My Brother's Keeper: Teaching fathers and reuniting families

September 27, 2016

Before she joined Santa Maria Hostel in Houston as director of the Maternal Initiative for Reflective Recovery-Oriented Residential Services (MIRRORS) program, Fayetta Bland worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

“There was always a need for more Big Brothers,” says Fayetta. “We had little trouble finding Big Sisters, but Big Brothers were in short supply.” 

That’s what gave her the idea to create My Brother’s Keeper, a support group that offers positive male mentoring for the fathers involved with the women in the MIRRORs program.

MIRRORS, a grantee of SAMHSA’s Pregnant and Parenting Women (PPW) project, provides medical and behavioral health services for pregnant and postpartum women and their families.

“One of the main goal of the MIRRORS program is family reunification,” explains Fayetta. “Many of the women in our program will return to the men in their lives, who will have a strong influence on the family. And if the father is going to be in the lives of the mother and children, we need to start working with the family as a unit.”

Let's Celebrate Adolescent Recovery

September 20, 2016

Let’s Celebrate Adolescent Recovery
Mark Sanders, LCSW, CADC
onthemarkconsulting25.com

In their book, Under the Influence: A Guide to the Myths and Realities of Alcoholism (2011), authors James Milam and Katherine Ketcham discuss worldwide research that suggests that the longer a society or culture has been exposed to alcohol, the greater the decrease in the rates of alcohol use disorders. The passage of time allows groups to develop cultural norms that support more responsible or ceremonial use of alcohol. The Jewish community is highlighted as an example of a group with a low rate of alcoholism compared with other groups, due to their long exposure to alcohol and clearly defined rituals around use (Kinny, 2014). 

In 1981, the same authors predicted that longer exposure to alcohol would increase rates of recovery among Native Americans, where alcohol had limited use among most tribes until arrival of the first European settlers. They were correct! At the time of this writing, groups like White Bison are helping tribes return to culture, dispel the myth that alcoholism is a part of their culture, and achieve recovery rates as high as 50-70%. The Alkali Lake Tribe in British Columbia, Canada went from 100% alcoholism to 95% recovery (Sanders, 2011). 

The United States, with just 240 years as a nation, has evolved from heavy, regular alcohol consumption during colonial times (see Colonial Americans Drank Roughly Three Times as Much as Americans Do Now)—to beginning to create sober rituals. During September, National Recovery Month, we celebrate recovery from substance abuse and mental health disorders with marches, rallies, parades, and other community events.

#Recovery: Let's make recovery go viral

September 13, 2016

Laurie Krom, MS
Director, ATTC Network Coordinating Office

Last week the East Liverpool, Ohio police department decided to fight the opioid use disorder epidemic by posting two images to their Facebook page. The images show a man and a woman passed out in the two front seats of their vehicle, with a young child in the back seat.

The child is looking at the camera.

The woman is turning blue.

The text associated with the post explained that the police department decided to share the images so that the public could see “the other side of this horrible drug.” They also mentioned that the man and woman both lived, after receiving lifesaving care from a medical team. The Facebook post went viral almost immediately and was picked up by many local and national news outlets. I am not included a link to that post here. I do not want to give it more legs.

Celebrate National Recovery Month 2016!

August 30, 2016

National Recovery Month 2016:
Join the Voices for Recovery: Our families, our stories, our recovery

This year, SAMHSA observes the 27th year of National Recovery Month. With the theme “Join the Voices for Recovery: Our families, our stories, our recovery,” National Recovery Month 2016 acknowledges and celebrates the millions of Americans who are living in recovery from mental and substance use disorders.

Here’s a sampling of just some of the great resources the National Recovery Month website offers to help you organize and promote an event in your community, share stories, or broadcast the message that recovery in all its forms is possible:

Latinas in Recovery: Understanding the Evidence to Bridge Gaps in Service Disparities


August 23, 2016

Darice Orobitg, PhD
Training and TA Coordinator
National Hispanic and Latino ATTC

The National Hispanic and Latino ATTC symposium, Latinas in Recovery: Understanding the Evidence to Bridge Gaps in Service Disparities (September 14, 2016, Miami) will offer behavioral health professionals an opportunity to learn from experts while sharing their experiences in working with Latinas with substance use disorders.

The symposium will include presentations by researchers, clinicians, and Latinas in recovery. Their presentations will address the particular issues that may affect Latinas’ recovery processes. Presenters will also offer recommendations for professionals in the field. 

Words have power! People first!

August 15, 2016

The New England ATTC Network Regional Center Staff
Dan Squires, PhD, MPH, Director
Leslie Cohen, BS, Co-Director
Sara Becker, PhD, Evaluation Director
Denise Bayles, BM, Project Coordinator
Raymond Sanchez, Application Coordinator
Stacey Howley, BS, Workforce Development Coordinator


The language used to refer to people can exert a powerful impact on both perceptions and expectations.

For example, if someone is referred to as a “survivor”, assumptions—likely favorable—are made immediately, and without specific details.  Likewise, however, if someone is referred to as a “victim”, assumptions—likely more variable and less favorable—are made, even though both references could easily refer to the same individual in the same context.

Just what are synthetic cannabinoids, and why are they so dangerous?

August 8, 2016

Beth Rutkowski, MPH
Pacific Southwest ATTC
On behalf of the ATTC Network's Cannabis Blending Team

In a Brooklyn neighborhood in New York City, 33 people were suspected of overdosing on synthetic cannabinoids in a single day in July 2016. (What's a cannabinoid? It's any one of many psychoactive compounds in marijuana--with "THC" being the most widely known.) Synthetic cannabinoids with names like "K2" and "Spice" are herbs that have been sprayed with chemical additives to mimic the psychoactive effects of botanical marijuana. They're sold for recreational drug use as commercial products through convenience stores, tobacco shops, or head shops.
Through the NIDA/SAMHSA Current Blending Initiative Projects: Cannabis Blending Initiative, the ATTC Network's Cannabis Blending Team recently released a new infographic focused on synthetic cannabinoids. The infographic, along with other free, science-based information developed by NIDA is available on the ATTC website at Current Blending Initiative Projects: Cannabis