THE TOP 5 ADDICTION STORIES OF 2016
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (December 29, 2016) – Earlier this month when Facebook rolled out its annual “year in review” feature, there are many who not only didn’t want to remember, much less celebrate 2016. The past 365 days have been labeled on social media as “murderous”, “wretched” and downright rude – due largely in part to the staggering number of celebrity deaths. But for others, it marks something beautiful – the year they got sober. Join us as we sort through the good, the bad and the ugly of 2016.
- Wait, Hold Up – What is Addiction and How Do We Treat It?
One of the most largely publicized stories with Vertava Health surfaced this year when Fox News investigated the root causes of addiction and how to treat them. From diet gurus to deluxe rehabs on the beach, nearly everyone has an approach to the magic pill of recovery. Vertava Health stands by the basic principle that there’s not one way to recover from addiction: Each individual is different, with a different genetic makeup and different life experiences. There is no one size fits all method of treatment, other than a clinical plan tailored to that individual that focuses on bringing balance to every aspect of their life. A balanced life is a healthy life. It’s really that simple. Click here to see the story.
- The Politics of Pain – From the Crack House to the White House
After millions gathered together at the Facing Addiction Rally in Washington, D.C. last year, and the Centers for Disease Control released a shocking number of overdose deaths, the government stepped up its game in 2016 with several approaches to combat the nation’s opioid epidemic. President Obama rolled out a $1.2 billion plan and expanded the cap on doctors for buprenorphine treatment, the Surgeon General released an inaugural report on addiction, and the Associated Press and Center for Public Integrity released a report calling out lawmakers who took money from the opioid lobby. Vertava Health joined thousands yet again for a rally to tell lawmakers and the Food and Drug Administration that we were Fed Up. See that story here.
- Same Substance Different Day
Drug dealing is a business, and it is run like a business. From the CEO to the Vice President, to the marketers and distributors. Because I work in public relations, I pay close attention to this evil practice that capitalizes on the deaths of thousands each year. They re-market an old product as something new with a new name, but they ramp it up. Trust me: Today’s heroin is not your grandfather’s heroin. But one resurfacing that shocked viewers this year were the clients addicted to WET. Parents shuddered at the thought of their child smoking embalming fluid, as they should. Click here to see the story.
- 2016: The Relentless Serial Killer that Eluded All of Us
This year proved that even royalty is not immune to overdose when we lost our Purple Knight. We talked to nearly every major news outlet this year after it was discovered that the powerful drug killed an icon. But death didn’t stop there. It took a long list of beloved celebrities and mental health/addiction icons. But let’s put the blame where blame is due. 2016 didn’t kill anyone this year. Fentanyl did. See the story here.
- The Couple That Stole Our Hearts
The nation first learned of Ron and Carla Hiers when a video went viral of their overdose on a public sidewalk in Memphis, Tennessee. Carla was arrested but for days, we worried, cried and prayed, not knowing if Ron was alive – until an Vertava Health Treatment Specialist received a call from his daughter, and we were able to locate him together. After finding scholarships for both Ron and his wife at different Vertava Health facilities, we kept silent for months while they received intensive therapy at Vertava Health Mississippi and Swift River. In November, Ron broke his silence. When he did, the story was translated into 5 different languages as the world empathized with America and its fight against the deadly disease of addiction. See the story here.
After one year with Vertava Health, Brian Sullivan was promoted by Chief Marketing Officer Eric Mitchell from Public Relations Manager to Director of Public Relations. Before hiring with Vertava Health, Sullivan served over a decade in the television industry, with over 20 years experience as a print and broadcast journalist. He oversees all media communications, community projects, publicity campaigns and public marketing strategy for Vertava Health and all of its affiliates. Sullivan is an Emmy Award Winning producer, writer, lobbyist, activist and marketing strategist. He is active in several campaigns raising awareness in addiction treatment, equality and mental health care. He is nominated for the 2016 Nashville Emerging Leader of the Year Award. He is an active member of the Prevention Alliance of Tennessee, the Williamson County Anti-Drug Coalition, the Memphis Area Prevention Alliance, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Facing Addiction, Fed Up!, the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the National Association of Black Journalists, the Center for Nonprofit Management, Music City Theatre Company, LGBTQI Nashvillians of Faith, Covenant of the Cross Ministries, and the Nashville Filmmakers Guild. Sullivan is a proud donor of the Memphis Hope House, Nashville Cares, Covenant Cupboard Food Pantry, Second Harvest Food Bank, and the Lola Embrey Children’s Fund, which he founded in honor of his late grandmother.