PTSD treatments could reduce cop suicides and help first responders, city council member says

Aldus. Anthony Napolitano, a former Chicago police officer, wants to explore the use of “alternative treatments” to reverse an epidemic of police suicides that has seen 18 police officers take their own lives since September 2019.

The resolution championed by Napolitano and co-signed by more than two dozen of his colleagues asks three city council committees — budget, public safety, and health and human relations — to hold a joint hearing to discuss at least two costly treatments for prevention suicide and treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder not covered by municipal insurance.

The resolution specifically mentions “stellar ganglion block” and ketamine treatments. Both types of injections have been used effectively to treat American soldiers at risk of suicide.

Napolitano said a stellar ganglion block, known to recipients as the “God Shot,” gave astonishing results to one of the commanders at the scene the night Officer Ella French was fatally shot and her partner, Carlos Yanez Jr. was seriously injured. after stopping an SUV with expired plates.

This officer, however, was forced to pay for two neck injections out of his own pocket as it was not covered by municipal insurance. Local anesthetic sometimes known as “Dual Sympathetic Reset” can return the “fight or flight response to its pre-traumatic state”, Napolitano’s resolve states.

“In people who suffer from post-traumatic stress because of their work, it is the situations that make a person feel like they have, maybe, a suicidal urge or a feeling [of hopelessness that can lead to] suicide,” said Napolitano, who represents the 41st Ward on the Northwest Side.

“It’s a tool that has worked in the military. We have police officers in Chicago using it, and it has completely changed their lives. … After this treatment, [suicide is] not even a thought. Everything changed. They call it resetting your thought process and resetting how you assess your own life based on the trauma you’ve been through.

Napolitano pegged the cost of the two neck injections at around $2,000. There are “almost no” side effects except for a “temporary drooping” of the eye on the side where the injection is given, he said.

“It’s not fully FDA cleared yet, so your insurance won’t recognize it unless we ask them to recognize it and have it as a treatment,” the alderman said.

“And [even if it’s covered], insurance is going to be bureaucracy. Anything related to bureaucracy will be bureaucracy. So we see, can we integrate this into our Flex Pay system. We still pay for it ourselves, but it comes from Flex Pay so you can pay for the treatment up front and then pay it back by withdrawing it from your check over the next 12 months.

Mark Doyle is the founder of Rags of Honor One, a non-profit organization that has spent the past four years raising funds and awareness for stellar ganglion block injections for hundreds of soldiers and police across the world. country. His nonprofit organization funded these injections for 10 Chicago police officers.

“The procedure helps reset the ganglion group of nerves that becomes overactive when you’ve been subjected to extreme levels of stress and trauma, causing anxiety, insomnia, suicidal ideation,” Doyle said, adding that “88% of the time, a procedure [or two injections] and the patient is sleeping, back to work. We get quotes from many people like “My kids love me again”. I can sleep again. It is truly miraculous.

Alexa James, CEO of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Chicago, said the alternative treatment drug is “incredibly effective” in reducing post-traumatic stress, which can trigger feelings of hopelessness that sometimes turn into suicide.

“We refer to lymph node block and ketamine all the time and see tremendous response,” James said.

“In some emergency departments in other parts of the country, they actually use ketamine treatment for suicidal people who come in. It’s like a very fast-acting brain healer, with very few side effects, if at all. I did ketamine treatment for my depression, actually. It’s amazing.”

But James said alternative treatments are only part of the solution. The city must also ensure that its health insurance plans have sufficient numbers of clinicians and cover the wide range of mental health services.

“Current health insurance makes it difficult to consistently seek mental health services because, for example, current health insurance will not reimburse couples for counseling,” James said.

“Because we have a shortage of manpower at the start, we regularly receive calls indicating that it is difficult to find therapists within the network for the police officers. Reimbursement rates… have actually gone down over the past few years. Clinicians therefore cannot afford to treat a particular insurance coverage. One of them happens to be [the city’s] Blue choice.

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