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August 22, 2022 All day

NATIONAL FENTANYL PREVENTION AND AWARENESS DAY

Affected families throughout the United States are warning the public about the emergent dangers of illicit fentanyl. Advocates for victims of illicit fentanyl poisoning have been sounding the alarm and
pleading for a whole of government response to address this deadly epidemic. As the death toll rises and more families grieve, advocates and affected family members are taking initiative where our government
is failing to act.

Illicit Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin. Drug cartels make and supply deadly illicit fentanyl either as a standalone substance, as an additive laced in  other dangerous street drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine, or as substitutes for these drugs. Illicit fentanyl is purposely and deceptively added to other drugs because of its extreme potency, making drugs cheaper, more powerful, more addictive, and more dangerous. Illicit fentanyl has also been identified in counterfeit prescription pills. These fake pills are made to look identical to legitimate prescription pills — such as Oxycontin®, Percocet®, Vicodin®, Adderall®, Xanax® and other medicines—and have been found in every state in the country. Criminal drug networks are also harnessing the accessibility of social media to push deadly drugs into American communities.

FACING FENTANYL
US Centers for Disease Control Video: Protect yourself from the dangers of fentanyl
Dead on Arrival
National Fentanyl Prevention and Awareness Day August 21

For the first time in our nation’s history, over 100,000 people have died of drug overdose in a single year. Illicit fentanyl further fueled the opioid epidemic, and fentanyl poisoning and “overdose” is now the leading cause of death for adults aged 18-45 in the United States, surpassing suicide, gun violence and car accidents. Fentanyl deaths in America across all age groups doubled from 32,745 fatalities to 62,178 fatalities in the two-year period between April 2019 and April 2021. Over 150 people die every day in the United States from “overdose” poisoning related to synthetic opioids like illicit fentanyl, which means a fentanyl-related death occurs approximately every nine minutes. Tracking of deaths and poisonings has been insufficient and we believe the current data falls short of he actuality of the current crisis. National Illicit Fentanyl Prevention and Awareness Day is established in remembrance of the loved ones who lost their lives due to illicit fentanyl poisoning, and to acknowledge the devastation this drug brings to hundreds of thousands of affected family members and friends. Advocates and educators will use this day to raise awareness and educate the public about the dangers of fentanyl. This coordinated day of response from multiple fentanyl awareness organizations will include participation by affected families who will share their lived experiences as part of the effort to warn and inform the general public, our youth and the unsuspecting.

Dr. Jessica Rodriguez
LAADC-S, ICAADC, MAC, SUDCCIV-CS, BSP, CTRTC, CIP, CTP, CTS, FSS

Dr. Rodriguez was named the Executive Director of Gateway Corp in 2012.  Gateway Corp was developed as a non-profit, public charity and founded October 27, 2011. November 2014, she developed a clinical hub for Gateway Corp called OnSite Strategies. OnSite is also a United States Trademark.

She has held the position of CEO, Clinical Director, Lead Educator and Clinical Trainer as well as the Clinical Business Developer. She has fulfilled the roles of a clinical consultant, professional development consultant and has clinically supervised many SUD/addiction counselors, mental health professionals and addiction and family interventionists for over 12 years.

She has been active in the mental health field since 1995. She has also clinically trained throughout the US and provides clinical oversight for several organizations in California.

Dr. Rodriguez released her first book, “When the Rainbow Ends a Shadow from Heaven Appears" in 2017.” Her newest book, "The Cart, From Adversity to Collateral Beauty" is scheduled to be released in the Fall of 2022.

Dr. Rodriguez is currently a writer for Rapporteur Magazine. Her focus is about Mental Wellness also covered topics to include ACE's, trauma, anxiety, and Systemic Racism.

Adriana Popescu, Ph.D.

Dr. Adriana Popescu is a licensed clinical psychologist and empowerment coach with over 25 years of experience in the mental health field. She specializes in treating addictions and trauma, and has directed a number of treatment programs in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the Founder and CEO of Firebird Healing, a trauma healing program, and the Clinical Director at Avery Lane, an innovative and holistic treatment program for women with co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders and trauma.

Adriana has contributed to a number of books, including TJ Woodward's Conscious Being Workbook, the Conscious Recovery for Addiction and Conscious Recovery for Mental Health Workbooks, and the Conscious Creation Workbook, all of which she co-authored with him.

She has a private practice in San Francisco and travels around the world speaking, coaching, and facilitating transformational and empowering workshops. She also hosts a fascinating podcast called Kaleidoscope of Possibilities – Alternative Perspectives on Mental Health.

Adriana loves to bring the most innovative and effective tools to her work, empowering people to overcome their imagined limitations, release their self-judgments, and discover the brilliance within – creating a life of infinite possibilities.

Her first book, “What If You’re Not as F*cked Up As You Think”, was released in October.

Aven Armstrong-Sutton, Ph.D(c), RSW

Clinical Services Manager at Kinark Child and Family Services

Aven L. Armstrong-Sutton has been a practicing licensed social worker for over a decade. With diverse experience in settings such as health promotion, foster care, youth homelessness, outpatient mental health & addictions, and student support services, Aven currently serves as a Clinical Services Manager at Kinark Child and Family Services, managing a Live-In-Treatment Program and three outpatient treatment programs. Maintaining a part-time private practice, Aven’s multidisciplinary and integrative approach focuses on trauma and resilience among under-served communities.

June Price Tangney, Ph.D

Dr. Tangney received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from UCLA. She is currently University Professor and Professor of Psychology at George Mason. She is a Recipient of International Society for Self and Identity’s Distinguished Lifetime Career Award and Fellow of the Association of Psychological Science and of APA’s Division of Personality and Social Psychology.

Dr. Tangney is coauthor (with Ronda Dearing) of Shame and Guilt, coeditor (with Ronda Dearing) of Shame in the Therapy Hour, coeditor (with Jess Tracy and Richard Robins) of The self-conscious emotions: Theory and research, and coeditor (with Mark Leary) of the Handbook of Self and Identity. She has served as Associate Editor for Self and Identity, Consulting Editor for Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Psychological Assessment, Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, and Journal of Personality, and is currently Associate Editor of American Psychologist.

Her research on the development and implications of moral emotions has been funded by NIDA, NICHD, NSF, and the John Templeton Foundation. Currently, her work focuses on moral emotions among incarcerated offenders. She draws on theory and research in psychology and criminology to develop novel interventions that leverage inmates’ moral emotions and prosocial values. A recipient of GMU’s Teaching Excellence Award, Dr. Tangney strives to integrate service, teaching and clinically-relevant research in both the classroom and her lab.

Christina Veselak, MS, LMFT, CN

Founder and Director of the Academy for Addiction and Mental Health Nutrition

Christina T. Veselak, MS, LMFT, CN, is the founder and director of the Academy for Addiction and Mental Health Nutrition, which teaches practitioners around the world how to use diet, along with amino acid and nutrient therapy, to help prevent cravings and recurrent drug use. She has been a licensed psychotherapist working in the SUD treatment field since 1985 and a certified nutritionist specializing in mental health and addiction recovery since 1993.

Sean Bezdek, LMFT, MBA

Sean is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over 25 years of experience working in mental health and substance abuse settings, in inpatient, PHP, and private practice. He holds b a master’s degree in Marital and Family Therapy from Philips Institute and an MBA from Baker College.

Sean’s clinical practice has specialized in working with Personality Disorders, Couples, Adolescents, and individual suffering from chronic mental illness. As a clinician Sean enjoys working with clients who can be resistant to traditional treatment and believes in the philosophy of “You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink. BUT you can feed them saltines to make them thirsty!”

Sean is the Program Director for Akua Mind Body’s Sacramento inpatient mental health program. His prior leadership experience includes oversight of acute inpatient, utilization management, hospice/palliative care, home health and skilled nursing. Sean’s approach to management is to ensure the work that needs to get done gets done. “Our job is patient care. This include everything from making coffee to running groups. There is not one person who is more important that the other when it comes to providing exceptional care to the clients we serve.”