Addiction day treatment program expanding to Ingersoll

By John Tapley For the Sentinel-Review

Posted 12 hours ago

INGERSOLL – A free drug and alcohol addiction day treatment program is coming to Ingersoll.

A pilot project administered by Operation Sharing, the Cynthia Anne Centre for Addictions in Woodstock has partnered with St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church to run satellite programs in Ingersoll.

The organization started looking at expanding into Ingersoll after receiving several calls about the program from people in the area who mentioned transportation issues.

“We were concerned because we were getting a number of calls from people in Ingersoll and the surrounding area,” said Stephen Giuliano, executive director and chaplain with Operation Sharing.

He said the satellite operation became a reality when St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church came forward, offering to host the centre’s individual counselling sessions and group workshops.

“We’re very grateful to them,” Giuliano said.

Treatment programs, which are available to men and women ages 16 and up, will run in Ingersoll on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. starting on Wednesday, Oct. 12.

In Woodstock, programs run daily Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Old St. Paul’s Anglican Church on Dundas Street.

The sessions are free.

“Whether you have financial means or not, it’s a free service for people who need it,” said Giuliano.

About 15 people are already getting treatment in Woodstock, he said.

The Cynthia Anne Centre for Addictions is named for an Oxford County woman who died of a drug overdose. It was established with support from The United Way of Oxford, the City of Woodstock, the Len Reeves Foundation and Old St. Paul’s Anglican Church.

“We’re very thankful for the support,” Giuliano said.

Bill Baleka, a professor at Fanshawe College with more than 30 years’ experience in addictions treatment, is the centre’s director.

“He has quite the expertise,” Giuliano said.

Since Operation Sharing already has a presence in Ingersoll, bringing the addiction treatment program to the community was a natural connection, he said. Having services available in Ingersoll may also provide a comfort zone for some people, he said, because they can get help in their own community.

While the centre offers treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, Giuliano said the plan is to work with other organizations in serving the community.

“We’re hoping there’ll be other services in the County of Oxford that will expand and complement this to make it the most successful treatment program there can be,” he said.

The centre will operate as transparently as possible, Giuliano said, using straightforward statistics to measure its success. At the same time, “respecting people’s privacy is paramount,” he said.

Thanks to its supporters, the pilot project has sufficient funding to operate for one year.

“It’s going to be a year filled with hope that long-term sustainability and growth will occur,” he said.

For more information about the centre and its programs call Operation Sharing at 519-539-3361 or Giuliano at 519-281-6077.

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Stanton Peele: There Will Never Be a (Useful) Addiction Vaccine

And here I thought all that addiction vaccine talk had been put to rest in 2009. Yet, there it was staring me in the face at the top of the on-line edition of The New York Times:

An Addiction Vaccine: Tantalizingly Close. Scientists like Dr. Kim Janda, above in his office with a model of the nicotine molecule, are at work on shots that could one day release people from the grip of drug abuse.

Actually, the article expresses more of an idea than a reality:

Imagine a vaccine against smoking: People trying to quit would light up a cigarette and feel nothing. Or a vaccine against cocaine, one that would prevent addicts from enjoying the drug’s high.
Though neither is imminent, both are on the drawing board, as are vaccines to combat other addictions. While scientists have historically focused their vaccination efforts on diseases like polio, smallpox and diphtheria — with great success — they are now at work on shots that could one day release people from the grip of substance abuse.
“We view this as an alternative or better way for some people,” said Dr. Kim D. Janda, a professor at the Scripps Research Institute who has made this his life’s work. “Just like with nicotine patches and the gum, all those things are just systems to get people off the drugs.”
Dr. Janda, a gruff-talking chemist, has been trying for more than 25 years to create such a vaccine. Like shots against disease, these vaccines would work by spurring the immune system to produce antibodies that would shut down the narcotic before it could take root in the body, or in the brain.

I had three thoughts:

Wasn’t all this squelched in 2009? Less than two years ago, in October 2009, addiction vaccines received a double-dose of bad news. Written in an article by the “Daily Finance,” “Smoking vaccine fails in clinical trial“:

(October 19, 2009) A report has been released showing that an anti-smoking vaccine has failed to reach its targets in a mid-stage study. In the year-long Phase II study, early indications showed the nicotine vaccine NIC002 couldn’t achieve a statistically significant improvement in continuous abstinence from smoking in weeks 8 to 12 after the start of treatment, compared to a placebo.

But the smoking vaccine thing was small potatoes (not really, when figured dollar-for-dollar in potential earnings) when a vaunted cocaine vaccine initiative went down in flames, as was reported by the “New York Daily News:”

(October 7, 2009) Battling cocaine addiction turns out to be tougher than researchers first thought. A widely reported experimental vaccine used to counteract coke addiction showed strong results — at least initially. But, as the medical news syndicate HealthDay now reports, it lost its effectiveness after a few months.

The vaccine works by increasing antibodies that bind to the drug, halting the high. Researchers tested the vaccine on 94 adults, selected from methadone maintenance programs. The subjects also received behavioral therapy. Thirty-eight percent of the study’s participants developed enough antibodies to curb their cocaine use. But after two months, the effects tapered off, reports Healthday.

Who believes this will succeed? The Times has regularly endorsed the biological model of addiction. The Times position on addiction makes clear how much the idea that addiction is a disease we will cure is a liberal chimera that may itself never be overcome.

As to who profits from such vaccines, well, who has sold the idea that people can’t quit smoking on their own, so that they must rely on nicotine patches, gums and other pharmaceutical aids? In the case of the anti-nicotine vaccination, you can see in this quote from the “Daily Finance” the persistence and motivation to find a workable vaccine:

Novartis (NVS), which bought the rights to the nicotine addiction vaccine from Swiss start-up Cytos Biotechnology in April 2007, will stay on-board for the duration of the trial, though the drug now seems unlikely to reach the market. Not only is the study result a blow to smokers hoping to quit; it’s also a blow to Cytos, which saw its shares slammed in the Swiss market on Friday.
Cytos is now unlikely to get its milestone payment from Novartis, leaving it to fend for itself. However, Cytos CEO Wolfgang Renner assured DailyFinance in an emailed statement that “The financing of our operations in the next two years are secured and are not affected by the latest results. So there are no immediate consequences from the newest result.”

Who can believe this will work? An antibody is a chemical created naturally by the immune system when an antigen (harmful substance) assails the body. When the antigen is a pathogen (infectious agent, or germ), as with tuberculosis or pneumonia or smallpox, the creation of a vaccine is relatively (not quite) straightforward. You identify a long-lived antibody to the pathogen and introduce it into the body.

But think of how much more difficult this process is when the so-called antigen (“so-called” because people generally don’t welcome or seek out pathogens, but they do cigarettes and cocaine) acts by stimulating neurochemicals — a much more diffuse process. First, the vaccine must act chemically to block the effects of the drug — a tricky process. Then, the brain must interpret the rewards from the neurochemical stimulus to be insufficiently similar to what they were previously. And, finally the user must reject the entire drug-use ritual (e.g., smoking a cigarette, snorting, smoking or injecting cocaine).

Consider the disappointing conclusion from the clinical trial of the cocaine vaccine reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry in October 2009: “Attaining high anti-cocaine antibody levels was associated with significantly reduced cocaine use, but only 38 percent of the vaccinated attained these levels and they had only two months of adequate cocaine blockade.” So, only a minority of recipients of the vaccine were chemically impacted as intended, and they on average achieved “significantly reduced cocaine use” (which is a far cry from elimination of a pathogen) that lasted only a brief period.

The (relative) disappearance of the urge to use cocaine may be short-lived only partly because of the disappearance of the cocaine antibody. There are three other factors (in addition to the chemical, brain-biological and ritual factors noted above) that work incessantly against an effective drug addiction vaccine: experiential, situational and life. Experiential means the addicts want that — or a similar — drug experience, but no one wants polio or tuberculosis.

Put simply, won’t those used to getting high on cocaine simply reject the vaccine in favor of the experience? In the cocaine trial, subjects received five vaccinations over 12 weeks with the irregular and receding benefits noted. What’s going to make addicts come off the street so regularly to have their highs blown away (if the vaccine even accomplishes that for them)? And, why won’t those who can’t get high on cocaine simply turn to another substance?

I believe they will. Consider the subjects in the cocaine vaccine trial — 115 methadone maintained subjects of whom about a fifth (18 percent) dropped out during this 12-week trial. “Most smoked crack cocaine along with using marijuana (18 percent), alcohol (10 percent) and non-prescription opioids (44 percent).” Obviously some could be using more than one additional substance, but it seems that between half and three-quarters of these selected subjects are already — while addicted to cocaine — using other substances. (Note, this has nothing to do with the particular vaccine or research trial — multi-drug use by addicts is a fact of street life.)

Situational means they’re going to hang out with people in places where they are accustomed to using these substances. Of course, we can tell them — help them — to stop hanging around with these people in these places. But that’s going to require that they build a new set of satisfactions to replace these familiar, accustomed, attainable ones — an elaborate, difficult life enterprise that no vaccine will ever accomplish. But, sigh, we can always dream.




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Why Activists Are in an Uproar Over the ‘Addiction Vaccine’

A recent Times article about a vaccine that may help curb addiction provoked a rabid response among many recovering readers. Why?


This week in its Science section the New York Times ran an article tantalizingly titled “An Addiction Vaccine, Tantalizingly Close.” The piece profiled the research of a pioneer in anti-addiction vaccines, Dr. Kim Janda, a professor at California’s prestigious Scripps Research Institute.

Janda has been obsessively working on a vaccine against one addictive drug or another for some 25 years. He saw the concept of a vaccine against, say, cocaine or heroin as a no-brainer, “simplistically stupid,” he told the Times. Since vaccines had already proved they could assist the immune system to mount antibody defenses against something as complex as a living virus, there was no reason to doubt that the same mechanism could neutralize a coke or smack molecule.

The Times quotes no less an addiction luminary than Dr. Nora Volkow, the neuroscientist director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, who called Janda “a visionary” and expressed solid confidence that his trailblazing would eventually bring anti-addiction vaccines to the market, revolutionizing treatment. Endorsements don’t come any better than that — and Janda has also enjoyed plenty of federal funding along the way.

In fact, he had little choice. Big Pharma has long snubbed addiction vaccines — partly because vaccines tend to be one-shot products that earn chump change compared to the billions raked in by daily high-cholesterol pills, and partly because addiction is a marketer’s nightmare, involving as it does a stigmatized disease and a “criminal” market, no matter how big. Janda raised money from venture capitalists to advance his most promising vaccines into clinical trials, but the start-ups tanked when the vaccines failed.

Unfortunately, Janda has a slew of vaccine failures to show for his many years of single-minded dedication to the cause. He also has no successes — at least if success is defined as, say, an anti-nicotine vaccine on pharmacy shelves. In this respect, the “Tantalizingly Close” is so much happy talk. And one of the most striking things about the long Times piece is how skeptical — how downright negative and even nasty — the vast majority of the 60-plus readers’ responses were. From scientists and sobriety veterans alike, the consensus seemed almost to be that a vaccine for addiction was nothing but pie in the sky and therefore a fool’s errand. Also detectable was a subtle disapproval of the dream itself — a judgment that would be rightly condemned as bigoted if voiced against a vax for AIDS or cancer.

This is all very curious. Anyone who reads the Times regularly, and even those who just scan the comments posted by readers, knows that these are people who often, as odd as it may sound, think before they type. The discussions tend to be more diverse and provocative than the articles themselves. But the readers of “An Addiction Vaccine, Tantalizingly Close” were an audience of all boos and raspberries. Yet surely many, if not most, of them would agree that addiction is, at least in part, a disease — a pathology in certain brain functions — that medical treatments (such as Chantix for nicotine addiction and Vivitrol for alcoholism) are beginning to emerge as tools, however blunt, in the multi-front battle against it.

There are currently more than 400 experimental vaccines against addictions in the pharmaceutical pipeline; few will ever make it far enough to be tested in humans, and of those that do, nine out of 10 will fail. Those are the odds of drug development. But hand it to Janda for first plowing the field — and more than that. Janda came up with the platform necessary to adapt the vaccine model to the daunting specifications of cocaine, nicotine, heroin, meth, and other major substances.

The initial problem confronting Janda was that these drugs, once in the bloodstream, make terrible targets because they are way too small for the immune system to even detect them. Zoom — they fly straight to the brain. But Janda figured out a way to bulk up these minute molecules by attaching them to a big, fat, harmless protein, like a small plane flying a giant banner at the beach. In addition, Janda had to find the right mix of chemicals to create an adjuvant, which is an additional lure to get the immune system jumping. “It’s not like some magical premise,” the sweetly humble Janda told the Times. “And the beauty of it is you’re not messing with brain chemistry.”

(Alcohol and marijuana have so far baffled vaccinologists: ethanol is too miniscule to be manipulated, while pot’s active ingredient, THC, hides inside cells, invisible to antibodies.)

In July, Janda made news when he announced that an anti-heroin vax seemed to work in rat experiments, meaning it could move into safety trials for humans. Yet as the Times reported, “as has often been the case in Dr. Janda’s career, that breakthrough came on the heels of a setback: A Phase 2 clinical trial for a nicotine vaccine that was based largely on his work was declared a failure this summer.”

And so it goes for Janda, who estimates he has five to ten years left to realize his vision, his dream, of an effective anti-addiction vaccine. Yet a number of his experimental vaccines have worked well in small numbers of people — for example, an anti-coke vax helped some addicts in clinical trials either stay off the drug longer or, when they did use, feel like the high was too low to be worth the money.

And every day, Janda, like other leading researchers toiling on science’s margins to develop a vaccine for addictions, gets calls, emails, even visits from alcoholics or drug addicts (or their parents or doctors) who are desperate — even dying — to stick out their arm for a shot of an experimental vax and a shot at recovery. Unless you are already enrolled in one of the (small) clinical trials, though, it’s tough luck.

But desperation day after day seems insufficient to squeeze a drop of compassion from the article’s readers’ hard hearts. Perhaps the reason is that “a shot a recovery” is not supposed to be as simple as “a shot in the arm.” For veterans of recovery, men and women with five, 10, 20 years of sobriety, who work the program faithfully, who know rock bottom in all its lurid detail, the prospect of a “magic bullet” is absurd. Yet no one expects an effective vaccine to be a magic bullet — it would probably offer partial protection against the effects of a drug and therefore remain but one of many weapons against what can otherwise be a terminal disease.

Scratch “one of many weapons” because there are actually only a few. Which is why the knee-jerk negativity of this addiction vaccine anti-claque is so unworthy of anyone in the so-called recovery community.

Here’s a sample of three comments coming from distinctly different areas of expertise:

“These studies betray a startling lack of understanding of the learned neurobiology of addiction. It does not take many exposures before the habits associated with drug consumption themselves acquire rewarding properties. It is not surprising that simply blocking the actions of nicotine would not substantially affect the habits of people who have been addicted to cigarettes for many years. Sorry, guys, but the brain had got to be messed with since it calls the shots.”

“Behavior is multiply over determined as any clinician working in the trenches will recognize. Craving a high, an individual can overwhelm the blockade with super high doses of the abused substance, or can substitute another (alcohol for benzos), design another (“bath salts” and artificial cannabis are just two examples).”

“So while I have nothing but admiration for Dr. Nora Volkow, whose “name was dropped,” what I see, in addicts “clamoring” for Dr. Janda’s cure is nothing more than some very subtle enabling with a “meta message” that they can avoid abstinence-only programs where bluntness and tough love–and serious lifestyle changes — are de rigueur (the insurance companies decided long ago against long-term inpatient treatment, preferring cheaper outpatient programs).”


Image: REUTERS/Nicky Loh.

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Addiction is an illness

Published: October 10, 2011 7:00 AM
Updated: October 10, 2011 7:21 AM


Re: Help those who have no choice, Sept. 27 letters.

So letter-writer Cheryl Berti doesn’t think drugs and alcohol are considered a disease.

They are a “choice,” in her words.

As someone who has seen several family and friends affected by different types of alcohol and drug addictions through my 40-plus years of life, I can tell you it is not a “choice” to continue their addictions.

I’ve even had strong arguments with others who believed as Berti did, only to see them fall victim to these kinds of addictions themselves.

I strongly believe addictions are a form of mental illness.

If we are to believe as Berti does, can we not apply the same parameters to schizophrenics (they “choose” to listen to the voices) or the depressed (they “choose” to remain unhappy) or the obese (they “choose” to eat all the time).

We need to stop thinking of addiction, in all its forms, in terms of it being a choice. These people may have made the initial “choice” to try a drug or drink/eat to kill emotional or physical pain in their life, but the addiction itself is not a choice.

I have heard it called an “intense hunger,” one that can not be ignored or the pain becomes too great. For some, when they are without, they automatically seek out that which will kill the hunger or pain.

Unfortunately, it seems many just want to sweep anything that is distasteful under the carpet, so they don’t have to deal with it.

We need to stop looking at addictions – and many other forms of unacceptable behaviour – as a “choice,” and start looking at them and deal with them as a form of mental illness so that we can, as a society, move on and help those in need by treating them so that they can live fulfilled lives again.

Jeff McArdon, Surrey

• • •

We have a real problem in this world when someone has an addiction. They are not considered as having a mental illness, as they have an addiction, even though through their addiction they have done something stupid, like jumping out of second-storey window of a rehab facility.

Of course, the rehab facility no longer has a place for them, due to worry about litigation. Yet these same poor souls are not considered as psychiatric material by the hospital/government ward.

So where do they belong? I think it’s called a grey area where these  poor souls fall between the cracks.

I hope you or anyone you know never have to experience addiction.

Randy & Janet Henley, White Rock

• • •

Who has no choice?

For many years I have volunteered and worked in the non-profit/social-service sector. I have heard the stories of many people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

I was very disturbed by the letter from Cheryl Berti. She feels we should support the deserving and let the rest be homeless.

Who will make that decision?

Is the drug-addicted woman, who had two children fathered by her father before she was 15, not deserving? Is the alcoholic man, who suffers from dyslexia but was beaten for bad grades and is brain damaged as a result, not deserving? I wouldn’t want to make that choice.

Berti is not the only person with these attitudes; hers reflect the feelings of many. Homelessness not only damages the lives of the individuals, it damages society.

It is easy to find evidence that homelessness costs the taxpayer more than providing housing.

So why then do we not do it?

The government cannot be seen to help the “undeserving.” It would be political suicide.

We all need help some time in our lives. Some are fortunate, some are not; are they less deserving than us?

Are lung-cancer patients, who have been addicted to smoking not deserving of treatment?

It’s a slippery slope.

Judy Peterson, White Rock

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Hazelden set to begin $30 million expansion

Posted: 3:05 pm Fri, October 7, 2011
Tags: Hazelden, Jim Steinhagen, Knutson Construction, LEED, Steve Juetten

Hazelden set to begin $30 million expansion

Hazelden plans to break ground this month on a $30 million expansion and renovation project, which will double the size of the facility. A growing need to treat young people is driving the project. (Submitted rendering: HGA)

Project to double campus in Plymouth

Hazelden, a nonprofit provider of addiction treatment, hopes to begin work next week on a project that will double the size of the organization’s youth campus in Plymouth.

The $30 million project addresses a growing need to provide drug and alcohol treatment for people in the 14-to-25 age group, especially females.

Plans call for a 49,000-square-foot expansion and renovation of an existing facility of the same size, said Jim Steinhagen, executive director of Hazelden Youth Services.

The Hazelden Center for Youth and Families at 11505 36th Ave. simply isn’t big enough, Hazelden officials say. The expansion will increase the number of beds from 75 to 107.

“We have been experiencing very high demand for our services,” Steinhagen said. “From a simple ratio of supply and demand, the demands have been higher than we could provide services for.”

Drug and alcohol use among young people is on the rise, according to a 2010 survey from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. And the facilities aren’t keeping up.

According to Hazelden, about 1.5 million Americans between the ages of 12 and 17 are in need of alcohol treatment, but only 7 percent receive it. Similar numbers apply to drug treatment.

Fears about security and a “not-in-my-backyard” sentiment can be obstacles for treatment centers. Steinhagen said there is a “stigma” attached to young addicts because people tend to think of them as “criminals and bad kids.”

“These kids are not bad kids,” he hastened to add. “They are sick kids that need help. And thank goodness there are places like Hazelden that provide them with the help they need.”

Some residents reacting to Hazelden’s project initially raised concerns about security; others feared the project would disturb the heavily wooded natural environment near the building.

Steve Juetten, Plymouth’s community development director, said he received a few emails from concerned residents. But at a recent public hearing “only one person spoke, and that person was in favor” of the project, he added.

“I think the expansion is fairly welcomed,” he said.

Steinhagen said concerns were allayed after Hazelden officials met with residents to talk about the project, which is headed up by a team that includes Minneapolis-based HGA Architects and Iowa City-based Knutson Construction.

Patient screening, “around-the-clock monitoring” and door alarms help to ensure a safe environment, according to Hazelden’s website.

As for the trees, Steinhagen said it’s in Hazelden’s interests to maintain a natural environment around the campus because being close to nature is a key component of the healing process.

From a design standpoint, “we worked very hard toward preserving a noninstitutional, homelike feel as much as possible, incorporating the natural surroundings into the setting,” he said.

The project will create a 32-bed unit for female patients, indoor recreation space with a gym and exercise facilities, an admissions area, and space for family programs and mental health services, according to Hazelden.

Gym and exercise components are important because they “help our patients learn that they can in fact have fun without putting a foreign substance into their body,” Steinhagen said.

Steinhagen said construction will take place in two phases, starting with the 49,000-square-foot addition. Once that project is complete, renovation of the existing 30-year-old space will begin.

When the entire project wraps up in two years, Hazelden will be able to admit an additional 300 patients per year, up from 700. And the 900 parents who participate in the family program will increase by a third, Steinhagen said.

Hazelden is receiving bond financing for the project through the city of Center City, where the national nonprofit is based. The bonds will be paid off with private donations and money from Hazelden operations.

To save money, Hazelden will not pursue Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the project, Steinhagen said. But it will follow green building principles — such as using recycled materials and water-saving fixtures — in the design.

Founded in 1949, Hazelden has facilities in Minnesota, Oregon, Illinois, New York and Florida.

Promotional video for the youth campus:

YouTube Preview Image

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Addiction Vaccine and Teen Drug Use

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Interview with Adi Jaffe, All About Addiction

Story by Benjamin F. Kuo

One of Southern California’s biggest assets are the number of world class, local universities researching and developing technology and knowledge across a large number of disciplines. Investors and universities are often very eager to figure out how to tap into those universities as a source of new companies, but often find its difficult to move research from the lab to an actual company. What effort and what kind of person does it take to make the leap from academia to the commercial world? To understand how one local company is making that transition, we talked with Los Angeles-based All About Addiction (, a company that grew out of Adi Jaffe’s work at UCLA as a trained psychologist.

First, what is All About Addiction about? Interview with Adi Jaffe, All About Addiction

Adi Jaffe: I’m a UCLA addiction trained psychologist, specializing in addiction. What our company is doing, is it is developing an online tool for people to find addiction treatment to meet their needs. The statistics are, about half of the 3 million or so people looking for addiction treatment every year, do not find treatment. There have been a couple of pieces of research on why, but one of the main reasons is lack of access to information. The other is stigma–going up to someone and saying, I have an addiction problem, or my son has an addiction problem, and can you help them. What we have tried to create, is an online solution which allows them to do that anonymously, and instead of just looking through a list of providers, allows them to fill out a form on what their issues are, what drugs are being used, how much, how long, and other information about other physical or mental issues they might have, demographics, location, and all of that kind of stuff, and we process it and match their needs and assessment with a list of providers and services they offer. The idea is really to make the process as simple as possible. We give you five results, not a laundry list to look at, to make this as simple of a process for them as possible. The goal is to get the algorithm tweaked as we look at the data to the point where they just have to make that first call.

How is this related to the work you were doing at UCLA?

Adi Jaffe: I was a graduate student at UCLA. I had been focused on addiction research for awhile, and as part of being a student there was part of student meetings and groups. At one of them, I talked to a professor and asked a question about why entrepreneurship was not pushed heavily within the academic culture, and how does someone like me even get my research our to the public, and talk about the things I want to get out there to the public. All of what we publish at academics just goes to other academics. That caused me to start a student group we called Psychology In Action (, to help get the word out about psychology research to the public. An offshoot of running that group for a few years, was this website, All About Addiction. I was trying to figure out how to access the public, provide information, and educate them about addiction. So, in February of 2008, I started the website, and it caught on. I think I had five people use it the first month, mostly from friends and family, but our traffic kept growing, and I kept getting more traction, to the point that I would meet people in the field and say–I’ve seen your website. That’s when I decided to make more of it, Even though we were getting 20,000 unique visitors a month, I said we could do more with this, and put out more good information.

The idea was to make it simpler for people to find rehab. The issue there, is there is a lot of research, but not enough information about that. It’s just like looking for a doctor for a problem, where it’s sort of difficult to figure out who is best suited to treat what you have. Addiction is even worse, because there are so many conflicting pieces of information, and mountains of information that people have to go through when looking for treatment. The options are anything from medical detox, going to a hospital, to residential inpatient services, to a couple of different outpatients things, to seeking a shrink or psychologist or things of that nature. That’s a lot of decision making for someone who is essentially in crisis. You don’t look for addiction help when things are going well in your life. Anyway, so I had this idea, and happened to meet Fred Jouyal, CEO of 1-800 DENTIST. I asked him if he wouldn’t mind sitting down with me, and he helped me develop the business model, and suggested that I work with some offshore developers on automating the system. The current way people handle this is someone calls a call center, they walk through a process by phone call. However, computers are far better suited for processing these kinds of things than people are, so I worked with some offshore developers and put together our beta, which is what’s available now.

Was it a big leap for you to go from academia to your own startup?

Adi Jaffe: It is tough. First of all, I’m still at UCLA, spending about half my time doing research at UCLA. My sister, who is a physician, laughed at me when I told her I had this tool. Being an academic, the notion is that you’ll go into research. But, I felt that pull of starting a company. I had to learn a lot about entrepreneurship, and had to learn things completely independently. I started as a sole proprietorship, used templates for business plans, and spent the last two years just trying to figure out what monetization means. When I came to the table, I just had the idea for a solution. I’ve actually been wrestling with an issue all academics should know, which is as a student employee at UCLA, you give up the rights to inventions you create. So, I have been meeting with the intellectual property office even to figure out if I own the rights to the algorithm which I developed, even though I developed it outside of my capacity of work at UCLA. Lots of that comes into play within academia, which normal entrepreneurs don’t have to deal with.

Beyond that, I remember submitting an application to the Tech Coast Angels two years ago, and we didn’t have a paying client at the time. We have three or four now. Those paying clients are service providers for rehab, and while they pay to become recommended providers, they have to go through an arduous certification process. Then, when I came to the Tech Coast Angels, although they were interested enough to ask a second round of questions, the issue of scale came about. I had to learn about monetizing things, project levels for angels versus venture capitalists, how much money to ask for, and valuation. Those are all things that academics and researchers don’t have to think about at all. The value of research is improving knowledge, and that was the initial way I was thinking about what our product was going to be. I thought about how to improve the way that people go about finding the right kind of treatment, but didn’t think about how to find money, how to make it pay for itself–none of those things were on the table initially. It has been a long, two, two and a half year learning process, taking myself which I think of essentially a low level MBA.

Speaking of monetizing things, what’s the revenue model behind this?

Adi Jaffe: Our first, and primary model is the idea of having service providers pay to become recommended providers. It gives them preferential placement, but this is not an advertising model, because we do not guarantee them placement. It’s not you pay us this much, and you’ll show up this many times. The model we use is different, which is sort of scary for the capital investors I’ve been talking to, because it’s not traditional. The idea is they become recommended providers, and any time they are matched up with a company that has an equal number of services and types of services and matches the client, the verified company will show up on top every time. It’s a bit different in that we can’t guarantee placement. The second part of our model, which I learned through the UCLA network and contacts, is that a vast number of placements for treatment is done through public agencies. LA County apparently places around 40,000 to 50,000 people a year in treatment, and they also subsidize that treatment. Talking to them, the process is really cumbersome, and right now it takes an hour and a half to two hours to meet with people, have them fill out a questionnaire, and to make phone calls. Our system can handle that far more efficiently. So, one of our other revenue streams we are pursuing is municipal government contracts to essentially contract and automate that referral system.

Finally, what’s the next step for your company?

Adi Jaffe: Our next step is really trying to get some angel level funding. We have some interest from people, and are in conversations. To take us out of beta to full market readiness will take a few thousand dollars of development money. Plus, one of the things we’re missing, is so far we have no marketing budget at all. Even though our solution has so far been used by over 1100 people, and we have three paying provider agencies who are verified and generating revenues, we haven’t done any marketing. We’d like to put money into marketing and web development, so we can create a more robust solution, and get it out in front of people.

Thanks, and good luck!

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NI drug addiction figures on rise

Mephedrone Mephedrone was among the most commonly taken drugs.

The number of people seeking treatment for drug addiction has risen by almost 30% in the last year, according to the Department of Health.

The department said more than 2,500 people in Northern Ireland sought treatment for drug addiction in 2010-11.

This compares with 2,008 people treated in 2009-10.

Cannabis was the most commonly taken drug, followed by tranquilisers, mephedrone and heroin.

Men made up almost three-quarters of those receiving treatment, and 27% of addicts were aged 21 or younger.

The statistics do not include people addicted to alcohol or tobacco.

The department said that the increase could be partly due to more comprehensive record-keeping.

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Hazelden to Invest Outreach, Services to Help America’s Youth Find Recovery from Drugs and Alcohol

[ [ [[‘amanda knox’, 15]], ‘’, ‘Click image to see more photos’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00NzE7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/’, ‘630’, ‘ ‘, ‘AP’, ], [ [[‘Conrad Murray’, 15]], ‘’, ‘Click image to see more photos’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00MDI7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/’, ‘630’, ”, ‘AP’, ], [ [[‘ralph steinman’, 12]], ‘’, ‘Click image to see more photos’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00ODk7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/’, ‘630’, ”, ‘AP’, ], [ [[‘diana nyad’, 13]], ‘’, ‘Click image to see more photos’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD0zODQ7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/’, ‘630’, ”, ‘AP’, ], [ [[‘Joshua Komisarjevsky’, 10]], ‘/photos/connecticut-home-invasion-trial-1316719606-slideshow/’, ‘Click image to see more photos’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00NTk7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/’, ‘630’, ”, ‘AP’, ], [ [[‘CASCO Signal’, 13], [‘Yu Yuan station’, 13]], ‘’, ‘Click image to see more photos’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00NTk7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/’, ‘630’, ”, ‘AFP’, ], [ [[‘It is difficult to assess how many birds are affected’, 7]], ‘’, ‘Click image to see more photos of the oil spill’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00MjA7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/’, ‘460’, ‘341’, ‘Reuters/Erik Abel/Scanpix Sweden’, ], [ [[‘Andy Rooney’, 9]], ‘–1317174717-slideshow/’, ‘Click image to see more photos’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00MjA7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/’, ‘630’, ”, ‘AP’, ], [ [[‘villages where people are trapped under collapsed houses’, 8]], ‘’, ‘Click image to see more photos of the quake aftermath’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD0zNDA7cT04NTt3PTUxMg–/’, ‘512’, ‘340’, ‘AFP’, ], [ [[‘The absence of Borders is going to be felt across the industry’, 6]], ‘’, ‘Click image to see more photos of the closing of the last Borders’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00MzM7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/’, ‘460’, ‘313’, ‘AP/Amy Sancetta’, ], [ [[‘Anders Behring Breivik’, 8]], ‘’, ‘Click image to see more photos of the confessed mass killer’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00ODk7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/’, ‘460’, ‘357’, ‘Reuters/Jon-Are Berg-Jacobsen/Aftenposten via Scanpix’, ], [ [[‘like there is no way out’, 9]], ‘’, ‘Click image to see more photos’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD0zOTM7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/’, ‘460’, ‘ ‘, ‘AP/Robert F. Bukaty’, ], [ [[‘including snipers picking off protesters from rooftops’, 5], [‘Violence has flared anew in Yemen in frustration’, 6]], ‘’, ‘Click image to see more photos of unrest in Yemen’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00MjA7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/’, ‘460’, ‘ ‘, ‘AP/Hani Mohammed’, ], [ [[‘Dolores Hope’, 7]], ‘’, ‘Click image to see more photos of Dolores’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD02MzA7cT04NTt3PTUxNg–/’, ‘460’, ‘ ‘, ‘AP’, ] ]

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Women’s Drug Rehab Announces Evening Outpatient Alcoholism Drug Addiction Program

[ [ [[‘amanda knox’, 15]], ‘’, ‘Click image to see more photos’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00NzE7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/’, ‘630’, ‘ ‘, ‘AP’, ], [ [[‘Conrad Murray’, 15]], ‘’, ‘Click image to see more photos’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00MDI7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/’, ‘630’, ”, ‘AP’, ], [ [[‘ralph steinman’, 12]], ‘’, ‘Click image to see more photos’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00ODk7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/’, ‘630’, ”, ‘AP’, ], [ [[‘diana nyad’, 13]], ‘’, ‘Click image to see more photos’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD0zODQ7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/’, ‘630’, ”, ‘AP’, ], [ [[‘Joshua Komisarjevsky’, 10]], ‘/photos/connecticut-home-invasion-trial-1316719606-slideshow/’, ‘Click image to see more photos’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00NTk7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/’, ‘630’, ”, ‘AP’, ], [ [[‘CASCO Signal’, 13], [‘Yu Yuan station’, 13]], ‘’, ‘Click image to see more photos’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00NTk7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/’, ‘630’, ”, ‘AFP’, ], [ [[‘It is difficult to assess how many birds are affected’, 7]], ‘’, ‘Click image to see more photos of the oil spill’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00MjA7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/’, ‘460’, ‘341’, ‘Reuters/Erik Abel/Scanpix Sweden’, ], [ [[‘Andy Rooney’, 9]], ‘–1317174717-slideshow/’, ‘Click image to see more photos’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00MjA7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/’, ‘630’, ”, ‘AP’, ], [ [[‘villages where people are trapped under collapsed houses’, 8]], ‘’, ‘Click image to see more photos of the quake aftermath’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD0zNDA7cT04NTt3PTUxMg–/’, ‘512’, ‘340’, ‘AFP’, ], [ [[‘The absence of Borders is going to be felt across the industry’, 6]], ‘’, ‘Click image to see more photos of the closing of the last Borders’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00MzM7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/’, ‘460’, ‘313’, ‘AP/Amy Sancetta’, ], [ [[‘Anders Behring Breivik’, 8]], ‘’, ‘Click image to see more photos of the confessed mass killer’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00ODk7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/’, ‘460’, ‘357’, ‘Reuters/Jon-Are Berg-Jacobsen/Aftenposten via Scanpix’, ], [ [[‘like there is no way out’, 9]], ‘’, ‘Click image to see more photos’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD0zOTM7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/’, ‘460’, ‘ ‘, ‘AP/Robert F. Bukaty’, ], [ [[‘including snipers picking off protesters from rooftops’, 5], [‘Violence has flared anew in Yemen in frustration’, 6]], ‘’, ‘Click image to see more photos of unrest in Yemen’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD00MjA7cT04NTt3PTYzMA–/’, ‘460’, ‘ ‘, ‘AP/Hani Mohammed’, ], [ [[‘Dolores Hope’, 7]], ‘’, ‘Click image to see more photos of Dolores’, ‘–/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9aW5zZXQ7aD02MzA7cT04NTt3PTUxNg–/’, ‘460’, ‘ ‘, ‘AP’, ] ]

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