An Important Call to Action for the President-Elect

Addiction is one of the leading public health issues today — continuing to devastate families and communities throughout America. Prescription drug abuse, increased heroin availability, and the startling rise in overdose deaths across the nation have brought us to the precipice of a great national awakening.

America has a lengthy history of trying to regulate drugs and alcohol – going back to the 19th century with temperance movements, mutual aid societies, asylums, and institutions. Forty years ago the movement evolved into the War on Drugs – which the Obama Administration deemed counter-productive in 2009. This year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the first-ever guidelines for dispensing opiates and passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). America is now poised to substantially address addiction prevention, research, and treatment.

Today, we urge our President-Elect Donald J. Trump to continue to prioritize the disease of addiction. The President is uniquely positioned to lead the charge in ending the stigma around addiction and making the hope of recovery a reality for millions by:

  • Holding government agencies accountable for funding addiction treatment outcomes research and maintaining access to quality addiction treatment. Good treatment outcomes are contingent on adequate length of stay.[1]
  • Enforcing the recommendations from the Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force report to ensure implementation of parity protections under the law. This includes holding insurers accountable for making substance use disorder treatment coverage available, offering coverage information to consumers, and bringing an end to preauthorization for residential treatment.
  • Halting the IMD Exclusion which would limit Medicaid funding for residential treatment to 15 days in facilities with 16 beds or less. Those who are in active addiction and are economically vulnerable will be the most affected. Pregnant women, women with dependent children, and low-level drug offenders coming out of incarceration will be left with very few viable options for any kind of impactful substance use disorder treatment.  
  • Ensuring that Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is being used responsibly and in the manner in which it is intended – to “assist” substance use disorder treatment, not as a substitute for counseling.
  • Modelling the use of non-stigmatizing terms and helping change the language used around substance use disorders in the medical field and within the criminal justice system. Stigma remains one of the biggest barriers to addiction treatment faced by patients.[2]
  • Directing federal agency oversight of residential recovery housing to be held to a consistent standard of care and prohibit patient brokering.
  • Proactively providing federal guidance in directing tax revenue generated funds toward education, prevention, and substance use disorder treatment for states who permit marijuana sales, although currently contrary to the federal ban.
  • Working with Congress to find solutions around synthetic opioids. These drugs are creating an overdose crisis and threatening the lives of the first responders. Additionally; overdose reversal medicines like Narcan are useless against them.

At Caron Treatment Centers, we are helping patients and families affected by this disease daily. We need to come together as a nation to find solutions to help addicts and their families get the access to treatment they desperately need to recover. Our government cannot rest on the laurels of last year’s accomplishments. Today alone, 129 people will die of an overdose. On January 20, 2017, we look to the President to seize this opportunity to make a difference in the lives of millions of Americans seeking hope and treatment. Be the President who creates meaningful change so individuals and families can get the lifesaving help they so desperately need.

[1] Principle of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition). (Updated December 2012). In NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved November 8, 2016, from

[2] Words Matter. (May 16, 2016). In Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved on November 7, 2016, from

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​Angel Card: Patience

Patience is required at the moment.

You may feel that things

are not moving as fast as you would like.

Yet there is a lot going on energetically.

The current situation

causing concern is evolving positively.

Let go and have patience.

You will eventually realize that this

whole event was, in fact, a blessing.

All is perfect as it is.


You are eternally

loved and guided.

“Guardian Angel Cards” by Toni Carmine Salerno

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Caron Treatment Centers Hires Executive Director to Launch Legal Professionals Program

Wernersville, PA (November 7, 2016) – Caron Treatment Centers, a leading and nationally recognized not-for-profit provider of addiction and behavioral healthcare treatment, is pleased to announce the appointment of Link Christin to launch its Legal Professionals Program. Christin serves as the program’s first Executive Director.

Currently on campus at Caron, Christin provides pre-entry consultations and assessments for legal professionals and law firms, meets with patients during treatment who are legal professionals in both one-on-one and group settings, and coordinates with the treatment team to develop a personalized aftercare plan to ensure patients are stable upon their return to the workplace and the community. He also invites legal professionals in recovery as guest speakers to share their experiences with those in treatment.

Christin will further develop the program to include additional pre-entry, residential, and post-residential educational and clinical services. Part of these services will include coordination with law firms, disciplinary boards, licensing and admission agencies, state lawyer assistance programs, law schools, and families.

Christin currently serves as a Vice-Chair of the American Bar Association’s Substance Use Disorder Task Force and speaks frequently across the country on behavioral issues concerning lawyers and other professionals.

“We’re excited to have Link join the Caron team to launch our specialized program for legal professionals,” said Caron’s President and CEO, Doug Tieman. “The need for customized behavioral health services for this particular demographic is greater now than ever before. Many professionals struggle to maintain a healthy work/life balance due to the high demands and stresses of their job. They are working long hours, dealing with difficult clients, and trying to meet deadlines, among other responsibilities. Alcohol and drugs are, unfortunately, often used to self-medicate.”

Prior to joining Caron, Christin served as a civil trial lawyer for more than 25 years as well as a partner in two law firms in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After decades of practice as an attorney, he began his second career as founder and director of the Hazelden Legal Professionals Program. He also served as a volunteer to counsel lawyers and judges of the Virginia and Minnesota lawyer assistance programs who were struggling with addiction. Subsequently, Christin founded Heightened Performance, LLC, a behavioral health consulting firm that allowed him to bring his experience to law firms, lawyers, corporations, and law schools.

“Attorneys actively practicing who are struggling with addiction and mental health disorders pose a risk not only to themselves, but their families, firms, clients, the government, and society,” said Christin. “Legal professionals often deny they have a problem and go to great lengths to protect their career, which means they avoid seeking help until their condition becomes critical. For these reasons, it’s vital we provide a treatment program tailored to their needs.”

Christin earned his BA from Pomona College in 1975 and his JD from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1979. He attended the Hazelden Graduate School of Addiction Studies and received his Master’s Degree and LADC in Addiction Counseling with almost 1,000 hours of internships. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at the William Mitchell College of Law as well as an Assistant Professor at the Hazelden School of Addiction Studies.

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​Spiritual Friday: Acceptance

The topic for our latest Spiritual Friday was acceptance of self and acceptance of our Higher Power’s love.

Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation, some fact of my life unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. ” – Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 449

That “person” can be ourselves. We often forget that we must accept ourselves before we can accept anything or anyone else. And we can’t heal or change something if we don’t acknowledge and accept its existence in us.

One patient shared, “I accept that I’m an addict but accepting myself and who I really am is hard because being an addict is all I can see of myself.”

There is so much more to us than we realize or are willing to see. This, I believe, is our work as spiritual leaders – to help the patients see, feel, experience, and believe that there is so much more to them than their addiction. To help them see that there is so much good in them, that they are connected to a power that loves, guides, protects, heals, strengthens, and accepts them just as they are through other people, their own thoughts, and the world around them.

“Just as you are, G-d loves you. No matter how unimportant you think you are, regardless of how wrongly you think you have handled anything in your life, how little faith you seem to have, or how inadequate you feel, G-d loves you.” -Mary Kupferle

We shared several beautiful readings this day. We shared an excerpt from the book “My Grandfather’s Blessings” by Rachel Naomi Remen, MD. This was a story about unconditional love and self-acceptance – it was a favorite among the patients.

We also shared the poem “The Touch of the Master’s Hand” by Myra Brooks Welch. The message of this powerful poem is that G-d has never given up on you and never will. G-d sees you as you hope you are, not as you fear you are.

We had a brief guided meditation followed by a deeply inspiring rendition of “Brave” by Sara Barreilles.

Encouraging. Inspiring. Heartfelt. Love.

Some of the questions in small groups were:

  • What is the most painful thing you’ve had to accept?
  • Do you feel the love of G-d today? Do you feel G-d’s acceptance?
  • How can spirituality help you accept yourself?

All the patients received gratitude journals along with an assignment. Every day, they have to write down five things that they are grateful for – one of these things have to be something about themselves. Before they left, many of them shared their gratitude and self-love. I highly recommend this practice!

With love,

Reverend Laurie Durgan
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​Angel Card: Be Different

Dare to be different!

When you are criticized,

remember that you will

never please everyone.

Many brilliant and gifted individuals

were not fully appreciated or understood

in their own lifetime.

Yet, it is often they

who have sown

seeds of great change.

“Guardian Angel Cards” by Toni Carmine Salerno

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​Spiritual Friday: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

Shanah Tovah!

Earlier this month, we were blessed by Rabbi Mark Panoff, one of our Spiritual Friday leaders, as he led our group and shared a deeply meaningful and inspirational message about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. We learned that this was a time of repentance and forgiveness, and that a critical part of Rosh Hashanah is the making of amends for our errors, faults, and the hurts we have caused.

We learned about these beautiful religious holidays and the many spiritual practices we have in common – taking an inventory, admitting our wrongs, seeking forgiveness, making amends, and sincerely working at becoming a better person.

We began with some readings and sacred prayers for both our Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services.

Failures of Love
We sin against You when we hurt one another.
For our failures of love, Adonai, we seek forgiveness.

For exploiting another for own pleasure,
and for the wounds we cause through betrayal and deception.

For withholding affection from those we claim to love,
and for using love to control our spouses, children, and parents.

For abandoning our friends and siblings whose love has sustained us,
and for neglecting those who love us when they need us most.

For harboring in our relationships mistrust, boredom, and disloyalty,
and for rejecting our partner’s efforts at repair and renewal.

For possessiveness, jealousy, and avarice,
and for lashing out in anger at those who are closest to us.

– Sheldon Marder

Rabbi Israel Salanter once spent the night at a shoemaker’s home. Late at night he saw the man working by the light of a flickering candle. “Look how late it is,” the rabbi said. “Your candle is about to go out. Why are you still working?” The shoemaker replied, “As long as the candle is burning, it is still possible to mend.”
For weeks afterward, Rabbi Salanter was hard repeating the shoemaker’s words to himself: “As long as the candle is burning, it is still possible to mend.”
As long as the candle burns – as long as the spark of life still shines – we can mend and heal, seek forgiveness and reconciliation, begin again.

-Temple Emanuel

This was a beautiful message of hope for those struggling with addiction.

“The antidote for regret is to move our awareness into the present moment. Consider what you can do now that makes a difference.” – Ellen Grace O’Brian

I played a very comforting piece of music, “A Hundred Thousand Angels”, before leading the patients in a brief guided meditation. The lyrics gently remind us that whatever we experience, wherever life takes us, whatever we must face, we are never alone.

After meditation, the patients were given a piece of paper to write down their “wrongs” from the past year – things they regretted and things they needed to ask forgiveness for. When they completed their lists, they placed them in our crystal bowl. The bowl was then played as a “blessing”. Afterwards, the lists were given to my prayer ministry at Unity of Delray Beach where they have been prayed over for the past several weeks.

The Rabbi also shared this prayer with us:

In small groups, we asked the patients the following questions:

  • What awareness did you come to today?
  • Would anyone like to share what they released?
  • Can sincere regret be helpful in your recovery?
  • Why is self-forgiveness not selfish?
  • Were there any things you just didn’t want to release?

When I realize the ways in I have brought pain to others
through my selfishness, my pride, my greed, and my self-protection,
my heart is broken in sadness.

I repent.
I turn around.

I seek, with your guidance,
to make amends to those I have hurt.

I know, G-d, that the kind of change I need to make
can only come by your healing power in me.

So, I give myself again today to you.
Change me.

Give me the courage, humility, and honesty I need
to make amends to those I have harmed, including me.

We all felt so blessed by Rabbi Mark and so grateful to have him on our Spiritual Friday team.


Reverend Laurie Durgan
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Caron Conversations: Can You Have a Substance Abuse Problem and Be High-Functioning?

Kate Appleman, Clinical Director of Primary Care Men’s Treatment & Clinical Coordinator of Caron’s Professionals Program, sat down with Eric Webber, Clinical Supervisor of the Relapse Program, to talk about substance abuse problems among high-functioning individuals.

For more information, visit our Grand View Program.

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