it that day. They have no programs for decreasing or getting off methadone. They compare it to having Diabetes! On top of paying for methadone, they all get reimbursed for travel from PenCap! It is a legal drug dealer and we the tax payers are footing the bill!


We Have Heard It Before, Haven’t We?


During December many advocates primarily professionals have written letters to the governor. However, as you can see from his comments he has not been convinced and is obviously cynical about the information he has received. Usually NAMA Recovery does something similar but instead our letter voices the concerns of patients on behalf of the patients being affected, or in this case methadone patients in Maine. Our letter notes the same evidence and research about methadone that the advocates that are professionals use. Our new project Stop Stigma Now even included a DVD with the letter. But NAMA Recovery can do something different and perhaps better because we can tell the governor how methadone has changed our lives.


What Can We Do?


Instead of writing the usual letter we are asking patients to write a letter to the governor to tell him that methadone does work and that we are the proof!

And we can ask our professional friends to hand out this information to patients. Programs can help by telling patients.

See Attached Instructions
Download Press Release (PDF)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

NAMA-Recovery Demands Rescinding of Ban on Use of Federal Funds for Syringe Exchange

National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery
 
Press Release

Contact Persons:
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director, edirector@methadone.org
Roxanne Baker, President, president@methadone.org
Phone/Fax: 212-595-NAMA


The National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery (NAMA-Recovery) demands an immediate reversal of the ban on use of federal funds for syringe exchange imposed in the omnibus spending bill. The FY 2012 omnibus, passed by both houses of Congress in December, reinstates a complete ban on use of federal funding for syringe exchange programs. This reversal of federal policy represents a huge step backward in the fight to eliminate hepatitis C and other blood-borne viruses, despite numerous studies demonstrating that access to sterile syringes reduces the incidence of HIV and viral hepatitis and is good public health policy benefiting communities across our nation.

Access to sterile syringes has been proven a cost effective and life saving measure. Syringe exchange programs also connect people who use drugs to constant and repeated contact with substance use treatment and medical care. For the two years since the lifting of the original ban, syringe exchange programs around the country have worked closely with local law enforcement and health officials to make syringe access a part of their communities’ HIV and viral hepatitis prevention strategies to great effect. This setback will result in nothing less than an avalanche of new infections and dramatic increases in medical costs at a time of great financial strain for individuals and governments.

NAMA-Recovery Executive Director Joycelyn Woods said “In this times when the cost of medical care is rising it is prudent and good public health policy to provide access to sterile syringes. Even more important are the lives including families and children that will be affected by these medieval attitudes.” Woods continued, “NAMA-Recovery will continue our support for syringe exchange and strategies needed to prevent a new infections among the next generation of injection drug users. We implore Congress and the Administration to reverse this policy.”

The National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery is an organization of patients, healthcare professionals, friends, and associates working together for greater public understanding and acceptance of the use of medication assisted treatment in the recovery from opioid addiction. NAMA-Recovery, founded in 1988, has Chapters throughout the United States and International Affiliates in 19 countries across the globe.

Friday, August 26, 2011

In Recognition of Recovery Month 2011 NAMA Recovery with FAVOR and the ATTC Announce “In My Own Words..." Essay Contest

National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery
Press Release

Contact Persons:
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director, edirector@methadone.org
Roxanne Baker, President, president@methadone.org
Phone/Fax: 212-595-NAMA

For Release:
August 26, 2011


In Recognition of Recovery Month 2011 NAMA Recovery
in collaboration with FAVOR and the ATTC National Office
Announce the 4th Annual “In My Own Words…” Essay Contest
On Medication Assisted Treatment and Recovery


NEW YORK, NY, August 26, 2011 – The Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) National Office, in partnership with Faces & Voices of Recovery and NAMA Recovery, announces the 4th annual “In My Own Words…” essay contest. This year the essay is on Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), such as methadone or buprenorphine for opioid addiction and acamprosate or naltrexone for alcohol addiction, and recovery to share YOUR STORY.

As a person in long-term recovery with the assistance of MAT, you have a unique perspective to share about your own journey. Your story highlights how medication, in combination with counseling and other recovery support, can transform lives.

The contest begins September 1, 2011 and ends October 1, 2011 in recognition of Recovery Month. In your own words, write an essay (250 words or less, typed, double spaced in 12 point font) in which you tell us about your medication-assisted recovery experience. Please use the following statements as the basis for your response:


How MAT has supported my recovery from addiction...
I continue to be committed to recovery because...


The First Place Winner will receive $500, Second Place $250 and Third Place $100.

The top 20 essays will be compiled in a commemorative booklet and available to the public on the ATTC Network (www.ATTCnetwork.org) and Essay Contest Partners’ Websites, www.facesandvoicesofrecovery.org and www.methadone.org. Previous contests have focused on behavioral healthcare professionals, High School/ College students in recovery, and families. Essays from these contests can be found at: ATTCnetwork.org

For more information about the essay contest and how to enter it see the attached flyer.


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Friday, July 01, 2011

Nominations Open Richard Lane/Robert Holden Patient Advocacy Award

National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery
Press Release


Contact Persons:
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director, edirector@methadone.org
Roxanne Baker, President, president@methadone.org
Phone/Fax: 212-595-NAMA

For Release:
July 1, 2011



Nominations Open
Richard Lane/Robert Holden Patient Advocacy Award



NAMA Recovery is proud to announce that nominations are now open for the Richard Lane and Robert Holden Patient Advocacy Award.



The History




Richard Lane was a long-term heroin user who, upon release from prison in 1967, was instrumental in establishing one of the Nation’s first methadone treatment programs, ManAlive in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1974, he became the Executive Director of ManAlive and remained in that position until his death in 1994. He also served as Vice President of the American Methadone Treatment Association (now AATOD) and as Vice Chairman of the Governor’s Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Maryland. Richard was a passionate advocate for methadone treatment and, by disclosing his own treatment experiences, provided inspiration to patients and colleagues alike.

Robert Holden was also a recovering heroin user, who later became the Director of PIDARC, an outpatient methadone treatment program in the District of Columbia. He was a friend of Richard Lane and succeeded Richard Lane’s term of office as the Vice President of the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence.

This award was established in 1995 and recognizes extraordinary achievements in patient advocacy.



The Criteria for Nomination




The following criteria should be applied in making your selection:





  • Only one (1) nominee can be submitted to the Conference Awards Committee. There may be a number of nominees, who will be fielded by NAMA Recovery in the medication assisted treatment MAT (i.e. methadone and/or buprenorphine) patient advocacy movement, however, NAMA Recovery will be responsible for submitting only one (1) “consensus” nominee to receive this honor.



  • The nominee must have been involved in the field of methadone and/or buprenorphine advocacy for a period of five (5) years.



  • The nominee must have been actively engaged in methadone and/or buprenorphine advocacy for a period of five (5) years.



  • The nominee must have made meaningful and consistent contributions, which have had a significant impact on opioid treatment within a state or region of the United States.



  • For each nominee a Nomination Form must be completed and submitted with two (2) Letters of Support. The Nomination Form is included with this announcement and can also be downloaded from the NAMA Recovery website: http://www.methadone.org/richard_lane_award.html



  • Additional information about the award can be found at the NAMA Recovery website http://www.methadone.org/richard_lane_award.html.



  • NAMA Recovery will be responsible for collecting all the submissions for nomination including a Selection Committee that will decide on the final candidate. The Candidate’s Name, Nomination Form and at least two (2) Letters of Support describing the nominee’s achievements will be submitted to the Awards Committee for the final approval.



  • The Deadline for Submission is Monday, August 22, 2011. The completed Nomination Form along with at least two (2) Letters of Support should be sent to Joycelyn Woods at edirector@methadone.org.




Previous Winners of the Award




1995, Arizona Richard Lane
2001, St. Louis Joycelyn Woods
2007, Atlanta Anthony Scro
2009, New York Walter Ginter
2010, Chicago Lisa Mojer-Torres





This Award will be bestowed upon the recipient at the Awards Banquet Ceremony during AATOD's next National Conference which will convene in Las Vegas.

The recipient will be provided with a roundtrip Coach Class airfare in addition to up to two (2) nights in the hotel. The individual will also be able to attend the Conference (May 5-9, 2011).



Deadline: August 22, 2011
Email Nominations To: Joycelyn Woods

edirector@methadone.org




If you have any questions about the award contact Joycelyn Woods at edirector@methadone.org or by telephone at (718) 742-7804.




Download Press Release

Download Nomination Form

Download Criteria

Go to Award Webpage

Thursday, May 19, 2011

PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE PREVENTION AND TREATMENT ACT OF 2011

(S. 507)

BILL SUMMARY




PROBLEM: LACK OF EDUCATION

Solution: Provider Education

• Background: Currently, there are no specific education or certification requirements for practitioners to fulfill before prescribing methadone or other opioid pain relievers. Linking education to the existing Drug Enforcement Administration registration system would help ensure that physicians get the education and support they need to safely prescribe these powerful drugs.

• Proposed Change: Require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a mandatory and comprehensive practitioner education program for methadone and other opioids, in collaboration with relevant professional societies. Completion of this education program will be required as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) current registration process used to authorize practitioners to prescribe, dispense and administer controlled substances.

• Reason for Change: Under the Controlled Substances Act, the DEA must register practitioners who prescribe controlled substances like methadone or other opioid pain relievers. However, there is no federal education requirement for those who prescribe these drugs. For example, methadone stays in the body after its pain relieving effect has worn off – resulting in a greater risk of overdose. It is necessary for practitioners to be properly educated about the complicated nature of methadone and other opioid pain relievers so that they can properly and safely prescribe these powerful drugs.

Solution: Consumer Education

• Background: There is a knowledge gap about the dangers of prescription pain relievers and how to avoid diversion and misuse. Forty percent of teens believe that prescription drugs, even if they are not prescribed by a doctor, are “much safer” to use than illegal drugs. Sixty-four percent of teens (12-17) who have abused pain relievers say they got them from friends or relatives, often without their knowledge.

• Proposed Change: Provide competitive grants to states and community organizations to educate consumers and communities about safe and appropriate use of prescription pain relievers, including methadone.

• Reason for Change: Consumers need to know how to understand the dangers of prescription drug misuse as well as how to safely use controlled substances when prescribed for them. For example, methadone has a long half-life of between 8 - 59 hours, however, the analgesic effect is usually only felt for between 6 - 12 hours. This long half-life coupled with a significantly shorter analgesic effect means that is possible for dangerous levels of methadone to accumulate in the body as consumers take additional methadone seeking pain relief. High levels of methadone can lead to respiratory distress, cardiac arrhythmia and even death.

PROBLEM: LACK OF WIDESPREAD CLINICAL GUIDELINES

Solution: Controlled Substances Clinical Standards Commission


• Background: There is widespread agreement that prescribers need better information and guidelines for safe prescribing of controlled substances including methadone and other opioids, and that health care professionals face significant challenges when trying to balance the need for legitimate pain relief with the need to prevent misuse of opioid pain relievers -- yet widely agreed-upon clinical guidelines are not in use.

• Proposed Change: Create the Controlled Substances Clinical Standards Commission to establish patient education guidelines, appropriate and safe dosing guidelines for all forms of methadone, benchmark guidelines for the reduction of methadone abuse, appropriate conversion factors for transition patients from one opioid to another, guidelines for the initiation of methadone for pain management, and consensus guidelines for the treatment of pain management with prescription opioids. In creating such guidelines, the Clinical Standards Commission would be required to collaborate with outside experts, health care professional societies, patient representatives, and others.

• Reason for Change: As the number of methadone prescriptions has significantly increased in recent years, so has the number of methadone related deaths. A standards commission will compliment the current oversight structure by providing evidence-based information to improve guidance for the safe and effective use of opioid pain relievers as well as methadone for both pain management and opioid addiction treatment.

Solution: National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act (NASPER)

• Background: Currently 38 states have enacted legislation requiring prescription drug monitoring programs (PMPs), and many states were able to fund these initiatives in part from grants available through the Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. A second program created in 2005 through the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act (NASPER), would provide even more assistance, but has only recently been funded with $2 million in each of FY2009 and FY2010.

• Proposed Change: This legislation would appropriate $25 million a year for NASPER to establish interoperable prescription drug monitoring programs within each state.

• Reasons for Change: The Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program allows states to establish their own requirements with regard to controlled substances monitored and information shared between states. NASPER goes a step further in mandating that all state prescription drug monitoring programs submit data for Schedule II, III, and IV drugs and requires interoperability between states to reduce diversion and doctor shopping across state lines.


PROBLEM: NO UNIFORM REPORTING SYSTEM FOR OPIOID-RELATED DEATHS

Solution: National Opioid Death Registry


• Background: There is no comprehensive national database of drug-related deaths in the United States, nor is there a standard form for medical examiners to fill out with regard to opioid-related deaths.

• Proposed Change: Create a National Opioid Death Registry to track all opioid-related deaths and related information. Also, establish a standard form for medical examiners to fill out which would include information for the National Opioid Death Registry.

• Reasons for Change: Since there is no comprehensive database of methadone-related deaths, the number of deaths may actually be underreported. In order to truly reduce the number of methadone-related deaths, quality data must be collected and made available.

MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Improving Patient Safety: Opioid treatment programs will be required by law to make acceptable alternative arrangements for the safe distribution of methadone for patients who are not permitted take home doses on days where the clinic is closed.

Moratorium on 40-mg Methadone Diskettes: For two years, no provider may prescribe and no pharmacy or opioid treatment clinic may distribute 40-mg methadone diskettes unless the prescription or dispensation is consistent with DEA policy.

Annual Report on Effectiveness: No later than September 30, 2012 the Secretary will report to Congress the effectiveness and evaluate the success of efforts to reduce opioid addiction and methadone-related deaths including the impact of health care provider and patient education.


Download Legislation



Download FACT SHEET

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lisa Mojer-Torres (1956-2011)

National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery
Press Release
Contact Persons:
Roxanne Baker, President, president@methadone.org
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director, edirector@methadone.org
Phone/Fax: 212-595-NAMA


 
It is with great sadness that the Board of Directors of the National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery (NAMA Recovery) announces the passing of our friend and member of the board Lisa Mojer-Torres, Esq. We will miss her deeply.

Lisa Mojer-Torres, 54, of Lawrenceville, NJ lost her battle with ovarian cancer April 4, 2011. Daughter of the late Joseph R. Mojer, Lisa is survived by her beloved husband, Rolando Torres Jr.; her two loving sons, Matthew and Liam Torres, and her mother, Gwendolyn Walters Mojer. Also surviving are her brothers, Steven Mojer and his wife Maryjane and Michael Mojer and his wife Kim; a sister-in-law, Vivian Torres; nephews, Tyler and Jessie Mojer and nieces, Heather and Leah Mojer and Emily Jordan.

She received her B.A. from Boston University and her J.D. from the University of New York. Lisa was licensed to practice law in both New York and New Jersey. She passed the bar exam for both states the first time and months apart an incredible accomplishment for any student of law. However upon passing the bar exam she was informed that because she was taking methadone she would have to be supervised. Lisa was incensed because she had done nothing wrong. She challenged the decision and won the right to practice law in both states without supervision. This experience was the motivating force for her decision to use her knowledge of law for advocacy.

Lisa served as the recovery advocate for the New Jersey Division of Addiction Services (DAS). She was proud of setting up the Citizens’ Advisory Council (CAC) whose purpose was to involve consumers and families in improving the current system of care.

She served on the board of NAMA Recovery (formerly the National Alliance of Methadone Advocates) three times. As 2nd Vice President she was one of the founding directors of NAMA Recovery from 1992-94. She was part of the Interim Board in 1998-99 and assisted in NAMA Recovery's re-organization. This past fall she joined the board for a third time to provide her legal expertise.

But her greatest contribution and life's work was helping medication assisted treatment (MAT) patients with legal issues. It was mostly Pro Bono. There are hundreds, probably thousands of MAT patients and their families who benefited from these cases because agencies were educated about the benefits of MAT.

In 1993 she was a member of the Committee to Study the Federal Regulation of Methadone Treatment that resulted in the 1995 Institute of Medicine's report, Federal Regulation of Methadone Treatment. From 1998 to 2002 she served on the SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Treatment’s National Advisory Council. She served as a founding member and first chairperson of the Faces and Voices of Recovery (FAVOR) and was one of the persons responsible for insuring that persons receiving MAT were considered "in recovery". In 2005, Lisa participated in her third Institute of Medicine of the National Academies Committee Crossing the Quality Chasm: Adaptation to Mental Health and Addictive Disorders. This Committee’s findings are published in the 2006 National Academies Press, Improving the Quality of Health Care for Mental and Substance-Use Conditions.

Lisa was the recipient of many national awards for her advocacy work. In 1996, she received the first Public Service Award presented by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) for her efforts to educate others about the effectiveness of methadone treatment. In 2006, she received the Johnson Institute's Award, America Honors Recovery. And this past fall, she received the Richard Lane and Robert Holden Patient Advocacy Award at the American Association of Opiate Addiction Treatment Conference (AATOD).

Her most recent work was the article on Recovery Orientated Methadone Maintenance co-authored with William L. White, M.A.

FAVOR will be creating a page on their website to commemorate her life and incredible contributions to our recovery advocacy movement. Please email Whitney O’Neil at woneill@facesandvoicesofrecovery.org with any pictures, stories or remembrances that you would like to share.

You can read William White's interview with Lisa at:
Lisa's Interview

The paper by William White and Lisa Mojer-Torres Recovery Oriented Methadone Maintenance can be downloaded at:
www.williamwhitepapers.com

The family strongly suggests that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Lisa's memory be made to Hospital at the University of the Pennsylvania, Ovarian Cancer Research, 3400 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA. 19104.

Monday, October 18, 2010

NAMA Recovery Announces Two More Directors to Join the Board: Lisa Mojer-Torres Esq and Nanette Wollfarth CMA

National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery
Press Release

Contact Persons
:
Roxanne Baker, President, president@methadone.org
Joycelyn Woods, Executive Director, edirector@methadone.org
Phone/Fax: 212-595-NAMA



 
It is with great pleasure that NAMA Recovery announces the addition of two additional new board members Lisa Mojer Torres and Nanette Wollfarth. Like our other recent additions to the Board they bring with them years of experience working in advocacy and making treatment and recovery a reality for thousands. Lisa Torres recipient of this years’ Richard Lane/Robert Holden Advocacy Award has served the NAMA Recovery Board twice before with her legal skills. Nanette Wollfarth is the Chapter Coordinator and brings her knowledge of national and international issues.


This brings the current Board of Directors to:

Roxanne Baker, C.M.A., President
Donna Schoen, C.M.A., Vice President
Kerry Wolf, B.S.N., C.M.A , 2nd Vice President
Jo Sotheran, Ph.D., C.M.A., Treasurer and Secretary

J.R. Neuberger, C.M.A. Parliamentarian and Newsletter Editor
Chris Kelly, Advocates for Recovery though Medicine
Ira Marion, M.A.
Lisa Mojer Torres, Esq
Nanette Wollfarth, C.M.A., Chapter Coordinator