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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.

often the silent Children are

VICTIMS

of drug abuse.

Gadsden Treatment Center 1107 West Meighan Boulevard Gadsden, Alabama 35901 Phone: 256.549.0807 www.thetreatmentcentersinc.com Shoals Treatment Center 3430 North Jackson Highway Sheffield, AL 35660 PH: (256) 383-6646 VISIT OUR LOCATIONS

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The Five-Phase Merit System of Treatment

Once enrolled in TTCI, individuals advance through four phases of treatment. The phases of treatment and their requirements are outlined below: Phase I • Individuals attend the clinic seven days per week • Individuals are given at least two random drug screens per month • Individuals are required to attend at least two groups per month. These groups are held on the premises. • Individuals have one hour of individual counseling from the facility’s clinical staff. • Cost of treatment is $15 per day. Phase II • Individuals attend the clinic Monday through Friday • Individuals are given are given two, pre-

measured bottles of methadone that are sealed with tamper-proof wrapping. The medication is taken home and one bottle is taken each day. • Individuals must provide their own storage container with a lock in order to receive their take-home medication. (Small lock-boxes may be purchased at Wal-Mart.) • Individuals have at least one random drug screen per month. • Individuals are required to attend at least two groups per month. These groups are held on the premises. • Individuals have one hour of individual counseling from the facility’s clinical staff. • Cost of treatment is $13 per day.

Phase III • Individuals are given are given three, pre-measured bottles of methadone that are sealed with tamper-proof wrapping. The medication is taken home and one bottle is taken each day. • Individuals have at least one random drug screen per month. • Individuals are required to attend at least two groups per month. • These groups are held on the premises. • Individuals have one hour of individual counseling from the facility’s clinical staff. • Cost of treatment is $13 per day. Phase IV

• Individuals only attend the clinic one day per week. • Individuals are given are given six, pre-measured bottles of methadone that are sealed with tamper- proof wrapping. The medication is taken home and one bottle is taken each day. • Individuals have at least one random drug screen per month. • Individuals are required to attend at least two groups per month. These groups are held on the premises. • Individuals have one hour of individual counseling from the facility’s clinical staff. • Cost of treatment is $13 per day. Phase V • Individuals only attend the clinic one day every other week • Individuals are given are given thirteen, pre-measured bottles of methadone that are sealed with tamper- proof wrapping. The medication is taken home and one bottle is taken each day. • Individuals have at least one random drug screen per month. • Individuals are required to attend group therapy (only if group therapy requirements are not completed). • Individuals have one hour of individual counseling from the facility’s clinical staff. • Cost of treatment is $13 per day.

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What is Methadone? Methadone is a synthetic opiate that, when properly prescribed: • Blocks the effects of opiates • Relieves withdrawal symptoms associated with opiate addiction • Is not intoxicating or sedating, and therefore does not interfere with ordinary activities • Is a liquid or tablet medication that has been used safely for more than 30 years. What Are Opiates? Opiates are narcotic drugs that contain or are derived from opium. Opiates are often used to alleviate pain, but when abused, they can cause serious health issues, addiction, and death. The following are a fewcommonly used opiates: • Heroin

• Lorcet • Percodan • Vicodin • Dilaudid

• Morphine • Oxycontin • Lortab

If I Choose Medically Assisted Treatment, Does This Mean I Will Be On Methadone For The Rest Of My Life? Absolutely not. Our medically assisted treatment program is specifically designed for people who want to be completely free from all drugs - including Methadone. Will Methadone Work for Alcohol, Cocaine, or Other Forms of Drug Addiction? No. Methadone is not a suitable treatment for addiction to these drugs. There are other treatments that are better suited for these addictions.

What Are the Benefits of Methadone Treatment? There are many benefits to methadone treatment. Notable benefits include: • Improved physical health • Improved social status and self-image • Improved employability and financial stability • Reduced criminal activity

Your treatment team would consist of a physician, nurses, and addiction counselors who work together to develop a specific, individualized plan of treatment for you and your situation.

Who Would Be Working With Me? You would be supported by a skilled team of professionals qualified in the field of addiction. Your treat- ment team would consist of a physician, nurses, and addiction counselors who work together to develop a specific, individualized plan of treatment for you and your situation. You would be expected to participate in both individual and group counseling sessions that are designed to help with your recovery.

Our hours of operation are designed for those people who have work and family responsibilities. Services are provided 365 days per year, including holidays.

"Methadone can not only help you make it a fair fight against your drug addiction, but it can also help you to reclaim your life and lost time with your loved ones...You too can join the sober life and reclaim your friends, family, and money." --Client at STC

www.thetreatmentcentersinc.com Shoals Treatment Center 3430 North Jackson Highway Sheffield, AL 35660 PH: (256) 383-6646

Gadsden Treatment Center 1107West Meighan Boulevard Gadsden, Alabama 35901 Phone: (256) 549-0807

"Before coming to this treatment center, I was taking any pain pills I could find and doing anything necessary to get the money. I started coming here as a last hope...Today I've put all my focus on creating distance between me and my previous lifestyle...When I am able to maintain a positive support system, I will feel I have everything needed to come off the clinic. It is important for me to stay abstinent from my addictions." --Client at GTC

5 Myths & Misconcept Myth #1: Methadone is Addicting • Physical dependence is associated with Methadone. • Methadone is not considered a primary drug of choice for “getting high.” • Methadone is administered orally, and compared to most opiates, is slow to take effect. • Methadone does not produce a “rush” like other narcotics.

Myth #2: People Get High On Methadone • Methadone is an opiate blocker, which means that it blocks the craving for opiates once the methadone is ingested. • The “blocking” effect of methadone helps the individual “normalize” their life again. • The “blocking” effect lasts for 24 hours, so the individual will have an opportunity to “unravel” the addict way of thinking. • Once an individual is taking the appropriate dosage, there is no impairment of motor skills or thinking ability (as long as no other psychoactive drugs are taken with it).

Methadone is an opiate blocker, which means that it blocks the craving for opiates once the methadone is ingested.

ons About Methadone Myth #3: Once on Methadone, You Cannot Stop Using It. • The first goal of Medically Assisted Treatment is to eliminate the use of opiates. • Methadone is a “tool” used to eliminate the cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with opiates. Myth #5: Methadone Hurts Your Health • The health status of

• Full participation of individual and group counseling is necessary to change the addictive behaviors of one suffering with addiction. This allows the individual the best opportunity for a successful detox from Methadone. Myth #4: Methadone Does No Good • The first goal of Medically Assisted Treatment is to eliminate the use of opiates. • Methadone is a “tool” used to eliminate the cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with opiates. • Full participation of individual and group counseling is necessary to change the addictive behaviors of one suffering with addiction. This allows the individual the best opportunity for a successful detox from Methadone.

methadone patients has been studied more frequently than other medications. • There is no scientific evidence that methadone rots teeth, gets into bones, or causes any other health issues. Extensive drug abuse can lead to neglect of personal hygiene, which can cause health issues. • Taking methadone is safe for expectant mothers.

"Through the support and guidance that has been offered at the Gadsden Treatment Center, I have been able to accomplish the goals previously set by me and do things that I would have never been able to do.

I recommend this for any addict seeking help if they are truly ready for HELP!" --Client at GTC

Gadsden Treatment Center 1107 West Meighan Boulevard Gadsden, Alabama 35901 Phone: 256.549.0807 www.thetreatmentcentersinc.com

"GTC has changed my life in many different ways. I no longer feel like I am spending my life on the run, constantly searching for relief. I am now able to spend true quality time with my family. My mother and daughter now truly enjoy being around me as well. We thank GTC everyday for helping me return to a normal life." --Client at GTC

Gadsden Treatment Center 1107 West Meighan Boulevard Gadsden, Alabama 35901 Phone: 256.549.0807 www.thetreatmentcentersinc.com

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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 first 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 specific 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.”

"I am a 44 year old man. I am an addict. I would sell, trade, and spend almost all my paycheck on my addiction. My addiction was taking over my life...en I heard about Methadone. I was afraid to try it at rst, but I am an addict. I would try

anything to help me. Methadone saved my life." --Client at STC

WWW.THETREATMENTCENTERSINC.COM Treatment Center 3430 North Jackson Highway Sheffield, AL 35660 256.383.6646 SHOALS

LET ’ SWORK TOGETHER TOWARDSTHE RIGHTPATH

3430 NORTH JACKSON HIGHWAY SHEFFIELD, AL 35660 PHONE: 256.383.6646 FAX: 256 3836654 SHOALS TREATMENT CENTER

All locations are open Mon-Fri 5am-11 & sat-sun 6am-8am

2 Locations 1 COMMON GOAL Opiate addiction is devastating to the person struggling with addiction along with their friends, family, and community. The Treatment Centers Inc. offers hope for those ghting to regain a productive lifestyle for themselves and for those who love them.

Gadsden Treatment Center 1107 West Meighan Boulevard Gadsden, Alabama 35901 Phone: (256) 549-0807 Fax: (256) 549-0887

Shoals Treatment Center 3430 North Jackson Highway Sheffield, AL 35660 Phone: (256) 383-6646 Fax: (256) 383-6654

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