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The very real harm of a man-made crisis

Thursday, Apr 20, 2017

* Public Radio

Sam Werkmeister, a father of two, nearly died six times last year.

He started taking pain pills to get through shifts at a restaurant. That led him to a full-blown addiction to opioids. After a relapse last summer, it took Werkmeister six months to gather the courage to go back into treatment.

“It’s called carfentanil, and it’s really cheap,” he said, as he sat on a worn couch in the Granite City group home he shares with a half dozen other men. “It destroyed my life.”

The roommates share a pledge to stay sober as they work to recover from their addictions: alcohol, prescription drugs or heroin. But the continuing budget crisis in Illinois will make that kind of treatment harder to come by as the state’s network of providers is strained. As a result, people seeking addiction treatment face longer wait times. […]

The Arch House, a low-level treatment facility for men staying sober in Granite City, has a waiting list that is six to 10 weeks long. But a third of the center’s 21 beds are empty — a pretty common occurrence in Illinois.

That’s just insane.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

8 Comments
  1. - Waffle Fries - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 2:40 pm:

    short term pain, long-term gain. It’s just people’s lives.


  2. - JerryN - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 2:43 pm:

    Noone brings you a casserole when your kid is an addict.

    http://www.freep.com/story/life/empowerment/2017/03/07/no-one-brings-you-casseroles-when-your-child-addict/98808628/


  3. - Huh? - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 3:04 pm:

    Waffle - It is starting to become long term pain for imaginary gain.


  4. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 3:19 pm:

    But Gov. Gaslight is havin’ the time of his life. Never been happier.

    #doyourjob


  5. - don the legend - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 3:21 pm:

    “We urge the Comptroller to pay The Arch House immediately and quit creating a crisis for political gain.” #fakegovernorrauner


  6. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 3:50 pm:

    Having worked in social services my entire career I know how maddeningly frustrating it has to be for employees of The Arch House to see those empty beds every day. Not to mention the frustration of the people waiting for services. How in the world are they supposed to maintain sobriety on a waiting list? This infuriates me.


  7. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 5:43 pm:

    I’m no opioids expert, but I believe that carfentenil (Fentanyl’a very nasty big brother) overdoses can not be reversed by Narcan. It’s a horse sedative, for God’s sake.


  8. - Leslie K - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 6:05 pm:

    –I’m no opioids expert, but I believe that carfentenil (Fentanyl’a very nasty big brother) overdoses can not be reversed by Narcan.–

    Technically, Narcan can reverse a carfentenil OD, but it’s often a matter of time and amount. As you point out, it is incredibly strong. So the OD victim is more likely to die before it can be administered, or need more doses of Narcan than are on hand (e.g. heroin=1, Fentanyl=2 or 3, carfentenil=4 or more).

    To the post, this is just heartbreaking. At full capacity our rehab facilities had waiting lists, and now they can’t even operate at full capacity.


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