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Substance abuse program conducted at B-UHS

September 20, 2012
By Melissa Toothman - Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

A speaker with first-hand experience of trying to overcome addiction gave a presentation at Buckhannon-Upshur High School auditorium Wednesday about a special implant that has made a difference in the lives of those it has touched.

Dr. Peter R. Coleman, M.D., founder and national medical director of The Coleman Institute, said he had to seek treatment for his drug addiction in order to continue on his path to his medical career.

He moved 27 years ago from New Zealand to Virginia where he "came face to face with his addiction," according to a short biography available at the presentation. Since then, Coleman has been helping others to begin the recovery process as well.

"For me, this is personal," Coleman said. "I get the privilege of seeing people in that state and watching them grow."

Coleman said that studies appear to point to genetics when it comes to addictions and that they're really "no one's fault." Addiction, according to Coleman, is like a disease. It's a chemical dependency and children with parents who are addicted are more likely to become addicted themselves, whether growing up in that environment or having been adopted into a completely different setting.

"It's not anybody's fault but it is their responsibility to take care of it once they have it," he said.

According to Coleman, addicts can feel a stronger need to satisfy their addiction than to satisfy basic human survival needs such as hunger, sleep and reproduction.

Through the help of Naltrexone Implants as a treatment option, those suffering from addictions may have a new way to combat their substance abuse, he said.

"It was actually very easy," said Whitney Patterson, a woman who has used the treatment with success.

A man in the audience spoke during a period of questions and answers to announce that he had tried "other things" that didn't work. After his addiction of more than 20 years, he found that the Naltrexone treatment has been the only one to change his live.

The implants are about the same size as a capsule of Tylenol, according to Coleman, and last two months. Treatment is recommended for a minimum of a year, and Coleman said that most people who receive the treatment are able to finish. The implant doesn't have to be removed once in place; Coleman said it dissolves over time before a new one is implanted.

When people with these implants try to use alcohol or drugs, the substance they're addicted to simply doesn't do anything for them. They feel nothing and their addiction is less enjoyable, according to Coleman.

"We're giving them an opportunity to change. Change is huge," Coleman said.

The program was hosted by the Get Clean, Stay Clean Foundation, an emerging organization dedicated to helping people with their substance abuse and addictions.

"Our goal is to educate the community on the single largest problem in all cities across the country, substance abuse," said Amy Summerfield and Lisa Shaw, founding members still seeking approval for their non-profit organization from the state of West Virginia.

The Get Clean, Stay Clean Foundation was initiated by a group of Upshur County residents who want to make a difference in the community's substance abuse influences. They are dedicated to the education, prevention, treatment, assistance and eradication of substance abuse in Uphsur County.

"Substance abuse also puts a heavy burden on the law enforcement, judicial and incarceration systems," Summerfield and Shaw said in their introduction. Summerfield added that the Coleman Institute saved her son's life.

For more information about the emerging organization e-mail



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