Monthly Archives: September 2014

Back to School: How to talk about the consequences of social media activity

phoneIt’s easy to stress how important it is to talk to kids about social media and technology.

But it can be difficult to have that conversation, or even initiate it.

Mary Egan, director of outreach for Rosecrance Health Network, stresses that parents need to take time to talk to their children about these issues. She said two of her favorite times to address the topics are at the dinner table and in the car.

“Too often, communication wanes in the teen years, but adolescence is still one of the most important times to have regular conversations about everyday topics along with significant topics like drugs, sex, friendships, stress, college, online behavior, etc., “ Egan said.
“Having meaningful conversations with your teens shows that you love them.”

If parents observe online or phone communications related to drugs and alcohol, they need to talk to their kids about those conversations.

Mary Egan

Mary Egan

“Too often, kids will try to explain it away as nothing (‘It’s my friend’s stuff’) or start to use slang or code words for drugs and alcohol,” Egan said. “Parents need to continually educate themselves about drug trends, and if there is a concern, seek out professional help.”

Parents who check their kids’ text messages while the children are sleeping or who sneak phones to monitor them could be experiencing communication issues. They should instead directly express concerns to their teen with a clear and consistent message about the dangers of teen drug use and take action when evidence of use exists.

“Too often, parents neglect to provide consequences or follow-through with professional help when they suspect their child is using drugs or alcohol,” Egan said. “Many think that kids will be kids, that all kids drink or dabble in drugs, it’s only experimentation or a phase, and it’s not those serious drugs like heroin or cocaine.”

Denial and lack of action can allow teen drug abuse to escalate to the point where school is affected, trouble with police occurs, development is delayed or treatment might be needed.

“At this point, it is often not so much what you say, but what you do,” Egan said. “Mean what you say, and do what you say.”

We can help you figure out those next steps. Rosecrance offers a variety of services for teens and adolescents, including a detox program, inpatient drug treatment and outpatient care.

Call 888-928-5278 for help now, or visit to schedule a free consultation about teen substance abuse.

Back to School: Monitoring kids in the digital age

phoneNot all silence is golden, particularly in the universe of social media.

Teens talking via text messages and sites such as Facebook and Twitter can produce invisible interactions hidden away from parents. Parents have to break through those silent barriers so they can still be engaged in their children’s lives.

Back-to-school time is the perfect opportunity to talk to teens about using social media, oversharing and bullying, and to reinforce messages about drug and alcohol abuse.

“Parents have to work harder to communicate with their child about setting limits and guidelines for using social media, and even just learning who their child is communicating with,” said Mary Egan, director of outreach for Rosecrance Health Network. “Friendships play out in a more indirect fashion than ever before with less face-to-face contact and voice conversations.”
Egan said parents need to frequently monitor their children’s social media activity and cell phone use.

Mary Egan

Mary Egan, Rosecrance Director of Outreach

“Good parenting techniques require active and regular communication about what is appropriate communication, who are true friends and the danger of social media communication,” Egan said.

There are products available to monitor a child’s online activity, and parents need to educate themselves about parental control options. Facebook, for example, requires its users to be at least 13 years old.

The recent celebrity photo-hacking scandal reinforced the lack of understanding and even arrogance among youth that they can protect their online communications or photos, Egan said.

“Often, it is forever on the World Wide Web, and someone can gain access to it,” Egan said. “Also, schools are increasingly dealing with bullying, conflict and fights that spill over into school from social media, and the parents have no idea these conflicts were occurring.”

Social media also allows teens easier access to drugs and alcohol. Teens can contact their friends online to get drugs, find out where parties are taking place and even buy drugs online with a few button clicks and without their parents ever knowing.

“Peer relationships are an indicator of your child’s values,” Egan said. “Therefore, friends who use drugs are one of the biggest identifiers to whether or not your child is using drugs. If a parent doesn’t know who their child’s friends are, how will they identify any concerns, especially with drugs and alcohol?”

Egan said parents should limit online communications to certain hours of the day so kids aren’t connected all the time. Limiting use during homework time, during bedtime or so kids can engage in healthy activities such as exercise are good examples.

“Kids can be secretive about their online activities, so an active parenting role is needed to monitor these behaviors, and regular communication between parent and child can assist in keeping tabs with their child’s friends, moods, etc.,” Egan said.

Rosecrance event raises more than $100,000 to help create collegiate recovery residence


Eleven great chefs and a local independent grocer teamed up with The Rosecrance Foundation Chicago Board for a chef’s tasting Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014, that raised more than $100,000 to serve area college students in recovery.

About 240 people attended the event at the Naperville Country Club. Proceeds from Cooking Up Hope will help establish a recovery residence for students who attend colleges and universities in Chicago. The home will be the first of its kind in the city. Rosecrance is one of Illinois’ leading providers of substance abuse treatment for teens and adults, offering the state’s largest residential program for adolescents.

Sunday’s event was the fifth Cooking Up Hope fundraiser to be held in Naperville. Proceeds from the event always support services for suburban youth who seek treatment for substance abuse. Each year, The Rosecrance Foundation provides more than $500,000 in charity care to families who do not have insurance or personal resources to pay for treatment.

Restaurants and businesses that participated in Cooking Up Hope were, in alphabetical order: Alchemy, Casey’s Foods, Francesca’s Restaurants, Heaven on Seven, Hyatt Lodge at McDonald’s Campus, Hyatt Regency Chicago, Kuma’s Asian Bistro, Naperville Country Club, Nothing Bundt Cakes Naperville, Stan’s Donuts & Coffee, Uncle Bub’s BBQ and Yerbabuena Mexican Cuisine.

Cooking Up Hope was established in 2010 by the Rosecrance Foundation’s Chicago Board, whose members live in the city and the suburbs.

Chefs with Francesca’s Restaurants, which has 20 eateries in Chicago and the suburbs, and Lisle-based Yerbabuena emphasized the importance of being involved with Cooking Up Hope. Both restaurants have participated in the event since it started.

“It’s nice to give back to the community that has been supporting us from the beginning,” Francesca’s Corporate Chef Massimo Salatino said.

Diners sampled food such as roasted corn chowder, tacos, pulled pork, artisanal breads and cheeses, gumbo, cakes, donuts and other goodies during the event.

Chef Kuma Kim, co-owner of Kuma’s Asian Bistro, also has participated in the event since it started. Kuma’s has restaurants in Rockford and Naperville.

“Being involved with this event means a lot,” Kim said. “Rosecrance’s programs are needed. There are so many kids who struggle with addiction, and this event is just a wonderful thing to help out.”

Rosecrance has residential treatment campuses in Rockford for adolescents and adults. The organization offers services and free, confidential consultations at five satellite offices in the Chicago area. Those sites are in Naperville, Lincoln Park, Northbrook, Frankfort and Oak Park.

In addition Rosecrance has two offices in McHenry County providing a full range of outpatient services for individuals with substance use and mental health disorders.

Rosecrance frequently sponsors workshops and prevention and early intervention classes in the Chicago area. The majority of Rosecrance patients in residential programs in Rockford (more than 60 percent of adults and adolescents) come from DuPage, Will, Kankakee, McHenry, Lake, Kane and Cook counties.

To see photos of the event, visit our Facebook page.

Dave Gomel, Rosecrance Sr. VP and COO, receives Distinguished Service Award from IADDA


Rosecrance Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Dave Gomel has received the George Schwab Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes leaders in the field of substance abuse treatment.

Gomel received the award on Sept. 4, 2014, at the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association (IADDA) Fall Conference. The award is given in memory of George Schwab, President of IADDA from 1979-1980, and symbolizes the sacrifice and commitment of professionals in the alcohol/other drug field. Recipients are selected based on their contributions to IADDA and the alcohol/drug field, including leadership and expertise in the development of public policy.

“Dave Gomel truly is someone who represents the value that George Schwab represented to our field,” said TASC Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Peter Palanca. “He values, respects, and ensures collaboration as we together provide service to those systems, communities and individuals who so desperately need us.”

Gomel has more than 20 years’ experience in behavioral health treatment, including a number of years providing direct clinical services and various administrative roles. Gomel started his career with Rosecrance in 1993.

“I fell in love with the Rosecrance mission – it’s what we do every single day. We see people who have that hole in their heart and we try the best we can to fill that hole with the resources we have,” said Gomel.

Dave holds a Master of Science Degree in Health Service Administration from the University of St. Francis and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Northern Illinois University. Dave serves on numerous local, state and national boards, trade organizations and behavioral health committees.

“We have a lot of work to do moving forward,” Gomel said in accepting the award. “We have to protect these people, every one of them. That’s our obligation and we can get that done through IADDA.”

IADDA was established in 1967 as the only statewide advocacy organization in Illinois focusing solely on substance use disorder issues. IADDA represents more than 50 prevention, treatment and recovery organizations across the state. Rosecrance is a member agency of IADDA.

The WGN Morning Show Meets Wes, Rosecrance alumnus

WGN Morning Show host Steve Cochran and morning news anchor Andrea Darlas interviewed Wes, a former Rosecrance patient, on Wednesday, September 10. Wes spoke about his recovery from heroin addiction and the help he received from Rosecrance. His father, Tom, also spoke about the struggles of being a father of an addict.

Listen to the interview here.

Rosecrance's Rev. Jim Swarthout featured in the National Catholic Reporter

jimswarthoutRosecrance’s Rev. Jim Swarthout was recently featured in the National Catholic Reporter. His idea for a Diaper Bank has grown into The National Diaper Bank Network, a system of nonprofit groups that helps to provide about 98 million diapers annually to needy families who can’t afford them.

“I have never seen something, in all my years of priestly ministry, break barriers between service agencies and churches,” Swarthout said in a phone interview. “Catholic, Episcopalians, Lutherans, they all came together at the table when we really didn’t have a clergy association.”

In 2009, these diaper banks caught the attention of Huggies, an international diaper and wipes company. Huggies brought together Goldblum, Swarthout and eight others, representing 10 of the nation’s first — and potentially only — diaper banks, to brainstorm about the need. After several meetings, they decided to start a national entity that could spread awareness. Huggies, Swarthout, Goldblum and the other diaper bank founders created the National Diaper Bank Network, which was incorporated in 2011 and has grown from a founding membership of 40 diaper banks to 195 today.


Read the full article here:

Dr. Thomas Wright and Rosecrance alumnus featured on NBC News

Rosecrance’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Thomas Wright appeared on “NBC Nightly News” on Sunday, Sept. 7, as the network continued its in-depth coverage of the nation’s heroin crisis. Also featured was Rosecrance alumnus Wes, who chose to identified only by his first name.

Click here to read and watch the report online, or watch the videos below:


Rosecrance to be featured on "NBC Nightly News"


Rosecrance will be featured on “NBC Nightly News” with weekend anchor Lester Holt at 5:30 p.m. CST Sunday, Sept. 7, as the network continues its in-depth coverage of the nation’s heroin crisis. A story on Saturday’s “Nightly News” also looks at the heroin issue, and that report leads into the Sunday story featuring Rosecrance.

NBC reporter Mark Potter, NBC producer Erika Angulo, Rosecrance Director of Outreach Mary Egan, and Rosecrance Director of Communications Judy Emerson.

NBC reporter Mark Potter, NBC producer Erika Angulo, Rosecrance Director of Outreach Mary Egan, and Rosecrance Director of Communications Judy Emerson.

NBC reporter Mark Potter and producer Erika Angulo, both veteran award-winning journalists, traveled to Chicago recently to talk with law enforcement officials and others about the problem. The team traced the routes by which heroin is trafficked from Mexico to America’s cities, primarily to Chicago. The Windy City has become the epicenter of the nation’s heroin crisis, making the often-deadly drug cheap and easily accessible here.

From a treatment perspective, Rosecrance is in the eye of the heroin storm. Admissions of adolescents and young adults for treatment of heroin addiction have risen dramatically in recent years.

Potter interviewed Rosecrance Chief Medical Officer Dr. Thomas Wright, along with 24-year-old Wes T., who’s in recovery after receiving treatment at Rosecrance, and Deb L., the mother of a boy who went through our residential program for adolescents.

Dr. Wright talked about the nature of heroin addiction and how Rosecrance treats people for heroin dependence. Wes and Deb both debunked the notion of the “Heroin Highway,” which had referred to interstate routes from the suburbs into the inner city, routes used by young people to buy heroin from street dealers. They said heroin is easily obtainable with a phone call in any of Chicago’s suburbs, and no one needs to go to the city anymore to get it.

Producer Angulo said the report featuring Rosecrance is set to air on Sunday, barring other news that could force NBC to reschedule it.