We All Know Someone: Northwest ATTC Co-Sponsors Recovery Month Event: Solution to Addiction

October 11, 2018

Meg Brunner, MLIS
Northwest ATTC

On September 26, 2018, the Northwest ATTC in conjunction with the Skagit County Public Health Department and Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, co-sponsored a community-based Recovery Month event in Skagit County called “Solution to Addiction: Know the Facts. Join the Conversation. Be Part of the Solution.”

The event, held at the Swinomish Casino & Lodge in Anacortes, WA, brought together 500 community members, county and public health officials, Swinomish tribal representatives, providers, and recovery coalitions to begin an inclusive conversation about addiction and how communities can work together to bring about lasting change.

We all know someone 

The tagline for the event was “We all know someone,” a sentiment reflected by a number of the speakers. Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Chairman Brian Cladoosby and Skagit County Commissioner Lisa Janicki opened the event by speaking emotionally about loved ones lost to opioids. Three members of the Swinomish Tribe fatally overdosed on heroin in just 24 days in 2013, Chairman Cladoosby said. The Tribe recently opened the didgʷálič Wellness Center, the largest medication-assisted treatment facility north of Snohomish County in Washington state, as part of their ongoing efforts to support both Tribal members and others in the community in their recovery.

Commissioner Janicki talked about her youngest son Patrick, who broke his back after falling from a pole and was prescribed opioids for pain by his doctor. He later developed an opioid use disorder, ultimately battling addiction for a decade before finally succumbing to a drug-related cardiac arrest at just 30 years old.

Keynote speaker John Fitzgerald, PhD, statewide addiction treatment analyst for the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission and Certified Addiction Specialist working clinically as a Licensed Professional Counselor, talked about the role genetics play in the development of addiction. “No one sets out to get addiction,” he said. “Just like no one sets out to get heart disease.” He also spoke about the impact of trauma, “a speechless horror,” on addiction, noting that it correlates very strongly with substance use disorders, yet is one of the hardest issues to help people overcome.

Communities play a powerful role in recovery

Northwest ATTC co-director Deena Vandersloot gave a powerful and well-received presentation about the community’s role in supporting people in recovery. She noted that when she asked focus group participants what would help them as they recover, a significant number reported not having a home to return to following residential treatment, interfering with their ability to focus on their recovery. Communities play a powerful role in recovery in so many ways, she told the audience, from helping people find housing or employment to simply treating those in recovery with dignity and respect. “People go to facilities for treatment,” Ms. Vandersloot noted, “but they recover in communities.”

The event also featured over two dozen exhibitors, including the Northwest ATTC, the ADAI Clearinghouse, and numerous local treatment and recovery organizations, providing attendees with an array of informational materials about treatment and prevention of substance use disorders.

The Northwest ATTC is proud to have been a part of this powerful community event and is looking forward to building on the relationships developed with Skagit County and the Swinomish Tribe as we continue working together to help people achieve and sustain recovery from substance use disorders.

For National Hispanic Heritage Month: Build Your Skills with ATTC Network Tools and Trainings

October 4, 2018

Maureen Fitzgerald
ATTC Network Coordinating Office/NIATx

September 15-October 15
Find out more
What's one thing that Haner Hernandez would like people to know about the Latino population in the United States?

"It's that we're so diverse," says Hernandez, who provides training and technical assistance for the ATTC Network on topics such as health disparities, cultural elements of Latino populations, and the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Standards in Health and Health Care

Hernandez has served as an Expert CLAS Consultant and Technical Assistance Provider for the New England ATTC for over a decade.

Latinos in the U.S. come from many countries, with the largest number coming from Mexico and Puerto Rico. But other countries of origin include Cuba, El Salvador, Peru, and Argentina--each with its own unique cultural and linguistic variations.

This diversity presents a challenge for treatment organizations that serve Hispanic and Latino clients. Hernandez recommends that agencies use the CLAS Standards as a framework for overcoming this challenge.

(You can hear more from Hernandez in this podcast from the Great Lakes ATTC. )

Fortunately, the ATTC Network offers a range of tools and trainings for behavioral health providers seeking ways to meet their Latino clients' needs.  Here are just a few of our recent offerings:

The ATTC Network will continue to expand the trainings and resources we offer to help behavioral health providers serve diverse populations.

Visit our website for updates and information!

Helping African-American Emerging Adults At Risk for Substance Use Disorder: Developing Resilience

October 2, 2018

Fred Dyer, Ph.D., CADC

Given the multiple risk factors for heavy substance use which impacts many African America Emerging Adults, ranging from easy access to drugs, poorly performing schools, father hunger, the presence of gangs within communities, early criminal justice involvement and discrimination, how can those of us who are committed to working with this population assist them in living a drug free life?

The answer is to help African American Emerging adults at risk for a substance use disorder develop resilience.

There are many definitions of resilience. Garbarino (1999) says that resilience is more than outside success, more than graduating from high school, staying out of jail, or holding a job. It also means developing a positive sense of self, a capacity for intimacy, and a feeling that life is meaningful. According to Walsh (2016) resilience can be defined as the capacity to rebound from adversity, strengthened and more resourceful. It is an active process of endurance, and growth in response to crises and challenges.

...resilience is more than outside success, more than graduating from high school, staying out of jail, or holding a job. It also means developing a positive sense of self, a capacity for intimacy, and a feeling that life is meaningful. 
There is a Japanese belief that everyone has the DNA, the trait and the cells to be resilient, and that resiliency must be practiced, developed and controlled (Bell and Suggs, 1998). Wolin and Wolin (1996) lists 12 characteristics of resilience. From their list the one which I believe encapsulates the remaining 11 is having a goal to live for, which gives life meaning and purpose.

Helping African Emerging Adults identify Meaning/purpose is a protective factor from developing a substance use disorder. Even with the presence of risk factors including poverty, discrimination, family alcohol and drug use etc., purpose can help them to thrive in the midst of risk.

To help African American emerging adult clients tap into purpose, I ask them a range of questions:

  • How did you survive that? 
  • How have you been able to endure so much? 
  • What are your previous life challenges preparing you to do with the rest of your life? 
  • Do the challenges you have faced help create a mission for you? 
  • What is your life purpose? 
  • What are some steps you are willing to take today towards that purpose?

Read more from Dr. Dyer in the Online Museum of African American Addictions, Treatment, and Recovery


Bell, C., Suggs, H., (1998). Using Sports to Strengthen Resilience in Children: Training Heart. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America. Volume 7, Issue 4, October 1998, Pages 859-865

Garbarino, J., (1999). Lost Boys: Why our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them. Anchor Books. New York, NY.

Walsh, F., (2016). Strengthening Family Resilience. Guilford Press. New York, NY.

Wolin, S., Wolin, S., (1996). The Resilient Self: How Survivors of Troubled Families Rise Above Adversity. Random House. New York, NY.

About our Guest blogger:

Fred Dyer, PH.D, CADC is a nationally know Behavioral Health Trainer and Consultant. He is the author of over 100 articles and a specialist in adolescent and emerging adult treatment and recovery. He is a regular contributor to the Online Museum of African American Addictions Recovery.

Recovery Month 2018: A Roundup of Resources from the ATTC Regional Centers

September 17, 2018

Maureen Fitzgerald
ATTC Network /NIATx

Recovery Month celebrates the message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover. ATTC Regional Centers across the U.S. are helping to spread that message through presentations, publications, conferences, and by supporting local and regional Recovery Month activities. Most of the products developed by the Regional Centers are relevant and available to all, no matter where you live. You can find them on Products and Resources page on the ATTC Network website.

Here's a roundup for your reference:

Joining the Voices of Recovery: Joseph Green Inspires Through Spoken Word

August 24, 2018

Maureen Fitzgerald
ATTC Network Coordinating Office/NIATx

Joining the voices of recovery this September—and all year long— is spoken word artist Joseph Green.

Green is a motivational speaker, educational consultant, poet, and former Director of Youth Programs at Split This Rock, a Washington D.C. based organization that harnesses the power of poetry for social change. He's also a professional spoken word artist and storyteller, drawing on his recovery journey and other facets of his life to shape compelling narratives to inspire and help others.

Like this one, titled St. Jude:

Drug Contamination Crisis: Connecticut and Beyond

August 21, 2018

Tonya Tavares and the New England ATTC (HHS Region 1)

New Haven, Connecticut, recently faced a rash of overdoses linked to a suspected fentanyl-contaminated supply of K2, a synthetic marijuana also known as Spice. Taken alone, the effects of K2 can be unpredictable and even life-threatening. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is approximately 50 times more potent than heroin, is often clandestinely combined with other drugs and greatly increases the risk of lethal outcomes.

In the past week, over 70 people have overdosed, with a large majority centered around New Haven’s Green Park. Connecticut is not alone in facing drug contamination, specifically with K2. Brooklyn, NY, faced similar tragedy in May of 2018, with 87 people overdosing because of a particularly toxic batch of K2. Washington, DC, and Austin, TX, have also seen large numbers of overdoses, some fatal, resultant from K2 and contaminated batches of K2.

Addiction Docs On Call: Wisconsin Warmline Answers Doctors' Questions About SUD Treatment

August 15, 2018

Maureen Fitzgerald
ATTC Network/NIATx

Say you're a primary care doctor in northern Wisconsin treating a patient with alcohol use disorder who is also using methamphetamine. Your med school training may not have covered substance use disorder treatment in depth, and you're not sure of the best treatment and prevention options for your patient. But thanks to a new warmline just launched in Wisconsin, you can pick up the phone and get immediate advice from an addiction treatment specialist at UW Health and  the UW Department of Family Medicine and Community Health.