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Sidney , Montana
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February 24, 2019     Sidney Herald
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February 24, 2019
 

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SIDNEY HERALD Around our area BY SHAYLEE RAGAR UM lEGISlllIVE NEWS SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA SCHOOl 0F JOURNALISM McKenna Fromm was a straight-A high school student, basketball player and member of student government in 2011. ‘ By 2015, sheJWas liv- ing in a spider-infested “drug den,” estranged from her family and deep in addiction. Fromm said her life turned upside down af- ter being diagnosed with Painful Bladder Syn- drome at age 15, which caused debilitating pain. She was prescribed powerful painkillers and had 10 different surgeries. Still, she said, doctors could not get her pain under control. She had to quit all extracur- ricular activities and spent most of her time at home. Within a few years, she was smoking her opioid pills for a stronger high, and using meth, mari- juana, benzodiazepines, alcohol and cocaine in an attempt to self-med- icate. Fromm’s story of opioid addiction is not unique. The National 1 4, r ogy minor. She thrivd in college, maintainiig a 4.0 GPA, working a' a Studio Barre gym aid I facilitating more thin ’ 100 addiction recowry groups. She is in tie process of applying for a Master’s of Sciene pro- gram in health sqences. Fromm said shr‘ wants to get a master’slegree to use her persotal experiences witl pain, mental health struggles and addiction 0 help others who arr in situa- tions similarD her’s. “There is alight at the end of the t1, nel. For the longest. e, I never thought I vyluld get there,” shrgsaid. Today, Romm controls pain fron‘her condi- tion witl/a strict diet, exerciscand holistic and non-invisive treatments. She sail she wishes she had kiown of other treatuents before she evenfiegan taking opi— oids» rotor AIMED AT CIRBING OPIOID NDICTION‘ Montana’s Attorney Seneral, Tim Fox, gave ,the lead supporting testi- f'mony for a bill heard in ;‘ committee last week that Institute on Drug Abuse .9 would restrict opioid reports that every day, / more than 130 people did- of overdosing on opioic‘s in the US. Montana lawmakers are consid/r ering new legislation;' to combat this type at addiction — the onethat often begins with a 'egal prescription. Propqr ‘d laws include restritting prescriptions for fits time patients, creapng a mandatory opioil/ registry and mandating doctors give courpeling before prescribirg opiate painkillers. " FTomm says tiese proposals coul "have of going to e Univer- sity of Mo . ana, and ‘ said she b ame deeply depressed ter graduat- ing from gh school. She had stay home in Great alls and take classes ine. That’s when sh met someone who loo ed past her con- dition, nd she dove into the relationship. As tension with her family grew, Fromm moved in ,with3her boy- friend w ‘0 was already familiar ith using and . abusing rugs. She said she beg n selling her ownvprrisiclriptions, and then pa ed her car and began stealing to buy what she needed off the . streets. “I knew that I was the person anymore that I didn’t want to be, but .I also was so deeply inter- tiivined in addiction that I didn’t care,”_;Fromm said in an interview. Fromm said she’s sur- prised she’s still alive. Eventually, she got sick of the lifestyle. She told her parents’she wanted to get clean; and they gave her two options: Rimrock, a’ treatment center inBillings, or Schick Shadel Hospital * ‘ in Seattle, Fromm chose the lattenr‘ wanting to be in place where no one knew her; name. ‘ From spent eight days in etox, Was given aversion and s‘edatiOn therapy: and stopped taking of her pain medica ions. Even ‘ though the-pain from 2 her condition spiked, the therapy Worked. Whenrshe got out of treatment, Fromm moved to Bozeman to live with her sister and brother-in-law, and began taking classes at Montana State Univer- sity. This is when things began to look up. ' , “I am so grateful that they gave me that oppor- tunity because I really needed to’get out of the environment that I was in,” Fromm said. u Fromm, now 23, will! graduate from MSU this May with a degree in psycholOgy and a‘soclol- prescribing practices in an attempt to curb expe- riences like Fromm’s. House Bill 86 passed the House on a 76-24 vote and moved to the Senate. Rep. Vince Ricci, R-Laurel, is carrying the bill. The proposed legisla- tion has three main com- ponents that would add restrictions to opioid prescriptions: requiring pharmacies to ask for a photo ID. for prescrip- tion pick up in some cases, restricting an opioid-naive patient —V someone who hasn’t had 1. an opiate medication in. 90 days —— to only a 7-day» Supply’ and mandatory-w use of a prescription drug registry. There are exceptions in the bill for chronic pain patients. Fox said in the hearing this legislation is a top priority for his office and for him personally. Montana’s rate of opioid abuse has actu- ally decreased while rates around the country have risen, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. However, Fox said even one opioid- related death is unac- ceptable. “Any person who becomes addicted and requires treatment is one too many,” Fox said in an interview. Part of the opioid epi- , demic has been attribut- ed to misl ding market- ing by ph , maceutical companies. In 2017, Fox’s office filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, the largest marketer in Montana, claiming it decided to “promote opioids deceptively and illegally in order to sig- nificantly increase sale.” Litigation in the case is ongoing. ,‘Fox said he hopes that in addition to passing HB 86, the Legislature bership includes 3 free growler fills year anda daily ' a: iscountun Beers on Tap! Mon-Fri 4:3me »8pm Saturday 2:00pm-Bpm Sunday Closed until April will add funding for specialty courts that have drug treatment pro- grams, and for education and prevention pro- grams. The attorney gen- eral’s Resolve Montana is one such program, and it’s website includes stories like Fromm’s and advice for using opioids responsibly for medical treatment. No one spoke in opposition of HB 86. Representatives from the Montana Medical Asso- ciation, Montana Phar- macy Association and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana all spoke in \ support of the bill. It also has bipartisan support. Democratic Rep. Zach Brown of Bozeman also testified in support of the bill at its hearing. He said he saw opioid pills floating around Bozeman High School when he was a student, and said that’s where addiction starts for some. “Where did those pills come from?” Brown asked. “Mom and Dad’s medicine cabinet.” Brown said he has a family member who couldn’t sleep without opioids after a knee re— placement surgery, and that it was an eye open- ing experience for him. He introduced his own legislation to combat the opioid crisis. That bill, House Bill 419, would require medi- cal practitioners and naturopathic physicians give patients counseling on the risks of opiate medications. He said it’s true that many doctors already do this, but that distorted marketing by pharmaceutical compa- nies still has a grip on the medical community. “We’re working backwards from a place where doctors were told opioids were non-addic- tive,” Brown said in the bill’shearing‘last week." Fromm said she thinks this legislation is a good idea. She said she didn’t know much about the pills that she was prescribed, but thought it was the only course of action she could take. “There can never be too much education,” Fromm said. The Montana Medi- cal Association op- poses Brown’s bill. Chief Executive Officer Jean Branscum said this type of counseling is already the standard of care in the medical community. She said physicians see the legislation as over- regulation. Brown’s bill was tabled in committee, meaning it won’t move forward unless 58 mem- bers of the House vote to “blast” it to the full House for debate. Brown said opioid addiction is a multi- faceted problem. People can come in contact with opioids through legal prescription, through il- legal buying and selling and through drug traf- ficking from countries like China and Mexico. Some people are getting counterfeit opioids that Brewing _. 1035 S Central, Sidney Located in the Video Hot Spot bui 4064333055 We accept Visa and Mastercard t ‘ SUNDAY, FEB. 24, 2019 9 Montana altplney general pushes for opioid prescription regulation SHAYLEE RADAR I UM LEGISLATIVE NEWS SERVICE McKenna Fromm, 23, said she didn’t want to share her story in her first year of sobriety, saying she fe" ashamed. She had been crowned prom queen in high school, but addiction took her to a dark place. Now, she’s an open book about her past and wants to use it to help others. are cut with fentanyl and overdose acciden- tally Fromm said one of the most important lessons she took away from her experience is that men- tal health should be just as much a priority as physical health. Fromm was not only experienc- ing pain, but she said it made her depressed, which only intensified her opioid dependence. This is a lesson she hopes to pass on as a licensed counselor for people struggling with addiction. “I’d like to be an advocate for those who traditional practices don’t necessarily work for,” Fromm said. “And " lluwstone I would just love to be a positive force in their life and help catalyze , growth and change in them.” DR. RYAN LADUA 222 2ND AVE SW, SIDNEY ‘l iropractic (Ilinic 406-433-4757 I 1-866-433-4757 eta $5 Gift Card éihau} limit] W. .um mm.“ in Plus when you sign up for E2 Pay you get your ALL ACCESS PASS! That is print and digital tor the low monthly rate of $6.00 (minimum 3 months) Call 406-433-7802 today! Sahara lllrralh 310 2nd Ave NE Sidney, MT