All I’ve Met

Alfred, Lord Tennyson said: “I am a part of all that I have met.”

Like Tennyson, I feel like I’m a part of all that I’ve met. These are a few of their stories. And a few of mine, too. Enjoy.


Keep the kids entertained with new summertime ideas

The Summer of Pinterest, Part 4 …

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By Jacki Wood for the Nodaway News Leader

    School’s been out for over a month now and you’ve heard your kids say “I’m bored” about 2,581 times. Right?!

You could probably use some new and easy ideas to keep them entertained and enjoying their summer break.

We can help with over 400 ideas on our Summer Fun Pinterest page.

I don’t have any little ones at my house anymore, so I asked my 15-year-old daughter, Hannah, and my 12-year-old niece, Jaden, to help some of my younger nieces, Zoe, Ailey and Kaiya, and a cousin’s daughter, Daycee, with a couple of summer fun ideas: Spray Sidewalk Chalk and Glow-in-the-Dark Bubbles.

Both activities were fun and simple but both had some #PinterestFail elements to them.

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Spray Sidewalk Chalk

The idea for spray sidewalk chalk comes from GrowingAJeweledRose.com.

This mom of two writes: “liquid chalk makes a great spray paint for kids and is sure to keep them busy for a good, long time. The recipe is super easy, easily washes off of surfaces and the spray bottles are also great for fine motor development.”

Making the spray chalk was no problem and it easily washes off the sidewalk and other outdoor surfaces. Her recipe calls for food coloring or washable watercolors. She warned the food coloring may tinge clothing, so she advised to wear play clothes or use the washable watercolors.

Since we did this activity at a family reunion, I opted for the washable watercolors. The #PinterestFail part came because there wasn’t enough color added in each squirt bottle so their creations ended up looking all white. I think you need to add more than just a “few drops” if you choose the washable watercolors, like maybe 10 or even more drops.

I couldn’t find the watercolors locally so I ordered them on Amazon – Sargent Art Watercolor Magic which comes in a pack of 10 colors.

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      Materials:

  • Spray bottles
  • Corn Starch
  • Baking soda
  • Food coloring or washable watercolors
  • Optional: if you want to make the spray chalk art erupt, you will also want a few squirt bottles of vinegar (we didn’t try this but it sounds fun).

      Directions:

Fill the spray bottles 1/3 of the way with a baking soda and corn starch mixture, using roughly equal amounts of both ingredients. Add a few drops of food coloring or washable watercolors and then fill the bottles with very warm water.

Use a butter knife to stir the mixture as best you can and then place the spray spouts on and shake the bottles really well.

You will want to shake the bottles once more just before play, as some of the corn starch will settle at the bottom of the bottle.

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Glow-in-the-Dark Bubbles

This seems like a very simple activity from TheIdeaRoom.net. And I think it could and should be. But we had a couple of problems.

When we went to break the glow sticks to pour the liquid into the bottles of bubbles, we realized the glow sticks we purchased had small glass vials inside the plastic tube. These were the only ones at our local Wal-Mart.

So in trying to break or cut the glass vials, we ended up with broken shards of glass everywhere. But we were still able to get the liquid into the bottles so it all worked out okay.

The bottles lit up with the glowing liquid which was fun to see on a summer’s night. However, when the girls blew, the bubbles themselves didn’t glow very much. But the girls had fun with their bright bottles, so all in all, it was a fun and successful activity. Next time, I’ll try to find different glow sticks to use.

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      Materials:

  • Glow sticks
  • Bubbles

      Directions:

Break or cut open glow sticks. Pour contents into the bottle of bubbles. Shake well and have fun.

Additional ideas can be found on the NNL’s “Summer Fun” Pinterest page including games, activities, treats and more. Visit pinterest.com/nodawaynews/summer-fun/.

 


Put a little pop in your 4th of July celebration

The Summer of Pinterest, Part 3 …

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By Jacki Wood for the Nodaway News Leader

Need some new ideas for your Independence Day family get-together or neighborhood gathering? We’ve got you covered. The NNL Fourth of July Pinterest page has over 200 ideas to help you out.

We experimented with three ideas this week: Confetti Launchers, Firecracker Cookies and July 4th Layered Drinks. And did so pretty successfully.

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Confetti Launchers

This simple idea comes from the Piikea Street blog, piikeastreet.com, as a kid-friendly, inexpensive alternative to real fireworks. They write: “No big bangs or smoke but still very cool.” I used patriotic paper but these would be fun for your kids to get creative with and do the decorating on their own.

      Materials:

  • toilet paper tubes
  • decorative paper or markers
  • 12” balloons
  • tape
  • paper
  • scissors

      Directions:

Cut some paper into confetti-sized squares and set aside.

Decorate your tubes anyway you like with paper or markers.

Cut a balloon in half and tie the end. Wrap the larger end of the balloon over one end of the tube and secure with tape. Try your best to keep the balloon taut but don’t bend it.

Take your poppers and confetti outside. Add a heavy pinch of confetti to the tube. Point it out, pull back the balloon end, let go and enjoy.

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Firecracker Cookies

These cute sugar cookies come from MomDot.com and are sure to put a pop in your July 4th party … literally. You top these sugar cookies with pop rocks which pop in your mouth. She suggests topping with red pop rocks as well as a white sugar and blue gel mixture. To save time, I thought I would top them with both red and blue pop rocks and omit the blue sugar. I purchased red and blue packages of pop rocks; however, the blue, which was tropical punch flavored, ended up looking more green than blue. So I’d go the blue sugar route.

      Ingredients:

  • your favorite sugar cookie recipe or pre-made refrigerated cookie dough
  • butter cream or white frosting
  • 2 packs of red pop rocks
  • white sugar and blue gel paste

      Directions:

Make your favorite sugar cookie recipe and frost after they have cooled. Create blue sugar by adding sugar and blue gel paste into a blender and turn on for 30 seconds. Sprinkle sugar on frosting and then sprinkle pop rocks on cookies. You will hear them crackle as they hit the frosting. If you’re not going to be serving them right away, you might want to wait to top with the pop rocks.

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July 4th Layered Drinks

These non-alcoholic drinks are fun and perfect for your family or neighborhood gathering. They come from InKatrinasKitchen.com.

She says “you can layer the drinks in any way you like but the secret is in the sugar content. The other secret to success with layered drinks is plenty of ice.”

We had to play around with them some as we got too much cranapple juice in one and not enough in another. Despite those minor issues, they looked fun and tasted good, too.

      Ingredients:

  • 1 C. red cranapple juice
  • 1 C. white Sobe piña colada drink
  • 1 C. blue G2 Gatorade
  • ice

      Directions:

Fill your glass 1/3 of the way full with cranapple juice.

Then fill to the top with ice.

Slowly, pour the second layer directly on top of an ice cube. Then repeat with the third layer.

Note: you must pour slowly and directly over the ice for it to work.

Additional ideas can be found on the NNL’s “Fourth of July” Pinterest page including decorations, treats, crafts for the kids, games and more. Visit pinterest.com/nodawaynews/fourth-of-july.

 


Put a twist on your s’mores this summer

The Summer of Pinterest, Part 2 …

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By Jacki Wood for the Nodaway News Leader

    S’mores scream summer yum and fun, sitting around a campfire, enjoying the stars and lightning bugs.

But there’s more you can do with your graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows. Pinterest is full of ideas for variations on s’mores, especially when you’re not near a campfire or fire pit and still have a craving for that favorite summer treat.

My 17-year-old son, Hunter, who loves to cook and bake, helped me with these s’mores ideas.

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S’mores in a Jar

This idea came from OliviasCuisine.com. She writes: “My favorite thing about making S’mores in a Jar is that they are portable.”

They are made indoors but can be enjoyed anywhere and her recipe goes a bit beyond normal s’mores because she utilizes a simple ganache.

She used half-pint jars but we had some extra pint jars from last week’s projects so Hunter doubled it and did two layers instead of just one; a little different than hers but they turned out great. I loved that these could be eaten with a spoon and not the mess. And the ganache was a fun twist.

      Ingredients:

  • 4 chocolate bars, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 C. heavy cream
  • 1 C. marshmallow creme
  • 16 graham cracker squares
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • mini marshmallows for topping
  • 4 half-pint jars

Instructions:

In a saucepan, heat the heavy cream until bubbles start to form on the side, about two minutes.

Add the chopped chocolate to a medium-sized bowl and pour the hot heavy cream on top. Let it sit for a minute and then whisk until smooth. Set aside.

Process the graham crackers until finely crumbed. Add the melted butter and pulse a few times until the mixture resembles wet sand. Set aside.

To assemble, start by adding 1/4 of the graham cracker mixture to the bottom of the jars. Then add 1/4 of the marshmallow creme, 1/4 of the ganache and finish off by topping with marshmallows.

Using a cooking torch, toast the marshmallows until browned. Or, you can line the marshmallows in a baking sheet and put them under the broiler until toasted.

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Baked S’mores Bars

This is another twist that can be made indoors. It comes from RachelSchultz.com. It’s one we’ve actually been making for a couple of years now because I’m not really a fan of traditional s’mores. I don’t like that the chocolate never melts enough and the marshmallows never turn out perfectly when we roast them. So this recipe satisfies those things for me. It’s melted chocolate and marshmallow bliss. No #PinterestFail with this one.

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      Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C. butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 C. brown sugar
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 and 1/3 C. flour
  • 3/4 C. graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 king-sized milk chocolate bars
  • 1 and 1/2 C. marshmallow creme

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350˚. Cream butter, brown sugar, sugar, egg and vanilla together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, stir flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients into butter mixture. Press half of dough into a greased 9×9 pan. Set chocolate bars on top. Spread marshmallow creme over chocolate and top with remaining dough.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden. Don’t worry if the marshmallow oozes out the top. Makes 9 bars.

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S’mores Campfire Cones

This s’mores twist from FrugalCouponLiving.com is fun and easy, whether you’re camping in the woods or just grilling in your backyard.

I maybe got a little too confident with my no #PinterestFail comment above after our recent successes because we had a couple of problems with this one. Now that we know what we did wrong, though, a little tweaking should improve them.

Hunter layered the marshmallows and chocolate chips so that when it melted, all of the melted marshmallow was together in a clump, either at the top or the bottom of the cone, and all of the melted chocolate was together. We decided it would be good to mix the marshmallows and chocolate chips together in a bowl and then add them to the cone that way. Parts of the cone also got a bit charred so we would recommend the lower amount of time and put them back on the grill or campfire if longer is needed.

      Ingredients:

  • 12 sugar or waffle cones
  • 1 bag mini marshmallows
  • 12 oz chocolate chips
  • optional: butterscotch chips or any other flavor (we also tried peanut butter with the chocolate)

Instructions:

Fill each cone with marshmallows and chocolate chips. Wrap in aluminum foil.

Heat on the grill or campfire for 7 to 10 minutes (also works in the oven). Keep away from direct flames.

Be careful as contents may be hot. Unwrap and enjoy.

Additional s’mores ideas can be found on the NNL’s “Summer Fun” Pinterest page including s’mores brownies, cheesecake, cheese ball, parfait, cobbler, snack mix and even fried s’mores.

For these and other ideas for the summer, visit pinterest.com/nodawaynews/summer-fun.

 


Get crafty with simple mason jar projects

The Summer of Pinterest, Part 1 …

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By Jacki Wood for the Nodaway News Leader

Have you ever tried a project, idea or recipe you found on Pinterest … and it didn’t come out quite like you’d hoped?

You’re not alone.

Branded as the world’s catalog of ideas, Pinterest users can “pin” ideas to try, but many find themselves disappointed at the end result.

There’s even an entire Pinterest Fail website, “where good intentions come to die,” devoted to Pinterest lovers who have shared projects that failed. And there are plenty of posts all across social media of hilarious failures.

So we thought it would be fun to do a little experimenting of our own this summer. And I convinced (forced) my family to help me out.

I’ve been pinning ideas on Pinterest for about five years now and have tried well over 100 recipes as well as ideas for home improvement, family reunions, hairstyles and even road trips.

This series will focus on several different ideas perfect for the summertime for you and your family. And we’ll see if they actually turn out perfectly. Or if we need to add it to the Pinterest Fail website.

We’re starting with a pretty ordinary object that can be transformed into a ton of different ideas for every corner of your home and summertime activity – mason jars.

My 15-year-old daughter, Hannah, helped me pick out two mason jar projects from the NNL’s So Crafty Pinterest board. We thought the Mason Jar Fairy Lights and the Mason Jar Citronella Candles would be fun to have when she has friends over for a summer party.

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Mason Jar Fairy Lights

This idea came from the DIY Joy website. It was very simple and easy to follow with both a how-to video as well as step-by-step written instructions with photos.

The website says: “this cool glow in the dark craft is a neat project idea for kids and teens. These fairy glow jars are fun for after-dark outdoors ideas but they also make great DIY home decor for kids rooms or dorm decor.”

      Materials:

  • Mason Jar (any clean jar will do)
  • Glow in the Dark Paint (use several different colors)
  • Paintbrushes (preferably longer ones that reach to the bottom of the jar)
  • Scrap Paper
  • White School Glue (optional)
  • Glitter (optional)

Hannah had no trouble with this project at all. It was quick and easy and she was pleased with how they turned out. And it was relatively inexpensive, especially if you have old jars lying around.

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Mason Jar Citronella Candles

This idea came from MartysMusings.net. It was also very simple with step-by-step instructions and photos. And it provides a very cheap alternative to keep the mosquitoes away this summer.

      Materials:

  • Mason Jar (or any glass jar) with lid and ring
  • Citronella Torch Fuel
  • 1/8″ Lamp Wicks
  • Nail Punch, Screwdriver or a Nail and Hammer

This was also very quick and easy for Hannah. Our local Wal-Mart didn’t have the lamp wicks so we purchased thick twine as well as tiki torch wicks to try. The torch wicks were too big, especially for pint jars. And even the twine was perhaps a bit too big. On a windy day, the flame got a little big. But as long as it’s not left unattended, I think it would be fine.

Additional mason jar ideas can be found on the NNL’s “So Crafty” Pinterest page including bird feeders, soap dispensers, home decor, gifts in a jar and much more.

For these and other crafty ideas, visit pinterest.com/nodawaynews/so-crafty.

 


‘I am still worth the full 20 dollars’

By Jacki Wood, “That they might have joy” column for the Nodaway News Leader

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Our family recently returned from a two-week summer road trip to California to see family, visit the beach, Disneyland, our favorite restaurants and some new things, too.

We love to road trip and I could write for days about the adventures we had. But for this column, I’d like to share something we’ve started doing recently – packing comfort kits to pass out if we come across someone in need along our way.

It didn’t take long to hand out the first one on this trip. We were approached by a man at a gas station in New Mexico. He was asking for money but we offered him the Ziploc of food, water and essentials. He quickly opened the bag, grabbed the crackers and thanked us as he began devouring the food.

The exchange was a bit bizarre but he was obviously hungry and we were happy to help.

This topic – helping the homeless who stand outside of a business or along a highway off ramp – seems to be somewhat of a controversial subject.

Some people say they’re just trying to take advantage of us, that they beg all day long and then go home to a comfortable life.

In my very limited experience, I do not believe that to be true in most cases. I’m not naive enough to think that it doesn’t happen. But I feel there are many people who could use a little help.

I shared a story last Thanksgiving on my Facebook page that reaffirmed my stance for helping those in need. Here’s a portion of what I wrote then:

***

His hands were rough and cold, surprisingly cold, on an unusually warm November day.

I had stopped in Cameron to fill up with gas on the way to my mom’s for Thanksgiving and he was standing on the corner shivering.

“I’m Jacki,” I said, as I stuck my hand out to shake his.

“Dennis,” he said.

He seemed shy, hesitant, ashamed.

“Where are you headed?” I asked, reading his cardboard sign.

“South.”

Dennis was a veteran. He had served during the 1970s and had been in Omaha for a medical procedure. Now he was trying to “get someplace warm,” he said.

Family? No. He had no family.

We spoke a little more and I learned he had a dry sense of humor, kind of like my dad’s. He seemed to warm up to me the longer we talked.

We had made some comfort kits as a family to keep in the car for instances just like this. The bag had ripped recently so I had taken it out to replace it but kept forgetting to put it back in the car.

When I saw Dennis, I thought it was a missed opportunity and felt I needed to talk with him.

I only spent a few moments with him. I don’t know his whole story. I don’t know what specific circumstances and choices led to him being there in that situation. But I do know that he is my brother and I wanted to help him.

I gave him a little money (something I normally do not do), which he humbly thanked me for with tears in his eyes, and I wished him good luck.

***

We don’t know the circumstances that lead people to stand on a corner asking for help. We haven’t walked in their shoes. But if we could just really see them for who they are, how would we act?

In a speech given at BYU in 2015, Sondra D. Heaston said: “What if we could really see into each other’s hearts? Would we understand each other better? By feeling what others feel, seeing what others see and hearing what others hear…would we treat them with more patience, more kindness and more tolerance?”

I recently read a story of a woman who had endured years of trial and sorrow. She said: “I have come to realize that I am like an old $20 bill — crumpled, torn, dirty, abused and scarred. But I am still a $20 bill. I am worth something. Even though I may not look like much and even though I have been battered and used, I am still worth the full 20 dollars.”

***

Comfort kits are easy and relatively inexpensive to make. You can find many ideas online. Ours include a pair of socks, toothbrush and paste, comb, wet wipes, water, gum and a few snack items like granola bars, crackers and cheese, tuna salad and fun fruits. There are many other essentials you could pack as well as a list of local resources and gift cards.

One site I like is the Portland Rescue Mission (portlandrescuemission.org/get-involved/learn). It shares several ways to provide practical help to the homeless.

***

The second comfort kit we handed out on our road trip was in Kansas on our way home. As I rolled down the window and asked the man if he’d like the bag, his eyes lit up with joy and gratitude.

I will never forget those eyes. I saw a glimpse into his heart.

Not that I knew his circumstances. That didn’t matter.

By serving him in that very small capacity, even though he may have been crumpled, torn, dirty and scarred, we saw that he was indeed still worth the full 20 dollars.


‘No one is born hating another person’

That they might have joy column, by Jacki Wood, written for the Nodaway News Leader

The movie “42” tells the story of Jackie Robinson who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947.

One of the most heartbreaking scenes is when a young, white boy and his father attend a Brooklyn Dodgers game, and as Robinson takes the field, the father starts screaming, “hey nigger, we don’t want you here,” along with many others in the crowd.

Reluctantly and visibly uncomfortable about the taunts and racial slurs, the boy joins his father in yelling at Robinson.

It reminds me of Nelson Mandela in “Long Walk to Freedom” when he said: “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Have you noticed how much hate their is in our country right now?

It’s everywhere.

People are angry about everything.

A CNN/ORC poll from December suggests 69 percent of Americans are either “very angry” or “somewhat angry” about the way things are going in the US.

Sixty-nine percent.

Ferguson. San Bernardino. Charleston. Black Lives Matter. White Lives Matter. Blue Lives Matter. All Lives Matter. Anti-gay, anti-Jew, anti-Muslim, anti-refugees, anti-government. Gun rights vs gun control. The very rich vs the very poor and the middle class. And the Presidential race.

Hate can be seen everywhere.

Last month, Mark Potok, editor of the SPLC’s Intelligence Report, wrote: “the number of hate and antigovernment ‘Patriot’ groups grew last year and terrorist attacks and radical plots proliferated.”

He continued: “Antigovernment militiamen, white supremacists, abortion foes, domestic Islamist radicals, neo-Nazis and lovers of the Confederate battle flag targeted police, government officials, black churchgoers, Muslims, Jews, schoolchildren, Marines, abortion providers, members of the Black Lives Matter protest movement and even drug dealers.

“They laid plans to attack courthouses, banks, festivals, funerals, schools, mosques, churches, synagogues, clinics, water treatment plants and power grids.

“The situation appears likely to get worse, not better, as the country continues to come to terms with its increasing diversity … Americans are arguably as angry as they have been in decades.”

The problem will not get better if we continue to let it grow.

In Galatians 6:7, the Apostle Paul wrote, “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

Jeffrey R. Holland said: “if we sow thistles, we don’t really plan to get strawberries … we sow a little thistle and we get a lot of thistle — years and years of it, big bushes and branches of it. We never get rid of it unless we cut it out.

“If we sow a little bit of hate, before we know it we’ve reaped a lot of hate — smoldering and festering and belligerent and finally warring, malicious hate.”

So… what is so wrong with hate?

Well, first of all, we don’t have time for it. There are many great things waiting to be discovered, learned and shared that we don’t have time to waste on hate.

President Abraham Lincoln said: “No man resolved to make the most of himself can spare time for personal contention … Better give your path to a dog than be bitten by him.”

It’s also bad for our health.

Harvard-trained and board-certified cardiologist Dr. Cynthia Thaik said: “Prolonged bouts of anger can take a toll on the body in the form of high blood pressure, stress, anxiety, headaches and poor circulation. Research also shows that even one five-minute episode of anger is so stressful that it can impair your immune system for more than six hours. These can lead to more serious problems such as heart attacks and stroke.”

To overcome this, she suggests the following: acknowledge the anger, realize why, step back, deal with it, talk to someone and let it go.

In the end, however, we simply need to stop it.

“When it comes to our own prejudices and grievances, we too often justify our anger as righteous,” Dieter F. Uchtdorf said. “When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:

“Stop it!”

In November 2014, following the grand jury investigation in Ferguson, Benjamin Watson of the New Orleans Saints penned a Facebook post that went viral.

“Ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against and … abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie.

“But I’m encouraged because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus. I’m encouraged because the Gospel gives mankind hope.”

Uchtdorf continued: “We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children.”

I believe this is the way.

If they can learn to hate, as Mandela said, they can be taught to love.


prescription addiction: small towns not immune to rising opioid epidemic, Part 4

By Jacki Wood, written for the Nodaway News Leader, March 2016

Editor’s note: this is the last part in the series; the names have been changed to protect their privacy.

Nine days after law enforcement officers and Family Services visited Bethany’s home and issued a stern warning to her step-father about getting help, her family moved halfway across the country.

A new state, larger city and several hospitals to frequent, her step-father’s drug abuse only worsened.

Soon thereafter, Bethany was sent to live with her grandparents where it would be “safer for her to stay.”
“That was the healthiest and best thing that ever happened in my childhood,” she said.

***

For the 2016 legislative session, Missouri State Senator Holly Rehder proposed HB 1892, a prescription drug monitoring program, after similar bills she had proposed the last couple of years failed.

During a Senate Special Committee Meeting to highlight the opioid epidemic in January, Rehder told the personal story of her daughter’s drug addiction which began with prescription painkillers.

“I tell you this story to show that drug addiction is no respecter of persons,” she said. “It crosses all socioeconomic statuses. When you go into a high school and ask the kids, ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ The answers are ‘a doctor,’ ‘a lawyer,’ ‘a business owner.’ None say, ‘I want to be an addict.’

“Yet addiction is the growing epidemic of our time.”

***

After Adrianna’s mom moved out and she cut ties with her, the effects of her mom’s prescription drug abuse continued to plague her.

“I struggled with depression,” she said. “My attitude toward everything became negative. And I still have trust and confidence issues.”

The one person that was supposed to teach her how to love and be loved was gone, she said.

***

In 2014, Missouri State Representative Steve Lynch helped pass legislation that allowed qualified first responders to use Naloxone, an antidote for heroin overdoses.

Lynch has filed three bills this legislative session to continue to fight opioid overdoses.

HB 1568 would allow pharmacists to dispense Naloxone to individuals.

“Massachusetts passed a similar law and saw opiate-related deaths cut nearly in half as a result,” Lynch said. “We have the opportunity to put a safe, non-addictive drug in the hands of folks who can use it to save lives.”

HB 1569 would provide immunity to those who seek medical attention for someone suffering from an overdose and HB 1570 would authorize a $5 fee for drug-related court cases to fund rehabilitation programs.

***

Emergency Department Nurse Manager Pat Giffin, RN, said SSM Health St. Francis uses Naloxone when an opioid overdose case comes to the hospital.

“The problem is getting so severe that another one of the Suggested Emergency Department Prescribing Practice Recommendations is that healthcare providers should encourage policies that allow providers to prescribe and dispense Naloxone to public health, law enforcement and families as an antidote for opioid overdoses,” she said. “We have the advantage of also having a physician who is specially trained so he can prescribe Suboxone to help those with addictions get off the opioids.”

Suboxone contains Naloxone as well as buprenorphine, a controlled substance to treat pain and addiction to narcotic pain relievers.

Another option for those dealing with opioid addiction is Methadone, a pain reliever used as part of drug addiction detox and maintenance. It is only available from certified pharmacies and there are several Methadone clinics across the state.

***

It’s been a year now since Adrianna’s mom moved out.

“I have been growing up on my own, teaching myself how to be an adult and I have missed out on so many things that I would have done with her,” she said. “She will never get this time back with me.”

Looking back, Adrianna is still struggling with how to deal with it all.

“My mom became a prescription drug abuser,” she said. “And it tore my family and my life apart.”

***

But there is hope.

Bethany has been there. She understands, at least to some extent, what Adrianna is going through.

“In all the books I have read over the years, for my own healing or to make sure my children never experience anything like I did, one thing stood out to me,” she said.

“A child who has at least one adult in their life – it only has to be one – who they have bonded with and who believes in them and adores them, they absolutely can heal and have a ‘normal’ life with healthy relationships.

“My advice would be to embrace that adult – that aunt, grandmother, teacher, coach or pastor who embraces them for who they are – and try to make a strong connection with them.”


prescription addiction: small towns not immune to rising opioid epidemic, Part 3

By Jacki Wood, written for the Nodaway News Leader, March 2016

Editor’s note: this is the third part in the series; the names have been changed to protect their privacy.

An estimated 1.9 million people abused or were addicted to prescription opioid pain medication in 2014.

Those findings from SAMHSA were highlighted March 15 when the CDC released new guidelines aimed to reduce the risk of opioid addiction.

The voluntary guidelines are based on emerging evidence for patients with chronic pain not related to cancer treatment, palliative or end-of-life care.

Among the recommendations are that doctors try pain relievers like ibuprofen before prescribing highly addictive painkillers such as hydrocodone and oxycodone.

Other recommendations include non-prescription treatments such as exercise therapy, tai chi, yoga, weight loss, psychological therapies, interventions to improve sleep and certain procedures.

“It has become increasingly clear that opioids carry substantial risk but only uncertain benefits,” Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, CDC director, said, “especially compared with other treatments for chronic pain.”

***

As Adrianna’s mom became more addicted to the pain meds prescribed by her doctors for her chronic illness, the worse things got at home.

She began seeing problems in her parents’ marriage and her mom finally moved out which surprisingly was a relief for Adrianna.

Her mom had been texting hateful, degrading messages and posting belittling statuses on social media about her. She eventually had to block her phone number and report and block her on social media sites.

“I wanted her out of my life,” she said. “It wasn’t my mom; it was a monster in my mom’s body.”

***

Pat Giffin, RN and emergency department nurse manager at SSM Health St. Francis Hospital, said people don’t intend to become addicted to opioids, they just want something to take away their pain.

“Opioid addiction can make people do things they never would have thought of doing before the addiction, just to get more of the drug,” she said.

The hospital is currently working with SSM Health’s legal department to develop a notice for the emergency department stating that the hospital will not prescribe narcotics unless there is an acute reason.

“Prescribing opioids to patients who do not need them for acute pain only results in addiction and more problems for the patient,” Giffin said. “Chronic pain issues need to be handled by one physician so that the usage can be monitored and controlled.”

***

That was the issue with Bethany’s step-father. His opioid use was not being carefully monitored or controlled by his doctors and the hospital.

And even though everyone around her seemed to know about it, she said, no one would talk.

Until someone finally did.

“Looking back now, as a mother of three, I am in shock that it took someone as long as it did to make the call,” she said.

After hearing that Bethany’s dad was slurring his words and saying really hateful things to her, a friend’s mom spoke up.

“It was humiliating, and at the same time, I felt like I was going to be in trouble for exposing our family secret,” she said.

***

Six organizations representing Missouri healthcare providers issued recommendations in December to reduce opioid painkiller misuse and abuse.

The Missouri Academy of Family Physicians, Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons, Missouri College of Emergency Physicians, Missouri Dental Association, Missouri Hospital Association and Missouri State Medical Association jointly recommended that healthcare providers adopt the recommendations.

Many of the state’s emergency departments have existing systems, however, there has not been a consistent set of guidelines statewide for providers throughout the state.

Dr. Evan Schwarz, Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians and MD at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, said emergency physicians deal with opioid misuse and abuse on a daily basis.

“This is an important initial effort to address the problem of prescription drug abuse,” he said. “However, in the long run, it will require a multi-disciplinary, public-private approach to provide treatment, reduce abuse and its costs.”

***

Shortly after the call about her step-father’s behavior, law enforcement officers and a Family Services representative visited Bethany’s home.

They discussed what had been reported and her mom reassured them they were fine and that Bethany had exaggerated the situation.

“A pot of coffee later, they were driving away,” she said, feeling even more hopeless about the situation.

However, a follow-up visit came shortly thereafter, and with it, a stern warning that her step-father needed to get help.

Nine days later, they moved halfway across the country.


prescription addiction: small towns not immune to rising opioid epidemic, Part 2

By Jacki Wood, written for the Nodaway News Leader, March 2016

Editor’s note: this is the second part in the series; the names have been changed to protect their privacy.

“The opioid epidemic has been called the worst drug crisis in American history,” wrote Dan Nolan and Chris Amico in their Frontline special, “Chasing Heroin,” on February 23.

“Death rates now rival those of AIDS during the 1990s, and with overdoses from heroin and other opioids now killing more than 27,000 people a year, the crisis has led to urgent calls for action.”

***

Adrianna
After being diagnosed with the chronic illness, Adrianna’s mom received a prescription to deal with the pain and their way of life changed very quickly.

Gone were the days of shopping and getting their nails done together, doing makeovers, talking until two in the morning.

“I started noticing a real difference in her,” Adrianna said. “She would come home (from work) and go straight to bed.”

Barely 16, Adrianna wasn’t really sure what was happening.

“My mom was either yelling at me or ignoring me,” she said. “She would tell me she didn’t love me. And never did. She would tell me she never wanted to see me again.

“Then a couple of hours later, she would say she was sorry.”

And that was just the beginning.

***

Over the last 15 years, opioid deaths have jumped 369 percent while heroin deaths have risen 439 percent, the CDC reports.

Heroin use is growing in popularity as a direct result of prescription painkillers.

Ninety-four percent of people in treatment for opioid addiction said they started using heroin because it was far cheaper and easier to get than prescriptions painkillers.

Nolan and Amico wrote: “Over the course of more than a decade, it has grown into a problem destroying lives across the nation, regardless of age, race, wealth or location.

“Nearly 90 percent of the people who tried heroin for the first time in the past decade were white. And a growing number are middle-class or wealthy.”

The opioid epidemic is erasing the stereotypes of drug abuse. It’s soccer moms and CEOs and even grandmothers.

Last July, the CDC found “significant increases in heroin use were found in groups with historically low rates, including women and people with private insurance and higher incomes. The gaps between men and women, low and higher incomes and people with Medicaid and private insurance have narrowed.”

***

Emergency departments across the country are also feeling the effects of the growing problem.

Between 2005 and 2014, the rate of hospitalizations and emergency department visits from opioid overuse in Missouri has more than doubled, according to the Missouri Hospital Association.

Pat Giffin, RN and emergency department nurse manager at SSM Health St. Francis, said the hospital in Maryville is dealing with similar trends.

“We are seeing a lot of Norco (hydrocodone) use and abuse,” Giffin said. “It has substantially increased in the past couple of years.”

***

Bethany
More than 20 years after her step-father’s car accident, where he was initially prescribed opioids for the pain, Bethany’s younger brother finally learned the truth about those emergency room visits from his childhood.

The 30-year-old youth pastor and father of four was astounded by the revelation.

“Do you realize I spent most of my childhood in an emergency room?” he said to her. “Mom had to drag me along to the ER when he had to get a shot for the ‘pain.’ All the soccer and baseball and basketball games missed…

“All because he was a drug seeker? It was preventable? It was all a lie?”

While Bethany was saddened by his disappointment, she was not surprised.

“Those physician-prescribed drugs ruled our life, and sadly, destroyed relationships and severed family ties,” she said.

***

Missouri is the only state in the nation, Giffin said, without a prescription drug monitoring program.

She said MHA issued a policy in November stating: “The absence of a prescription drug monitoring program through a registry system impedes the ability of physicians, pharmacists and hospitals to evaluate patients’ complete prescription and utilization profile.

“The use of a prescription drug monitoring program may be one effective strategy to help identify patients who may be seeking multiple providers and would benefit from opioid diversion.”

***

The chronic illness became too much for Adrianna’s mom to handle.

“It felt like she gave up on everything,” she said.

And that’s when she started abusing the medicine prescribed by her doctors.

“She held herself differently and sometimes I could barely understand what she was saying,” Adrianna said. “I tried to talk to her about it but she didn’t care about me or my opinion.”

With her dad working long hours – and not feeling like she could share her situation with her friends – Adrianna began to feel very alone.

“My life wasn’t supposed to end up like this,” she said.


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