A three part video series
The SMART Blog editors received the following press release and link for a video addressing the opioid situation. The video does not directly pertain to SMART but could be of interest.
“In the three part series, Getting A Fix presents an on-the-ground look at solutions to the devastating opioid epidemic in the United States. Newsy and the Scripps Washington Bureau investigative team research the emergence of synthetic opioids, like fentanyl and carfentanil, while providing an in-depth look at who is trying to solve the crisis and how.”
Link to story: https://www.newsy.com/stories/painkiller-alternatives-offered-to-prevent-opioid-addiction/
We invite SMART-related blog entries from all interested readers. Entries should have strong pertinence to SMART. Queries are welcome. Send manuscripts or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Ted, SMART Recovery Volunteer Meeting Facilitator
Bringing SMART Recovery into state prisons has rewards but also poses bureaucratic challenges. Difficulties in regularly covering a Tuesday afternoon meeting in Massachusetts prompted the recruitment of a third volunteer facilitator. With obstacles, the new volunteer was able to schedule an in-person orientation class that was required but was officially offered at erratic and infrequent intervals. This volunteer traveled many miles to show up for a SMART meeting a week later. He got to the door and was denied admission because he was not yet “in the computer.” (Of course, the delinquent cyber entry happened a few hours later, after the group meeting.)
When the new volunteer was denied entry after his paperwork, classwork, and travel, the three of us looked briefly at each other. All that was said was, “Well, an REBT opportunity.”
With practice, it is often effective to quickly recognize that many potential frustrations are “just REBT opps.”
The phrase said a lot. It seemed to say it all. As SMART facilitators, we had absorbed the Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) concepts Continue reading
Book review by A.Tom Horvath, Ph.D.
Although harm reduction is commonly used in other countries, this approach to coping with problematic addictive behavior is unfortunately uncommon in the US. The authors are two US harm reduction leaders. They founded the Center for Harm Reduction Therapy in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2000. This book is intended for persons considering change. The authors have also written a book for professionals, the acclaimed Practicing Harm Reduction Therapy, now in a 2nd edition.
To provide an overview of this impressive work I will extensively quote it. In response to the question “What is Harm Reduction?” they provide the following three paragraphs (p. 197)
“Harm reduction is a way to help people change their substance use without demanding immediate and lifelong abstinence. It uses many creative strategies to keep people alive and safe while they figure out how to develop a healthier relationship with drugs. For some people, that means abstinence; for others that means moderate or safer use.”
“Harm reduction takes a health perspective rather than a moral or legal perspective, on drug use. Drug use is not bad. It is normal human behavior, and most people don’t get into trouble with it. Drug misuse is a habit that has gotten out of hand, or it is a signal of other co-occurring problems.”
“Harm reduction attends to every aspect of health—physical, mental and emotional, social and economic. It is nonjudgmental, compassionate, and pragmatic—it starts where the person is, stays with the person through the entire process of change, and never ever kicks anyone out.”
Things were a little touch-and-go as to whether SMART’s 2017 Annual Conference: Rising Strong would be able to occur in Ft. Lauderdale on September 22-24. But much like the conference theme and SMART’s unstoppable growth, Rising Strong took place as scheduled. The Conference was well attended and received great ratings from the volunteers, meeting participants and treatment professionals who attended.
SMART remains grateful for the financial support of our sponsors, Synergy Recovery Center/Synergy Executive, and the Florida branch of NAADAC.
The President’s Address by Dr. Joe Gerstein, and Guerrilla Tactics for the Hostile, Difficult, Disengaged, and Over-Engaged Participant Part 2 by Dr. David Saenz were the two favorite presentations of attendees.
SMART’s new 5-Year Strategic Plan was debuted at the Conference, and included in many of the comments during Dr. Gerstein’s President’s Address. A copy of the Strategic Plan can be found here.
“Great conference, well organized and concise, no wasted time. I learned things I will use and facilitate meetings a little differently.” Dan Piddington, Synergy Recovery Center and SMART Facilitator
Also enjoyed were new results from the Peer Alternatives to Addiction (PAL) study, presented by Dr. Sarah Zemore, and a research review by Dr. William Campbell of the Checkup & Choices app, which when used in conjunction with SMART meetings, is shown to enhance recovery outcomes. Continue reading