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Thanks to Missy and Perry for their generous contribution to James' Place!

We are getting a lot of requests for scholarships (for recovery housing) in West Virginia right now. Because of Missy and Perry's donation, at least three people with have a safe, sober place as they get stabilized with jobs and recovery programs.

Requests from Maryland and Virginia are always coming in. Learning the scene in WV is a growing experience. We know there is need everywhere.

Can't do this without everyone pitching in.

In memory of Conor, thanks Missy and Perry!
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Join us for a webinar on Feb 13, 2017 at 4:00 PM PST.
Register now!…/8082205791605374210

Are you concerned about the epidemic of overdoses in the United States? If so you are not alone! Join Dr’s. Gloria and Heidi Horsley and Alan Pedersen, Executive Director of the Compassionate Friends as they explore with bereaved parent and addiction advocate/expert, Barbara Allen, the cause and treatment of the disease of addiction. Be part of the discussion by texting in your questions and comments. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
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CIT or Crisis Intervention Teams are crucial for saving lives. Yesterday was the first annual CIT conference held at Catonsville Community College. Attendees included law enforcement, those from the treatment community/agencies and advocates.

CIT groups from Harford, Anne Arundel and Montgomery Counties were given awards by Lt. Governor Rutherford for outstanding service - Montgomery was given the highest award.

One very sour note for me: I visited an information table for "the largest provider of CIT services". All was sounding very good until I asked a presumptive question. "So all your teams as first responders are trained and carry naloxone, yes?"

Without hesitation, the spokesperson said no. Further she explained that some of their team members (employees who are typically former law enforcement/fire department) are against using naloxone. therefore NONE of their rigs/employees carry it.

This organization is a non-profit who receives their funding primarily from the State of Maryland directly. Another person stepped up in time to hear this exchange. We were politely vocal about this position. They are CIT - crisis intervention. They DO see people die from overdose "especially in the hard to reach rural areas". They are funded with state money that makes it legal for all citizens to be trained and to carry naloxone and yet....

Very quickly the spokesperson said they were revisiting this and would likely make a change in the near future. Both of us standing there made it clear we find this appalling and unacceptable. We then walked away.

It is hard enough to know that most of these teams - across the state - have protocols for mental health crisis; that protocols for SUD are slowly being integrated. To learn that the so called "largest" CIT program is not equipped with a potentially life saving medication is a slap in the face to our citizenry.
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So deeply sad that we have lost a great champion for substance use disorders - Director Michael Botticelli, Office of National Drug Control Policy stepped down yesterday. In his final update he expressed his gratitude for all who have joined in the fight for change, for respect and in making a difference for SUD issues.

We will deeply miss your compassion and passion, Director!

He shared the following about his successor:

"I am also pleased to let you know that President Obama has chosen Kemp Chester as the Acting Director of ONDCP during this transition. Kemp has been the Associate Director for the National Heroin Coordination Group here in ONDCP since October 2015. Before coming to ONDCP Kemp was the Senior Director for National Security and Intelligence at a private sector consulting firm here in the Washington, D.C. area. Prior to that, Kemp retired from the Army after 27 years of service, his last tour being at the Defense Intelligence Agency where he was the Deputy Director for Intelligence of the Americas Regional Center and Chief of the Office of Counternarcotics Worldwide."

We can hope Acting Director Chester shares an equal passion to keep the momentum going forward.

Thank you Michael Botticelli for giving so much of your heart and boundless energy to this critical health issue. We will remain inspired by you and your staff's dedication.

PS When do we get to know where you are going? You teased us that it "wasn't far"!
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So sad! Just learned that Director Michael Botticelli is stepping down from the ONDCP - Office of National Drug Control Policy under the White House. Some of the staff will remain.

But this is a great loss to our momentum. This was our last family member call with him. Dr. Botticelli thanked the parents - many who have lost children to this disease - for their hard work, for sharing stories which supported the work of ONDCP. He urged all to keep moving forward - we all know there is much work to be done.

ONDCP shared a link to SAMSHA yesterday to submit applications for grants under the CURES ACT. These must come from SSA's or Single State Agencies (check with your state).

Also there is a final webinar on how hospitals can make a difference scheduled for next Tuesday at 4 pm. ONDCP has been a wealth of information on systems around the country that are working, that are committed to making a difference in saving lives.

We - those that work to move out of darkness to hope - have lost an amazing advocate at the highest level of the country. We thank Director Botticelli for his outstanding commitment and wish him all the best. He promised he would not be going "far" but hadn't decided on his own next steps.

We also pray for a replacement that is equally strong on saving lives and advancing the agenda of hope.
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