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EDUCATION PROGRAM OF NEW ENGLAND

SUMMER 2017 ISSUE

NOW WHAT? After treatment , WHAT WE OFFER SO YOU cAN HEAL

& the RESULTS OF THIS NEW TREATMENT NEW VACCINE PREVENTS NEWSFLASH OVERDOSE OUR HISTORY PHIL MALONSON TELLS ALL

HOPE FOR The Future How alcohol affects epigenetics

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It’s in the Genes Researchers Probe Alcohol’s Effect on Epigenetics

As scientists gain a better understanding of the human genome, one rapidly emerging area of research is the effect of alcohol on epigenetics – external modifications to DNA that turn genes “on” or “off.” Epigenetic changes alter the physical structure of DNA. One example of an epigenetic change is DNA methylation — the addition of a methyl group, or a “chemical cap,” to part of the DNA molecule, which prevents certain genes from being expressed. A recent article in the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s Alcohol Alert reports on a growing body of research showing how alcohol’s influence on epigenetics may be associated with an array of illnesses and disorders. These include fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), cancer, liver disease and other gastrointestinal disorders, brain development, the body’s internal clock, and immune function. Researchers and clinicians are beginning to explore therapies that might be developed to target the changes occurring through epigenetics. How alcohol affects epigenetics Alcohol consumption leads to

oxygen species (ROS), which are chemically reactive molecules that at high levels can damage cells. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders Women who drink during pregnancy put their developing fetuses at serious risk for a range of conditions collectively known as FASD. In exploring how epigenetics contributes to FASD, researchers have also begun to investigate two complex enzymes that play a crucial role in cell differentiation during fetal development. One, called polycomb protein, remodels chromatin to turn genes off; the other, called trithorax protein, remodels chromatin to turn genes on. Research suggests that exposure to alcohol may

chemical changes within the body that can affect all the epigenetic mechanisms. For one, excessive alcohol consumption interferes with the body’s ability to process and access a chemical called folate. Folate is critical for methylation, a biochemical process that attaches a methyl group to a specific spot on DNA. DNA methylation acts to lock genes in the “off ” position. Chronic alcohol consumption leads to lower-than-normal methylation, or “hypomethylation.” Research also finds that alcohol metabolism leads to an increase in a substance called NADH, which is a byproduct of alcohol metabolism, and through production of reactive

Researchers and clinicians are beginning to explore therapies that might be developed to target the changes occurring through epigenetics due to alcohol use.

disrupt these two enzyme complexes, altering how cells differentiate during fetal development.

alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence, and may contribute to alcohol relapse and craving. Hope for the future As researchers begin to untangle the exact nature of alcohol’s interactions with epigenetics, they will be able to design better medications to treat or alleviate a wide range of alcohol-related disorders, including FASD, alcohol addiction, cancer and organ damage. In addition, researchers can now analyze DNA methylation patterns for the entire human genome. This work could yield comprehensive maps of DNA methylation changes in alcohol-associated cancers. Those maps then could potentially be used to develop pharmacological treatments that target epigenetic markers and develop new markers for cancer detection and prognosis. 

Liver disease and the gastrointestinal tract

Alcohol affects epigenetics on many levels within the GI tract and liver, where the majority of consumed alcohol is metabolized and cleared from the body. As alcohol enters the liver, it sets off what could be described as a cascade of epigenetic changes that increase the risk of liver disease, liver cancer and immunological problems. In addition, alcohol-associated epigenetic changes may play a role in what researchers call organ “cross- talk” between the GI tract, the liver and other organs. For one, epigenetic changes to genes involved in joining the cells lining the intestines may be partially responsible for “leaky gut,” which allows endotoxins to enter circulation and initiate liver damage. Alcohol-associated cancers As suggested above, alcohol-related changes involved in epigenetics can be linked to the development of liver cancer. In particular, research suggests that some epigenetic changes can transform normal liver cells back into stem cells, which then can develop into liver cancer. In addition, alcohol acts indirectly on a receptor that, when disrupted, is involved in the development of liver cancer. Alcohol’s role in changing DNA methylation patterns, leading to hypomethylation, may be one of the main routes between alcohol consumption and liver cancer as well as other types of alcohol-associated cancers. Changes in brain functioning Alcohol’s epigenetic effects within the brain are complex and intertwined. But increasing evidence suggests that they result in adaptations within the brain that ultimately influence addictive behaviors, including tolerance and alcohol dependence. As seen in other disorders, changes in DNA methylation are one of the epigenetic changes in the brain caused by chronic alcohol consumption. Although researchers still are piecing together the details, findings to date suggest that epigenetic changes in gene expression induced by alcohol consumption may underlie the brain pathology and adaptations in brain functioning associated with

As researchers begin to untangle the exact nature of alcohol’s interactions with epigenetics, they will be able to design better medications to treat or alleviate a wide range of alcohol-related disorders.

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Our History The history behind the present development of Twelve Step Education Program of New England, Inc. has come from the experiences of hundreds of thousands of recovering persons who have followed the Twelve Step principles of the Anonymous fellowships.That recovery experience practiced in sober living has been the life style of the founder and executive director, Phil Malonson. He has learned the “hard way” that the most significant factor in relapse is re-exposure to a toxic using environment. Prior to his living in recovery, Phil spent many years passing through the revolving door of de-tox programs, discharged to the street, back to a using environment, back to the de-tox, etc.

A caring home Now many sober years later, Phil has earned degrees in Mental Health and Rehabilitation Counseling as well as Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling. He wanted to give something back by helping other men and women gain sobriety and a new life. He opened the very first sober home for himself and 7 other men. Soon, more and more men and women started coming to Phil to ask him for a sober place to stay. He saw the need and Twelve Step Education Program of New England was born.

He has learned the “hard way” that the most significant factor in relapse is re-exposure to a toxic using environment.

Helping the Community

years passing through the revolving door of their toxic environment, then to detox, then back to the same environment, repeating the pattern again and again. Phil Malonson created 12 Step Education Program of N.E., Inc.’s sober living environments to help break that cycle by providing a sober and supportive atmosphere for recovery. Phil is available for speaking engagements and presentations at companies and organizations. His story is inspirational and uplifting for any audience. Just e-mail Phil with your inquiry.

Phil created the non-profit in 1992, to establish sober living environments for men & women recovering from alcohol/ drug addiction.The underlying principle of 12 Step Education Program of N.E., Inc. is that sobriety begins by practicing a sober lifestyle. Phil knew that for many people, it is just too difficult to maintain their sobriety while they are back in the same environment where they were using alcohol and drugs. He had seen too many people learn the hard way that the most significant factor in substance abuse relapse is re-exposure to a toxic using environment.They spend

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After treatment, then what ? The recovery process takes time - time to reverse the negative life patterns which have accumulated over time by an addiction driven life. Managing life with others in a sober living environment, learning to take responsibility again, making a commitment to sobriety , and attending 12 Step meetings regularly are the beginnings of a responsible, sobriety centered life. Reconnections to work, family and community life can then follow.

We understand how tough it can be to stay sober. Our program was developed from the experiences of hundreds of thousands of recovering persons who have followed the Twelve Step principles of various Anonymous Fellowships.

Residents come to us from many sources - some are self referred, others come from treatment facilities, detox, counseling centers, therapists, the correctional system, shelters, veterans’ programs, or the streets. One thing they all have in common - wanting to stay sober. Many of our residents literally have no where else to go in order to stay sober and still live affordably.

We understand how tough it can be to stay sober.

Why Twelve Step Education Program Sober Housing? We have been providing safe, clean, and sober housing for over a decade. We make sure that we get all the appropriate local occupancy permits. Our houses pass rigorous fire safety inspections for the sprinkler systems, alarms that are wired directly to the fire departments, and fire extinguishers as well as health inspections. We care not only about sobriety, but safety as well. Not all sober housing can demonstrate that. We also train our House Managers at monthly workshops on various topics. Twelve Step Education program receives no tax dollars through state or federal aid. We operate solely through fees paid and the generosity of private donors.That is why we are cost effective and make sure we get quality goods and services for our residences that represent excellent value.

The Rules Every house has to have rules so that everyone understands what is expected of them and to keep everyone safe and sober. Each Twelve Step Education Program of New England Sober Home has mandatory house meeting each week to foster a sense of community and to make sure that everyone has a chance to have input with house management.

Sobriety also brings with it new responsibilities to ourselves, our families, friends and to the other residents of our sober homes. Teaching residents to be responsible is part of our mission. Every resident is responsible for their behavior in our homes and are held accountable for their actions. This accountability is to show respect for our residents’ sobriety.

Every house has to have rules so that everyone understands what is expected of them and to keep everyone safe and sober.

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Treating addiction with vaccines is a relatively new idea with many unanswered questions

ARE VACCINES THE ANSWER

that arise out of a lack of research. But a new study suggests vaccinating against illicit drugs is not only possible, it could be extremely effective. At the Scripps Research Institute in California, researchers were looking for a way to guard against the lethal and addictive effects of synthetic opioid “designer drugs.” A potentially deadly opioid, fentanyl, is often used as a heroin substitute or mix-in by drug dealers, so researchers developed a vaccine to try to mitigate its effects. Researchers injected mice with three rounds of the vaccine and then exposed them to doses of fentanyl. They found the vaccinated mice did not display any “high” behaviors even months after the last series of vaccine injections. Researchers say the immune systems of the mice developed antibodies that successfully blocked the drug from reaching the brain. “The results were the best we’ve ever seen for any drug vaccine,” says Paul Bremer, a graduate student at Scripps Research Institute who worked on the study.

A new

HAS BEEN SHOWN TO PREVENT OVERDOSES AND STOP OPIOID “DESIGNER DRUGS” FROM AFFECTING THE BRAIN vaccine

The results were the best we’ve ever seen for any drug vaccine. - Paul Bremer, Scripps Research Institute

“ WE WERE ABLE TO BLOCK EXTREMELY LARGE - Paul Bremer DOSES OF FENTANYL TO PROTECT AGAINST OVERDOSES

SAFE AND POWERFUL Not only was the vaccine able to stop intoxication (something researchers suggest could aid in opioid addiction treatment), the vaccine also proved extremely effective in blocking the potentially lethal effects of fentanyl as well. While the chemical is not necessarily toxic in itself, it does produce psychoactive effects that can shut down breathing and stop a person’s heart. Researchers say mice injected with the vaccine could withstand doses of fentanyl up to 30 times the normal rate. “It was just a rst generation vaccine, but it did prove to be very potent,” Bremer says. “We were able to block extremely large doses of fentanyl to protect against overdoses.” A SINGLE PURPOSE Researchers say the vaccine would not protect against heroin or oxycodone, and a mixture of vaccines would be needed to protect against all opioids. But that was somewhat by design. To make sure the vaccine would not interfere with any medications a person may take responsibly later in life, researchers targeted specic molecules so the vaccine would only block fentanyl and its derivatives.

“For unrelated drugs that you would be taking, there would be no effect from the vaccine,” Bremer says. LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE Although still in the early stages of development, researchers say the vaccine represents an exciting step forward in drug vaccine research. The lab is beginning more advanced trials on a similar heroin vaccine which should give them a better idea of how successful the fentanyl vaccine could become. But until more testing can be completed, researchers say they were pleased with the progress and excited for the future of vaccines in the treatment of addiction. “This concept of using a vaccine for addiction isn’t just an academic pursuit, it could really be used in practice,” Bremer says. “I think it’s really promising.”

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We understand how tough it can be to stay sober. Our programwas developed from the experiences of hundreds of thousands of recovering persons who have followed the Twelve Step principles of various Anonymous Fellowships.

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