Son’s death leads Carmel father to find addiction cure


By Mark Ambrogi

Following his son Aristotle’s overdose from prescription drugs at age 24 in September 2015, Joseph Pappas went searching for answers.

From left, Joe Pappas is the president of Emerald Neuro-Recover Centers, and Dr. Gabriel Rosenberg is a presiding physician. (Photo by Mark Ambrogi).
From left, Joe Pappas is the president of Emerald Neuro-Recover Centers, and Dr. Gabriel Rosenberg is a presiding physician. (Photo by Mark Ambrogi).

He hoped to find a solution to keep other fathers from his intense sorrow. Pappas has opened Emerald Neuro-Recover Centers, which provides treatment for people suffering from addiction to opiates, heroin, meth, alcohol and other substances.

“If no other father has to go through what I have to go through, I’ll feel like I’ve accomplished a lot,” Pappas said. “I really feel as I’ve been called to this.”

Aristotle, known as Ari, was a standout running back at Bishop Chatard High School.

“He lost his mother his senior year and was never the same (after her death),” Pappas said. “He got a (football) scholarship to Ball State and broke his hand as a freshman. They prescribed opiates.”

His father didn’t realize how bad his addiction had gotten until near the end.

“This is what I do for him,” Pappas said.

The center uses intense IV NAD+Amino Acids Therapy. NAD stands for Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide, a coenzyme found in all living cells. The clinic opened in Fishers in the summer but moved to 12289 Hancock St., Suite 36, in Carmel in September.

Pappas, a Westfield resident, said the treatment helps cure cravings. The average treatment is six to 10 hours a day for 10 days, but Pappas said some patients need longer.

“We restore the brain by IV therapy to its pre-addiction neurologic levels,” Pappas said. “We get rid of all the cravings. We get rid of all the withdrawals. We get rid of the anxiety and depression that are associated with the withdrawals of opiate.”

Pappas said Emerald is the only facility in the Midwest using the protocol, which helps to flush drugs from the body, rebalancing and realigning the brain’s neurotransmitters.

Caleb Moe, 25, had been to nine other rehab facilities for his heroin addiction, and each time he has relapsed. On his ninth day of a 12-day treatment, Moe said his cravings rated a two on a scale of one to 10.

“When I came in, the cravings were at an all-time high,” Moe said.

His father paid for the treatment as a last chance.

Wes, a 24-year-old from Avon who didn’t want his last name used, completed the treatment Sept. 15. He said he has had no desire to use drugs since then.

“It’s almost like I completely hate drugs now,” said Wes, who is going to Ivy Tech in January to become a nurse.

The NAD IV treatment costs $12,500 to $15,000. It is not covered by insurance. Pappas said it is still considered experimental, even though it has been used for years.

“We’re trying to get it approved by the VA, and that will open the door to other insurance companies,” Pappas said. “I’m hoping within the next two years we’ll be covered by insurance.”

Pappas is assisted by Dr. Gabriel Rosenberg, a Carmel resident and long-time pediatrician, and Dr. William Jones, a psychiatrist. Rosenburg said the NAD treatment has an 87 to 90 percent success rate of patients staying off drugs.

“To me, this is so exciting,” Rosenberg said. “We’re in a terrible epidemic of drug abuse everywhere. This will help them get back to school, get back to life and be a useful citizen.”

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