Friday, September 30, 2016

Town Hall Meeting
to Discuss Avery Road Treatment Center
at J&P Pizza, Damascus
(26027 Ridge Rd - in Weis Shopping Center)
Sunday 10/2, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Light Breakfast & Coffee Provided

On October 4th, The Montgomery County Council will hold a public hearing to gather information on whether they should vote to enter into a 30 year lease agreement with Avery Road Treatment Center (ARTC).  Advocates OPPOSE this long-term contractual agreement on the grounds that numerous serious complaints by consumers of treatment services against ARTC have never been resolved, despite on-going efforts on the part of advocates to engage in resolution strategies.  

Please attend the Town Hall to learn more about this issue and why it matters to every single County tax payer; find out how you can participate in the democratic process to bring about necessary and critical changes in order to save lives; and enjoy breakfast pizza, doughnuts, and coffee gratis of J&Ps --home of authentic Italian cuisine in Damascus.  

PLEASE R.S.V.P. to or call / text Lisa Lowe at 301-525-6183 for more information.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

PROTEST TO OPPOSE "Resolution to Approve Declaration of No Further Need: Disposition of Avery Road Treatment Center"

WHO:       You

WHAT:      Protest to OPPOSE Montgomery County entering into a 30 year lease agreement with Avery Road Treatment Center until Consumer Complaints are resolved.

WHERE:   Council Hearing Room, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20850 

WHEN:     October 4th at 1:30

WHY:        See below

HOW:        Plan to attend the hearing.  Bring an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of paper with the word oppose on it --written in black marker.  Every time an individual testifies in opposition to the proposal, raise your sign so that it is visible to Councilmembers.  If you wish to tell your story about Avery Road and why corrections need to be made --sign up to testify (follow the link at the bottom of the email).  

While we applaud the County Council for making necessary improvements to the building and structure of Avery Road Treatment Center (ARTC), we feel that a 30 year lease agreement with Maryland Treatment Center (parent company), binds county tax payers to an agreement with a single provider without sufficient oversight of performance or adherence to successful outcomes.

According to reports from consumers of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment services at ARTC there are discrepancies between the services contracted for by Montgomery County Health & Human Services (HHS), as specified within the License Agreement, and the services that are actually received by consumers.  Contractual noncompliance has been a long-standing issue with Avery Road / Maryland Treatment Center, and at times, contributes to increased relapse rates and/or the fatal overdose of their patients.  According to the License Agreement, ARTC must provide specific services, which consumers report they are not receiving. 

Although this issue has been brought to the attention of both the County Council and HHS repeatedly during the past three years, neither the elected body, nor the appointed body, has been inclined to make the necessary corrections that would heighten quality of care –thereby saving lives.  ARTC is simply not providing the services on a consistent basis that tax payers believe they are paying for and which are outlined within the License Agreement.  Patients who need and deserve quality treatment should receive it. 

Therefore, we are asking that consumers and family members respectfully request that the County Council DOES NOT enter into a 30 year lease agreement with Maryland Treatment Center until certain requirements are met, and that ALL stakeholders are invited to participate in an open and on-going dialogue with members of County Council, HHS, Avery Road Treatment Center and any other interested party until the issue of contract discrepancies regarding quality of care is resolved. 

These discrepancies include, but are not limited to the following:

1)  ARTC is supposed to provide "family counseling sessions" or a "Family Care Plan".  In reality, many parents report that they are often excluded from discharge planning even when the patient is returning home.  This is NOT evidence-based and is a factor in overdose death.

2)  ARTC is supposed to support patients who are seeking access to treatment.   In reality, many patients still report that they must call every morning at 11:00 to maintain their spot on the waiting list or they are removed.  There is no triage available for chronically addicted patients.  This is NOT evidence-based and is a factor in overdose death.

3) ARTC is supposed to refer prematurely discharged patients back to the County so that they are able to continue to receive equivalent services for their often fatal behavioral health disorder at another facility.  In reality, patients are prematurely discharged for a variety of often trivial reasons without a referral to any other level of care, much less an equivalent level of care as determined by their ASAM assessment.  This is NOT evidence-based and is a factor in overdose death.

4)  ARTC is supposed to coordinate with other agencies, which offer mental health, legal, housing, vocational, or family services necessary to support patient recovery.  In reality, these links to outside providers are rarely made, and service providers that clients already have are denied access to their clients while at ARTC.  This is NOT evidence-based and is a factor in overdose death.

5)  ARTC is supposed to plan a discharge based on a patient’s assessed needs.  In reality, many patients are discharged to homeless shelters, even though there are many halfway houses and recovery residences throughout Maryland and across the country that would provide the level of residential care that the patient needs and wants.  Because homelessness is the single highest factor leading to relapse, this is NOT evidence-based and is a factor in overdose death.

5)  ARTC is supposed to have a clear grievance process with external oversight.  In reality, consumers report that the grievance process is unclear, time consuming, or non-existent.  This is NOT evidence-based and is a factor in overdose death.

6)  ARTC is supposed to collect and report on measures of patient success within 90 days of discharge.  In reality, consumers report that ARTC rarely makes any calls to patients after discharge.  This is NOT evidence-based and is a factor in overdose death.

7)  ARTC is supposed to maintain a drug-free environment.  In reality, consumers report that illicit drugs enter the facility in numerous ways and that very little is done to maintain a drug-free environment.  This is NOT evidence-based and is a factor in overdose death.

8)  ARTC is supposed to explain the consent for Release of Information to patients and their families.  In reality, this is rarely done.  When a patient does consent to release information to family members or advocates, consumers report that ARTC staff either does not comply with their wishes or coerces and pressures them into rescinding the agreement.  This is NOT evidence-based and is a factor in overdose death.

The hearing is on Oct 4, 2016 at 1:30, in Rockville.  Sign up to testify in opposition of "Declaration of No Further Need: Disposition of Avery Road Treatment Center" at the following website.  If you cannot attend, please write to all members of the Montgomery County Council, as well as Executive Isiah Leggett.  

Public hearing: 

Letters should include why you are opposing the 30 year lease with ARTC / Maryland Treatment Centers, pending resolution of consumer issues, and should include personal anecdotes if you have them.  

Please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns.  Thank you for your advocacy and participation in ensuring that patients with an often fatal behavioral health disorder get the highest quality of care possible.  


Friday, September 23, 2016

How Oxy was marketed to make billions & kill 78 people / day



Take a look at the attached article: --here are some highlights:

"The documents include internal Abbott and Purdue memos, as well as sales documents and marketing materials. They show that Abbott sales reps were instructed to downplay the threat of addiction with OxyContin and make other claims to doctors that had no scientific basis. The sales reps from the two companies closely coordinated their efforts, met regularly to strategize, and shared marketing materials."

“As you continue to carry the OxyContin banner onto the field of battle, it’s important to keep highlighting OxyContin benefits to your doctors,” Abbott urged its sales staff in a memo contained in the court records.

"But some of the benefits the sales reps were instructed to highlight lacked scientific support, and in some cases were similar to claims made by Purdue."

"In 2007, Purdue pleaded guilty to a criminal charge of misbranding OxyContin in an effort to mislead doctors and consumers. The company paid more than $600 million in fines."

A central charge in the US Department of Justice’s case was that Purdue “sales representatives falsely told some health care providers that OxyContin had less euphoric effect and less abuse potential than short-acting opioids.”

In an Abbott memo, sales staff were instructed that if a doctor was concerned about the euphoria a patient was experiencing on the shorter-acting painkiller Vicodin, they should tell the physician, “OxyContin has fewer such effects.”